Apple unveiled the iPhone 15s, and they come with a lot of changes, some of which they didn’t mention at the event.
So, here are not five, not ten, but 23 exciting things you should know about the iPhone 15 if you plan on getting one.
I should be clear; this blog is just about the 15, not the 15 Pros. There’s even more to mention about the 15 Pros, which will be in a separate article.
iPhone 15: 23 Major Changes
1. Frosted Glass
Yes, for the first time ever in a non-Pro model, we have a frosted glass back, which looks amazing.
On top of this, Apple is using a new process for coloring the glass by infusing the color directly into the glass instead of painting it on the bottom. So, it look quite nice in person.
2. New Pastel Colours
We also get some new pastel colors; yes, these colors are very pastel, very washed out.
Although some of them look really nice, the black one is by far my favorite, especially since this is the first matte black iPhone ever since the iPhone 7.
That’s because we get both matte black sides and a matte black frosted glass back, which looks amazing.
The green color looks awesome too; the pink looks pretty good too. The yellow is okay, and the blue is very muted; it almost looks like white, probably because we don’t actually get a white this year.
3. Product Red Version
If you’re wondering why we don’t have a Product Red version anymore as we’ve had in recent years, that’s likely because Apple will be introducing it in March as the new color.
They’ve also been doing this for the past few years, adding some new colors in March.
4. Rounded Frame
Apple hasn’t talked about this much, but the frame is more rounded towards the edges now, like we’ve seen leaked, making it more comfortable to hold in the hand.
5. Goodbye Leather
Interestingly enough, the leather cases are entirely gone, and Apple is using a material called Fine Woven. Essentially, this is more like a synthetic fiber; it’s more eco-friendly and looks like Apple’s cleaning cloth material.
So, it seems to be very soft, but of course, we’ll confirm this once we get the cases in the store.
6. Brightest Display
Something I’m very glad to see is Apple increasing the display brightness on the standard models. So now, the standard models can go as bright as the Pros, up to 2000 nits in direct sunlight, from 800 like we had before.
So, this is a huge increase, which means that, aside from the promotion technology (so the 120 hertz), the displays between the standard models and the Pros are now essentially identical.
7. Dynamic Island
We also get the same Dynamic Islands as the iPhone 14 Pros from last year. This means that more and more apps will support it, and it will be used a lot more than it is currently.
8. Apple A16 chip
We get the Apple A16 chip, which is the chip that Apple launched last year. So yes, the standard models do not get the latest chip like we used to in the past, but they get the pro chip from the year before.
9. A 48 MP camera
Now, the standard models do get a brand new 48-megapixel camera, but Apple hasn’t actually mentioned this at the event.
This is not the same camera as the 14 Pros from last year or the 15 Pros from this year, despite having the same megapixel count.
This is actually a smaller 48-megapixel sensor. If you take a look at pixel sizes, one bins the iPhone 14 Pros and 15 Pros have 2.44 microns compared to two microns on the iPhone 15s.
10. 24 MP Photos
The good news, however, is that the new default resolution is now 24 megapixels as opposed to 12 like we had before. Even on the 14 Pro, it was also 12 despite having a 48-megapixel sensor, and you could only do 48 megapixels in RAW.
But now you can do 24 as well, which means that on the iPhone 15, the images that you take will be twice as sharp, which is awesome. And this is the default now, 24 megapixels.
11. Smart HDR5
The best news for me is that we also get Smart HDR5. So Smart HDR4 which was Apple’s HDR processing engine, was found on the iPhone 13 and 14, and it wasn’t great, like we’ve seen from our previous camera comparisons.
Those iPhones had blown-out highlights constantly, and based on the images that we’ve seen, it seems like Smart HDR5 finally fixes those issues.
Of course, we’ll do our own camera comparison.
But if you find it odd how the iPhone 14 Pros, despite having the exact same chip and a very similar main camera, which is actually better, does not get Smart HDR5 through a software update. Instead, it sticks with Smart HDR4 just like the 14 Pros.
12. 2x Zoom
The standard models also get that 2x sensor crop Zoom, so essentially a 2X lossless Zoom, like having a third lens in that case, which is fantastic. And yeah, we now have a zoom, optical zoom so to say, on the standard models too.
