The iPhone 15 series is finally here, and the four new handsets are going to be available for preorder on Friday. A week later, I could rock a brand new iPhone 15 Pro, the only possible upgrade for this iPhone 14 Pro owner. However, I won’t pull the trigger come September 15th. As I’ve explained before, the only way I’d replace my current iPhone is if I were to find a timely, almost too-good-to-be-true iPhone 15 Pro trade-in deal.
That said, I’m looking forward to the innovations the iPhone 15 series will deliver. And I’m already jealous of three iPhone 15 Pro features I won’t have on my current iPhone.
The new iPhone features that Apple introduced on Tuesday will either be available across the board or trickle down to all iPhones in the future.
As I said before, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are the only logical upgrades for the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max this year. Getting an iPhone 15 or 15 Plus would mean essentially buying the same phone you have now, since the cheaper iPhone 15 models are essentially repacked iPhone 14 Pros. It so happens that the three iPhone 15 features I’m about to list are all going to be available exclusively on the two iPhone 15 Pro models.
The worst thing about the iPhone 14 Pro is the weight. After almost a year of use, I still find the handset too heavy for my taste. That’s why I’m excited to see Apple switch from stainless steel to titanium alloy for the iPhone 15 Pro models this year.
I also hope this feature will not remain exclusive to the iPhone Pro for too long. The non-Pro iPhones use aluminum, so they’re light enough. But they could be even lighter and more durable with an upgrade to titanium.
Add the rumors that Apple is considering 3D printing iPhone components, titanium included, and the switch to titanium becomes more exciting. Apple could reduce manufacturing costs while minimizing titanium waste, leading to all iPhones getting titanium chassis in the not-so-distant future.
There was some controversy concerning the iPhone 14 Pro battery health a few weeks ago. Some owners found the batteries in their devices aged faster than before. While they were still within healthy parameters, that’s a detail that might bother buyers who routinely worry about battery life.
I am not one of them. My iPhone 14 Pro battery health is still at 98% after almost a year of use. And I spend more time on it than I care to admit. I could tell you that you might be charging it wrong. Or using it wrong (cough… Always-on-display… cough). Or a combination thereof.
But what I’ll tell you instead is that I think the iPhone 15 Pro’s battery life will be even better. Notice that I’m strictly referring to the iPhone 15 Pro here. The iPhone 15 Pro Max will probably feature the best battery life possible from any iPhone.
Apple will use a combination of innovations to maintain the battery life on the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. Yes, the battery life is staying the same as the iPhone 14 Pro, but the 15 Pro models will be a lot more powerful.
First, that titanium chassis lets Apple increase the width of the iPhone by 0.4 mm to fit a larger battery pack. All without worrying about weight issues.
Also important is the A17 Pro chip. The next-gen 3nm processor will be unique in the industry. It’ll bring mild performance upgrades over the iPhone 14 Pro, sure. But more impressive are the reported 35% efficiency gains coming from the iPhone 15 Pro chip. That translates to better battery life.
Then, there’s the new OLED panel coming to the iPhone 15 Pro models. It’s not the slimmer bezels I’m interested in, but the more efficient screen itself. Reduced energy draw will also boost battery life.
The Action button
The iPhone 15 Pros are getting a brand new mute switch, which will do more than silence the handset. Apple will reportedly use a solid-state button that you don’t actually press. A Taptic Engine will give you the feeling you do.
What’s important here is that the Action button might work just like the Action button on the Apple Watch. It will sport additional features on top of acting as a mute toggle. I’m hoping that the iPhone will be smart enough to change the Action button’s behavior based on context.
For example, it might act as a mute switch primarily. But once I go into the camera app or switch to a different focus mode, it might perform a different action. That’s all speculation, of course.
Furthermore, I’d expect the Action button to support multiple levels of force and different touch gestures in the future. This would help you add different features to the button. For example, a double tap might let you Shazam the current song. Again, this is just speculation for now. The current Action button implementation will be much simpler.
Another benefit for the future of the iPhone is that the Action button will mark the transition to a button-less iPhone. That’s a design that Apple reportedly studied for this year’s iPhone 15 Pro but ultimately abandoned.
While I’m envious of the Action button, I did say I don’t plan to upgrade to the iPhone 15 Pro. That means Apple can continue to improve the button’s behavior in future iOS 17.x and iOS 18 releases before I get to it.