The iPhone 14 is an exciting addition to Apple’s smartphone collection, not only bringing improvements to the camera system but unique features like satellite connectivity and built-in car crash detection. There’s also the iPhone 14 Pro range, introducing the first 48Mp camera on an iPhone alongside Apple’s all-new Dynamic Island and always-on display tech too.
Of course, that won’t stop Apple from working on the next generation of iPhone behind closed doors at Apple Park.
The question is, what should you expect from Apple’s next-generation iPhone 15? While it’s early days, here’s all there is to know so far, from release date and pricing speculation to early rumours about the specs and features we think the phones will include.
Learn more about the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro if you’re more interested in the current iPhone line-up.
When will the iPhone 15 be released?
Apple tends to update its iPhone range on a yearly basis with a pretty predictable schedule, which means we should expect the iPhone 15 to appear sometime in September 2023.
Setting aside the delayed release of the iPhone 12 due to the pandemic, Apple has favoured September reveals for its flagship iPhone range since the release of the iPhone 5 back in 2012.
If you can’t wait that long, take a look at where to buy the iPhone 14 range.
There were reports from mid-January 2023 that the iPhone 15 entered trial production at Foxconn in China, giving manufacturers and Apple plenty of time to iron out any manufacturing issues before release later this year. It’s worth noting that this was around two weeks earlier than usual, giving Apple a few extra weeks to iron out issues and secure plenty of stock in time for launch.
How much will the iPhone 15 cost?
While the iPhone 14 range matched the pricing of the iPhone 13 range in the US, the same can’t be said in regions like the UK, where the standard iPhone 14 is £70 more expensive, and the iPhone 14 Pro comes in at an extra £150 compared to last year.
- iPhone 14: From $799/£849
- iPhone 14 Plus: From $899/£949
- iPhone 14 Pro: From $999/£1,099
- iPhone 14 Pro Max: From $1,099/£1,199
The question is, should we expect the same with the iPhone 15? Of course, it’s far too early to say for sure, but Apple tends to keep the pricing at the same rough level – though currency fluctuations could see price increases like those in the UK this year.
An anonymous Weibo leaker has claimed that a price hike will apply to the Pro models, to increase the gap between them and the regular phones, though doesn’t offer any specific pricing.
By contrast, leaker LeaksApplePro claims the price hike could be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Ultra, rumoured to be the new name for the Pro Max . The Ultra could apparently start at an increased $1,299 in the US, a price hike of $200, though the leaker does note that Apple is considering a softer jump to $1,199.
The possibility of a price hike for the Pro or Ultra models lines up with comments made by Tim Cook himself, discussing the willingness of fans to pay extra for premium models during an earnings call: “I think people are willing to really stretch to get the best they can afford in that category.”
One complicating element here is whether Apple is re-branding the Pro Max to the Ultra, which would give it more of an excuse to up the price.
Some believe that Apple will adopt the Ultra name in a bid to further separate it from the rest of the iPhone range, much in the same way that the Apple Watch Ultra is above and beyond what’s offered from the standard Apple Watch Series 8. That could match up with the price hike rumour above.
However, Mark Gurman has since reported on Bloomberg that the Ultra will be a fifth iPhone model, sitting above both the Pro and Pro Max in the range, but that if so it wouldn’t be introduced until next year’s range. “Internally, the company has discussed doing just that,” he writes, “potentially in time for the 2024 iPhone release.”
What to expect from the iPhone 15 specs
While we’re still quite some time away from seeing the next generation iPhone, that hasn’t stopped the ol’ rumour mill from churning. In fact, if early reports are to be believed, there could be some big changes in store for the entire iPhone 15 line-up.
This one’s an easy guess – it happens every year after all.
We’re expecting Apple to unveil a new A17 Bionic chip to power the Pro models, while upgrading the regular models to last year’s A16 Bionic.
Simultaneously, market analysts TrendForce report that Apple will “bump up the capacity and specifications of the DRAM solutions featured in the next generation of the iPhone that is scheduled for release this year.”
That means more RAM, and faster performance. The report doesn’t specify which phones will get a bump, but previously the company had reported that the iPhone 15 Pro will jump from 6GB of RAM up to 8GB, so that’s still the best guess.
Another possible Pro perk comes from leaker Unknownz21, shared via MacRumors, who found an antennae diagram that appears to reveal that the Pro models will be getting an upgrade to the faster and more reliable Wi-Fi 6E standard this year, while the two cheaper phones won’t. That won’t matter to you too much unless you have a Wi-Fi 6E router – or regularly connect to one at work, perhaps – but it is an important bit of future-proofing Apple is already behind the competition on, and it looks like only the Pro models are catching up.
