After last week’s frenzy, let’s all just draw breath for a moment, and check out where we are with the iPhone rumours
Back to reality
It’s that time of the year, when we start to think about the next iPhone – iPhone 15.
Last week was certainly an unexpected bonus-ball for us. Reporting, and writing about Apple in particular, and tech in general, in January, can often be a soul-searching task, as there is so little new product early in the year.
Well, Apple certainly came to our rescue this year on that score, and of course, there is still Samsung’s ‘Unpacked’ event to come early next month too. But, undoubtedly, the focus will start to shift seamlessly towards this fall’s iPhone release.
As you’d expect, there are quite a few stories doing the rounds – so let’s get up to speed with where we are at – not only with the 15, but also iPhone 16 rumours as well.
iPhone 15 line-up
The actual line-up, is expected to remain unchanged. That means we’ll have an iPhone 15, 15 Plus, and 15 Pro. The top-of-the-line, flagship model will, this year, be re-branded as the iPhone 15 Ultra. If this line-up does indeed turn out to be the case, then it will mean a stay of execution for the 15 Plus model, despite relatively poor sales.
iPhone 15 will, at last, have a USB-C port, replacing the outdated, sluggish lightning port. On the two upper-level phones, we are expecting the port to be a Thunderbolt 4 port. This will give greater speed, helping to get larger ProRes video files off the phone.
In an attempt to drop some much-needed weight from the Pro & Ultra models, they will have a titanium chassis.
Screen sizes and displays
The screen sizes will remain unchanged, at 6.1-inches, and 6.7-inches. That makes complete sense for Apple, as it can reuse designs, processes, and components for another year, thereby, saving the company money.
The first major design refresh though, is the bezels. According to Twitter leaker, ShrimpApplePro, this year’s iPhone will have ”thinner bezels, with curved edges”.
The bezels will be curved, but the screen, flat. The best way to describe it, is as a hybrid of an Apple Watch 8, and iPhone 5C. The design language would also bring it in to line with the current range of MacBooks.
The design will be consistent throughout the entire range, but the non-pro iPhones will not have the thinner bezels of the Pro and Ultra models.
Dynamic Island news
As anticipated at launch, this will come to all models in the iPhone 15 range.
ShrimpApplePro also went on to say that the same Dynamic Island cutouts will be used in the new generation, with the same Ceramic Shield system also being used.
However, there doesn’t seem to be a difference in the camera hole, which may indicate there won’t be any front-facing camera upgrades this time around.
iPhone 15 could possibly be equipped with a 3-nanometer chip, which would give the A17 Bionic silicon in the iPhone 15 Pro a significant advantage over its predecessors. The A17 should give a boost in battery life for the iPhone 15 Pro models too.
This is where the Ultra will come in to its own, and will force buyers in to making a clear choice – this year at least.
The regular iPhone 15’s may receive a quad-camera array, giving it significant improvements over this year’s phones, but the real improvements will come only to the Ultra.
Another reliable source, Ming-Chi Kuo, leaked that the 15 ultra will debut with an all-new folded zoom, or ‘periscope’ lens.
In a report corroborated by the South Korean site The Elec, we learned that the lens will be manufactured by LG Innotek, and Jahwa Electronics.
This lens should offer the potential to dramatically improve the iPhone 15’s image quality at higher magnifications – iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max is currently limited to 3x zoom, leaving it languishing behind Android rivals such as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The S22 Ultra already uses a periscopic lens design to deliver an optical zoom of up to 10x.
But, the benefits don’t stop there, as there will be improvements at lower magnifications too. There are rumours of a true optical zoom mechanism, which will be powered by a rolling ball guide actuator.
This moving mechanism allows for internal lens components to be shifted smoothly and quickly, whilst allowing the lens to physically zoom in and out. This process reduces the reliance on quality-sapping digital image processing to merge the output of multiple fixed lenses.
iPhone users have long wanted better zoom image quality. The improvementsshould be quite apparent for us to see, as we’ll be able to directly compare the pictures coming from the Pro, versus the Ultra.
The combination of this new periscope-lens, titanium chassis, thinner bezels, and the USB-C port should make this year’s iPhone a worthwhile upgrade.
There is that strike-through, though – the periscope lens will only be available on the Ultra…unless…
If you don’t fancy spending the extra money, then you could always wait a year, as this camera set-up is expected on all next year’s iPhone 16 range.
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