Unveiling iPhone 15 Rumors: USB-C, A17 Processor & More

  • Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro on September 12, 2023.
  • The handsets will mark a shift to USB-C for charging and data transfer.
  • Pro models could also see improved features, including a periscope lens on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
iPhone 15 rumors

In September 2022, Apple unveiled the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, sparking excitement among enthusiasts. Interestingly, speculation around the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro began even before these models graced the market. As the next release nears, the anticipatory buzz grows louder, offering insights into the forthcoming innovations. September 12, the expected date Apple will officially announce the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, is right around the corner. So, let’s take a look at the most reliable iPhone 15 rumors to date.

Expected Models and Variants for the iPhone 15 Family

Apple’s blueprint for the year includes launching four distinct models. This would mirror the size variations of the iPhone 14 lineup and include the iPhone 14 Plus. So, we expect two 6.1-inch variants and two 6.7-inch iterations. For the 6.1-inch selection, look for the quintessential iPhone 15. Simultaneously, the iPhone 15 Plus will represent the 6.7-inch category, similar to 2022’s iPhone 14 Plus. Ascending the luxury ladder would be the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models. These would be the more premium 6.1 and 6.7-inch offerings.

The Most Obvious and Important Advances

The iPhone 15 Pro models promise an ensemble of elite features, justifying the more sizable investment. The wind of change brings whispers of a USB-C port replacing the Lightning port across the tech giant’s smartphone spectrum. This comes, of course, on the heels of EU legislation requiring mobile devices all use a common charging standard.

Additionally, the Dynamic Island will grace not just the iPhone 15 Pro variants. The design aesthetic should also come to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. This signifies Apple’s strategic move to eliminate the notch, introduced with the iPhone X, championing a refined and unobtrusive aesthetic.

Technology Advances Gracing the Latest Lineup

Diving deeper into the technical realm, Apple envisions incorporating Qualcomm’s latest modem chips. The Cupertino-based tech giant’s own proprietary modems are still in development. The integration of new UWB chips is also on the horizon, specifically to synergize with the Vision Pro headset.

An A16 chip, previously found in the iPhone 14 Pro, should drive the base iPhone 15 models. Conversely, an A17 Bionic manufactured on TSMC’s 3-nanometer fabrication process should debut inside the iPhone 15 Pro series. These premium models will also undergo a metamorphosis, sporting titanium frames, svelte bezels, and artfully curved edges.

Notably, rumors suggest the iPhone 15 Pro Max, potentially renamed the iPhone 15 Ultra, will boast periscope lens technology. This could dramatically amplify the device’s zoom capabilities.

The USB-C Revolution

We expect the iPhone 15 series will transition from the Lightning connector to USB-C, driven by the European Union’s latest regulations. The European Union now mandates that most portable electronics, including mobile phones, should all use the USB-C standard for their charging interfaces. Notably, devices that exclusively rely on wireless charging, like the Apple Watch, are exempt from integrating a USB-C port.

While these regulations are applicable only to the EU, other jurisdictions are following suit. So, Apple’s strategy might involve a broad transition across its product lineup. Instead of designing unique USB-C models exclusively for the European market, Apple could adopt a holistic approach, similar to its recent modifications in the 10th-gen iPad and Siri remote.

From Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman to noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the consensus is that Apple will roll out USB-C charging to all new smartphone models everywhere, not just where it’s legally required to.

Potential Limitations of Apple’s USB-C Implementation for the iPhone 15 Lineup

While current iPhones are already compatible with USB-C power adapters, the forthcoming change will specifically target the USB-C to Lightning cable and the device’s embedded port.

The transition’s silver lining? Users might enjoy faster charging speeds and enhanced data transmission rates when interfacing their iPhones with Macs or personal computers. That may still depend on proprietary USB-C cables, though. Noted leakster Majin Bu posted photos claimed to be the internal pieces of the USB-C port for the latest handsets. Among those photos, Bu noted what appears to be a proprietary controller chip.

