We’ve braved the thronging press scrum to bring you a closer look at the new iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. The big thing across the line is — of course — the arrival of USB-C. It’s been more than a decade since Apple introduced the beleaguered Lightning port exactly 11 years ago, so a refresh was long overdue.
Add to that recent legislation from the EU designed to universalize USB-C and the fact that the company has rolled that nearly ubiquitous standard out to the rest of its devices (iPad, Macs), and you can see why the company pulled the trigger here.
The Pro and Pro Max deliver faster transfer speeds than the standard 15 models, via the USB 3 spec. Of course, that requires you buy a separate cable. The new 15 models are also among the first devices to support the Qi2 standard, which is effectively an improved version of MagSafe with faster wireless charging speeds.
What Apple really wants to talk about, however, is titanium. Understandably, I’d say. The metal strikes the ideal balance between strength and weight. And, indeed, the handsets feel lighter than past models (the Pros have traditionally been quite heavy).
Another quick thing to note right off the bat is the Action button. That’s borrowed directly from the Apple Watch Ultra, replacing the Mute button that has been with the iPhone since day one. Unlike Lightning, there may some folks that actually miss Mute, but you can also assign that feature.
The button is definitely an upgrade, similar to the former Bixby button for which Samsung has offered a degree of customization for several generations. You can update it by going into Settings. There’s a simple walkthrough that allows you to choose features like screen shots or camera shutter. I dig it.
I didn’t have time to try out the new camera features (did I mention there was a scrum?), but we’ll surely get a lot more quality hands-on time with the device in the near future. All I can really say on that front is that the sample photos are impressive (aren’t they always, though?), as is the ability quickly toggle between different points of focus. Think the Lytro camera (RIP), using computational photography and machine learning.
Honestly though, aside from USB-C, the thing I’m probably the most excited about is 5x optical telephoto. I don’t think people realize how much of a game changer that is for photos. Will be curious to see what “optical quality” means on the standard 15, but this here is the real deal.
Pre-order for the iPhone 15 Pro starts Friday. The devices go on sale September 22.