Almost 24 hours into using the new flagship phone from Apple and I could not be more impressed
I was always going to buy the iPhone 15 – there was no secret there, but I didn’t expect to be this impressed.
This year I have used an awful lot of phones – the iPhone 14 Pro, Nothing 2, Samsung Flip 4 and the Google Pixel 7 Pro. All of them have had their place in my heart from time to time.
Nothing 2 is unique and is trying to ruffle feathers – it has a very different feel to it. The Flip is fun and great at what it sets out to do and the Pixel 7 felt premium and as if it may give the iPhone a run for its money.
So Apple’s new phone, for once had competition – I’d used Android and experienced how things have changed and developed.
What I wasn’t expecting yesterday was to be blown away as much as I have been. Yes, it’s early days, but so far Apple has come out all guns blazing!
I am not trying to write a review today – that’s way too early rather just first impressions in case you were thinking about taking a trip to an Apple Store this weekend.
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iPhone 15 Pro Max – the run-up
As you’d expect from a company valued at $3 trillion, they have got the whole procedure down pretty slick now.
The day after the event is aired you get an email letting you know that you can start shopping now and get your iPhone in the basket ready for pre-order day. That part went well enough except that come pre-order day Apple’s site in the UK crashed. It meant by the time it was back up I missed bagging the original colour I’d chosen – Natural Titanium. That was the only minor problem though and I am more than happy with the White Titanium I have on my desk now.
The last neat trick Apple plays in the run-up to your iPhone’s arrival is to pop a splash screen in your control centre reminding you to back up your current device to iCloud.
It’s seamless, and very slick and makes getting up and running with your new iPhone super simple and painless. I swear this year was even easier than last year.
Not repeating history
I also learned from my mistakes of last year when it came to the phone I was going to order. Last year I bought the regular 6.1-inch 14 Pro and that smaller screen is just not for me. All the other phones I’d used this year had 6.7-inch screens and that simple fact alone always meant returning to my 14 Pro was less special – it just all felt a bit cramped.
I also bought too much on-board storage last year. I ordered it with 1TB thinking I was going to be shooting a whole lot of ProRes video on it for my YouTube channel, which for several reasons never happened. The biggest issue was file transfer – it was just way too painful and slow.
So this year I have a 6.7-inch iPhone 15 ProMax in White Titanium with a far more reasonable 256GB of storage. Almost everything is stored in the cloud anyway – and as for those large ProRes files – I’ll come back to those later on. Last year I only used 85GB on my 14 Pro – so 256GB this year will be ample.
Interestingly though, looking at apple.com just now, the phone I had delivered yesterday is already pushed back to mid-October and the more popular Natural Titanium won’t ship until a month after that!
What cost of living crisis?
In the box
The box is classic Apple – very clean, tasteful, understated and much slimmer than boxes of the past. Both that slim box design (which means they can ship more boxes per truck) and the lack of any plastic wrapping go to Apple’s pledge to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.
What you get in the box is as paired down as possible – aside from the phone itself, you just get a sticker, a SIM card ejector, some basic paperwork and a standard USB-C 2.0 charger cable.
About that cable though – the fact it is only a 2.0 cable is shocking. This is a £1200 PRO phone which means that I will be using it in a pro workflow. Data transfer would be throttled using that cable. So, rather than saving on e-waste, it means they are creating it – I had to buy a USB-C 3.2 cable with the external drive to make sure I was able to transfer those large files quickly.
But that has been the only downside so far.
Titanium – worth the hype?
In a word – YES!
The phone feels so light in comparison to my 14 Pro and bear in mind that is the smaller 6.1-inch model. There is some kind of wizardry going on I promise! I was one of the very sceptical ones wondering how such a small surface area could make such a difference to the weight. Somehow the 221 gams of the Pro Max feels lighter than the 206 grams of the 14 Pro – how can that be? Titanium must be the stuff of the devil.
In the run-up to the release of the iPhone 15 one of the rumours that proved to be correct was that of the Action Button.
Again, I was sceptical about this as well. If it’s mapped say to the camera app, how could that be any quicker than tapping the icon on the Lock Screen? Well, fun fact – it is!
The time of the app opening is crazy fast – virtually no delay. There are 9 pre-chosen choices of function you can use the button for, but for me, the camera was the obvious one – now I have to train my mind to remember to use it!
Again – this is very much just first impressions but it looks to be a big improvement on the 14 Pro. I know in defence this is the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max so has a bigger physical battery, but even so, it has been impressive. Let’s see if this new A17 Pro chip is as efficient as promised.
The phone came with about 70% charge on it and got me through the day with ease – and it was a busy day for it too. Installing my apps, updating the OS, using Bluetooth in the car and shooting a 10-minute HDR ProRes video for my members newsletter (that’s free by the way – and you can see it here by subscribing).
Standby seemed good too – overnight there was virtually no draw down on the battery – I woke up with it still having about 30% on it. I have only this morning thrown it on the Belkin wireless stand for the first time. This year I have also gone into the battery settings to make sure it will only charge to 80% to prolong the battery life as much as possible.
Another first for me this year – I have taken out Apple Care too – get me being all grown up and responsible! At £8.99 a month it seems like a good deal to me.
Although the phone is basically the same as before, the slimmer bezels and rounded edges on the iPhone 15 Pro Max freshen it up. The phone suddenly feels very new and current. In the hand, it feels way more comfortable and just generally more pleasing to use.
The bezels you’ve probably heard all about are crazy thin making the screen feel even larger than before. A seemingly small detail but one which has made a world of difference.
Although I have not yet had a good workout with the cameras, one thing I can tell you is that ProRes video is now actually useable.
Although we didn’t get the Thunderbolt 4 port that had been rumoured, what they have given us works bloody well!
The moment you plug in an external SSD into the iPhone 15 Pro Max recognises it and records directly to it. There are no settings or preferences to sort – just plug and play. It’s a brilliant system and one that means using this phone professionally is now a genuine possibility.
These are only my first thoughts on the phone on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But in my first 24 hours, I have to tell you, Apple seemed to have listened and knocked it out of the park.
As I spend more time with it I will write further to let you know how I find using it as my daily phone and what it is like in a professional workflow.
So far though – I am delighted – absolutely delighted with my iPhone 15 Pro Max.
I’m now writing regularly on Substack too – informal stories about things that randomly cross my mind. You can follow me here.