iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro

Apple Unveils iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro: Are There Other Reasons To Upgrade Besides USB-C?

Apple’s iPhone has always managed to capture our attention year after year. The arrival of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, the 23rd iteration of Apple’s flagship, was no exception. As I laid my hands on these new devices and explored their features, I couldn’t help but wonder: What could Apple possibly introduce to keep us intrigued? This review delves into the key aspects of these new iPhones, exploring both their evolutionary upgrades and their intriguing ecosystem integration.

Design and Build Quality:

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus continue to follow the same two size options as their predecessors. While there are some subtle design tweaks, such as the soft Corner radii on the aluminum rails and the one-piece glass back transitioning seamlessly between lighter and darker shades, the most significant change is the transition to USB-C. Apple has bid farewell to the lightning port, which had been a staple since 2012. This transition marks a monumental shift for Apple, aligning their devices with the industry-standard USB-C port.

The move to USB-C brings several advantages, primarily universal compatibility. Now, you can charge your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and even your friend’s Android phone using a single cable. Additionally, the new iPhones allow you to charge accessories like the latest AirPods using the wired connection, although wireless reverse charging is notably absent.

While USB-C is undoubtedly a significant move forward, it may take some time before all Apple devices, including the budget-friendly options, make the transition. Nonetheless, it’s surreal to witness an iPhone with a USB-C port.

Display and Brightness:

The display improvements on the iPhone 15 lineup are subtle yet impactful. The dynamic OLED displays offer deeper blacks and vibrant colors, ensuring a visually pleasing experience. Notably, the peak brightness has been enhanced to an impressive 2,000 nits, double that of the iPhone 14. This feature promises to enhance outdoor visibility and HDR content consumption.

Camera Upgrades:

The primary camera on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus boasts a 48-megapixel sensor, likely the same as in the previous year’s iPhone 14 Pro. This upgrade brings with it the advantages of improved low-light performance and enhanced detail in photos. The rest of the phone follows a familiar pattern, with the A16 Bionic chip inherited from the previous year’s Pro model, maintaining exceptional performance standards.

One standout feature is the Next-Generation Portrait Mode, which automatically detects subjects in photos and captures depth information. This innovation eliminates the need to switch to portrait mode manually, providing flexibility for editing after the fact. While this feature is available in both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, it adds value to the entire lineup.

The Pro models, however, offer more exciting camera enhancements. They feature a new 48-megapixel main sensor, an improved ultra-wide lens, and the Pro Max boasts an intricate 5x telephoto camera. These upgrades promise enhanced photography capabilities, particularly for professionals and enthusiasts. Additionally, Apple introduced a unique feature that allows users to set their default focal length, catering to specific photography preferences.

Performance and Chip:

Apple introduced the A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro models, marking the first time the word “Pro” has been used in an iPhone chip. This 3-nanometer chip boasts approximately 10% faster high-performance cores and a neural engine twice as fast as its predecessor. While these performance improvements may not be immediately noticeable in everyday use, they provide future-proofing for resource-intensive applications.

One notable aspect of the A17 Pro chip is the inclusion of a new USB 3 controller, available exclusively in the Pro models. This enhancement allows for faster data transfer speeds, up to 10 Gbps, compared to the USB 2.0 speeds retained in the base iPhone 15 models. This difference may not affect most users, but for those working with large files or professional-grade content, it can be a significant advantage.

One surprising omission in this year’s release is the absence of fast charging. Given the transition to USB-C, many expected Apple to introduce faster charging capabilities. However, the new iPhones continue to support the same 20W charging as their predecessors.

Design and Build Quality:

The design of the iPhone 15 Pro models has received considerable attention. Apple has replaced the fingerprint-prone stainless steel rails with a lightweight grade five titanium alloy with a brushed texture. This change not only enhances aesthetics but also contributes to a slightly smaller and lighter form factor. The screens now extend closer to the edges, offering a more immersive visual experience with thinner bezels.

While Apple claims the titanium alloy offers increased strength, it may not be as impactful as some hope. Previous stainless steel models have demonstrated resilience, and the key factor in durability remains the ceramic shield glass on the front and back. Fortunately, Apple has made strides in making the back glass more repairable, a small yet significant step towards a more sustainable approach to smartphone design.

Action Button:

One standout feature in the iPhone 15 Pro models is the new customizable Action Button. Located in the same spot as the mute switch, this small button adds a new layer of functionality. By default, it mimics the behavior of the mute switch, allowing users to switch between silent and ringer modes. However, users can delve into the settings and customize its function extensively.

The possibilities are impressive, ranging from toggling Focus modes to launching the camera in specific modes, turning on the flashlight, or triggering voice memos. The Action Button can also toggle the magnifier or initiate Siri shortcuts, providing a high degree of personalization. This unexpected addition is a welcome innovation, offering users greater control over their device’s functionality.

Price and Conclusion:

The iPhone 15 Pro starts at the same price as its predecessor, $999, while the Pro Max, with its 5x telephoto camera and 256GB base storage, starts at $1,199. These prices maintain a sense of consistency within Apple’s lineup, although some may have expected more aggressive pricing, considering the incremental nature of the upgrades.

In conclusion, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro continue Apple’s tradition of evolutionary upgrades. While not groundbreaking, these devices offer refinements in design, display, camera capabilities, and performance. The transition to USB-C is a significant step forward, aligning Apple with industry standards. The Action Button adds a unique touch of personalization, and the camera upgrades, particularly in the Pro models, cater to photography enthusiasts and professionals.

Ultimately, the iPhone 15 lineup may not revolutionize the smartphone industry, but it reaffirms Apple’s commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable devices with an emphasis on user experience and ecosystem integration. Whether these upgrades justify an immediate upgrade for existing iPhone users or appeal to those in the Android camp is a subjective matter. However, they undoubtedly continue to keep the iPhone at the forefront of the smartphone landscape.


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Daven Klarsen is a technology writer and researcher. He's also an avid sports fan, especially when it comes to the LAL. When not working, you can usually find him tweaking his Android devices or watching soccer news.