We’ve heard speculations that the iPhone 15’s USB-C port could support rapid charging up to 35W. In perspective, this is a significant leap from the iPhone 14’s peak of 20W and the iPhone 14 Pro’s 27W. However, it remains uncertain whether this upgrade will be uniform across the entire 15 series.

Furthermore, murmurs suggest that the iPhone 15 Pro could potentially support USB 3.2 or even Thunderbolt 3. This could offer data transmission capabilities ranging between 20 to 40Gbps. Notably, Ming-Chi Kuo expects the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (or Ultra) to support such transfer speeds, at a minimum.

Rumored Thunderbolt Cable for iPhone 15 Pro
The Thunderbolt cable tested and possibly shipping with the iPhone 15 Pro models (Image Credit: Majin Bu)

In a more recent leak, Majin Bu believes Apple has tested a Thunderbolt cable for the iPhone 15 Pro and will provide it exclusively with the Pro lineup. The accessory appears to be a USB4 Data Cable Engineering Cable, 70cm long, and supporting USB-4 gen 2. It should support 4K video at 60Hz and up to 150W of power.

Rumored iPhone 15 Pro cable connected to power meter
A rumored iPhone 15 Pro cable connected to a power meter (Image Credit: Majin Bu)

The Dynamic Island Comes to Al

A noteworthy alteration to the display of the standard iPhone models is the integration of the Dynamic Island — the unique, oblong camera aperture that previously distinguished the flagship iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Rumor is that all of Apple’s smartphone variants will embrace this uniform aesthetic and interface.

It’s pivotal to clarify, however, that the advent of Dynamic Island doesn’t necessarily mean the inclusion of Always-On Display or ProMotion technology. Speculations suggest that Apple may continue to reserve these advanced attributes for the luxury lineup.

Still, many will likely welcome the Dynamic Island replacing the infamous notch. As more apps take advantage of its features, it’s truly nothing but a good thing for Apple to bring Dynamic Island to all iPhone 15 models.

iPhone 15 Specifications: What We Know So Far

The new iPhone models should offer new technologies and more significantly improved specifications. Diving deeper under the hood, here’s what we’re expecting to see in September 2023.

Periscope Camera Lens and More Megapixels for the Standard iPhones

Apple is reportedly developing a “periscope lens,” aiming to provide an extended-range optical zoom. The intrinsic challenge with integrating a telephoto lens of extended focal length in smartphones has to do with size.

Achieving a more substantial zoom usually requires an assemblage of lenses, spaced appropriately. In conventional smartphone camera configurations, this results in a conspicuously elevated camera bump.

The periscope design offers a solution, leveraging mirrors, akin to the mechanism in an actual periscope, facilitating the lenses’ orientation along the phone’s length. Whispers suggest that by embracing this design, the iPhone could potentially boast an optical zoom approximating 6X, or within a spectrum of 5X to 10X.

Speculation indicates this periscope lens might be an exclusive feature of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Of course, we do need to reiterate that this variant may see a rebranding to iPhone 15 Ultra, taking a page from the Apple Watch book.

Nonetheless, this could still require a more prominent camera protrusion, with conjectures hinting at a significant enhancement in “individual lens protrusion.”

In a recent disclosure from May 2023, analyst Jeff Pu proclaimed that standard iPhone variants might inherit the 48MP primary camera, reminiscent of the iPhone 14 Pro. Pu envisions an evolved module fortified with a triple-stacked sensor, designed for superior light absorption. This innovative blueprint, as per Pu, might induce manufacturing lags for the iPhone 15 and its Plus counterpart.

However, the zenith of camera enhancements might be earmarked for the iPhone 16 lineup in 2024. Casting predictions in August 2023, Jeff Pu envisaged the 2024 flagship smartphone incorporating a 48MP ultra-wide camera, contrasting with the iPhone 14 Pro’s 48MP wide-angle lens. Such an ultra-wide camera could promise comparable performance, potentially augmented with a wider aperture to optimize image clarity under suboptimal lighting conditions.

