iPhone 15 rumors: Everything you need to know
The next big thing in iPhone is coming.
With a September launch on the cards, the iPhone 15 is just six months away. That means we've reached the most awkward iPhone buying time of the year, where we're equidistant from the previous iPhone 14 and the next big thing. So what will the iPhone 15 offer over Apple's current lineup, and what will be the differences between the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro?
According to rumors, Apple is bringing some big new feature of the iPhone 14 Pro to the rest of its iPhone lineup this year. That includes the Dynamic Island and the A16 Bionic chip. USB-C is expected to make an appearance for the first time, marking a massive shift in charging your iPhone.
Here's everything we know about Apple's best iPhone.
When is the iPhone 15 coming out?
We can likely expect the new iPhone 15 to be unveiled in early September, likely Tuesday the 5 or 12, with a release date on either September 15 or September 22. All signs point to an early September window for the iPhone's release date this year.
- Apple announced the iPhone 14 lineup on September 6 and make them available for pre-order on September 9. They then went on sale on September 16.
- An educated guess for 2023 would pin the iPhone 15 launch date on September 5, with a September 15 release date.
- Apple could also go for the following week, announcing the device on September 12 and bringing it to stores on the 22.
- We have no reason to believe the iPhone won't be unveiled in its usual September window this year.
iPhone 15 processor
If Apple follows the same path it set out on with iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro we can expect the iPhone 15 to use the same A16 Bionic as the iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 15 Pro, however, is likely to benefit from an all-new A17 chip, continuing the differentiation between Pro and non-Pro models.
Those A17 chips are expected to use new 3nm chips from long-time chip supplier TSMC, likely improving power consumption and reducing the amount of heat they generate during use. The 3nm process offers chips with speed boosts of up to 15% using the same amount of power, or power savings of 30% at the same speed as 5nm.
Alongside A17, reports have indicated the iPhone 15 Pro line could get a major upgrade with 8GB of RAM.
iPhone 15 display & sizes
Rumors as of September 2022 have Apple bringing the Dynamic Island to all iPhone 15 models, not just the Pro as was the case with iPhone 14. That's according to DSCC analyst Ross Young, who has actually predicted previous details about the iPhone 13, iPhone 12, and other products including the Mac.
In leaked images that came out in February 2023, it appears that the base model iPhone 15 may get the feature. The report said that the phone is an "early iPhone 15," so things could change, but there is a chance!
Who needs half-baked renders when you have the real thing?Here’s an early base model iPhone 15.(More info exclusively via @MacRumors, for now 😊) pic.twitter.com/LKPzJ8YwfEFebruary 22, 2023
That doesn't mean that the base iPhone 15 models will get a 120Hz refresh rate or an Always-On Display, though. For that, you're going to want iPhone 15 Pro.
If Apple follows the precedent set with the iPhone 14 lineup, we can expect a 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro to be joined by a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Unless leaked CAD renders in February 2023 have anything to say about it! According to those renders, it appears that Apple might actually shrink the bezel on the iPhone 15 models, giving users even more screen real estate.
The iPhone 15's OLED display could also feature a new display driver that could make the display more power efficient. The report also notes that moving from the old 40nm process to what is expected to be 28nm process will also "improve performance," but it wouldn't say exactly what that will look like.
iPhone 15 design
Leaks suggest the iPhone 15 could actually get a new design that will bring a more rounded rear and new border design, perhaps akin to the old iPhone 5C -- and conceptual designs by enthusiasts of late have been leaning into the look.
"Introducing the iPhone 15 Ultra featuring a flat glass back that's curved on the edges to meet the new titanium chassis for a lightweight, premium feel," wrote Vadim Yuryev on Twitter, who revealed several conceptual images of the potential phone. If it proves true, this could be the first move away from the squared design language that begun with the iPhone 12.
Recent leaks from one insider seems to confirm the new iPhone 15 will feature curved edges, thinner bezels, and a flat display that curves from the bezels. That would be a marked change over the current, completely square design.
Previous rumors of the return of Touch ID seem to be unfounded, at least in terms of iPhone 14. It might make a return in the future, but Face ID is expected to be the only biometric authentication system offered in 2023.
Another major change coming to iPhone is reportedly the end of physical buttons. A report claims that Apple will do away with buttons in favor of Taptic Engines like those on its current iPhone SE Home Button for both volume and power.
iPhone 15 USB-C
In a huge development, Apple has confirmed it will have to comply with EU laws mandating USB-C chargers on its iPhone.
Both Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have suggested a switch is on the way, with the EU and potentially even Brazil set to mandate a common connector for all phones and similar accessories, including AirPods.
"Apple Inc. is testing future iPhone models that replace the current Lightning charging port with the more prevalent USB-C connector, according to people with knowledge of the situation, a move that could help the company conform with looming European regulations," Gurman says.
While USB-C will make charging easier, better data transfer speeds may be reserved for the Pro models. Ming-Chi Kuo reports that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will get USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3 for high-speed wired transfers. However, the iPhone 15 is expected to retain the same USB 2.0 speeds as the old models, despite the USB-C port. That rumor was echoed by leaked images in February 2023 that also show the iPhone 15 with a USB-C port.
