01/10 Update below. This post was originally published on January 07
iPhone 15 Pro features have been leaked by Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu, but the real surprise is Apple’s massive iPhone 15 camera upgrade.
In a research note seen by MacRumors, Pu doubles down on multiple upgrades expected for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (potentially rebranded as ‘Ultra’), all of which we have seen before: titanium chassis with solid-state volume buttons, 3nm A17 chip, Qualcomm Snapdragon X70 modem, USB-C port and a jump from 6GB to 8GB of RAM.
While it is good to have a significant source back leaks we have seen elsewhere, the real head-turner is Pu’s claim that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will upgrade to a 48-megapixel primary camera like iPhone 14 Pro models.
Pu states that this will be a three-staked sensor, like its Pro predecessors, which is a major surprise given its additional cost compared to the long-running 12-megapixel sensors Apple had been using. Pu also states that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models will move to USB-C, an upgrade initially thought to be Pro-only.
But this is where the surprises stop, with Pu saying that standard iPhone 15 models will again have a generation-older chipset (in this case, the A16 of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max), and no telephoto lens.
01/09 Update: Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has used the latest edition of his Power On newsletter to reveal several further details of the iPhone 15 line-up, as well as backing information from other smaller leakers.
Gurman states that he expects a design upgrade for all standard iPhone 15 models with the pill-cutout and Dynamic Island now universal across the range. This is fascinating for a further reason: Dynamic Island’s success is partly due to its fluidity, which greatly benefits from a high refresh rate display.
Until now, ProMotion has remained a Pro-only feature, despite it being widely adopted by significantly cheaper Android rivals for some time now. So will this iPhone 15 upgrade also see both standard models finally up their display game?
In addition, Gurman backs claims that the iPhone 15 Pro models will come with a titanium frame (first revealed by LeaksApplePro in October), solid-state haptic volume buttons (ShrimpApplePro, October) and, as widely speculated, all models will switch from Lightning to USB-C.
01/10 Update: Momentum is building around the design changes for Apple’s iPhone 15 range. A new supply chain report seen by The Elec states, “Apple has confirmed that it will apply their Dynamic Island camera window to all four iPhone 15 series scheduled to be released in September.”
The report claims that Samsung Display’s Vietnam plant will be a key production partner in ramping up this design and has ordered equipment from Phil Optics to fulfill it. Samsung has come under increasing pressure from LG and BOE over the last year as Apple looks to reduce its dependency on Samsung.
The report also states that Apple is already working on a significant display upgrade called ‘Under Panel Face ID’, which it will introduce next year for iPhone 16 models. As the name suggests, it would allow Apple to hide the Face ID cutout under the display. This would halve the size of the current pill-shaped cutout, leaving more room for the Dynamic Island.
Apple has been working on under-display optics for some time. Apple filed its first ‘Under Panel Camera’ (UPC) patents back in 2019, adding to them in August 2021.
Some Android smartphones already ship with under-display front cameras, most notably the Galaxy Fold 4, but at present, there remains a significant trade-off in camera performance. Something likely to be a deal-breaker for Apple, which is famous for its practice of not releasing new technology until it believes it to be mature.
Apple has a delicate balance to strike this year. The latest price leak claims that Apple will not reduce iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus prices, despite underwhelming sales of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Instead, raising demand by increasing iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra pricing and therefore the gap between standard and Pro models.
This is risky ploy, and Apple needs to get the value proposition right. A 48-megapixel sensor and USB-C will certainly be welcome for standard iPhone 15 models. But for my money, the design also needs to change.