A refreshed design
The iPhone 14 range certainly looks premium, but the same could be said of the near-identical iPhone 13 and iPhone 12, which is to say that it has been a few years since Apple updated the design of its smartphone range – but that could change with the iPhone 15.
The rumour originated via leaker ShrimpApplePro, who took to Twitter to claim that the iPhone 15 Pro phones will have titanium sides, a serious upgrade even compared to the stainless steel finish of the iPhone 14 Pro range.
That’s not the only design change rumoured though; ShrimpApplePro also suggests that the back edge of the sides of the phone will be rounded, allowing the frame to curve into the rear of the phone that “will create a really beautiful edge transition from the back to the camera bump”.
9to5Mac also obtained first CAD renders of the 15 Pro, and since more detailed, high-res renders, and they reveal all of the above and more. We can see the new titanium finish, subtle curved corners, the long-rumoured USB-C port, and an updated button design.
We also see a thinner display bezel – the thinnest in any phone yet according to leaker Ice Universe, at 1.55mm – and what the site thinks is this year’s special edition colour for the Pro models: – a deep, dark red, which you can see at the end of the slideshow below.
We’ve also heard that the regular models will get a new green finish option, and that the two Pros will once again have a frosted effect to set them apart from the standard versions.
One element that’s proven a little complicated is the button design. At first many leakers thought Apple was re-designing the phones’ volume buttons, as you can see in the new single volume button in the above renders, believed to use haptic tech to provide feedback.
That no longer looks to be happening, as we explain below. What is happening is the addition of a new button to the Pro models, a so-called ‘Action’ button, which may be programmable by users. You can still see that in this updated 15 Pro render from 9to5Mac, which has returned to the old volume buttons.
Not-so solid crew
So what’s going on with those volume buttons then? Leakers have long agreed that Apple was introducing new solid-state volume buttons on the 15 Pro and Pro Max, which would provide haptic feedback to users instead of actual moving parts.
However, the ever-reliable Ming-Chi Kuo has thrown some water over those flames. He wrote in April 2023 that due to “unresolved technical issues” the solid-state buttons were being ditched, and that the Pro models will ship with the same old physical buttons we know and love.
That’s been all-but confirmed by a shareholder letter from Cirrus Logic, the company long-believed to be supplying the haptic hardware. The company told investors that “a new product that we mentioned in previous shareholder letters as being scheduled for introduction this fall is no longer expected to come to market as planned,” which seems an awful lot like a veiled reference to the iPhone 15 line. The phones are still coming of course, but now without the Cirrus tech inside.
If that’s true, hopefully Apple can refine the tech and introduce it with the iPhone 16 series next time around.
Note that this only applies to the new haptic volume buttons – leaks still suggest that the iPhone 15 Pro models will be getting a whole new ‘Action’ button above the two volume controls – that hasn’t gone anywhere.
Dynamic Island for all
The Dynamic Island – that is, the redesigned Face ID cut-out – of the iPhone 14 Pro is easily one of its stand-out features, but it might not be a Pro exclusive for long.
According to display industry insider Ross Young, Apple intends to bring the redesigned Dynamic Island system to the entire iPhone 15 range next year.
We can see that in CAD renders for the phones shared by 9to5Mac. Here it is seen in the regular iPhone 15, though the site also shows it in the larger 15 Plus.
Replying to a tweet on the subject in September 2022, Young states that “Dynamic Island expected on standard models on the 15,” though those hoping for a jump to 120Hz may be disappointed, as he claimed that the “supply chain can’t support it.”
Yes, Dynamic Island expected on standard models on the 15. Still not expecting 120Hz/LTPO on standard models as supply chain can’t support it.
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) September 18, 2022
Instead, Young expects the 120Hz LTPO display tech to make an appearance on the standard models in 2024, presumably with the iPhone 16.
Young has provided an impressive number of display-related leaks over the past few years – he was among the first to tease three sizes of Apple Watch, and was on the money with Apple’s Dynamic Island the first time around – so he’s certainly a source worth paying attention to.
It’s also worth noting that Apple leaker Mark Gurman agrees with Young’s prediction, noting in a January 2023 edition of his Power Up! newsletter that both standard models of iPhone 15 are set to get the Dynamic Island upgrade later this year.
Leaker ShrimpApplePro believes in Dynamic Island for all too, also adding that all the phones in the series will get a slightly curved bezel around the screen – so while the display itself will be flat, the very edges will have a slight curvature.
There may be other upgrades in store for the Pro models, with leaker @chunvn8888 reporting that those phones are in development with new Samsung M13 panels – though with no indication of what specs those screens might have, it doesn’t give us a whole lot to go on.
