With 6 months to go, we already seem to know an awful lot about this year’s iPhone 15 – time to take a closer look
iPhone 15 is coming soon…
Over the past few weeks, I’ve looked at the long-overdue Apple silicon Mac Pro, and the AR/VR headset too, but the one device I haven’t looked at closely with you yet, is iPhone 15.
With the dark days of COVID behind us, there is no reason to think of, why we shouldn’t expect the 15 to be landing with us by late September, as usual.
Indeed, from what I understand in a report that I read in the Economic Daily News, Engineering Validation Testing, or EVT, has already started. This means that, basically, the handset is already made, and developed. It’s kind of ready!
EVT is a crucial stage of product testing – and it’s where Apple annually put the phone through its production paces, to iron out any issues that may arise once it scales up in to full production.
But, six months away from release, we seem to know a surprising amount about what to expect from this year’s phone.
Firstly, it looks very much as if this will be the first iPhone to run on the 3 nanometer architecture with the all new A17 Bionic chip.
This chip should result in a big jump in speed, battery life & chip efficiency, but will, as with many other features this year, only be found on the Pro Models.
Talking names just for a moment, until a few weeks ago, there had been rumours going around, that we were about to see an even more premium phone called the Ultra. It seems those early shouts were a little premature…we are still likely getting an Ultra, but not until next year’s iPhone 16 cycle.
This year we’ll still be left with the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screens, and the same model names, i.e. – iPhone 15/15 Plus, and 15 Pro/Pro Max.
Any port in a storm
Of course, the big change, the one that everyone’s wanted, and that everyone will notice, is that the iPhone is finally coming of age and Apple’s proprietary, old, sluggish lightning connector, will give way to a USB-C port. But…
Once again, a line is drawn between the Pro and non-Pro series of phones, though. On the 14/14 Plus, the USB-C port, is nothing more than a cosmetic change to make sure they fall inline with the EU regulations about a common charging ports for all handheld devices.
The port on those two handsets, though, will still only be USB 2.0 speeds – so you’ll be no better off in terms of data transfer.
On the Pro and Pro Max, though, the port will be thunderbolt speeds. Putting some numbers on it, that means you’ll be going from speeds of 480MBPS up to USB 3.2 speeds of anywhere between 5-20GBPS – which is about 10 times faster.
That should help in getting those large ProRes video files from the phone, and make it a bit less painful.
Before moving on from the charging port, it looks likely, that Apple may be pulling a fast one on us. As they’ve been forced to throw out the lightning cable, they’ve possibly found a sneaky way to still make sure they end up winning, and a way of monetising the move, too.
They could encrypt the ports with a kind of electronic handshake. So, unless you buy an authentic Apple cable, or one officially accredited by Apple through their MFI (made for iPhone program), then you won’t unlock the full charging or data speeds from the port.
You have to admit, that does sound a very Apple plan, right?
The 14/14 Plus will ship with 6GB of storage, while the Pro Phones will head out the door with 8GB of storage – yet another difference between the Pro & non-Pro phones this year.
The flip side
As long ago as iPhone 12, there was a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing for reverse charging on iPhone.
That means, the functionality could already be hidden away in the phone somewhere, just waiting to be unlocked – so, could this year be the year, where we can finally charge our AirPods on the back of our iPhone’s?
One of the few features that will now be rolled out across the entire range is Dynamic Island.
Google has just come on-board with Live Activities for their Maps app, and more, and more big companies are following suit. It was always going to be a slow grower, but it looks like this feature, is finally gathering pace and popularity.
The camera is always a big draw for most of us when any new iPhone comes out.
This year, certainly on the Pro & Pro Max phones, it seems we could be getting a periscope telephoto lens with either a 6x or 10x optical zoom. The camera will still be the 48MP camera as per this year, though. Whether it will now be a 3 or 4 lens array, as yet, we’re not certain.
With all that extra weight of the camera glass, it’s possible that Apple may offset some of that with giving the Pro phones a titanium frame, rather than the stainless-steel one we have now.
On the front, the glass will be 2.5D glass across the range – meaning that although the screen itself, will still be flat, the edges will have a slight curvature – very similar to Apple Watch 8 in fact. Although the screen will be the same size, it will actually look bigger due to the slimmer bezels.
Both on the front and back, the edges will be more curved, rather than the square edges that we’ve had recently. The glass will still be Ceramic Shield of course – so, combining that with the curved edges, this phone should be tough and durable.
There’ll be no physical buttons on iPhone 15 – they’ll now be solid-state pads – like the home buttons on the iPhone 7 or 8 giving Taptic Engine feedback when you use them.
There are two long-term advantages to the solid state buttons – it’ll improve its waterproofing as there will be less entry points for water to ingress – and also they’ll be longer lasting too. No moving parts equals they can’t, or at least shouldn’t break.
The display on this phone, or at least the Pro phones, will be bright too – very bright! This phone will have the next-generation Samsung panel on it, and it will be brighter than any phone out there, even Samsung’s own, new S23. Currently, my iPhone 14 Pro, for instance, can onlyreach a max brightness of 2000 nits.
iPhone 15 will raise the bar on that getting to an eye-watering 2500 nits of max brightness, although, I’d expect due to the power draw, it’ll still be restricted to peak, outdoor brightness situations.
The need for speed
For even more speed, Wi-Fi 6E is coming to iPhone this year. It doesn’t sound much, but it should make the phone, potentially, even snappier and just feel quicker in use.
The whole idea of the 6E protocol, is to free up your 2.4Hz and 5Hz networks – but you’ve guessed it – it’s only coming on the Pro phones, and, of course, you’d need an up to date 6E router too.
This year, it undeniably looks as if that march towards really driving a divining line between the Pro and non-Pro phones will be pushed even further, and harder.
Which only leaves us to look at the price…
Well, iPhone has seen a 66% increase in price since 2009, but CEO, Tim Cook, seems to think that loyal Apple customers will happily pay more for the next iPhone. As part of his recent earnings call, Cook said;
“I think people are willing to really stretch to get the best they can afford in that category”
So, whether that translates to a price hike this year or not – your guess is as good as mine. Times are tough right now, so, I guess only Apple can decide if this is the right time to raise prices…
Will you be stumping up for a new iPhone this year, and if so, what will you be trading up from? What features are you most looking forward to, and would you be prepared to pay even more?
And, is the idea of an Ultra a good or bad one?
Every year, we seem to get more and more details, earlier, and earlier, with accurate leaks about what to expect on the next iPhone, and, this year is no exception.
The current cycle of iPhone, the iPhone 14, has not performed as well as Apple may have hoped. The Pro handsets were blighted by the lockdowns in China over the crucial Christmas period.
A broken supply chain, really did hurt them, badly. Couple that, with the fact that the 14 Plus has not sold in the volume they would have expected, and the worrying economic climate – getting the iPhone 15 right, is important to them – make no mistake.
The pressure is on then, and this all comes at a time, when the human resources pool at Cupertino, is already spread thinly…because of the headset.
So, there is clearly a lot for Cook, and Apple to consider this year – would they really be bold enough to hit us with price increases this year too?
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