2022 was a huge year for the 'Pro' iPhone, as Apple looked to broaden the gap between its regular iPhone offerings and its more premium 'Pro' devices. And the 2023 iPhone 15 Pro could make that gap a chasm.
The iPhone 14 Pro boasts a host of features that distinguish it from the iPhone 14, including the new A16 processor, the incredible Dynamic Island that replaces the notch, the powerful 48MP camera, and a new Always-On display.
With that in mind, rumors for this year indicate that Apple will continue to keep a wider gap between the regular and Pro iPhones and the iPhone 15. We know that 2023 is shaping up to be a major upgrade for the iPhone in a number of ways, not least in part thanks to the advent of USB-C in an iPhone for the first time. We've also heard about camera upgrades, new materials, and possibly a new shape and design for the first time since the iPhone 12.
So what can we expect from the iPhone 15 Pro? Could it actually be called the iPhone 15 Ultra? What new features will it bring, what will it share with its younger sibling the iPhone 15, and what will Apple decide to reserve for its most premium product, which is shaping up to be the best iPhone ever made?
iPhone 15 Pro: What's in a name?
There are murmurings that at least one of Apple's iPhone 15 models may be called the iPhone 15 'Ultra'. That would follow the unveiling of the Apple Watch Ultra last year as the company's premium Apple Watch model. Now, this doesn't sound like a rugged, outdoor-proof iPhone. Rather the name Ultra has been more increasingly used by Apple to denote its most-premium offerings, notably the M1 Ultra Apple silicon chip.
We could see a new iPhone 15 Ultra this year instead of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, with reports early January suggesting Apple hasn't yet settled on a name. However, we have heard corroborating rumors that Apple could try to differentiate more between the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, possibly by changing its name.
iPhone 15 Pro: Release date and price expectations
Apple's iPhone 15 Pro is almost certain to be released in September alongside the iPhone 15, in keeping with Apple's standard launch cycle for the iPhone. The company has only missed this cadence once in recent years, after all, that time due to COVID-19.
The iPhone 15 Pro is expected to retain the same pricing structure as the current models, so beginning at $999/$1,099 respectively. The only rumored price change so far is a possible slight reduction in the price of the regular iPhone 15.
iPhone 15 Pro: Sizes and models
The iPhone 14 Pro currently comes in two sizes, the smaller 6.1-inch model and the larger 6.7-inch Pro Max. According to the latest reports, Apple is set to retain this lineup, using all of the same sizes from the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineup.
That means we can expect two iPhone 15 Pro models this year in the same 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch sizes.
iPhone 15 Pro: Processor
The iPhone's processor is at the heart of the device and powers everything it does. It drives multitasking, your apps, and your iPhone's camera. Last year we got the shiny new A16 processor in the iPhone 14 Pro. That model is expected to trickle down to the iPhone 15 this year.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro will reportedly get an all-new A17 processor that could mark a very big change. That's because the new processor will be built on a new 3nm technology, which packs more power and punch into the same space compared to the current 5nm form Apple uses. 3nm is up to 15% faster at the same power levels as 5nm or can use up to 30% less power at the same speeds.
This means the new iPhone 15 Pro could be much, much faster than the current model, or perhaps more importantly, it may be much more efficient when it comes to battery life.
iPhone 15 Pro: Design and USB-C
The iPhone 15 could introduce a new design language for the iPhone. We've had squared edges and a flat back since the iPhone 12, but new information indicates that Apple may drop this in favor of a slightly more curved back like the one in the concept image above.
It could see a new iPhone 15 that looks more like the old iPhone 5C, with a much more premium finish, of course.
On that note, there are reports, notably from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman (opens in new tab), that Apple will use a titanium frame for the iPhone 15 Pro instead of the aluminum of the current models.
Apple is also set to add USB-C to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro this year, in order to comply with new EU regulations stipulating it as the charger of choice for mobile devices.
iPhone 15 Pro: Display
2022 was a big year for the Pro iPhone's display, so it seems natural that Apple will not make another similar leap this year. As such, there are no indicated rumors or reports of a major upgrade to the display coming to iPhone 15 Pro. Instead, we can reportedly expect an under-panel Face ID configuration in 2024.
That means we can likely expect the same 120Hz Super Retina XDR Display with ProMotion technology, which allows your iPhone's refresh rate to drop to just 1Hz when you're not using it, preserving battery life while showing an Always-On Display. It would also feature high contrast, and resolutions of 2556x1179-pixel resolution at 460 ppi and 2796x1290-pixel resolution at 460 ppi for the Pro and Pro Max (Ultra) respectively.
iPhone 15 Pro: Camera
The iPhone 15 Pro will reportedly bring a new periscope design to the iPhone 15 Pro Max only. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, that will mean 1/3" 12MP, f/2.8, sensor-shift support, and 5–6x optical zoom for massively improved optical zoom features.
A periscope camera packs in more zoom features using a smaller amount of space by using angled mirrors like a periscope. Its introduction to the iPhone would allow Apple to offer much higher levels of optical zoom without increasing the size of the lens or the bump on the back of the devices.
iPhone 15 Pro: RAM and storage
While we haven't heard anything about possible storage upgrades and changes for the iPhone 15 Pro, we have heard that it could get a whopping 8GB of RAM.
This would enable even speedier multitasking and more stable running of lots of different apps on your iPhone.
iPhone 15 Pro: Wi-Fi chip
A research note released in January 2023 from Barclay's analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O'Malley predicts that the iPhone 15 Pro models will feature a Wi-Fi 6E chip. The iPhone 14 lineup currently comes packed with Wi-Fi 6, so this will mark a decent upgrade for the upcoming Pro models.
Wi-Fi 6E, unlike Wi-Fi 6, is able to use the 6GHz band on top of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This enables faster, more reliable, and wider coverage for devices connected to a Wi-Fi 6E router. Apple has already upgraded the latest MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iPad Pro models to Wi-Fi 6E, so it's not surprising to see this rumor for iPhones that will release in the fall of 2023.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9
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