02/21 Update below. This post was originally published on February 18
Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro design has been fully exposed following the leak of CAD models used for the phone’s manufacturing. And they reveal Apple is planning some of its most significant design changes in years, including one big shock.
Leaked by 9to5Mac and rendered by 3D designer Ian Zelbo, the models show that the iPhone 15 Pro will indeed switch from Lightning to USB-C, be significantly more rounded than its predecessor with thinner bezels, and feature a rear camera bump that will cause jaws to drop.
It is this camera bump that will divide iPhone fans. As Zelbo highlights, “the iPhone 15 Pro’s camera bump is MASSIVE.” Leaks claim Apple is developing larger sensors for its upcoming iPhones, and the move from a double to triple-layer camera hump all but confirms this.
Upgrades are always welcome, but for casual snappers, the size of the rear camera bump may now be getting out of control. After all, the iPhone 14 Pro already has a much larger camera hump than the iPhone 13 Pro, and now cases will have to get a lot thicker to protect the iPhone 15 Pro’s huge rear cameras.
02/20 Update: anonymous insider ShrimpApplePro, a consistently reliable source over the last 18 months, has endorsed the 9to5Mac CAD leak after getting a “yes” from their source.
In addition, the leaker says that this new curvier design language will also be seen on the standard iPhone 15 models. Something that had been in doubt after Apple limited the pill-shaped cutout display to iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. Given sales of the iPhone 14 Plus, in particular, have subsequently been underwhelming, it looks like Apple will give buyers of standard iPhone 15 models more parity this year.
Separately, fellow influential Apple leaker Unknownz21 has published the series and manufacturer codenames for the full iPhone 15 line-up:
- iPhone 15 – D37 – Spyder
- iPhone 15 Plus – D38 – Shasta
- iPhone 15 Pro – D83 – Vantage
- iPhone 15 Pro Max – D84 – Veyron
The leaker adds that the D38 will be made by Luxshare, while the D37, D83, D84 will be made by Foxconn. Poor iPhone 14 Plus sales may lead some to think Apple is offloading the iPhone 15 Plus to a secondary partner because it is no longer a priority. But my read is that it will simply allow Apple to better adjust for customer demand by having a dedicated manufacturer this time around.
02/21 Update: ShrimpApplePro has shared further feedback about the leaked iPhone CADs and the renders which have arisen from them. The most controversial element from the CADs is the massive new rear camera hump of the iPhone 15 Pro, which appears to be roughly 50% thicker than the iPhone 14 Pro.
This has shocked a lot of iPhone fans because the iPhone 14 Pro’s camera bump was already substantially bigger than the hump of the iPhone 13 Pro. This has increased concerns about the need for even thicker cases and whether the latest increase will significantly improve camera performance, given the incremental gains between the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro.
Responding to renders, ShrimpApplePro gave potential upgraders some good news, stating, “I don’t think that the plastic lens cover will protrude that much.” Exactly how much of a saving “that much” represents, given the monstrous size of the iPhone 15 Pro camera, any saving would be welcome.
Hopes are also fading of an ‘iPhone 15 Ultra’ this year, with fellow leaker Unknownz21 adding that Apple is unlikely to release a major new flagship model this year that sits above the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The insider did concede that it was possible that Apple could rebrand the Pro Max as the Ultra. But with Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman stating that Apple will now hold the Ultra until 2024, it looks like the Apple is happy to wait to make a big splash with a model that will feature the very best tech the company can deliver, at a price point above anything we have seen before.
Other design changes are less controversial. Like the recent MacBook Air and MacBook Pro redesigns, the CADs show the iPhone 15 Pro will have curvier corners and hint at 2.5D rounded glass on the (stunningly bright) front display to accentuate this. The end result will likely be a phone that feels more comfortable in hand.
The CADs also suggest there is truth to the rumors Apple will introduce capacitive power and volume buttons for iPhone 15 Pro models, as they appear to be molded into the sides of the chassis. If this is well implemented, the phones should be more durable and water resistant.
The CAD’s final big reveal is the switch to USB-C. This has been tipped for some time but was by no means certain, as the much-publicized EU rule does not come into force until late 2024. Apple also could’ve circumvented the ruling by opting for a MagSafe-only design, though it may still come with a proprietary sting in the tail.
While the CADs only show the iPhone 15 Pro, all these changes should be mirrored by the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Whether the two phones also share Apple’s rumored price increases, remains to be seen.
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