The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are the biggest upgrade to the lineup since probably the first Pro Max in 2019. The marquee change was years in the making – but the iPhone finally has USB-C. See ya, Lightning and hello, universal cables across platforms!
The Pros get USB 3.0 with speeds of up to 10 Gbps. You’ll be able to use the charger and cable from your iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, or Galaxy to charge the new iPhones. Apple didn’t say anything about faster charging, though.
Apple brought a number of upgrades to the design of the iPhone 15 Pro series. The new Pros have contoured edges and the thinnest bezels ever on an iPhone. Apple managed to shrink the overall dimensions of the phones, despite keeping the same display sizes as last year.
Stainless steel is replaced by titanium for the frames, resulting in what Apple claims are the lightest Pro models it has ever introduced. The difference to the 11 Pro duo is just 1g, but compared to last year’s 14 Pros the new ones drop 19g.
The specific alloy is grade 5 titanium, which the company says is also used on the Mars rover. Apple has encased aluminum in the substructure of the titanium using a new thermomechanical process. The encased aluminum helps with thermal dissipation.
The frames of the phone have a brushed texture, achieved my a 14-hour-long process that includes machining, sanding, brushing, and finally blasting the phone’s titanium exterior. The iPhone 15 Pro comes in four finishes – Black and White, Blue, and natural Titanium.
The mute switch is now an action button. A press and hold will once again put the phone in silent mode by default, but you can assign one of a set of actions on a press or double press – you can finally quickly open the camera on an iPhone with a button.
The front on the new iPhone 15 Pros is Ceramic Shield glass, just like on the 14 Pro models. The display size hasn’t changed – the iPhone 15 Pro has a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED with an adaptive 120Hz (ProMotion) refresh rate, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and a peak brightness of 2,000 nits. The iPhone 15 Pro Max bumps the size to 6.7-inch. Always-on display has expanded to include Stand-by, a landscape always-on mode for when you’re charging.
The camera system on the new iPhone 15 Pro is completely new. It all starts with the 48MP main camera, which has a bigger sensor with 1.22µm pre-binned pixels and second-generation sensor-shift stabilization. The lens is a 24mm f/1.78.
The main camera opens a few imaging possibilities for the iPhone 15 Pros. You can now capture 48MP HEIF images alongside 48MP ProRAW. The new bigger sensor also allows for 28mm, 35mm, and 48mm digital zoom modes and the iPhone will let you pick one of these focal lengths as your default setting.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max debuts the first periscope camera on an iPhone. Thanks to the folded optical design, the Pro Max finally zooms past 3x and up to 5x, or 120mm in 35mm equivalent terms. The optical design is unique. Apple calls it a tetraprism and it reflects light four times from the pupil opening of the lens to the folded sensor. The lens itself is an f/2.8, the brightest on a 120mm camera on a phone, which granted is pretty specific. There’s optical stabilization too, which Apple says runs 10,000 micro-adjustments per second to neutralize blur.
The iPhone 15 Pro makes do with a pedestrian 77mm 3x zoom camera with 1µm pixels and an f/2.8 lens, not unlike the one on last year’s phone.
Both models share a new 13mm f/2.2 1.4µm ultrawide with 100% focus pixels and macro focusing abilities.
The A17 Pro chip powers the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. It’s the first industry chip that’s built on a 3nm process. Inside is a 6-core processor with 2 performance cores, which Apple says are 10% faster than in the A16 Bionic, and 4 efficiency cores.
The GPU is a 6-core unit, which Apple claims is 20% faster than its predecessor during peak performance. The GPU enables hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing, which is supposedly 4 times faster than the software-based Ray Tracing on last year’s chip. Apple showed console games like Resident Evil Village and Assassin’s Creed Mirage running on the new iPhone 15 Pros – both titles will launch on the new iPhone Pro models next year.
The Neural Engine is a 16-core unit that Apple says is twice as fast as last year’s chip for machine learning models.
The A17 Pro SoC features a Display Engine with a dedicated AV1 codec and a ProRes codec. The chip allows the new iPhone 15 Pro models to capture 4k 60fps in ProRes RAW, along with support for the industry standard ACES color profile.
The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are up for pre-order this Friday. The 15 Pro starts at $999 for a base 128 GB model, while the 15 Pro Max starts from $1,199, but the base model now has 256 gigs of onboard storage. Prices in Europe are €1,199 for the Pro and €1,449 for the Pro Max – those are the same prices as last year.
Both models will start shipping next Friday, September 22.