iPhone 15: Everything we know about the next Apple flagship
The iPhone 14 hit shelves last September and we’ve been wondering what the next Apple flagship handset will look like since then. Thanks to the latest rumours, speculation and leaks, we already have tons of information on what the next iPhone could be like; keep reading to find out everything we know so far.
The iPhone 14 line-up consisted of four handsets, including the base iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. All of these handsets impressed us in our reviews, even if they didn’t necessarily offer up many monumental changes when compared to the iPhone 13 series.
Still, some excellent new features were introduced. Dynamic Island was brought to the Pro models, finally giving the dated notch design some real use. The A16 Bionic also debuted – again on the Pro models – providing even more processing power to an already potent line-up.
With these improvements in mind, it’s very likely that the iPhone 15 will come with its own batch of updated features. Keep reading to find out everything we currently know about the iPhone 15, including the potential release date, pricing and feature upgrades.
When will the iPhone 15 be released?
iPhones follow a fairly predictable launch schedule, with the latest ones appearing every year in the early autumn. Don’t just take my word for it; the list below shows the announcement dates for all recent mainline iPhones:
- iPhone 14: September 16, 2022
- iPhone 13: September 24, 2021
- iPhone 12: November 13, 2020
- iPhone 11: September 20, 2019
- iPhone XS: September 21, 2018
Disregarding the later launch in 2020 – likely due to Covid manufacturing complications – it seems that Apple favours a mid- to late-September launch, though there’s nothing certain just yet.
The good news is that all seems to be going well for this year’s range with a report from mid-January 2023 claiming that the iPhone 15 is already in trial production at Foxconn and China, giving Apple and manufacturers plenty of time to iron out any issues before release later this year.
How much will the iPhone 15 cost?
While the iPhone 14’s price remained the same in its home market of the US ($799 for the base model, rising to as much as $1,099 for the iPhone 14 Pro Max), we weren’t quite so lucky here in the UK. British customers got hit with a £70 price increase from the iPhone 13, with the iPhone 14 starting from £849.
What’s more concerning is that Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested that fans may be willing to pay even more for premium models during a recent earnings call. “I think people are willing to really stretch to get the best they can afford in that category,” Cook said while discussing the average iPhone sale price.
Let’s just hope that doesn’t include the entry-level flagship models, right?
With all that in mind, prepare yourselves for a possible price hike when the iPhone 15 makes an appearance later this year.
What to expect from the iPhone 15
The design of the iPhone has practically stayed the same since the release of the iPhone 12. As a fan of angular, industrial design, I’m personally not too disappointed by that, but there are plenty of fans who do want something new.
Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The iPhone 15 is expected to look just like other recent entries in the iPhone series but with a tweaked design that should make it a little curvier.
The rumour originated via leaker ShrimpApplePro who claimed on Twitter that the back edges of the iPhone 15 will be rounded, allowing the frame to curve into the rear of the phone that “will create a really beautiful edge transition from the back to the camera bump”.
Even the leaker admitted it was early days and to “take it as it is”, though leaked CAD renders that did the rounds in early 2023 seem to point towards a slightly more curved rear. If anything, it’ll make the iPhone 15 sit more comfortably in the hands than previous models.
Leaked designs (via 9to5Mac) also show that the individual camera lenses have doubled in size from the iPhone 14. The renders below show that the lenses protrude less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s, suggesting that it could sport a new periscope zoom lens.
This is backed up further by the rendered images from 3D artist Ian Zelbo (via Twitter). However, the render below does show a large rear camera hump that is almost as thick as the phone itself, meaning that there is still some speculation on what size it will actually be at launch. There is also some possibility that the periscope lens may be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro models, which may be why there are some inconsistencies in the size of the rear cameras.
On the plus side, more renders from Ian Zelbo (via Twitter) show that the iPhone 15 Pro Max has very thin bezels, with leakers claiming that it measures in at just 1.55mm. These renders also show some softened corners as well as a single flat volume strip instead of the two volume buttons that we are all familiar with. There is also a pill-shaped Action button that has been slated to replace the Mute button, with suggestions that the functions of which will be customisable within the Settings.
9to5Mac spoke to an unnamed source that claims Apple is planning some new colour options. Ian Zelbo created a mock-up of the colour, which you can see below. It looks to be a very dark red colour, darker than the already existing PRODUCT(RED) option.
MacRumors has speculated that the iPhone 15 base and Plus models will come in bright pink and blue shades. It’s likely that they also will be offered alongside the standard Midnight (black) and Starlight (white) options.
