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A new Apple exclusive reveals a surprise iPhone 15 launch

A new Apple exclusive reveals a surprise iPhone 15 launch

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01/10 Update below. This post was originally published on January 07

iPhone 15 Pro specs were leaked by Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu, but the real surprise is Apple’s iPhone 15’s massive camera upgrade.

In a research note viewed by MacRumorsPu doubles down on a host of upgrades expected for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (potentially rebranded as “Ultra”), all of which we’ve seen before: titanium chassis with solid state volume buttons, 3nm A17 chipQualcomm Snapdragon X70 modem, USB-C port and jump from 6GB to 8GB of RAM.

While it’s good to have a significant source of reverse leaks we’ve seen elsewhere, the real excitement is Pu’s claim that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will upgrade to a 48-megapixel primary camera like the iPhone 14 Pro models.

Pu says it will be a three-pillar sensor like its Pro predecessors, which is a big surprise given the extra cost compared to the long-standing 12-megapixel sensors Apple has 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 that’s where the surprises stop, with Pu saying that the standard iPhone 15 models will again have a generation older chipset (in this case, the A16 on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max) and no telephoto lens.

01/09 update: Bloomberg’s Mark German has used his latest release Power On newsletter to reveal a few more details about the iPhone 15 lineup, as well as additional information from other smaller leaks.

Gurman says 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 another reason: Dynamic Island’s success is due in part to its fluidity, which greatly benefits from the high-refresh-rate display.

Until now, ProMotion has remained a Pro-only feature, though it’s been widely adopted by significantly cheaper Android competitors for some time. So will this iPhone 15 upgrade also see both standard models finally up their display game?

Gurman also backs up 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 design changes to Apple’s iPhone 15 lineup. New supply chain report seen by Elec states, “Apple has confirmed that it will apply its Dynamic Island camera window to all four iPhone 15 series slated for release in September.”

The report claims that Samsung Display’s Vietnam plant will be a key manufacturing partner in expanding this design and has ordered equipment from Phil Optics to execute it. Samsung has come under increasing pressure from LG and BOE over the past year as Apple seeks to reduce its reliance on Samsung.

The report also states that Apple is already working on a major upgrade to the display called “Under Panel Face ID” that it will introduce next year for the iPhone 16 models. As the name suggests, this will allow Apple to hide the Face ID cutout under the display . This will 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 in 2019, adding to them in August 2021.

Some Android smartphones already ship with under-display front-facing cameras, most notably the Galaxy Fold 4, but there remains a significant compromise in camera performance at the moment. Something that’s likely to be a deal breaker for Apple, which is known for its practice of not releasing new technology until it believes it’s mature.

Apple has to strike a delicate balance this year. The last price expiration claims that Apple will not reduce the prices of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, despite unfavorable sales of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Instead, increasing demand by increasing the prices of the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra and therefore the difference between the standard and Pro models.

It’s a risky trick and Apple needs to get the value proposition right. A 48-megapixel sensor and USB-C would certainly be welcome on the standard iPhone 15 models. But for my money, the design also needs to change.

More on Forbes

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