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The latest iPhone 15 Pro leak explains why Apple switched to titanium

Published Sep 8th, 2023 10:52AM EDT
iPhone 14 Pro on an Apple coffee table book
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

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The iPhone 15 is almost upon us, with Apple set to unveil the new smartphone series next Tuesday. A last-minute iPhone 15 leak gave us a bunch of details about all the products Apple will announce at the show, including the four new iPhone models.

Among the leaks, we have estimates for the weight of the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. These two models will reportedly sport titanium alloy chassis that should be lighter and more durable than stainless steel. We’ve known this for months, but this might be the first weight estimate for the new Pro versions. And it’s also great news about battery life, another area where the iPhone 15 series will bring improvements.

Titanium rumors

Various iPhone 15 rumors said in the past few months that the iPhone 15 Pro models would switch to titanium. Apple is finally ready to bring the material to devices bigger than the Apple Watch. And I couldn’t be more excited. It’s the one feature that would be enough for me to pay more money for the iPhone 15 Pro. Not that I’m upgrading my iPhone 14 Pro this year.

But now that the iPhone 15 Pros are getting titanium frames, I expect Apple to use the same alloys in its iPhone 16 Pro models next year. Moreover, if the Apple Watch 3D printing experiments work, we might see titanium used on cheaper devices as well. Apple could improve manufacturing costs significantly via 3D printing.

Leaked CAD files for iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 16 Pro Max (Ultra).
Leaked CAD files for iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 16 Pro Max (Ultra). Image source: 9to5Mac

Separately, iPhone 15 design rumors said the iPhone will get slightly thicker. Not by much, just around 0.4 mm. But that’s enough to boost battery life on the iPhone 15 models. Apple can increase battery capacities across the board. Add the A17 Bionic’s rumored stellar efficiency gains, and battery life can see a big boost on the iPhone 15 Pros.

How much will the iPhone 15 Pro weigh? 

Putting these rumors together, I couldn’t help but wonder whether larger battery packs might offset the weight gains we get from titanium. Mark Gurman’s latest iPhone 15 report on Bloomberg finally sheds some light on that. “People with knowledge of the new devices” informed Gurman that the switch to titanium makes the phone “more durable and about 10% lighter.”

Applying that weight cut to the iPhone 14 Pro models can give us a rough estimate for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.

Weight comparison between iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone X.
Weight comparison between iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone X. Image source: Apple Inc.

The smaller iPhone 15 Pro might weigh roughly 185 grams, which is 10% less than the iPhone 14 Pro at 206 grams. The iPhone 15 Pro Max might weigh around 216 grams compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max at 240 grams. Those reductions in weight would be quite significant.

I switched from the iPhone X (174 grams) to the iPhone 14 Pro (206 grams) last September, and the weight was one of my biggest gripes about the new phone. Assuming the estimate above is accurate, the big drop in weight would be great news to this longtime user.

Weight comparison between iPhone 14 Plus Max, iPhone 14, and iPhone 13 Pro.
Weight comparison between iPhone 14 Plus Max, iPhone 14, and iPhone 13 Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

Gurman doesn’t mention battery capacities for the iPhone 15 series. But he points out that the biggest enhancements from that A17 Bionic chip that powers the new Pros are battery life savings.

Still, if the iPhone 15 design leaks are accurate, we are getting larger batteries from all iPhone models. And they should not impact the overall weight. For example, the iPhone 14 Pro has a slightly larger battery pack than the iPhone 13 Pro, as it’s 0.2 mm thicker. But that translates to a weight increase of just 2 grams. The iPhone 13 Pro Max has the same weight as the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.