Incremental iPhone 15 Improvements Focus on Photography and Connectivity

Originally published at: Incremental iPhone 15 Improvements Focus on Photography and Connectivity - TidBITS

At its Wonderlust event, Apple unveiled its latest crop of iPhones, with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus enjoying a more significant feature jump from their iPhone 14 predecessors than the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.


I’m disappointed iPhone 15 Pro does not have the 5X zoom. On the bright side, I guess I won’t be upgrading my iPhone 14 Pro.

Actually, the price difference between the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max is only $100 for the same amount of storage. The Pro has a 128GB version, while the Pro Max starts at 256GB.The price difference for the 256GB, 512BG and 1TB versions is still only $100.

I did think about getting the 15 Pro Max. I’m not so much concerned about the price difference between the Pro and Pro Max as I am about the size.

Since the iPhone 14 Pro is the perfect size and fits nicely in my pants pocket, I’m not too sure about lugging a much bigger phone although a larger screen may help with my aging eyes.

As the saying goes, it’s the size that counts.

Frankly, most people with a working iPhone whose battery health condition is 80% plus really don’t need to upgrade. Few need the latest Pro flagship product. Budget minded folks will choose a prior year or two model saving $100 - $200. Many could go 5-6 years without upgrading even if they swap the battery in the middle. At year 7-8 you’ll find yourself unable to run the latest iOS. Perhaps one final year after that you won’t be receiving security patches. Apps won’t be compatible.

My iPhone XS is five years old and still has 86% battery health. It still lasts most of the day on a charge. I don’t stream or video game and only charge at night or while commuting. Therefore I haven’t worn down the battery lifespan. Apple offers a trade in of only $140.

I am thinking about the 15 vs 15 Pro but I could also go another year before I replace the XS. Then again the cost of a Pro plus AppleCare+ isn’t that much divided by 5 years and 12 months. Decisions decisions. Should I stay or should I go now. :musical_score::notes::musical_note:


I will upgrade to the 15 Pro Max from my 6 year old iPhone X. I contemplated upgrading last year but decided to hold off for the reported additional features in iPhone 15 including the A17 chip and the USB-C port.

Yes. Of course Apple knows this. Interestingly, on their page for the iPhone 15, they compare the GPU performance of the A16 with the iPhone 12, a three year old model.

I’ll be updating my 12 Pro to a 15 Pro Max for:

  • Improved camera (resolution, zoom, and macro)
  • Dynamic Island
  • 8 GB RAM (hopefully reducing reloads when moving among apps)
  • Bigger screen for aging eyes
  • USB-C (connector, data transfer speed, and charging speed* )

(*)Apparently the rumored fast charging is NOT available on any iPhone 15. Or maybe USB-C fast charges at 20W to reach a 50% charge in 30 minutes.

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If you’re referring to this sentence in the article:

Nowhere is that more evident than with the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, where Apple charges $200 more than the base model for innovative features.

Then I was unclear—entirely possible on such a long day. My intent was to point out that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are $200 more expensive than the comparable iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus and thus that Apple is in essence charging $200 for the new features in the Pro line. There may be a little wiggle on those numbers with storage amounts.

My iPhone 11 (which despite the model designation is shy of 3 years old because of purchasing downline last time) is reporting 82%… :slight_smile:

If I discern this correctly, the 11’s represented the pinnacle of a line that started around iPhone X. It takes terrific photos and incorporates many (but not all) of the technical improvements that come with later versions of iOS. It’s good enough for some video production and still feels like a “fast” iPhone.

But I take a lot of photos, and I’ve found that low-light performance without insanely slow shutter speeds is wanting. (They’re only “insane” because iPhone is intrinsically a handheld camera that is there for the moment…I have mounted mine on a tripod but that’s not a regular practice for me and, I suspect, almost all users.)

It’s going to be really tempting to trade in my 11 some time this year while I can still get some value for it.

A post was merged into an existing topic: 2023 Apple Watch Models Add Double Tap Gesture

There was no mention of whether Apple had expanded its removal of physical SIM support beyond the US, so I went and checked the specs on Apple UK’s site. Somewhat puzzlingly, it lists both physical SIM+eSIM and dual eSIM support:

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus - Technical Specifications - Apple (UK)

I wonder what this means? Are there two models to choose from when ordering? Or does a single phone allow both SIM+eSIM and eSIM+eSIM combinations? If the latter, that is a great feature!

Adam, my one quibble with your advice in the article is this:

If you’re using an iPhone 13 Pro or anything older, it’s an easier decision because you’d also gain the features that set the iPhone 14 Pro apart.

