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New iPhone 15 joins USB family

Apple yesterday unveiled the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max with a surprise “innovation”: a USB-C charging port.

Apple has finally succumbed to long-standing pressure to bring its charging system in line with the rest of the smartphone industry.

Yesterday it unveiled the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, all sporting USB-C charging ports. This means that iPhone users who upgrade to the new devices can no longer use their existing Lightning charging bricks, unless they have an adapter. Naturally, Apple is selling a Lightning-to-USB adapter for $29 on its website.

The change comes in the wake of European regulators issuing a blanket requirement for USB-C charging to be introduced to all new handheld electronic devices.

Apple played down the feature, emphasising the camera upgrades across a range that does not represent a dramatic shift from the iPhone 14. 

The iPhone 15 Pro Max houses the equivalent of seven pro lenses, including a more advanced 48MP Main camera system that supports a new super-high resolution 24MP default, improvements to Night mode and Smart HDR, and a new 5x Telephoto camera. The Pro models also introduces Roadside Assistance via satellite, building on Apple’s satellite infrastructure to connect users to help if they have car trouble while off the grid.

The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be available in black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, and natural titanium, with 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch displays respectively. Pre-orders beginning on 15 September, and availability beginning on 22 September in some countries. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus comes in in 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display sizes, but with lower specs.

 As usual, Apple pushed its “best ever” line that has been used to build hype around most iPhone launches – in case anyone might expect slower, less powerful devices.

“This is the most pro lineup we have ever created, with a state-of-the-art titanium design, the best iPhone camera system yet that enables game-changing new workflows, and the A17 Pro chip, which ushers in a new chapter of performance and games never before seen on iPhone,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max represent the best of Apple design and industry-first innovations.”

The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max feature a strong and lightweight titanium design with one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any metal. Both models feature a new refined brush texture, contoured edges, and the thinnest borders on iPhones.

A new Action button replaces the single-function switch used to toggle between ring and silent, offering additional options so users can choose between quickly accessing the camera or flashlight; activating Voice Memos, Focus modes, Translate, and accessibility features like Magnifier; or using Shortcuts for more options. It offers a press-and-hold gesture with fine-tuned haptic feedback and visual cues in the Dynamic Island alert hub.

The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are powered by A17 Pro, the industry’s first 3-nanometer chip. It is up to 10% faster with microarchitectural and design improvements, and its Neural Engine is now up to 2x faster, powering features like autocorrect and Personal Voice in iOS 17. The pro-class GPU is up to 20% faster, featuring a new 6-core design that increases peak performance and energy efficiency. It offers smoother graphics, as well as more immersive AR applications and gaming experiences.

Additional features that benefit all cameras on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max include (as provided by Apple):

  • Night mode gets better with sharper details and more vivid colors, now powered by the Photonic Engine, including Night mode portraits, enabled by the LiDAR scanner.
  • New Smart HDR captures subjects and the background with more true-to-life renderings of skin tones, while ensuring photos have brighter highlights, richer midtones, and deeper shadows when viewed in the Photos app. This advanced HDR rendering is also available to third-party apps, so images can look even better when shared online.
  • The best quality video in a smartphone is upgraded thanks to A17 Pro, with improvements in low-light video and Action mode.
  • Users can now get up to 20x faster transfer speeds with an optional USB 3 cable. 
  • iPhone and third-party solutions like Capture One also help photographers create a pro studio, allowing them to shoot and instantly transfer 48MP ProRAW images from iPhone to Mac.
  • ProRes video can be recorded directly to external storage, enabling higher recording options up to 4K at 60 fps, and greater flexibility on set when using iPhone as the main camera.
  • Both models feature the second-generation Ultra-Wideband chip, enabling two iPhone devices with this chip to connect at three times the range as before. This opens up a new way to use Precision Finding for Find My friends, so iPhone 15 users can share their location and find each other, even in crowds.
  • eSIM with support from more than 295 carriers.
  • Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via satellite.
  • Live Voicemail, which leverages the power of A17 Pro to see real-time on-device transcription as someone leaves a voicemail. Users can even pick up the call while the caller is leaving their message.

Pricing and Availability

The iPhone 15 Pro remains at the same starting price of $999 (U.S.), available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage capacities. iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199 (U.S.), available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage capacities. iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be available in pink, yellow, green, blue, and black in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage capacities, starting at $799 (U.S.) and $899 (U.S.), respectively.

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