iPhone 15: Peeling Back Layers of the New Apple of Our Eye

iPhone 15

Into the (un)known of the next-gen iPhone.

It’s that time of the year again. As September unfolds, the air is buzzing with growing anticipation in the tech world as the next generation of iPhones—the iPhone 15—is on its way to our palms. While Apple keeps a tight lid on the specifics surrounding its latest technological marvel, rumors have been seeping out from all directions, prompting us to wonder what’s in store.

Though we cannot verify any of these claims until the official event, we have untangled the complex web of information surrounding the iPhone 15. Let’s navigate the labyrinth of speculation and explore what this much-hyped gadget might promise.

Dynamic Island is no longer “pro only”

When Apple unveiled Dynamic Island, a pill-shaped tab that displays notifications, with the debut of the iPhone 14 last year, it sparked a buzz among tech enthusiasts. However, the fact that the feature is exclusive to the top-end iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max iterations, coupled with the escalated cost of incorporating a notch into an OLED display, has caused some potential users to pause and weigh the investment required to experience this novel function.

If this resonates with you, here’s an exciting update: the Dynamic Island is poised to leave its mark across the entire iPhone 15 lineup. This means that irrespective of the model you pick, the existing notch will be replaced by the sleek pill-and-hole cutout design. If you want to experience the Dynamic Island function without stretching your budget on any Pro models, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus could be the ideal options for you.

Hello, action button

Seasoned iPhone users must be familiar with the upper-left button that enables them to toggle the sound on or off. Regardless of your impression of its utility, it’s speculated that this feature will be supplanted by an action button in the forthcoming iPhone 15.

The action button is a fresh addition to the iPhone, but it’s no newcomer to Apple’s lineup, as it debuted on the Apple Watch Ultra. As a programmable physical button, the action button allows users to program it to complete tasks, from beginning a workout session to turning on the flashlight. The million-dollar question, though, is whether Apple plans to merely transplant the action button—functions and all—from its Watch Ultra straight onto the iPhone 15. Hopefully, this won’t be the case, as we Apple fans always crave that extra touch of innovation.

Is Touch ID coming back?

It might be disappointing, but the return of Touch ID on the iPhone 15 isn’t on the cards. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo even went as far as predicting that Apple wouldn’t release a new iPhone featuring the in-screen Touch ID function until 2025, if not later.

To recall, Touch ID was used in conjunction with the physical home button in older iPhone models. However, as Apple did away with the home button on the iPhone X to offer users a full touchscreen experience, Touch ID also vanished from subsequent iPhone models.

Despite rumors about Apple’s in-screen fingerprint technology, which aims to embed a fingerprint sensor beneath the screen to support Touch ID, there haven’t been any concrete developments thus far. As for what’s holding Apple back from bringing back Touch ID, some speculate that Face ID’s high security might render Touch ID redundant. Another theory suggests that fusing fingerprint sensors with OLED displays could inflate the production cost, potentially leading to pricier iPhones. Whatever the holdup may be, we can only hope that Touch ID will eventually make a comeback in the near future.

USB-C is finally here

In addition to Touch ID, the integration of the USB-C charging port ranks high on Apple fans’ wish lists. Many users are thrilled about the convenience of charging the iPhone with the versatile USB-C cable instead of the Apple device-only Lightning cable. After what seems like an eternity of anticipation, rumors suggest that Apple is finally ditching its proprietary Lightning in favor of USB-C on the iPhone 15.

To a degree, this move signals Apple’s nod to users’ feedback. More prominently, this shift is likely influenced by a European Union law enacted on October 4, 2022, which mandates USB Type-C charging ports for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras marketed in Europe by the end of 2024. The law aims to reduce electronic waste and promote user convenience.

Given that Europe stands as the second-largest market for Apple, generating a staggering US$93.1 billion in revenue in 2022, the tech giant simply cannot afford to jeopardize its foothold by sticking to the Lightning port. And while Apple may be giving in due to the new law, it would be illogical for the company to create iPhones with USB-C ports exclusively for Europe while using Lightning ports elsewhere. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that the entire iPhone 15 lineup will universally embrace USB-C as the charging standard.

Camera updates

This article won’t be complete without discussing the camera upgrades on the iPhone 15. After all, many Apple fans, myself included, enjoy taking pictures with the iPhone. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasts that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be equipped with a 48-megapixel camera, on par with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. With a new stacked sensor design, the upgraded camera system is said to be able to capture more light, resulting in enhanced image quality.

Inside the iPhone 15’s camera is a glass-plastic hybrid lens with an f/1.7 aperture, which houses a single glass element and six plastic elements. While this will be an improvement over the f/1.79 aperture seen in the preceding iPhone 14 Pro models, it’s also a slight regression from the f/1.5 aperture featured in the iPhone 14 Plus.

As for the camera upgrades to the Pro models, it’s rumored that the iPhone 15 Pro Max may boast a periscope lens. If this speculation proves accurate, it would enable an impressive 5X to 6X optical zoom, a significant leap from the 3X magnification available on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

iPhone 15’s price breakdown

The anticipated price of the basic iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models is expected to remain unchanged, with the entry model priced at an accessible US$799. Meanwhile, Barclays analyst Tim Long foresees a potential price hike for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, suggesting that the former could witness a US$100 upswing, pushing its starting price to US$1,099. Its larger counterpart, the iPhone 15 Pro Max, could observe an even steeper ascent and escalate by US$200, potentially pegging its starting price at US$1,299.

When will the iPhone 15 be available?

Continuing its tradition of introducing new iPhones on either a Tuesday or Wednesday in the second week of September, Apple has announced that the iPhone 15 lineup will make its debut on September 12 at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Following this timeline, we can expect pre-orders to commence in three days on September 15, with the product officially hitting the shelves a week later on September 22.

So, is the iPhone 15 worth the wait? Well, from the information gathered so far, it doesn’t seem like there will be many groundbreaking updates, except for tweaks focused on the action button and the camera system. If you find your iPhone a relic of the past, say an iPhone 5, the transition to an iPhone 15 will undeniably be a leap forward. However, for those currently using the iPhone 14 or even the Pro models, it may be more judicious to hold off and await the arrival of the iPhone 16 to see what it brings to the table.

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Header image courtesy of the author


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