The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineups are barely a month old, but the rumor mill is already buzzing with what to expect from the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro next year . Right now, next year’s iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro are shaping up to be big upgrades: USB-C, Dynamic Island for All, and more…
iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus
The iPhone 14 lineup brought a big change to available screen sizes, ditching the 5.4-inch iPhone “mini” option in favor of a new iPhone 14 Plus with a 6.7-inch screen. While the iPhone 14 Plus is apparently selling worse than Apple had anticipated, rumors have it that the company plans to continue this strategy next year.
This means we can expect the iPhone 15 with a 6.1-inch display alongside the iPhone 15 Plus with a 6.7-inch display.
The biggest change to displays will be the addition of Dynamic Island for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. Currently, Dynamic Island is limited to iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The dynamic island replaces the notch and instead opts for two separate display cutouts that are made to look like one using impressive software integration.
But while the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be feature Dynamic Island, they won’t get two other display features exclusive to the “Pro” and “Pro Max” models. First, rumors say that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus won’t get Apple’s ProMotion display technology which offers refresh rates from 1Hz up to 120Hz.
As such, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will also not add support for an always-on display, as this feature relies on ProMotion and LTPO display technology.
Apple will almost certainly switch the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus to USB-C for connectivity, replacing the decade-old Lightning connector. The switch comes as the European Union implements a new requirement that all smartphones and other devices use a common charging port, which would be USB-C for now.
At the moment, the rumors are unclear as to what kind of camera updates to expect from the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. The iPhone 14 added a handful of camera upgrades, including the Photonic Engine for improved processing and a significantly better front camera.
We expect Apple to build on existing camera hardware next year, either with upgraded camera hardware or new software features. Other rumors will emerge in the coming months.
Finally, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are expected to be powered by the A16 Bionic chip currently used in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. This continues Apple’s strategy of bifurcating iPhone performance between Pro and non-Pro models, a strategy that began this year.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have the latest A16 chip, while the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are powered by the A15 – although they get the 6-core variant of the iPhone 13 Pro .
iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
Screen sizes and display functions
What about the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max? We expect fewer changes here in terms of screen sizes and display technology. In fact, for now, it looks like things will stay the same.
This makes sense given that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max featured dramatic display upgrades with the addition of Dynamic Island and Always-On Display. Instead, it looks like Apple will focus on perfecting these features while bringing the Dynamic Island market to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, as mentioned earlier.
One small design tweak we could see is that Apple is replacing the clickable volume and power buttons with solid-state buttons, like when it replaced the physical home button on the iPhone 7 with a solid-state button.
Just like the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are also expected to switch to USB-C. We are still waiting for more details here, such as data transfer speeds and charging speeds.
Another thing to consider is the possibility of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max adopting Thunderbolt connectivity alongside USB-C. This would match the strategy Apple has taken with the iPad lineup, where all of the latest-generation models feature USB-C, but the higher-end iPad Pro models also support Thunderbolt.
Initially, the iPhone 15 Pro models were rumored to feature a new “8P,” or eight plastic lens, rear-facing camera. More recent reports indicate that might not be the case after all. “8P” here is a reference to the number of elements in the lens. When a manufacturer takes an existing lens design and adds elements, it is usually done to reduce distortion.
While it doesn’t look like the iPhone 15 Pro will be getting any major camera upgrades, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a different story. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to feature a new periscope lens for the first time.
Periscope lenses rely on a prism that reflects light to multiple internal lenses at 90 degrees to the camera sensor. This allows the lens length to be much longer than a telephoto lens, resulting in a much better optical zoom. The telephoto camera of the iPhone 14 Pro models only offers 3x optical zoom and 15x digital zoom.
For comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra already has a periscope lens that allows for 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. A rumor said that Apple could opt for a 5x optical zoom. More specific details about Apple’s implementation of a periscope lens on the iPhone 15 Pro Max are unclear, but ideally it will bring the iPhone closer to what is already offered by Samsung flagships.
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will continue Apple’s march towards even more powerful Apple Silicon chips. It was first reported last year that Apple would be one of the first companies in the world to adopt a new 3nm process and that we would see the first of these chips in 2023.
The latest iPhone 14 Pro models use an A16 chip, which some have called 4nm, but it would be more accurate to say it’s a shrunken 5nm chip.
Next year’s iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to use the A17 Bionic processor, which will likely be based on the 3nm process. Reducing the size of the process brings about a major change in performance and efficiency, which could significantly improve battery life next year.
Name and strategy
In terms of naming and strategy, Apple reportedly has a few changes in store for next year’s iPhone lineup. The company plans to further differentiate the iPhone 15 Pro from the iPhone 15 Pro Max. This is most evident in the rumored camera upgrades, but there are certainly other ways the company can do this as well.
Additionally, there have been speculations that Apple may rebrand the highest-end iPhone as “iPhone 15 Ultra”. This would match what we’ve seen with the Apple Watch this year, with an Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra.
Ultimately, we’re still in the early days of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro rumors. We’ll have plenty more over the next year that will help paint a better picture of Apple’s plans.
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