While the new Dynamic Island tech is currently exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, that’s set to change with the release of the iPhone 15.
According to display industry insider Ross Young – who has an impressive track record with display-related predictions – Apple intends to bring the Dynamic Island tech to the entire iPhone 15 range later this year. Replying to a tweet in September 2022, Young states that “Dynamic Island expected on standard models on the 15,”.
It’s worth noting that notable Apple leaker Mark Gurman has agreed with Young’s prediction in a January 2023 edition of his Power On Newsletter, and the Dynamic Island made an appearance on the leaked CAD renders too, all but confirming the upgrade to the iPhone 15’s display tech later this year. Time to wave the notch goodbye.
MacRumors (via Taiwan’s Economic Daily News) has speculated that all the iPhone 15 models will also come with a more power-efficient OLED display driver chip that’s built on a 28nm process. This could allow for reduced power consumption and improved battery life in the long run.
Sadly, it doesn’t sound as though the iPhone 15 will be getting the same treatment when it comes to the ProMotion and always-on display features, both of which are expected to remain Pro model exclusives. This is according to a tipster over on South Korea’s Naver Blog.
That’s despite many mid-range phones from competitors already offering 120Hz refresh rates and always-on displays as standard.
The long-awaited switch to USB-C
This one has been a long time coming, and it seems like Apple is finally about to transition from Lightning to USB-C with the iPhone 15 – though not through its own choice.
It all comes down to a new EU law that requires smartphone makers to switch to USB-C by 27 December 2024, and while that could mean Apple could squeeze out an additional year out of Lightning connectivity, all leaks and renders thus far all point towards it happening with the iPhone 15.
That’s great news for consumers as USB-C provides not only faster charge speeds but faster data transfer than the ageing Lightning standard, though online whispers do suggest that Apple could do the typical Apple thing and limit the fastest data transfer speeds to the Pro models, while the standard iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will have artificially stunted USB 2.0 speeds – the same as Lightning.
Hey, at least you’ll be able to charge your iPhone with the widely used USB-C cable, right?
This one is a bit of a given as every single generation of iPhone has boasted a new processor in a bid to keep its lead compared to the Android competition, and we expect the iPhone 15 to offer the same – however, it won’t be available on all models.
With the release of the iPhone 14 Apple changed processor tactics; rather than adding the new A16 Bionic chipset to the entire range, it was exclusive to the top-end Pro models while the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus got the year-old A15 Bionic chipset, though admittedly the boosted variant available in the 13 Pro models.
With that in mind, it’s highly likely that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will boast the (still exceptional) A16 Bionic chipset used in the current iPhone 14 Pro models, while the next-gen A17 Bionic will likely be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max/Ultra models.
Digitimes reported that the A17 Bionic chip will bring a 35% power efficiency improvement over the existing A16 chip, suggesting that it will be a lot more powerful than all the iPhones that have come before it.
Moreover, Taiwanese research from the firm TrendForce claimed that the iPhone 15 Pro models will come with an increased 8GB of RAM, with the standard models likely keeping the same 6GB RAM as previous models. Additional RAM will provide quicker load-up times when opening and reopening apps and will be ideal for those looking to game.
The upgrade to the faster Wi-Fi 6E for improved connectivity on Wi-Fi 6E networks is also said to be in the works for the iPhone 15, though sources are yet to confirm whether it’ll be exclusive to the Pro models.
Apple leaker Unknownz21 (via Twitter) has warned users that the entirety of the iPhone 15 line-up is worth skipping. They could not offer up any information as to why, only claiming that overall, it offers too mediocre of an upgrade compared to the previous generations. This could be due to the supposed price hike of the Pro models combined with the latest Apple trend of including previous-generation Bionic chips in the base and Plus models.
Improved camera technology
Not much has been said about camera improvements for the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. I’m sure many are hoping that it’ll get the same upgrade to a 48MP main camera as last year’s Pro models, but I’m not sure that’ll happen – Apple wants the ‘pro’ photographers to opt for the more expensive models, after all.
That’s not to say that the iPhone 15 won’t boast any camera improvements though. In fact, rumours suggest that Apple could be working with Sony in a bid to finally eliminate the over- and under-exposure of images taken on smartphones.
Nikkei sources have detailed information on the new sensor, which will also allegedly offer better portrait photography, even with strong light in the background. The report says this is largely down to a new architecture that allows the sensor to essentially double the saturation signal level within each pixel and capture more light.
