iPhone 15: Design, Date & Time Release, Leaked Images and More
|Everything We Need To Know About iPhone 15: Date & Time, Rumors, And More
|Table of Content
Apple hasn't even released the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models, but it's looking like these devices are going to get a more moderate refresh than we've seen lately, and in past years, they probably would have gotten an "iPhone 13s" nomenclature. For that reason, we've already been hearing rumors about the iPhone 15, and there are some notable changes that are being bandied about at the current time.
Even though the supposed "iPhone 15" won't launch until late 2023, several hints about this device are already surfacing. Publicly filed patent applications, early supply chain rumors, and features inferred from Apple's general product strategy can paint a somewhat clear picture of the future product.
When Will the iPhone 15 Be Released?
Apple sticks to a pretty firm schedule. Following the 2021 iPhone 13 launch, this is the likely timeline:
- iPhone 14 in 2022
- iPhone 15 in 2023
- iPhone Flip/Fold in 2025
Release Date Estimate
After several iPhone launches, it's clear that Apple likes to release its new phones in the fall. Since there’s still another phone expected before this one, watch for the iPhone 15 in September 2023.
You'll be able to pre-order the iPhone 15 directly from Apple's website, likely the same day it's announced. 4
Rumors suggest the iPhone 15 models will look similar to the iPhone 14 models, but the pill-and-hole cutout will expand to the entire lineup. That means all iPhone 15 models would have no notch, instead adopting the two cutout design rumored for the iPhone 14 Pro models.
There have been some rumors suggesting an under-display Face ID system could be introduced in 2023 in the iPhone 15 Pro models, but it is unclear if that information is correct as other sources like display analyst Ross Young have said that under-screen Face ID simply won't be ready until at least 2024.
As there are no major design changes expected, Apple will likely continue to offer four models: The 6.1-inch iPhone 15, the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro, the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Max, and the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max. The "pro" models will have higher-end features and will be more expensive, while the standard iPhone 15 models will be cheaper.
Known "iPhone 15" Rumors
iPhone 15 Price Rumors
A price estimate this early won’t be accurate, since we haven’t yet confirmed the price of this phone’s future predecessor. But expect to spend $1,000 or more. For reference, the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1,099, and some expect the iPhone 14 equivalent to be under $1,000.
However, the entire pricing model could change if Apple starts selling the iPhone as a subscription service, which is rumored to start happening the same year the iPhone 15 is scheduled to arrive.
End of the Lightning Port
Apple promised customers the Lightning port would last at least ten years before being replaced with another port. It was first introduced with the iPhone 5 in 2012, so naturally, the ten-year life span would end in 2022 with the "iPhone 14."
Some customers have urged Apple to move to USB-C in the iPhone since the connector has become more ubiquitous. On the other hand, the prevalence of Lightning connectors across Apple's product line makes such a shift difficult. The number of iPhone users with Lightning ports in their iPhones, iPads, and AirPods far outnumber Mac users with USB-C ports.
Apple is caught in another lose-lose situation for its PR team. Like when it transferred from the 30-pin connector, it will face heavy scrutiny from customers and regulators alike. Some locations haven't finished transitioning from the previous connector, with gyms and other businesses still using equipment with 30-pin connectors. The same will be true for a transition from Lightning.
Supply chain analyst and sometimes leaker Ming-Chi Kuo shared that Apple may introduce USB-C to the iPhone in 2023. It isn't clear if this is based on supply chain data or a leak, but he did say he took a survey. Presumably, the survey would have been taken from his supply chain consultants, but that isn't known.
The European Union is pushing legislation that will require smartphone manufacturers to adopt the USB-C port as a uniform connector. However, the two-year deadline for the requirement gives Apple enough time to perfect another option entirely — going portless. Rumors have indicated that Apple will remove all ports from its iPhone lineup in the near future, and USB-C will never make it onto iPhone.
Since their inception, having a physical connector for transferring power and data has been a staple of portable electronics. Despite that, Apple may ditch the physical connector entirely in favor of alternatives like MagSafe charging, Qi charging, wireless data transfer, and smart connectors.
There aren't many apparent reasons why Apple would want to ditch a physical connector, but like the headphone jack before it, the company may be seeking more internal space for components. In addition, while a USB-C port can be waterproofed, having no connector at all would ensure improved water integrity.
For Apple to achieve a portless iPhone, it must first offer users suitable alternatives. The port is currently used for many accessories, from SD card dongles to musical recording equipment. Apple isn't likely to entirely remove such vital functionality from iPhone, though customers may have to pay for a new adapter.
Even Apple's own CarPlay uses the physical port to connect. Unfortunately, most modern vehicles don't come standard with wireless CarPlay, so again, Apple will have to address those customers. An obvious half-step solution would be to include a magnetic Smart Connector like on some iPad models.
Rumors of a Smart Connector coming to iPhone have circulated since the connector's inception on the first iPad Pro in 2015. Although the three-prong connection supports some data transfer, it isn't suitable for large files or streams of information.
