1/8 update below. This article was originally published on July 29
Apple’s biggest changes in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro have leaked thanks to two new reports, and arguably the most controversial one was revealed by Apple itself.
Apple’s obvious goal comes thanks to the recent iOS 17 beta, which contains code related to the much-rumored (and now seemingly confirmed) “action button” that’s coming to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. spotted before MacRumorsThe iOS 17 beta 4 code lists nine different functions for the button: Accessibility, Shortcuts, Silent Mode, Camera, Flashlight, Focus, Magnifier, Translate, and Voice Memos.
While all of these functions are somewhat self-explanatory, what comes as a surprise is the sheer number of them. Previous leaks have claimed that the action button may support two or three options at launch, though it remains to be seen how many options can be accessed at the same time (via a combination of presses, swipes, or gestures). Third party support is also something that should come at the right time.
The introduction of the action button polarized opinion, as fans of the mute switch were disappointed to see its departure, and unlikely to be satisfied by the lack of mute functionality for the button. Yes, that may come later, but Apple has a long history of “leaking” upcoming features via iOS updates, and this seems to be the final list for now.
In addition, Offer supply chain consultantswhich is headed up by a meticulous industry insider Ross Young, has filled in the gaps around the rest of the iPhone 15’s feature set.
In the company’s latest newsletter, DSCC stated that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will have partially larger display sizes of 6.12 and 6.69 inches, thanks to slimmer bezels, the A16 chipset, and the Dynamic Island design. The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models are said to have a 3nm A17 chip, “ultra-thin bezels”, a titanium chassis, stacked battery technology, WiFi 6E and more RAM. All models will use USB-C instead of Lightning.
Most of these upgrades have already leaked, but what’s notable is the inclusion of stacked battery technology, an upgrade that only leaked earlier this month and was later denied by its source. Stacked batteries are more space efficient at the same capacity (about 10%), cooler when charging and last longer. It’s an under-the-hood change, but a big one, if true, and one DSCC always deserves to take seriously.
Other broadly hinted upgrades that DSCC didn’t mention are the UWB upgrade, to work with the upcoming Apple Vision Pro, and Apple’s first periscope zoom lens, which will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. On the other hand, it seems that the price hike of the Pro Max models will be higher than expected.
Update 07/31: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has leaked a long list of upgrades for the iPhone 15 range in his latest flagship Power On Newsletter.
Several of them are compatible with existing leaks: USB-C for all models, Dynamic Island cut-out designs, an upgraded primary camera, and the A16 chip for iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. For iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max: ultra-thin bezels, “significantly faster 3nm (read: A17) chip”, titanium body, and updated primary cameras with “much wider range of optical zoom in the larger model” (read: lens periscope for iPhone 15 Pro Max).
But Gorman also threw in two new nuggets. First, the details on the iPhone 15 Pro’s record-breaking bezels, which he says will be produced by a new technology called Low-injection Pressure overmolding (LIPO).
This new process will shrink the border around the screen to 1.5mm (from about 2.2mm on current iPhones). LIPO was first used on the Apple Watch Series 7 to make the bezels of that device thinner and increase the screen size.
1.5mm is partially thinner than the previously reported 1.55mm, and Gorman claims that Apple will eventually bring this process to the iPad lineup as well. It also reveals that the iPhone 15 lineup will mimic the internal layouts of the iPhone 14, which will make it easier to fix. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max missed out on this last year, and with legal pressure mounting in the US and internationally to facilitate repairs, this is an important step.
Update 01/08: More information about the design of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max has been revealed by Apple’s constantly accurate website Unknownz21.
leaked last week open Specific material combinations for the iPhone 15 series: Grade 5 titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) for professionals and aluminum (Al 6013 T6) for iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.
Ti-6Al-4V is not pure aluminium, but rather an alloy of titanium, aluminum and vanadium, which is widely used in aerospace and biomechanical applications. This is due to its higher strength, corrosion resistance, and lower weight than the stainless steel that Apple has used in the Pro model’s chassis to date.
Furthermore, what Unknownz21 now tells me is that Apple will be using Ti-6Al-4V in every part of the chassis, including the volume buttons and the new solid-state action button. These are the areas where Apple was expected to cut costs with stainless steel.
The benefit for buyers is that this continued use of Ti-6Al-4V has significant weight benefits. Stainless steel is very heavy, making iPhone Pros some of the heaviest smartphones on the market (iPhone 14 Pro weighs almost 70 grams more than iPhone 14 made of aluminum). In contrast, Ti-6Al-4V is 3-4 times stronger than stainless steel of the same weight, so Apple could potentially double the iPhone 15 Pro’s body strength while keeping about half the body weight.
It remains to be seen exactly what balance Apple will strike. All of this can achieve more strength and match the weight of a stainless steel body, or match durability and result in a structure that is 3-4 times lighter, or strike a balance between the two. The latter option seems to make the most sense, but we won’t know until Tim Cook teases the new models at their expected launch in September.
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