Though Apple’s iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineups launched just recently, there are plenty of rumors going around for the next iteration: the iPhone 15. It’s still very early, as we don’t expect these devices to drop until fall 2023, but the rumor mill never stops.
Of course, keep in mind that everything we know so far is just speculation from rumors and other media reports — nothing has been finalized yet, and it likely won’t be until we get closer to the typical new iPhone season in September. While you may be (rightly) skeptical of some things, these rumors help indicate the direction that Apple is likely going to take for the next iPhone.
iPhone 15 models
Though Apple debuted the iPhone mini with the iPhone 12 lineup and kept it with the iPhone 13 series, the mini was retired once the iPhone 14 came out. It was replaced with the larger iPhone 14 Plus, going from a 5.4-inch screen to a massive 6.7-inch display (same as the iPhone 14 Pro Max), with the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro staying at the 6.1-inch size from previous generations.
It is expected that Apple will continue this with the iPhone 15 lineup featuring an iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Again, the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro should have a 6.1-inch display, while the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max have a 6.7-inch display.
The name for the iPhone 15 Pro Max may be different, however. There are rumors circulating that “Pro Max” may be replaced with the “Ultra” moniker, similar to the Apple Watch Ultra.
iPhone 15 design and sizes
Those who are waiting for the iPhone to go through a drastic redesign may end up disappointed, as the iPhone 15 may look similar to the iPhone 14. However, while the Dynamic Island pill-and-hole cutout was exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro models, Apple might be expanding that to all iPhone 15 models. If that’s the case, then the iPhone 15 will be the first iPhone lineup to completely eliminate the notch.
As mentioned earlier, we should expect four models of iPhone 15: 6.1-inch iPhone 15, 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus, 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro, and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max (or Ultra).
A recent report suggests that the iPhone 15 may replace the physical buttons with haptic, solid-state power and volume buttons instead. This would work similarly to the iPhone 7 Home button. Essentially, instead of physically depressing when pressed, it would use haptic feedback to mimic how it would feel if you pressed a button.
If the report about solid-state buttons is true, then it would require two Taptic Engines on the left and right sides of the iPhone 15. Such a change would also affect case compatibility — even if the iPhone 15 models were the same size and thickness as the iPhone 14 (including the camera bump), you would need a case that has open access to these haptic buttons at all times.
iPhone 15 processor and specs
The standard iPhone 15 may use the A16 that is currently featured in the iPhone 14 Pro, and the new A17 chip might be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. This appears to be the new way that Apple is differentiating between the standard and Pro models of the iPhone, which began with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineup.
TSMC, the longtime supplier of chips for the iPhone, is supposedly going to use a 3nm process for the A17 chips. This would make the A17 more efficient at power consumption and reduce the heat that is generated during use. The 3nm A17 chip will also have a 15% boost in speed and power and 30% more power savings over the current 5nm chips.
Another report indicates that the iPhone 15 Pro could get a boost in RAM as well, going from 6GB to 8GB. Storage capacity could also be different, though the baseline storage may depend on what features the iPhone 15 offers. Though the current top-tier storage is 1TB for the iPhone 14 Pro, the iPhone 15 Pro could be bumped to 2TB.
And though there were rumors circulating that Apple could be building its own in-house modem chips, the efforts so far have not bared any results. Apple will likely still be using Qualcomm for modem chips in the iPhone 15.
iPhone 15 cameras
On the camera front, the only thing that we know is that Apple has been working on periscope lens technology, which may only end up on the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max model.
With a periscope lens, you could get optical zoom that goes beyond what is currently offered, such as 5x or 10x optical zoom. The current iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max only go up to 3x optical zoom, so having a periscope lens would be a significant improvement. Again, though, it appears that only the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max may get that periscope functionality.
I think the rumored iPhone 15 Pro series's adoption of an 8P lens won't likely come true.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) October 30, 2022
There were previous reports that the iPhone 15 would be getting an 8P camera, which refers to the number of elements within the lens material. Theoretically, having another element in the lens could help with having less image distortion in the final image. However, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, this does not appear to be happening — at least, not with the iPhone 15.
iPhone 15 battery, charging, and USB-C
Recent European regulations are mandating a common charger for all electronics, including the iPhone, in an attempt to reduce e-waste. The deadline for Apple to switch over to USB-C and eliminate Lightning would be by 2024, but Apple could also get a head start on that by transitioning the iPhone 15 over to USB-C in 2023. It’s highly likely, given the regulation, but Apple could hold off until 2024 as well.
With the switch to USB-C on the iPhone, it would bring Apple’s smartphone closer in line with the iPad and MacBook lineups, which have mostly been using USB-C for a while. The most recent iPad (2022) just switched over to USB-C, which was the last iPad model still using Apple’s proprietary Lightning charger.
In addition to the EU’s ruling, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also seems confident in the iPhone 15’s switch to USB-C, saying in mid-November that his “latest survey indicates all 2H23 new iPhones will abandon Lightning and change to USB-C.”
I predict that 15 Pro & 15 Pro Max will support at least USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3. This spec upgrade means the wired transfer and video output user experience will significantly improve.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) November 17, 2022
What’s interesting, though, is Kuo’s claim that only the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will benefit from faster data transfer speeds with this change. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will have a USB-C port, but they’ll still be limited to the slower USB 2.0 transfer speeds currently available with Lightning.
iPhone 15 release date and price
We should expect the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro to be announced sometime in September 2023, as long as Apple follows its usual iPhone launch schedule. Prices should be similar to what we currently have with the iPhone 14 lineup, which starts at $799 for the iPhone 14, $899 for the iPhone 14 Plus, $999 for the iPhone 14 Pro, and $1,099 for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Though many were expecting Apple to raise prices with the iPhone 14 models, that did not happen, at least in the U.S. So if all goes well, we should have the same prices for the iPhone 15, unless there are big changes in the economy between now and next year.