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 separately 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.
Barring the delayed release of the iPhone 12 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Apple has favoured September reveals for its flagship iPhone range since the release of the iPhone 5 back in 2012.
There are reports from mid-January 2023 that the iPhone 15 is already in 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 is 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.
If you can’t wait that long, take a look at where to buy the iPhone 14 range.
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.
In fact, that’s what rumours suggest – though the price hike could be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Ultra, rumoured to be the new name for the Pro Max model.
Leaker LeaksApplePro claims that the iPhone 15 Ultra could start at an increased $1,299 in the US. Pricing for other regions wasn’t provided, but given the fact that the 512GB iPhone 14 Pro retails for the same price, which translates to £1,429 in the UK, it seems logical that those prices would apply here too.
That could mean a potential increase of $200/£230, an especially hard pill for UK fans to swallow. However, the leaker says that it isn’t set in stone just yet and Apple could also be considering a $1,199 price tag (around £1,309), though that still represents an increase compared to the current top-end model.
The leaker claims that factors including an upgraded titanium frame, a dual-lens selfie camera, and 256GB of minimum storage – along with inflation and a rise in manufacturing costs – are to blame for the price hike, but this is all unconfirmed for now.
Tim Cook has made it clear that a price increase is at least possible, 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,” Cook said in response to a question about the rise in the average iPhone sales price, which is sure to fuel speculation that this year’s iPhones will get even pricier.
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”.
The leaker said that it’s still early days and that we should “take it as it is”, which essentially means with a big heap of salt, and later comments from LeaksApplePro – another leaker – suggests it’s far from set in stone. Talking to Forbes in December 2022, they claim that while the move to curved edges is under “strong consideration” from the team at Apple, the change is yet to be finalised.
Shrimp has since returned with CAD renders of the Pro model revealing that curved titanium body, but also showing tweaks to the phones’ buttons. The volume buttons have merged to become one single button – reportedly with haptic feedback – while more controversially the mute slider has become a mute button.
9to5Mac also obtained CAD renders for the 15 Pro, and they reveal more substantial changes. For one, there’s a much more noticeable camera bump, which you can see clearly in this comparison of the 15 and 15 Pro cameras (plus a sneak peek of a USB-C port – more on that down below).
The Pro packs more benefits, including a thinner bezel around the display – the thinnest in any phone yet according to leaker Ice Universe – and 9to5Mac also thinks it knows what this year’s special edition colour for the Pro models will be – a deep, dark red, which you can see their mock-up of below:
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.”
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.
Interestingly, 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 there may be some questions as to whether that violates the EU’s stipulations around universal compatibility, and 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 of Haitong Intl Tech Research, 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.
While it still won’t be able to compete with the iPhone 15 Pro camera range, still lacking a dedicated telephoto lens, the main 48Mp snapper should be able to provide a 2x digital zoom without any notable drop in quality, giving users more flexibility in their photography.
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.
The iPhone 15 Ultra
While the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max sport the same feature set, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, up until the release of the iPhone 13 Pro range, there were minor differences in Apple’s Pro smartphone collection.
Much in the same way that the 12.9in iPad Pro boasts slightly more premium features than the 11in model, the Pro Max model of iPhone has traditionally offered slightly better specs, usually in the camera department.
If rumours are to be believed, that’ll again be the case with the iPhone 15 Pro models – and Apple could go a step further by completely re-branding the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The idea of more differentiation between the Pro models came first from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Discussing the next-gen iPhone range on Twitter, the analyst claims that Apple will “start creating differentiation between iPhone 15 Pro Max and the iPhone 15 Pro” in order to boost orders for Apple’s Pro smartphones.
While Kuo didn’t go as far as to mention what those key differences could be, predictions from analysts at TrendForce give us a good idea.
In an October 2022 press release, the analyst firm claims that the iPhone 15 Pro Max (and only the Pro Max) will feature a new periscope lens that allows for up to 10x zoom – a huge jump from the 3x zoom currently found on the iPhone 14 Pro range. It’s certainly not new tech – periscope lenses have been a thing on the Android side of things for the past few years – but it’ll be a first on an Apple product.
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.
LeaksApplePro believes that the iPhone 15 Ultra could also feature a dual front-facing camera, start at an increased 256GB of storage, and sport a Thunderbolt 4-powered USB-C port for extremely fast data transfer. The leaker also, rather oddly, claims that Apple is only considering a single colour for the top-end iPhone – the same as that of the Apple Watch Ultra – with the leaker’s confidential source yet to see any other colour option within Apple Park.
As for the name change, that one comes from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. He suggests that Apple could rebrand the Pro Max as the iPhone 15 Ultra 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.
Gurman has since reported on Bloomberg that there is another possibility: that the Ultra will be a fifth iPhone model, sitting above both the Pro and Pro Max in the range. “Internally, the company has discussed doing just that,” he writes, “potentially in time for the 2024 iPhone release.”
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. Heard anything interesting? Let us know on Twitter.