The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max debuted at Apple annual fall event Tuesday. From the moment I picked them up from a convenient area inside the Steve Jobs Theater, I could see that there were significant improvements over previous Pro models. The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are made from titanium, instead of the stainless steel found on last year’s one. iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max and, therefore, are noticeably lighter.
In recent years, Apple has used its Pro phones to push the boundaries of technological advancements, while retaining standard models with technology from the previous year that can reduce costs and encourage upgrading to higher models. of the most expensive range. This held true with the standard iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, which get last year’s 14 Pro benefits. The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max continue this tradition, and since then rumors of an iPhone 15 Ultra were unfounded, these are the most advanced Apple phones to date.
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max have slightly rounded edges for a better grip. Mind you, I had about 30 minutes to try them out in a busy demo room, but the lighter weight and less bulky feel left a positive impression. The new Pros have thinner bezels for a bit more glass on the front screen – which still measures 6.1 inches for the iPhone 15 Pro and 6.7 inches for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
In terms of colors, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are available in four metallic shades: traditional black and white titanium, as well as blue titanium and “natural” titanium with a gray tone.
The iPhone 15 Pro starts at $999 (£999, AU$1,849), while the iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199 (£1,199, AU$2,199). While the Pro Max is more expensive than the $1,099 starting price of last year’s iPhone 14 Pro Max, the new iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at 256GB, double the internal storage of its predecessor .
Pre-orders for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will begin this Friday and the phones will go on sale in Apple Stores and online next Friday, September 22.
Learn more about the Apple event
As rumored, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max ditched the Lightning port for USB-C, for data throughput at a speed of 10 GB per second (the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus also switched to USB-C). ‘USB-C).
There’s also an additional new feature: an action button that replaces the mute switch that iPhones have had for years. By default, you can long press to mute or unmute the sound. You can customize it to trigger a number of shortcuts like turning on the flashlight, recording a voice memo, or even opening the camera. With the camera app open, I used the action button as a physical trigger to take photos. This reminds me a little Sony Xperia 1V and its dedicated hardware trigger.
Better cameras, better zoom
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max have a 48-megapixel camera with a larger sensor. Photos are 24 megapixels by default and lidar scanning increases low-light and night photography. The phones also feature a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera carried over from last year’s iPhone 14 Pro.
But the big news this year is better zoom, but only for the larger, high-end phone. The Pro retains the 3x telephoto lens of its predecessor (equivalent to a 77mm lens), while the Pro Max features a 5x optical zoom (equivalent to a 120mm lens) – a “tetraprism” design that refracts light several times to allow more zoom in the lens. The compact frame of the iPhone. When I tried the new telephoto lens on the Pro Max, I realized what a difference 5x made compared to 3x on the 15 Pro. I was even able to digitally zoom up to 25x magnification, which is ridiculous for an iPhone.
High-end Android phones, notably the Samsung Galaxy S series, have had something similar – periscope cameras – for years, although they use a design strategy of stacking the lenses within the frame of the phone and using a mirror to direct them towards the rear. of the phone. The Galaxy S23 Ultra, for example, has a periscope camera capable of 10x optical zoom.
Apple is also trying to appeal to more professional photographers by adding more interstitial zoom steps in the camera app interface. When the Camera app is open, users can tap the 1x zoom button to switch between popular focal lengths (24mm, 28mm, and 35mm) and set one of them as the default focal length when opening the application.
Learn more: iPhone 15 Pro Max’s ‘tetraprism’ camera offers better 5x telephoto lens
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max cameras will also have expanded video capabilities, like vlogging encoding, as well as using the faster throughput speeds on USB-C cables to instantly capture and transfer photos taken in Pro format Raw with maximum sharpness from your iPhone 15. Pro on Mac. It can also save videos in ProRes format directly to an external storage drive.
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max benefit from cutting-edge spatial video capture functionality, using multiple cameras to capture videos with depth that can be viewed on an Apple Vision Pro AR/VR headset. Unfortunately, the feature won’t be available until later this year.
Faster processor, more games
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max launch with the A17 Pro Bionic processor, a 3-nanometer chip with 19 billion transistors for faster performance. The new six-core GPU is up to 20% faster than the A16’s GPU and supports ray tracing.
Apple has been pushing mobile gaming in its iPhone launches for many years, and this year was no exception, as developers Ubisoft and Capcom promoted full iPhone console versions of Assassin’s Creed Mirage as well as from Resident Evil 8 and Resident Evil 4 Remake, respectively. . (The latter two have been confirmed to come to the iPhone 15 Pro later this year, with Assassin’s Creed arriving in early 2024.) Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is also coming to the iPhone 15 Pro.
While Apple has pushed the mobile gaming potential of the iPhone 15 Pro, the A17 Pro silicon will also benefit augmented reality applications.
The iPhone 15 Pro will launch with iOS 17 (which will be publicly available when the phones launch on September 22), which introduces sleep mode that was previewed at WWDC 2023. It essentially switches the phone to a more passive mode at night, displaying the time in oversized character and app widgets. It activates when you turn the phone sideways, but it’s intended for use when mounting the phone on a MagSafe mount, resembling the world’s most expensive alarm clock.