Back in September 2022, Apple launched the all-new iPhone 14 line. This time around, the Cupertino firm clearly distinguished between the regular and Pro variants. In an attempt to boost Pro sales, it went ahead and included most of the exciting changes on the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max iPhones. Meanwhile, the regular 14 and 14 Plus variants barely pack any exciting new offerings.
So if you’re planning to get a 2022 Apple phone, you might want to buy an iPhone 14 Pro to experience the latest and greatest an iPhone has to offer. Don’t forget to grab a case, too, as back glass repairs are costly. Now, let’s shift our attention to the next year with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro.
The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro aren’t launching anytime soon, as you might’ve guessed, since the company recently released a fresh batch of high-end iPhones. The next batch is still months away. Nonetheless, we have heard some rumors that help us figure out what Apple has in store. We additionally hope to see certain features introduced on the highest-end models. Let’s dig into 2023’s iPhone 15 Pro models.
iPhone 15 Pro: Naming scheme
For the past few years, Apple has been using the following naming scheme: iPhone Mini, iPhone, iPhone Pro, and iPhone Pro Max. On the iPhone 14 lineup, the company dropped the Mini variant in favor of a larger, 6.7-inch Plus model. In 2023, things could be changing again, too.
Rumors point to the possibility of Apple dropping the Pro Max label and introducing an Ultra edition. The highest-end variant would reportedly have its own exclusive features as well — rather than being a larger Pro model. So the end result could potentially be iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Ultra.
Release: Not in 2022
As you might already know, the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra won’t be available until at least late 2023. Apple typically releases its premium iPhone set in September, and the iPhone 15 series should be no different, assuming the company doesn’t face unexpected shortages or obstacles.
When exactly will these new iPhones launch? We can’t tell until the company invites press members to the event. That typically occurs a week or two before the launch takes place.
With the introduction of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max came the birth of the controversial Dynamic Island. While some users are fascinated by how it behaves and adapts to the on-screen content, others despise its very existence. The good or bad news, depending on the user category you fall into, is that the Dynamic Island is likely here to stay. All iPhone 15 models will reportedly feature this software/hardware magic. So whether you buy a regular iPhone 15 or a Pro/Ultra one, it will likely include this floating landmark.
We expect the Always-On display (AOD) feature to remain supported exclusively on the iPhone 15 Pro/Ultra models. It’s also unlikely Apple will drop 120Hz ProMotion support on the highest-end models since as the company typically doesn’t devolve. Expectedly, we also believe the iPhone 15 Pro will have a 6.1-inch screen, while the Ultra goes for a 6.7-inch one. Ultimately, we aren’t expecting any display upgrades in the Pro department.
Ports: 2023 is the Type-C year
With the EU forcing phone manufacturers to adopt a common charging port, we’re almost sure Apple will make the switch to USB-C in 2023, with the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra replacing the eon-old Lightning port. This would allow users to carry fewer cables when moving around since most recent gadgets recharge through the USB Type-C standards. Some people argue that Lightning is more durable than USB Type-C. While this might be true, the latter supports faster data transfer speeds.
In the ports department, we expect Apple to still exclude the physical SIM tray in the U.S. The company could even potentially expand this change to more regions that are ready for the eSIM-only solution. While I personally doubt Apple will force the entire world to depend on the eSIM-only execution in 2023, it could possibly roll out this change in the upcoming years.
Speaking of iPhone ports, Apple could replace the physical buttons with solid-state buttons with haptic feedback. The company has already applied this technique to the Home button of some previous iPhones. The highest-end iPhone 15 models could get this treatment in the Power and Volume button department.
Charging: Will Apple reverse into the future?
For years, Apple has supported wired and wireless charging on iPhones. The highest-end models get both Qi and MagSafe support, allowing users to choose their preferred option. That’s in addition to wired connections through the Lightning port, although, as we previously mentioned, he iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra will reportedly finally make the switch to USB Type-C. Additionally, we can safely assume that the 2023 iPhones will support the Qi and MagSafe wireless charging standards. With Apple likely dropping Lightning, one charging-related item remains on our wishlist.
Certain manufacturers, including Samsung, have supported reverse wireless charging on their phones for years now. For the unfamiliar, this feature allows users to turn the back of their phones into a Qi pad. This makes charging wireless earbuds or smartwatches easy when on the go. We only hope Apple introduces it on the iPhone 15 series, even if it is just a Pro/Ultra exclusive.
Processor: A fragmented iPhone 15 series
Apple started including year-old chipsets on regular iPhones with the launch of the 14 series. So while the iPhone 14 Pro models got a taste of 2022’s A16 Bionic chip, the regular 14 and 14 Plus had to settle for 2021’s A15 Bionic. We expect the iPhone maker to adopt this strategy indefinitely in an attempt to further boost Pro sales. This would mean that only the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Ultra will get the upcoming A17 Bionic chip. The regular models will likely stick to the A16.
While there still isn’t any rumor about the matter, Apple could also include a tweaked A17 Bionic chip in the Ultra variant to further boost it. With the company trying more to highlight what each model can do, it would only make sense for the Ultra to have boosted internals that go beyond the larger screen size and the camera exclusives — which I will get to next.
Camera: The Ultra could feature Supercalifragilistic Zoom
Considering Apple just upgraded the Wide lens from 12MP to 48MP, we don’t expect it to see major changes in 2023. Of course, we could see new camera shooting modes or relevant gimmicks. However, there seemingly aren’t any reports regarding a major camera overhaul. There is a chance that Apple will depend on Sony’s newest image sensor, which cuts down on over- and under-saturation.
In 2023, Apple might start distinguishing between its Pro iPhone models — starting with the camera hardware. The larger iPhone 15 Pro (potentially iPhone 15 Ultra) is rumored to have an all-new periscope lens. The iPhone 14 Pro has a 6x optical zoom range and supports up to 15x digital zoom. If the company introduces a periscope lens on the Ultra variant, we could see a wider optical zoom range, allowing users to retain acceptable photographic qualities when shooting far subjects. I’m almost sure the feature will also have a ridiculous marketing name — assuming it actually debuts.
Bottom Line: Apple could further redefine what a Pro iPhone 15 is
In 2022, Apple started heavily distinguishing between the regular and Pro iPhones. Though, apart from the screen size difference, the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are pretty much identical. Similarly, users would only buy an iPhone 14 Pro Max if they want the larger display on a Pro unit. It seems that this will be changing in 2023.
The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus might not have any differences apart from the screen/battery sizes. However, the Pro models might start disintegrating into their own separate identities. By rebranding the Pro Max to Ultra and potentially adopting camera (and possibly other) exclusivities, the iPhone 15 Pro could become a „mid-range“ premium iPhone as the Ultra steals the highest-end crown, and leaves the 15 and 15 Plus with the „low-end“ tag.