iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max: What new features may be coming to Apple's top phones?
From a rumored titanium frame design, an updated charging system, to a powerful new chipset and possible camera improvements, here are the most important potential updates to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max this year.
Anticipation is high for Apple's event on Tuesday, 12 September at the Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California.
The company is expected to unveil new features for some of its devices, but undoubtedly much of the attention will be focused on the new line of flagship smartphones from the brand: the iPhone 15.
It's expected that Apple will showcase at least four versions of the new iPhone line, ranging from standard to premium, but based on insights from analysts and leaks, some of the most exciting changes will come from the top-line models, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.
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From a rumored titanium frame design, an updated charging system, to a powerful new chipset and possible camera improvements, here are the most important potential updates to the iPhone this year.
Unlike last year, in which no major design changes to the iPhone 14 Pro compared to the iPhone 13 Pro were announced, this year Apple is expected to make some updates.
According to 9To5Mac, the new iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be comparably sized to current versions, however, thanks to 30% thinner bezels, the screen could appear larger.
Also, some leaks claim that the iPhone 15 Pro will arrive with a titanium frame, making the newer models lighter and more resistant than the iPhone 14 Pro and its stainless steel frame.
The change could have the iPhone 15 Pro weighing in at a mere 191g, much less than the current iPhone 14 Pro's 206g. The Max model will also slim down, going from 240g on the iPhone 14 Pro Max to 221g on the generation 15 model.
As far as the display goes, not many drastic changes are expected. However, Ming-Chi Kuo, a leading Apple analyst, said that the iPhone 15 Pro's proximity sensor will be integrated into the Dynamic Island (the black pill-shaped space where the front-facing camera and FaceID are located), rather than being separate as in the iPhone 14 Pro.
Finally, both the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are also expected to incorporate a subtle redesign on the back, with the rear edges being more rounded.
USB-C and an improved charging system
One of the most hotly discussed novelties to the new iPhone line is the update to its charging port.
As reported earlier, due to European Union regulations aimed at combating electronic waste, by December 2024, all manufacturers of portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, must adopt a common charging standard, the USB Type-C, or USB-C for short.
For Apple, it made more sense to adopt the charging standard for all of its devices, instead of just for its products sold in Europe, so Indians as well will benefit from the charging port upgrade.
Compared to its proprietary Lightning port that has been on the iPhone for years, the USB-C will bring some advantages to Apple users.
However, Apple -- who is famous for designing proprietary tech accessories to lock users into its brand -- may incorporate some limitations on functionality for non-certified chargers.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, fast-charging capability may only be possible with Apple-certified USB-C charging cables, and would be a feature exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max models.
Lower-end models, such as the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, are rumored to be limited to USB 2.0 data transfer capacity of up to 480 Mbps, compared to the "Pro" models, which would support USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt for data transfer up to 20 or 40 Gbps.
Another rumor circulating online suggests that the iPhone 15 Pro will have a 14% larger battery than the iPhone 14 Pro, which would approach a capacity of 3,650 mAh to provide more battery life for the phone.
There are also whispers that Apple may introduce reverse wireless charging, which, if true, would give the iPhone 15 Pro the ability to wirelessly charge other devices, a feature that's been available on Android devices for a few years.
Better zoom and other camera improvements
The iPhone's camera is one of its most appreciated features. This year, Apple fans may be able to look forward to some improvements, especially in terms of zoom capabilities, which has been a weak spot for Apple's cameras compared to competitors.
According to rumors, Apple will probably continue to use its same triple camera array on the back of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, but with some interesting updates.
The iPhone 14 Pro has the company's best mobile camera with a three-lens configuration: 48MP wide (24mm f / 2.8), 12MP ultra wide (13mm f / 2.4) and a 12MP telephoto lens (77mm f / 2.8) with zoom up to 3X. And according to TrendForce analysts, the Pro models are going to receive camera upgrades, although for the first time the Pro Max could carry a unique feature that will not be found on the iPhone 15 Pro.
The source claims that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have a Periscope Lens Module that would bring more zoom capability compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could raise the current zoom to 6X or even 10X.
Other potential upgrades to the top model iPhone cameras could include improvements in light absorption as well.
A powerful chipset, Vision Pro and AI
The current iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are among the most efficient and well-performing devices in the world, but Apple is expected to announce more power and capabilities with the arrival of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
The new Pro models could sport an A17 Bionic chipset built with Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC's new 3nm process, which would feature a 20% more powerful CPU than the A16 Bionic, which is currently in use in iPhones.
According to DCInside, the A17 Bionic processor has achieved a score of 3019 in Geekbench 6 performance tests with single core, and 7860 with multiple cores. This is an improved performance compared to the A16 Bionic which records scores of 2504 and 6314, respectively.
In addition, Apple could announce an additional GPU core and a clock speed of 3.70GHz instead of the A16 Bionic's 3.46GHz. The iPhone 15 Pro is also expected to arrive with 8GB of RAM, a significant increase from the iPhone 14 Pro's 6GB of RAM. All of this would represent a notable upgrade in power and efficiency.
Back in June at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC2023), the company launched its Vision Pro mixed reality glasses to much fanfare. At some point, the iPhone will have to support Vision Pro, and Apple is expected to introduce an improved ultra-wideband (UWB) chip that allows for short-range, high-bandwidth communication over the radio spectrum.
The new chip would be fabricated in a 7 nm process, replacing the current 16 nm U1 chip, and allow for better interaction with the glasses.
Finally, the new iPhone 15 Pro (as well as its base models) will be the gateway to Apple's new developments in artificial intelligence (AI). It's rumored that the new iOS Health app for iPhone will incorporate AI to move towards better personalized lifestyle recommendations based on heart rate, sleep and breathing data.
Is there an iPhone 15 Ultra?
One of the most confusing rumors to have emerged this year about the iPhone centers on the word, “Ultra.”
Apple has unveiled Ultra models of its other devices, such as the Apple Watch Ultra, and rumors began circulating about a supposed "iPhone 15 Ultra," that could be a model superior to the iPhone Pro Max, which is currently the top of the line.
However, the rumors are still quite early, and others have popped up, suggesting that iPhone Pro Max would be renamed iPhone Pro Ultra.
The rumors went cold, however, and the truth is that although there's a possibility that an Ultra model of the iPhone exists, it probably wouldn't be revealed until 2024, or even later.
So don't expect to see an iPhone Pro Ultra at Tuesday's Apple event.