The switch to USB-C
Apple has fought off switching to USB-C on its iPhone range for years despite doing so across its iPad range, though with mounting pressure from the EU with a new law that’ll force smartphone makers to switch to USB-C by 27 December 2024, it seems Apple is finally giving in – though it’s not particularly happy about it.
Discussing the new law in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in October 2022, Greg Joswiak, senior VP of worldwide marketing at Apple, conceded defeat.
“Governments get to do what they’re going to do and obviously we’ll have to comply, we have no choice,” he said when asked about the new ruling.
Though Joswiak declined to comment on exactly when the iPhone would make the switch, the renders above suggest that Apple is ready to move over to the new port this year.
We think we’ve now seen photographic evidence of that, thanks to the below photo originally shared (but since deleted) by URedditor on Twitter. We see what’s clearly a USB-C port built into a brushed metal frame – and the leaker adds that they believe USB-C will be found on every iPhone 15 model, and not just the Pros.
There is speculation that Apple could only ship USB-C-enabled models to countries in the EU – it sells an e-SIM-specific variant of the iPhone 14 in the US, so it’s not an alien concept – but it’s likely that it’ll simply make the switch worldwide to prevent charging confusion among different models.
Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that he believes all of this year’s new iPhones will adopt USB-C (suggesting the same approach worldwide) but adds a fun wrinkle: only the Pro and Max will support high speed data transfer equivalent to USB 3.2 or faster, with the two regular models restricted to the same USB 2.0 speeds that Lightning was limited to. Most people won’t be moving enough data over USB-C to notice, but it’s an odd spec to skimp on.
Along similar lines, one report on Chinese social media Weibo suggests that Apple will build an authenticator chip into the iPhones’ USB-C ports which could be used to limit performance or restrict functionality with USB-C cables and devices that haven’t themselves been certified by Apple.
That wouldn’t be unheard of, as the company basically already does the same thing with Lightning – but that was before the EU ruling. In fact, German newspaper Die Zeit reports that EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton has already warned Apple that any attempt to artificially restrict USB-C performance would not meet the requirements of the new law, and that such devices “will not be allowed on the EU market.”
It’s also worth noting that the company already has USB-C ports in several iPads and MacBooks without using any similar authentication chips.
While the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max saw significant gains in the camera department with the introduction of a new 48Mp sensor, the vanilla iPhone 14 shipped with the same 12Mp snapper as the iPhone 13. That’s all set to change with the iPhone 15 if rumours are to be believed.
According to analyst Jeff Pu, Apple is planning to introduce the same main 48Mp sensor as the iPhone 14 Pro range to the standard iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. Considering the new main lens also brought with it quad-pixel tech, second-gen sensor-shift OIS, and impressive gains in low-light photography, it’s a welcome addition to the standard iPhone 15.
Of course, the Pro models need upgrades of their own. So far we’ve heard about a few key hardware upgrades here, though both seem to apply only to the Pro Max/Ultra, with the camera likely to be where Apple creates differentiation between the two models.
The first comes from the usually reliable Ice Universe, who claims the Ultra will adopt a new IMX903 image sensor for its main camera. This is is apparently a 1/1.14in sensor, making it the largest used yet in any iPhone. That should mean much better light capture, improving dynamic range in all photos but especially helping low-light. Then again, rival leaker Tech_Reve has hinted that the new sensor won’t arrive until the 16 Pro Max, so who knows?
We’ve heard a little more about the Ultra’s telephoto. Tech_Reve is again one of the players here, claiming the top iPhone 15 will have a telephoto with “variable zoom”, another first for iPhones.
Ming-Chi Kuo, analysts at TrendForce, and leaker URedditor have meanwhile all claimed the phone will be the only iPhone with a periscope zoom. TrendForce says this could go up to 10x zoom, though Kuo predicts a more moderate 6x zoom using a 12Mp sensor – still double the magnification of the current iPhone 14 Pro models.
This was later backed up by The Elec in January 2023, suggesting that Apple is sourcing OIS actuators for the periscope lens from LG Innotek and Jahwa Electronics, with the latter also said to be supplying components for Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S23 series.
Finally, LeaksApplePro believes that the iPhone 15 Ultra could also feature a dual front-facing camera, though doesn’t go into detail on its specs.
The iPhone 14 series launched in the US with a surprise omission: SIM card trays. The phones went eSIM-only for the American market, and speculation is now rife that the rest of the world will follow soon.
We don’t know what’s coming for sure, but French site iGen has reported that the iPhone 15 models will release in France without a physical SIM slot. And if that’s true, it will almost certainly be the same in the UK and the rest of Europe.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be true globally. While eSIM adoption is growing in the US and Europe, it’s been slower in some other markets, so it’s likely that Apple will stick with physical SIM trays in some regions for at least another year or two.
We’ll continue to update this article as new rumours appear online, so check back frequently for all the latest details on Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15.