At today’s Apple event, the company took the wraps off the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus and, as expected, it’s mostly another iterative update—but with some nice new features nonetheless.
That said, the biggest change will no doubt affect many potential buyers, as Apple is saying goodbye to the Lightning port it introduced with the iPhone 5 in 2012. Its place is, as expected, USB-C.
As you’d expect, USB-C will carry power, audio, and video, and a USB-C Apple Watch charger cable will let you power up your watch with your iPhone’s battery.
Just like last year, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus feature 6.1- and 6.7-inch displays, respectively. The big change this year is that the notch is gone, replaced by the so-called Dynamic Island that Apple first introduced last year in the iPhone 14 Pro lineup.
Almost everyone will appreciate the less obtrusive front camera cutout, though the dynamic island’s notification functionality isn’t quite the game-changer that Apple made it out to be last year.
Another big change to the display this year is that it’s brighter than ever — peak brightness in sunlight reaches 2,000 nits, while HDR video playback jumps to 1,600 nits.
There are also some notable upgrades to the camera. While still only having two separate camera lenses, the phone now has the same 48-megapixel sensor that Apple first introduced in last year’s iPhone 14 Pro.
It groups the pixels together and produces a 24-megapixel output, but you can zoom in and use the middle 12-megapixel for a 2x telephoto option.
Naturally, it still has a wide-angle lens. There’s also a new portrait mode that automatically activates when you’re focused on a person or pet.
Surprisingly, the iPhone 15 is using the A16 Bionic chip that Apple put in last year’s iPhone 14 Pro.
That’s not a big surprise, given that the A15 chip is now two years old – although it’s still quite powerful, it would be surprising to see Apple try to extend it for another year. .
The iPhone 15 has a new ultra-wideband chip, similar to that found in the Apple Watch Series 9. This makes it easy to find your friends or devices when you’re close to them.
You will get an indicator that shows you which direction to go and how far you are. Apple’s existing SOS service is being extended to work with AAA Roadside Service.
As Apple is doing with the Apple Watch, the new iPhone cases won’t be using leather; Instead, they’re using Apple’s own Fine Woven Fabric.
As usual, the iPhone 15 comes in five colors: Black, Light Blue, Mint Green, Light Yellow and Pink. (These are my interpretations of the colors; I’m sure Apple has its own names for them.)
Pricing is unchanged from last year: The iPhone 15 will cost $799 and the 15 Plus will cost $899, both with 128GB of storage. Pre-sale starts on Friday, September 15th and will be available in stores on September 22nd.
Apple’s 2023 iPhone event breezed by, with the “Wonderlust” showcase offering a slew of expected devices. The iPhone 15 series made its debut, including the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Regrettably, there’s no sign of a new iPhone SE yet, though rumors suggest the iPhone Ultra might join next year’s lineup. The headline news is Apple’s abandonment of the Lightning port in favor of USB-C across the entire iPhone 15 range.
Additionally, the event introduced the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, along with AirPods featuring a USB-C charging case. Furthermore, we received updates on the release dates for iOS 17, iPadOS 17, tvOS 17, watchOS 10, and macOS Sonoma.
iPhone 15 and 15 Plus
As previously mentioned, Apple is sending the Lightning port into the sunset. After phasing out the port in favor of USB-C on iPad over the past few years, the company is quickly making the switch with the iPhone 15 line.
The European Union has forced Apple to act on this matter, due to legislation that requires USB-C charging ports for mobile devices sold in the bloc.
The downside is that this means that the collection of Lightning cables, dongles, and accessories you’ve collected over the years will be less useful. On the other hand, cables and other accessories need to be more compatible with the latest iPhones.
It’ll likely be easier for you to find a charging cable when you need one, since the same cable can power your Mac, iPad, iPhone, or new AirPods Pro case.
Those who are still tethering their phones to their PC can rejoice, because data transfer speeds via USB-C are much faster than what Lightning cables are capable of. In case you need to, you can also charge your AirPods or Apple Watch case from your phone.
Apple did not change the screen size of this year’s iPhones. The base iPhone 15 and Pro have 6.1-inch screens, while the Plus and Pro Max have 6.7-inch screens.
Apple said that the iPhone 15 features an all-new design with rounded edges. The most obvious consequence of this is the Dynamic Island that debuted on the iPhone 14 Pro and made its way into this year’s lineup.
The iPhone 15 has a 2,000 nits Super Retina XDR screen, which is brighter than the iPhone 14.
You’ll get up to 1,600 nits of brightness while watching Dolby Vision videos and other HDR photos and videos.
