Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro MaxReading Time: 4 minutes
There are new cameras, new materials, and new features with the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.
The iPhone 15 line is officially here. Apple upgraded all its new iPhones across the board, adding the Dynamic Island to the standard iPhone 15 and 15 Plus and upgrading their main camera to 48 megapixels. But that doesn’t mean the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are left behind: The more expensive iPhones have plenty of exclusive features that are worth highlighting.
While all new iPhones have excellent OLED displays, it’s the Pros that get the best of the bunch. Both the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max sport large OLED displays with the Dynamic Island at the top: This space houses both the front camera and sensors, as well as a space for app data and Live Activities. These displays have a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes everything so much smoother.
The iPhone 15 Pro has a 6.1-inch display, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch display. These sizes are unchanged from last year, so the phones might not appear any different at first glance. But look closer, and you may notice the slightly thinner edges across the phones.
These iPhones are now made out of titanium rather than stainless steel. Apple touts the strength and durability, as well as how light-weight the material is. There’s also a new brushed finish. In a first, Apple made these phones more repairable. How repairable is still a question for the reviewers, but any step in that direction is a good one.
Apple is expanding the Pro branding to its SoCs. The A17 Pro is the latest iPhone chip from Apple, which predictably boasts performance gains over last year’s A16 Bionic (found in the iPhone 14 Pro and standard iPhone 15). It’s a 3nm chip, an industry first, with 19 billion transistors, a six-core CPU (two high-performance and four high-efficiency), a 16-core neural engine, and six-core ‘pro-class’ GPU. This iPhone is the first to support hardware-based ray tracing, a graphical process that can more accurately reflect lightning conditions in-game.
The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max sport the three-camera array we’ve come to expect. But the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a new type of camera this year: Apple replaced the traditional ‘telephoto’ camera with a periscope camera, which offers 5x zoom capabilities at a 120mm focal length with an ƒ/2.8 aperture. The 15 Pro’s telephoto camera, by comparison, can shoot at 3x at a 77mm focal length. There’s also an improved stabilizer in the camera, which helps avoid shaking when using the long focal length.
Other than this big change, the cameras are similar to last year’s 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max cameras. The main camera is still a 48MP shooter, but has a larger sensor than last year with a 24mm focal length and an ƒ/1.78 aperture. You can actually now shoot in three different focal lengths on the main camera, between 24mm, 28mm, 35mm. The Ultra Wide shoots in Macro at 13mm with an ƒ/2.2 aperture. With all the cameras and lenses taken into account, Apple calls it ‘seven lenses in your pocket.’
The company is also touting the new portraits on the entire iPhone 15 line, which should result in boosted colors and improved bokeh. iOS will automatically capture the details necessary for portraits, so you don’t need to switch to Portrait mode to snap one. In exciting news, the Camera app now has focus and depth control, features previously reserved for pro camera apps.
On the video side, you can now shoot ‘Spatial Video,’ a type of 3D video that you can experience with the upcoming Apple Vision Pro. It’s also the first iPhone with support for the ‘Academy Color Encoding System.’
Heavily rumored throughout the past year, this iPhone is to first to do away with the classic mute switch in favor of a new ‘Action button.’ The Action button benefits from a variety of uses: While you can still use it as a mute switch by pressing a holding the button, you can also decide to have it start a voice memo, pull up the camera, toggle a shortcut, etc.
The headlining story this year with all the iPhone 15 models is Apple’s switch to USB-C. Gone is the Lightning port Apple has used since 2012, finally replaced with the port you probably find on most of your tech these days.
Apple didn’t add USB-C to its iPhones because it thought it was time; rather, the EU forced the company to with recent legislation.
While all iPhone 15 models are getting USB-C, the Pro iPhones come with faster speeds, supporting USB 3 speeds up to 10 Gbps.
The Pros now ship with Wi-Fi 6E, an improved standard over Wi-Fi 6. The new tech allows for higher bandwidth, faster speeds, and lower latency. It also comes with the next-gen Ultra Wideband chip, which makes it easier to find devices and friends with the Find My app.
Apple is building on Emergency SOS, letting you text Roadside Assistance when you need it. When you buy an iPhone 15 device, you get these satellite features free for two years. (No pricing info yet at this time.)
The iPhone 15 Pro keeps the standard ‘Pro’ price tag, starting at $999 for 128GB of storage, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max increases the base price point by $100: The 15 Pro Max now starts $1,199 for 256GB of storage.
You can preorder the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max starting at 5 a.m. PDT on Friday, Sept. 15, and they’ll be available starting Friday, Sept. 22.
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