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Apple iPhone 15 & 15 Pro Offer Improved Cameras and Drop Lightning Connector

Four new Apple iPhone 15 smartphones are available for pre-order beginning Friday, September 15th at 5am PDT. Which one should you buy?

Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Smartphones

For the first time in the history of the iPhone, Apple will release its latest iPhone models without its proprietary lightning connector. Four new iPhone models were officially announced today including iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max in either 6.1-inch or 6.7-inch screen sizes.

Each features an industry standard USB-C port for charging and connectivity. Apple’s other devices, including iPads and MacBooks, have been using USB-C now for years, which allows owners in the Apple ecosystem to finally standardize around one type of charging port/adapter.

iPhone 15 USB-C port
New USB-C port on all models of iPhone 15.

What’s new?

iPhone 15 (6.1″) and iPhone 15 Plus (6.7″)

  • A16 Bionic (previously A15 Bionic)
  • 48 Megapixel main camera (previously 12 MP)
  • Improved 2-camera system
  • Textured matte finish in five colors
  • 2,000 nits peak brightness (previously 1,200)
  • 2x telephoto camera
  • Dynamic Island (previously available on iPhone 14 Pro/Max)
  • 2nd generation Ultra Wideband chip
  • USB-C charging port

iPhone 15 Pro (6.1″) and iPhone 15 Pro Max (6.7″)

  • A17 Bionic Pro (previously A16 Bionic)
  • Four new titanium colors
  • Improved 3-camera system
  • Action button replaces ring toggle on side
  • 5x Telephoto camera
  • Spatial video recording for use with Vision Pro
  • ProMotion for next level mobile gaming
  • 2nd generation Ultra Wideband chip
  • Minimum storage capacity 256GB raises entry price $100
  • USB-C charging port compatible with USB 3 (10Gb/s speed)
Apple iPhone 15 Pro
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Camera System Bump Side View
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Camera System

Upgraded Cameras

Besides the charging port, the biggest improvements are the cameras across all models. Like previous generations, the regular (non-Pro) iPhone 15 models continue to use a 2-camera system, while the Pro models use a 3-camera system.

Visually, the rear camera configuration is the best way to distinguish between the models. Expect even better photos than before, while the Pro models further improve optics for even greater image capture capabilities.

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus now use an improved, f/1.6 48-megapixel main camera and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with up to 2x optical zoom.

Apple iPhone 15 Colors
Apple iPhone 15

Faster & Tougher

Apple has also introduced a tougher Ceramic Shield display to the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, and the screen will feature an increased peak display brightness of up to 2,000 nits (the same as iPhone Pro).

The Pro and Pro Max run on Apple’s latest custom A17 Pro chip, which Apple claims is “the fastest chip ever on any smartphone.” The Pro models also offer faster USB 3 transfer speeds (up to 10Gb/s) with “optional USB cable”. So it will be interesting to see how that impacts audio performance for audiophiles connecting to wired headphones via Dongle DACs.

Should you upgrade?

Deciding whether to upgrade your iPhone every year basically comes down to how much you value the camera improvements. With the switch to USB-C connectivity now there’s added benefit of consolidating your charging adapters, which is likely a very welcome convenience when traveling.

Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus
Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus

Which model?

What’s surprising this year is how much better the regular (non-Pro) models have gotten. In addition the price gap has widened between Plus and Max models because Apple has dropped the 128GB version of the Pro Max.

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At $799, the iPhone 15 is the bargain of the bunch and the one most people should buy. Upgrading to iPhone 15 Plus just gets you a larger screen size for $100 more, and is also a wise option.

I’m guessing the pink iPhone 15 becomes the most popular this Holiday season.

If you’re going to spring for a Pro model, we’d expect most people will likely opt for Pro Max. Having been a Pro Max owner for a few generations, you really can’t get by using the 128GB version, which is why Apple probably dropped it. And the new titanium finishes are quite striking.

Ultimately, my pick is the iPhone 15 Pro Max in Natural Titanium. The only question left is storage — 256GB (standard), 512GB ($200 more), or 1TB ($400 more).

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Smartphones
Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Price & Availability

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be available in four new finishes: black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, and natural titanium.

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be available in five finishes: pink, yellow, green, blue, and black.

Order now at apple.com/shop/buy-iphone.

128GB256GB512GB1TB
iPhone 15$799$899$1,099N/A
iPhone 15 Plus$899$999$1,199N/A
iPhone 15 Pro$999$1,099$1,299$1,499
iPhone 15 Pro MaxN/A$1,199$1,399$1,599

Pre-orders for all models begin Friday, September 15th at 5am PDT with availability beginning Friday, September 22, 2023 in the U.S. along with more than 40 countries and regions, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the UAE, and the U.K.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. MadMex

    September 14, 2023 at 3:29 am

    iPhone. The whole dog and pony show was about shooting with the camera or video, neither of which I give a care when upgrading an iPhone.

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