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The iPhone 15 series is likely to mark a transformational change for Apple’s smartphone.
Apple’s iPhone lineup has been on a three-year cycle for major releases since the release of the iPhone 6 in 2014, with subsequent overhauls represented by the iPhone X in 2017 and the iPhone 12 in 2020.
While the iPhone 14 Pro models made some waves last year with the release of the Dynamic Island and a 48 megapixel main camera, that was about it in terms of transformational changes. The iPhone 15 series, on the other hand, lines up with a major release window in that three-year cycle and is expected to be among the best iPhones to date.
The iPhone 15 is expected to come in four variants and mark Apple’s transition to USB-C as its smartphone charging standard, brought on, at least in part, by regulatory moves to require the standard in European markets. This is an iPhone series to watch for with great interest, though its rumored price range might turn out to be a bit of a sticker shock.
iPhone 15: Models
The iPhone 15 lineup is expected to mirror the iPhone 14 series in nomenclature.
Four models are expected to be included this year in the iPhone 15 lineup: the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max, according to Bloomberg’s chief tech correspondent Mark Gurman, who has accurately reported on Apple’s product plans for more than a decade.
The largest changes are likely reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro lineup, but there is consensus among analysts that one transformational change coming to all four models is an expected discontinuation of Apple’s Lightning connector and introduction of a USB-C charging standard.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, a renowned Apple analyst, this will include at least USB 3.2 speeds for Pro models and match the speed of Lightning connections — USB 2.0 — for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models.
iPhone 15: Release date
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that the iPhone 15 series will launch at an Apple event on either September 12 or September 13, with an expected release date “around” September 22, according to Gurman’s sources.
iPhone 15: Price
Though the standard iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus are not expected to see year-over-year price increases, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models are likely to increase in price relative to their iPhone 14 series predecessors, according to an investment note from Barclays analyst Tim Long, which was first reported by MacRumors and has been cited by numerous tech and financial publications.
In exchange for a more durable, titanium design with thinner bezels, the starting price for the iPhone 15 Pro is expected to increase by $100 to $1,099, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max could go up as much as $200 in price, with a projected starting price of $1,119 or $1,299, according to Long.
iPhone 15: Cameras
A 48 megapixel main camera may be coming to all four iPhone 15 models.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
This year, the entire iPhone 15 lineup is expected to receive a 48 megapixel main camera, according to a report from ITHome (via The Verge), along with a now-standard 12 megapixel ultrawide camera.
The iPhone 15 Pro is expected to receive an additional 12 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to get a new 5-6x optical zoom periscope lens, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Also, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, the lineup’s 48MP main camera will be of a new stacked sensor design that will allow for better low light performance.
iPhone 15: Battery life
The iPhone 15 is expected to feature up to a 15% boost to its battery capacity, according to a report from ITHome. ITHome claims that the base model iPhone 15 will see that 15% figure while the iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max will see 12%, 12%, and 11% increases in battery capacity, respectively.
iPhone 15: Design
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that the iPhone 15 lineup will have “thinner bezels” than last year’s iteration, and that the iPhone 15 Pro models will have a “titanium frame that feels lighter and more premium than the current stainless-steel design.”
While a thinner bezel can be attractive for those who remember the days of early iPhones with their chunky designs and massive borders, this change is ultimately likely to be a minor one and the enthusiasm for it is probably misplaced, as Insider’s Kai Xiang Teo argued.
iPhone 15: USB-C
All phones in the iPhone 15 lineup are expected to get USB-C charging ports.
In a far bigger change, it is widely believed that the entire iPhone 15 lineup will be ditching Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector in favor of a USB-C port and various speeds of connectivity.
iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models are expected to get USB 3.2 speeds whereas the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus should expect Lightning-equivalent USB 2.0 speeds, but in the USB-C format, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
This move will bring Apple in line with the rest of the industry on this front and earn them a respite from the ire of European Union regulators who forced the change on the tech giant; Apple has until late 2024 to comply with the new law and is expected to roll the change out globally rather than creating a region specific variant of every phone. The goal of EU regulators is to create a universal standard for all devices.
Apple’s change to USB-C as a smartphone charging standard could mean that a plethora of USB-C accessories and gadgets will technically become available to iPhone users, which would allow for easier interconnectivity as more devices move to USB-C in the coming years.
iPhone 15: Dynamic Island
An improved Dynamic Island could be coming to all iPhone 15 models.
Kuo expects that the iPhone 15 lineup’s renovated Dynamic Island will include an integrated proximity sensor. That sensor is used to detect when the phone is being held close to the user’s ear so that it can turn off the display to help prevent accidental key presses being detected. In the iPhone 14 lineup, this sensor was included separately under the screen.
Should you wait to buy an iPhone 15?
If you’re planning to buy a new iPhone in the near future, you should hold off for at least a few more weeks and see what the iPhone 15 lineup has to offer, as it’s likely to provide transformational upgrades across the board and displace several models on our best iPhone list.
For example, if the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus both feature a Dynamic Island and a 48 megapixel main camera, as analysts anticipate, those phones will represent a significant upgrade over the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, both of which have a non-interactive notch and a 12 megapixel main camera.
That said, following the iPhone 15 lineup’s anticipated release next month, phones in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 lineups are likely to be available at new, significant discounts. We recommend not purchasing any of the currently available iPhone models ahead of Apple’s September event, as those models may soon be much cheaper.