Another rumored restriction of the iPhone 15's USB-C port will be Made for iPhone compatibility. We expect that you'll have to buy official MFi cables from Apple or third-party retailers in order to enjoy full compatibility, the best speeds, and the fastest charging.
Apple is reportedly preparing to sell some 70 million new chargers in 2023 when iPhone 15 drops as folks make the switch to USB-C. Apple will reportedly offer faster through its 20W charger, however, the company has not included chargers in its iPhone boxes for some time.
iPhone 15 Ultra?
While Apple has so far used the Pro Max name for its high-end model, previous rumors suggested that could change this year.
Following on from the launch of Apple Watch Ultra, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman initially stated that Apple could rename iPhone 15 Pro Max to iPhone 15 Ultra. It isn't clear what other changes we could expect, but there are suggestions the high-end iPhone 15 will feature a new camera system — one using a periscope as outlined below.
However, Gurman has since revised that prediction, stating that the iPhone 15 Ultra might not actually debut this year, with the Ultra coming in 2024 instead.
iPhone 15 5G modem and Wi-Fi chip
We've been hearing for years that Apple would switch to 5G modems designed in-house around 2023, but that now seems unlikely to happen in time for iPhone 15. A new report by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Apple's 5G modem "may have failed," meaning it will stick with Qualcomm in 2023. Further reports by analyst Jeff Pu back that up, with Qualcomm parts now expected to be used for iPhone 15 and iPhone 16.
Kuo goes on to say that Apple will continue to work on getting its own 5G modem ready with the aim of replacing Qualcomm eventually.
The iPhone 15 is also expected to upgrade from the Wi-Fi 6 chip that comes in the iPhone 14 lineup for Wi-Fi 6E. The latest generation of Wi-Fi, due to its ability to take advantage of the 6GHz band, is faster, more reliable, and able to cover greater distances than its predecessors. One recent report claims Apple will limit Wi-Fi 6E to just the iPhone 15 Pro models, keeping Wi-Fi 6 for the iPhone 14.
iPhone 15 cameras
We don't yet know everything there is to know about the iPhone 15 cameras, but we're being told to expect Apple's first periscope camera in at least the Pro models — possibly just the iPhone 15 Pro Max. That comes via analyst Jeff Pu who claims that the switch would allow 5x optical zoom. It's possible that the technology could allow for even 10x zoom, however.
Companies like Samsung already use periscope cameras in their flagship phones to offer increased zoom capabilities. Periscope cameras work by increasing the distance between the camera's lens and sensor working in much the same way as a periscope in a submarine. Having the two components at such a distance in a traditional configuration would require the iPhone 15 to be significantly thicker, something Apple doesn't want, and a periscope design negates.
At least one sensor in the new iPhone 15 is expected to be a new state-of-the-art sensor from Sony that will double saturation signal in each pixel, capturing more light and reducing underexposure and overexposure in certain settings. This will be particularly important for improved portrait photos and headshots.
iPhone 15 colors
We don't know an awful lot about what the iPhone 15 colors will be, but we can use past iPhones as an idea of what to expect.
If Apple sticks to form, expect the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max to be more sedate colors, like in some from of black or gray, with silver and gold in there as well. One additional color will likely join them — for iPhone 13 Pro, that was Sierra Blue. For iPhone 14 Pro, it was Deep Purple.
The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are likely to get the better colors, in some eyes. That means vibrant colors including a (Product) RED option that always looks great, no matter which iPhone it's on.
iPhone 15 storage
Apple's storage plans will likely depend on various things, not least the cost of parts by the time we get closer to a release.
The real question is whether the lower-end option will change. Expect that to largely be controlled by any data-hungry camera features that are added to the new models, while a 2TB option at the top-end is a possibility.
iPhone 15 price
We're still a long way from Apple making the iPhone 15 pricing public, but we can expect figures to be around that of previous high-end iPhones. That means a starting point of around $1,000 for the Pro models and a low end of approximately $800 for the standard models.
However, we'll know more as we get closer to release, with changing economic situations and inflation potentially impacting Apple's plans. The company didn't increase the price of the iPhone 14 over the iPhone 13, at least in the United States. But international markets saw a price hike due to local exchange rates against the dollar.
There are currently no reputable rumors suggesting the iPhone 15's price will increase over previous models.
iPhone 15 flip?
We know Apple is working on a folding iPhone, and we know that the company seems to have settled on a clamshell design (pictured). However, don't expect a folding iPhone this year. Word on the street is that the foldable iPhone flip is still a few years away.
Will there be an iPhone 16?
Absolutely, Apple has stuck to a yearly iPhone release cycle for a number of years now. Rumored early features of the iPhone 16 include under-display Face ID and improvements to the camera. Apple is also expected to make its own 5G chip for connectivity, rather than using a Qualcomm component.
Which iPhone should I buy in 2023?
The best iPhone you can buy right now is the iPhone 14 Pro, closely followed by the iPhone 14. The iPhone SE 3 is also a superb option for those on a budget or for people who like the old Touch ID/Home Button design.
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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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