13. Automatic Portrait Mode
We also get a big upgrade when it comes to portrait mode photos. So now, whenever you take regular photos, it will detect if that photo can be taken in portrait mode and automatically switch to portrait mode.
So essentially, it’s just automatic now; you don’t have to switch it manually. Not only that, but you can also change the focus on the subject after you’ve already taken the shot.
And on top of that, you can also use that 2x sensor crop to take your portrait mode shots. Before, you could only use the primary lens, but now we have another option.
14. No Macro
Even though the cameras do seem quite similar to the 14 Pros and 15 Pros, they’re actually not, especially the ultra-wide. The ultra-wide on the Pro Models can shoot macro photos and is also superior in other ways, like low light.
You just don’t have this on the standard model, so do keep that in mind.
15. No ProRes or ProWaw
We also lack ProRes and ProRAW; these are also exclusive to the Pro model. So if you need the extra editing flexibility, ProRAW, especially for photos, would make a substantial difference.
16. Only USB 2.0
Something that is not exclusive to the Pro Models is USB-C, which we finally get. But on the standard models, this is restricted to USB 2.0 speeds, just 480 megabits per second.
These are the same speeds as before, and this is the slowest USB-C connector you can have on any phone right now.
There’s no slower speed than USB 2.0. Oh, and a fun fact: the only reason why Apple switched to USB Type-C this year is because they were forced by the EU to do so.
17. External Display
Something cool about USB-C is that you can now connect to USB-C displays directly without needing an adapter.
18. Charging Accessories
You can also charge your Apple Watch and your AirPods Pro directly from the USB-C cable from the iPhone, which is pretty cool.
Sadly, it doesn’t work wirelessly, so there’s still no reverse wireless charging despite us having the tech inside the iPhones to do that with the Maxi battery pack.
But yeah, there’s no way of actually charging those wirelessly like you can on other phones, like Samsung phones.
19. Braided Cable
The cable is braided, which is fantastic, but sadly, it is not color-matched like it was initially leaked.
20. Brand new U2 Chip
We also get the brand new U2 chip, and no, this doesn’t have anything to do with YouTube, which Apple kinda pre-installed a few years ago.
So, if you have an Apple Watch Series 9 and an iPhone 15 or 15 Pro, you can locate it just like an AirTag with Precision Finding, and you also get three times the range compared to the U1 chip.
But the weird thing is that we didn’t really get the Precision Finding before with the U1 chip at all on an Apple Watch and an iPhone, despite already getting this functionality with the AirTag, which also comes with the U1 chip. So, I do find that quite weird.
21. Roadside SOS
We also got a new feature called “Roadside SOS,” which will also work with the 14 Pros and the 14s.
Essentially, when you don’t have any cellular signal and your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you can request roadside help to pick up your car and tow it, for example, if you have any issues. Whereas before, you would have to call 911 for that literally.
22. Charging Limitations
Now, there are some charging limitations. So, we still get the exact same charging speeds, up to 50% in 30 minutes, despite getting USB-C.
So, we don’t really get any faster charging speeds, same as the Pro Models. And the wireless charging is still the same, 7.5 watts using non-MagSafe chargers.
So, despite that having been leaked, we don’t actually get any faster wireless charging speeds.
23. No WiFi 6E
But we also don’t get Wi-Fi 6E; only the Pro Models get Wi-Fi 6E this year, which offers two times the Wi-Fi speeds compared to Wi-Fi 6, up to 2.4 gigabits per second if you have a Wi-Fi 6E router. But yeah, I do find it a bit of a shame that the iPhone 15 models stick to Wi-Fi 6.
And if you plan on getting an iPhone 15, I would suggest getting an iPhone 14 Pro refurbished instead, which you can probably get for about the same price.
Apple will be selling one too in a few months. And the thing is, you also get a lot more extra features. You get 120 hertz, which is the biggest feature on the Pro Models.
You get the always-on display, you get a 3x telephoto module, you get the macro mode, the better ultra-wide, ProRes, ProRAW, the stainless steel frame if you like that, and so on.
The only downside is that you get Lightning instead of USB-C, but I think that trade-off is worth it in favor of all the advantages and the extra features that you get.