Apple has introduced a new camera system in the iPhone 15 that includes a 48MP main camera, an ultra-wide-angle lens, and a TrueDepth front camera.
With the rear cameras, you’ll be able to take “next-generation photos” with more detail, Apple says.
According to Apple, you won’t have to manually switch to portrait mode, as the phone’s tilt capabilities will be able to tell when you’re focused on a person.
Even when you edit a photo, you can shift the focus to someone else afterward.
The iPhone 15 is powered by the same A16 chip as the iPhone 14 Pro and contains a second-generation ultra-wideband chip.
The latter can help you find the exact location of your friends when you’re searching for them in a crowded place, Apple says.
The company also claims that the latest iPhones filter out background noise during calls better.
If you’re in a remote location and need roadside assistance, satellite communication can help you get in touch with what you need.
You will also be able to use satellite communication to contact first responders in the event of an emergency.
iPhone 15 is available in pink, yellow, green, blue, and black. Pricing starts at $799, and the iPhone 15 Plus starts at $899. Pre-orders start September 15th. Both phones will go on sale in stores on September 22.
iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max
Apple has a big change in store with its iPhone 15 Pro designs this year as well: a titanium chassis for added durability. This also makes these models the lightest iPhone Pro to date.
Apple says the iPhone 15 Pro has the thinnest screen bezels of any iPhone as well. Another interesting thing to note is that Apple says the updated internal structure makes the device more repairable.
Perhaps most interesting for a lot of people is the introduction of the action button on the iPhone for the first time.
You can think of it as an upgraded mute key. Although you can still use it to put your phone on silent mode, simply hold it down to activate action button mode.
As on the Apple Watch Ultra, you can customize the action button. You can set it to launch the Camera app instantly, activate voice recording, launch an accessibility function, or even launch a shortcut.
The new A17 Pro chipset powers the latest iPhone Pro models. It’s a 3nm chip that contains 19 billion transistors.
The device has a hexa-core CPU with two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, along with a hexa-core GPU that supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing that is four times faster than before, claims Apple.
There’s also a 16-core Neural Engine in the A17 Pro, along with custom ProRes drivers, and always-on display support. Video streaming should also get an upgrade, thanks to the AV1 video decoder.
All this power means that the iPhone 15 Pro can run modern AAA games like Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Death Stranding, and Resident Evil Village.
As for the camera system in the iPhone 15 Pro, it can capture 3D spatial videos, which will be compatible with the Apple Vision Pro headphones. Moreover, if you opt for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you’ll get a 5x telephoto zoom lens with a 120mm equivalent focal length.
The price of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max starts at $999 and $1,199, respectively. Pre-orders open this Friday (September 15), and the phones will ship on September 22.
Apple Watch Series 9
The main change in the Apple Watch Series 9 is the chip upgrade. The S9 chip contains 5.6 billion transistors and a graphics processing unit that Apple said runs 30 percent faster than before.
There’s a four-core Neural Engine and machine learning capabilities that run up to twice as fast as those on the Series 8.
These features enable more advanced Siri experiences, Apple says. Siri requests are now processed on the device itself, making them faster as Apple doesn’t need to send them to the cloud and back. You can also record and request health data using Siri.
There’s a second-generation ultra-frequency chip to help you find your lost iPhone more accurately (as long as the phone has that chip too).
The display reaches 2,000 nits, making it twice as bright as the Series 8 and similar to the Apple Watch Ultra.
The brightness can also be lowered to one nit, which makes it useful when you’re at the cinema and don’t want to disturb others due to always-on display.
In addition, Apple is introducing a new gesture called double tap. By tapping your thumb and pointing finger together twice, you will perform the main action in the app — answer or end a call, play or stop a song, stop the timer and so on.
The Neural Engine in the S9 chip powers double tap (so don’t expect to see it in previous models) and the feature will be available in October. This feature builds on accessibility features that have been available on the Apple Watch for a long time.
The Apple Watch Series 9 starts at $399 for the GPS model and $499 if you want cellular connectivity. You can order the new watch today and it will ship on September 22nd.
Apple Watch Ultra 2
Apple Watch Ultra 2 has the same S9 SIP, Double Tap, Siri on-device, and ultra-wideband features as the Series 9.
It has the same battery life as the first Ultra (up to 36 hours, 72 in low power mode). This is despite having a much brighter display.
The display is 50 percent brighter than the outgoing model at 3,000 nits. The ambient light sensor will be able to automatically turn the screen into night mode.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 starts at $799 for GPS and cellular. Preorders go live today and will ship on September 22.