Apple's MagSafe accessory system for iPhone is another possible solution. Though the current iteration only supports power transfer on the iPhone 13, a future version could include some data transfer elements.
|An in-screen fingerprint sensor has been rumored for the 2023 iPhone. Photo: AppleInsider
Of course, Apple could decide to leave behind legacy use cases and tout its multiple iPhone models that still sport the Lightning connector for legacy customers. Alternatively, by 2023, Bluetooth accessories, AirPlay, wireless data transfer, and other tools could be advanced enough to remove a physical connector. Although, there will always be a group adversely affected by such a move, like developers.
Whatever Apple does to tackle a portless iPhone, it is expected to be implemented in the "iPhone 15."
Periscope Lens Technology
There have been multiple rumors about Apple's work on "periscope" telephoto lens technology, and this type of lens could be introduced in the 2023 iPhones, likely in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
Periscope lens technology offers optical zoom capabilities that exceed those possible with a standard telephoto lens, allowing for 5x or even 10x optical zoom. With a periscope lens, the iPhone's zoom capabilities would be significantly enhanced as the current Pro models are limited to 3x zoom.
Apple competitor Samsung has come out with smartphones that use periscope lens technology that enables 4x to 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom.
Apple-Designed Modem Chips
For the past few years, Apple has been working to develop modem chips in house, and 2023 is when we could see Apple-designed chips debut. Right now, Apple is using modem chips from Qualcomm, but after a legal dispute back in 2019, Apple is eager to stop purchasing Qualcomm chips.
In November 2021, Qualcomm's CFO said that Qualcomm expects to supply just 20 percent of Apple's modem chips in 2023, and as Apple has no other modem chip supplier, that suggests Apple's own modem technology is nearing launch. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed that Apple's chips could debut in the 2023 iPhone models.
We don't know anything about Apple's modem chips at this time, but presumably the technology will be on par with or better than the 5G chips that Qualcomm is producing if the A-series and M-series chips are any indication.
"iPhone 15 Fold"
The foldable market is new and still fighting many problems associated with the technology. From creased displays to poorly optimized software, it is still early days. Apple doesn't enter a market until it can ensure the usual quality the company proudly promotes.
An "iPhone Fold" could arrive in 2023 as an ultra-premium in the "iPhone 15" lineup. It would be Apple's most expensive iPhone to date, likely sitting around $1,500 for the base model.
Patents show Apple has worked hard to develop technology specific to folding devices. They range from new hinge technology to folding batteries and bendable displays.
Little is known about Apple's plans for the foldable iPhone or if it will ever see the light of day. Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will release the device in 2023.
Return of Touch ID
Touch ID was replaced by Face ID when Apple introduced the iPhone X. The reason for the move was to enable all-screen displays with no Home Button taking up prime real estate. Apple also said Face ID was much more secure than Touch ID, with a one million to one chance of a false positive unlock.
However, it wasn't a solution without its problems, as Face ID needed to see a user's eyes, nose, and mouth to unlock the device. This solved the problem of trying to unlock an iPhone with soiled fingers, but now users couldn't easily unlock their phones when covering their face for any reason.
When the pandemic struck, this created an unprecedented issue with Face ID as iPhone users around the globe donned masks. Users complained of the now-impeded unlocking process and demanded Apple bring back Touch ID as a solution.
Instead, Apple offered a compromise for Apple Watch owners. If Face ID detected the user was wearing a mask, it would verify if the Apple Watch was authenticated then unlock the iPhone. Of course, this solution applied only to Apple Watch wearers — a much smaller population than iPhone users.
Apple announced a new version of Touch ID for the iPad Air 4, and later the iPad mini 6, which moved Touch ID to the power button. This ramped up speculation that Apple would surely include Touch ID in the iPhone 13's power button, but to no avail.
Rumors and patents show that Apple has been working on a Touch ID solution for iPhone, but not in the power button. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will implement Touch ID under the display by 2023. The technology was originally targeted for "iPhone 14" but has been delayed to the "iPhone 15."
Android devices have used under-display fingerprint readers since at least 2018 to some success. But as with 120Hz display refresh, Apple likely wants the technology to be perfected before implementing it in their smartphone.
If Apple is to bring back Touch ID to its premium iPhone lineup, the earliest it could arrive is 2022, though Kuo says it is expected in 2023.
"iPhone 14" Rumors
Since Apple's design follows a three to four-year cycle, it is easy to assume the "iPhone 15" will repeat the "iPhone 14" design with some general upgrades. The same approach was taken with iPhone 13, which looks nearly identical to iPhone 12 minus the camera bump and notch.
Leaked diagrams show that the 2022 pro models will have a pill-and-hole punch for the Face ID sensors and selfie camera, while standard models will retain the notch. Some rumors say that Apple will use the pill-and-hole punch design for all iPhones in 2023, ditching the notch entirely.
Another far-flung rumor includes upgrading Apple's camera sensors to 48MP sensors with pixel binning. This could arrive in either the 2022 or 2023 iPhones and would be the first megapixel increase in Apple's cameras in years.
If Apple can implement significant design changes for the "iPhone 14," then the "iPhone 15" will likely be a much more modest update by comparison. Although, moving away from ports will be controversial on its own.
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