TomsGuide suggests that the iPhone 15 could boast a periscope camera (as seen in the previous renders) that are better equipped to take on long-range photography and zoom capabilities. Our best Android phones commonly include these lenses, and it could boost the iPhone 15 to the top of our best cameraphone list.
The Pro models look to have even more features, which is a common technique from Apple. Kuo (via Twitter) stated that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max could exclusively utilise the periscope lens, meaning that the previous camera renders may only apply to the Pro models. Moreover, Kuo (via Twitter) also mentioned not to expect a new 8P, or eight-element lens on the iPhone 15 Pro camera, with it allegedly sticking with a 7P lens.
However, Apple leaker Unknown z21 (via Twitter) has mentioned that the periscope lens will only be available on the iPhone 15 Pro Max models. There is no mention of the alleged iPhone 15 Ultra handset, but it looks like at minimum the periscope will feature on the Pro Max models, but there is a possibility that it will appear on the Pro models, too.
Moreover, there have been many rumours surrounding a LiDAR sensor on the Pro models, (via TomsGuide) with Apple reportedly moving suppliers for the AR/portrait mode auxiliary sensors over to Sony. This should provide better performance for those specific camera modes as well as Night modes.
Lastly, Apple leaker Unknownz21 (via Twitter) went on to say that the camera arrangement on the iPhone 15 Pro models will be different from the iPhone 14 Pro models. The Ultra Wide and Telephoto sensors will swap positions, allowing for the camera between the flash and LiDAR sensor to be the periscope lens on the Pro Max models.
Apple Music gives you access to over 100 million songs and 30,000 playlists, ad-free. Listen online or off, across all your devices, and hear sound all around in Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking. You can now try 1 month for free!
- Get 1 month free
- £10.99 p/m
Solid state buttons
One rumour we’ve seen pop up time and time again for the iPhone 15 Pro is that the phone will feature solid-state buttons that deliver haptic feedback as opposed to the physical click offered by the regular buttons that currently adorn the sides of the phone.
This includes swapping the mute switch for a “pressing type” mute button that might be capacitive in a similar way to the home button on the iPhone SE (via 9to5Mac). Renders of this mute button were later leaked on Douyin by user chenwen1987 (via NotebookCheck). You can still see the images in the tweet below:
According to a post on MacRumors’ forums, the iPhone 15 Pro will actually be fitted with a dedicated ultra-low energy microprocessor that allows the sold state buttons to continue to function even without power. The new microprocessor will also reportedly take over running the current super-low energy mode which allows the phone to be located through the Find My app up to 24 hours after it runs out of power.
While the latest addition is currently just a rumour shared on the forum, it is, apparently, from the same source that provided accurate information about the Dynamic Island ahead of the iPhone 14 Pro launch, giving us reason to consider the possibility. With that being said, leaks and rumours should always be taken with a grain of salt as they can often be completely off base.
No SIM tray in the UK
Finally, it’s rumoured that the iPhone 15 will lose its SIM tray in the UK. This wouldn’t be a huge shock, as the SIM slot was removed from US versions of the iPhone 14 last year as Apple chose to make the transition to an eSIM-only approach.
Now, according to French website iGeneration, the French A2890 model could be next. That’s the same version sold in the UK and other European countries.
The eSIM format is currently supported by big names like EE, O2, Vodafone and Virgin Media. Hopefully, more budget networks will introduce eSIM support ahead of the announcement later this year.
You might like…
The Trusted Take
There are almost too many rumours about the iPhone 15 lineup, which suggests to me that it will be brimming with new features, even if we don’t know about them yet. Adding a brand-new Apple Silicon A17 chipset should provide even more power, although I wouldn’t be too surprised if the entry-level models stuck with the current-generation A16 chip, in the same vein as the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.
I’m personally very excited to finally own an iPhone with a USB-C port and I’m thrilled to see Apple finally making this change, even if it has been forced upon them. I am warier of the solid-state Action button, as after many years of using an iPhone I think it will take a while to unlearn my muscle memory response to wanting to mute my phone, and it could be even trickier for anyone worried about accessibility.
The camera upgrades also look to be very exciting, but as time goes on it seems more and more likely that the major upgrades will be reserved for the Pro and Pro Max models, with some suggestions that only the Pro Max will get a periscope lens. We have to take all this with a hefty grain of salt, but this may make the iPhone base models a lot less appealing in the long run.
But all in all, the iPhone 15 lineup looks to be an auspicious addition to the family. Even if the design choices aren’t to everyone’s liking, we can all – hopefully – at least rely on Apple to make some monumental leaps in performance power.