The Potential for the A17 Processor

While the standard iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are expected to bump up to the A16 processor, the iPhone 15 Pro lineup should get a more significant upgrade. The rumor mill has been grinding away at the specs for the A17 Bionic, which should arrive in the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max (or Ultra.)

The A17 should be built on the 3-nanometer process, but the exact specifications may not appear all that different from the A16.

CPU Cores66
GPU Cores56
Clock Speed3.46GHz3.7GHz

The numbers themselves don’t tell the full story, however, The adoption of the 3nm process will result in better power efficiency, helping reduce overheating and improve battery life even with the afforded performance gains.

More Under the Hood Improvements: Better Battery Life

Speaking of the battery life, rumors suggest more capacity for the new iPhone batteries. Here’s a rundown of the expectations:

 Expected CapacityPrevious Gen’s Capacity
iPhone 153,877mAh3,279mAh
iPhone 15 Plus4,912mAh4,325mAh
iPhone 15 Pro3,650mAh3,200mAh
iPhone 15 Pro Max (Ultra)4,852mAh4,323mAh

Purportedly, the new models will use a “stacked” design to increase battery capacity without increasing the space requirements for the power cells.

Introducing the U2 Chip: Preparing for Vision Pro Integration

In what many may consider a long-overdue update, Apple may roll out the U2 chip in its latest handset generation. This new, improved UWB chip would help prepare the lineup for Vision Pro integration.

On top of that, there could be additional benefits like more accurate AirTag tracking and reduced power consumption.

Design Changes: Thinner Bezels, an Action Button, and More

The buzz around the tech community indicates that the forthcoming iPhone 15 Pro variants might sport slimmer, more contoured bezels, a departure from the iPhone 14 Pro’s design. Interpretations of this device, sculpted from the prevailing whispers, affirm this change.

However, this design refinement, characterized by these pronounced curves, will be an exclusive feature of the more premium editions. The standard iPhone 15 models are likely to retain the visual semblance of their iPhone 14 predecessors, complete with linear edges, an aluminum chassis, and dual-sided glass.

Anticipations run high for the iPhone 15 Pro’s design evolution. Not only will its front glass embrace a more sculpted curvature, seamlessly integrating into the body, but Apple also reportedly contemplates transitioning from stainless steel to the more robust titanium for its framework.

Further enriching the iPhone 15 Pro’s feature set is the proposed introduction of an Action Button. This innovation is set to replace the original mute switch. It should operate not just as a mute switch but also be used to activate Shortcuts, switch to the camera, turn on the flashlight, toggle silent mode, and more.

Anticipated Colors, Storage Options, and Sizes for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Lineups

While Apple could easily still surprise everyone, the company is known for offering a range of bright colors for its standard smartphone models. As such, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus could be available in dark pink and light blue options alongside the standard black, white, and PRODUCT(RED) choices from previous generations.

Other sources hint, too, at green and yellow options, but time will tell. Little seems to be known yet about colors for the premium models However, Majin Bu has suggested “dark blue, titanium gray and some sort of black” as new options, based on iPhone 15 Pro connectors.

iPhone 15 Pro Colors
Three potential color options seen in iPhone 15 Pro connectors (Image Credit: Majin Bu)

According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, pricing for the iPhone 15 Pro family could start at $1,099. That’s $100 more than the $999 starting price point for the iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 15 Pro Max, on the other hand, could start $200 more expensive than the previous generation.

As for the base iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, pricing should stay around the same as the 2022 iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.

Wrapping Up the Rumors

Naturally, these are all rumors and leaks. The actual iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro family, when announced, could turn out to be vastly different. That being said, the leaks and rumors we hear about new devices do tend to gain credibility the closer we come to launch.

The iPhone 15 event is widely expected to take place on September 12, 2023. Preorders would begin September 15 with availability following on Friday, September 22. The latest rumors do indicate, however, supply constraints for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. If reported issues with display manufacturing haven’t been resolved, shipments of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max could be delayed a couple of weeks or longer for some customers.

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