The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineups are barely a month old, but the rumor mill is already full of what to expect from next year’s iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro. As of now, next year’s iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro are shaping up to be significant upgrades: USB-C, Dynamic Island for Everyone, and much more…
iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus
The iPhone 14 lineup made a big change in the available screen sizes, dropping the 5.4-inch iPhone “mini” option in favor of the new iPhone 14 Plus with a 6.7-inch screen. While the iPhone 14 Plus is apparently selling worse than Apple expected, rumors suggest that the company plans to continue this strategy next year.
This means that we can expect the iPhone 15 with a 6.1-inch screen along with the iPhone 15 Plus with a 6.7-inch screen.
The most significant change to the displays will be the addition of Dynamic Island for iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. Currently, Dynamic Island is limited to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. A dynamic island replaces the notch and instead opts for two separate display slots designed to look like one using impressive software integration.
But while iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will Dynamic Island feature, they won’t get two other display features that are exclusive to the “Pro” and “Pro Max” models. First, rumors suggest that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus won’t be getting Apple’s ProMotion display technology that offers refresh rates from 1Hz all the way 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 display technology and LTPO.
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 will be USB-C for now.
As of now, the rumors are a bit unclear as to what kind of camera updates to expect from the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. The iPhone 14 has added a few camera upgrades, including an optical engine for better processing and a significantly better front-facing camera.
We expect Apple to build on existing camera hardware next year, either with upgraded camera hardware or new software features. More rumors will surface over 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 dividing iPhone performance between Pro and non-Pro models, a strategy that first began this year.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max get the latest A16 chip, while the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are powered by the A15 — though they get a six-core variant of the iPhone 13 Pro.
iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
Screen sizes and display features
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, as of now, things seem to stay the same.
It makes sense seeing that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature exciting display upgrades with the addition of Dynamic Island and the always-on display. Instead, it appears that Apple’s focus will be on perfecting these features while bringing the low Dynamic Island market to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, as mentioned earlier.
One small design tweak we can see is Apple replacing the volume and power buttons with solid-state buttons, similar to when they replaced the physical Home button on the iPhone 7 with a solid-state button instead.
Just like with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are also expected to make the switch to USB-C. We’re still waiting for more details here, like data transfer speeds and charging speeds.
Another thing to consider is the possibility that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will support Thunderbolt connectivity along with USB-C. This will match the strategy Apple has taken with the iPad lineup, as all of the latest generation models have USB-C, but the latest iPad Pro models also support Thunderbolt.
Initially, it was rumored that the iPhone 15 Pro models would feature a new “8P” rear camera or eight plastic lenses. Recent reports say this may 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, this is generally done to reduce distortion.
While it doesn’t look like the iPhone 15 Pro will receive 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 are based on a prism that reflects light to multiple internal lenses at an angle of 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 lens on iPhone 14 Pro models only offers 3x optical zoom and 15x digital zoom.
For comparison’s sake, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra already has a periscope lens that enables 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. One of the rumors said that Apple may opt for 5x optical zoom. More specific details about Apple’s implementation of the periscope lens on the iPhone 15 Pro Max are sketchy, but ideally, it would bring the iPhone much closer to what Samsung’s flagships already offer.
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will continue Apple’s march towards 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 the new 3nm process and that we would see the first of these chips in 2023.
The latest iPhone 14 Pro models use the A16 chip, which some have referred to as 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 is likely to be based on a 3nm process. Downsizing makes a big difference in terms of performance and efficiency, which could lead to significant improvements in battery life next year.
Naming and strategy
In terms of naming and strategy, Apple reportedly has some changes in store for next year’s iPhone lineup. The company is said to be planning 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 definitely other ways the company could do it as well.
In addition, there has been speculation that Apple may rebrand its latest iPhones as “iPhone 15 Ultra”. This will match what we saw with the Apple Watch this year, with the Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra.
Ultimately, we are still in the early days of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro rumors. We’ll have a lot more over the next year that will help paint a picture of Apple’s plans even further.
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