Except that you also lose a major feature if coming from an iPhone 12 or 13 mini, namely the ability to have a reasonable sized phone that can also be used one-handed. Until Apple makes another non-massive phone, I think there will be a certain set of people who see the easy decision is to stick with ‘older’ phones.

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It is the latter. :slight_smile: There is only one model (per country). In the rest of the world it supports either dual eSIMs or nano-SIM+eSIM. In the US, we don’t get the SIM tray and the nano-SIM support. We get just dual eSIM support. I’m not a fan (I would be if they had put that saved tray space to use, but they didn’t), but that’s just the way it is.

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Indeed. It seems @ace agrees with you though, since his article did say explicitly:

The iPhone 13 mini disappears from the mix, sadly marking the end of Apple’s 5.4-inch iPhones.

RIP iPhone mini 2020-2023.

It’s a true shame that while for so many products Apple is willing to sell a variant that appeals only to a small segment, when it comes to fancy iPhones, apparently it’s only BIG or HUGE that they deem worthy.

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With USB-C finally coming to iPhone, it was clear to me I was going to update my 12 mini.

Unfortunately, Apple has decided to release only cutting board size iPhones, so rather than choosing a fancy device, I’m going to be getting the cheapest low-end USB-C iPhone they sell. If Apple wants to get more of my money, they’ll have to make an iPhone I actually crave.

So regular iPhone 15 with 128GB it is for me.

I look forward to a better camera (the 12 mini’s is fine for most of my use, but I do wish it had better zoom), a new lighter color (boy does this blue 12 mini get hot just lying face down in the sun) and a brand new battery. My 12 mini was at 83% health and its battery life had clearly deteriorated compared to when it was new.

Usually, I would have just had the battery replaced and kept enjoying this for me near-perfect form factor. But USB-C is a must in my book. It’s 2023, I can no longer stand Lightning.

Now why Apple thinks it’s OK to sell top-$ “premium phones” but then equip them with 480 Mbps transfer speeds across their wired USB-C is beyond me. USB2 was introduced in early 2000! That was over 23 years ago!

Talk is cheap. Apparently, unless forced by Android competition (or government regulators), these days Apple sees little reason to push the envelope with iPhone (advertising water resistance on a $800+ phone in 2023 LOL). I guess they’ve become too big, too comfortable, and too lethargic. Indeed, it’s surprising to me that even expensive Androids will often only support 480 Mbps data transfer speeds. Only very few devices clearly spec their USB-C as 10 Gbps (or at least 5). It’s preposterous. An iPhone 15 has at minimum 128 GB storage. At these paltry transfer speeds, you’ll be watching your iPhone transfer data for at least 2-1/2 HOURS just to fill that memory ONCE (and actually I have yet to see a Mac do data transfer over USB2 with anything near the promised ~48 MB/s, usually it’s closer to ~25-30 MB/s → so add another hour). And if you get a 512 GB model, you might as well take a vacation because it’s going to take at least 10 hrs (or 5+ more depending on how bad that USB2 transfer actually is). Just fathom how such a level of colossally uber-lame transfer speed is what you just plunked down >$800 for. In 2023! :rofl:

Fun fact: USB-3’s 5 Gbps throughput came to market in 2008. 14 years ago! :flushed:

I really like my first generation SE (2016) for its size. While I don’t have the latest system software, my original battery still shows 90% max capacity. I was really hoping for another small phone. Sigh…

On Apple’s website, I compared my iPhone xxx Max Pros (where xxx is 13, 14 & 15) and the new telephoto lens needs a shake down trial plus CPU changes mid year. Side by side I can stay with my iPhone 14 Pro Max for another year. Wife likes my iPhone 13 Pro Max and it has a SIM card slot for her UK number. I hope the screen will stay blank unless I tap it to view it.

Also staying with my iWatch Ultra. Don’t want screen on all the time with it as well. Not enough changes

Yep, if you’re using an iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 13 mini, I can’t see much reason to upgrade. But that was true last year too. Very sad, and Tonya remains bitter about the fact that the iPhone SE is still larger than she’d like.

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I’m still ok with my iPhone 13 Pro. It’s still under AppleCare+ warranty until December, and I’ll go monthly after that. I had an accident a few weeks ago, and got my slightly cracked screen replaced for just 3,700 yen (about $25). I do like camera improvements. And the idea of a lighter titanium sounds nice. As does the USB-C port and some other things. But really, I see no reason to upgrade now. I’ll wait for the 16. Or 17.

I am boycotting because there is no Mini. When the battery gets old in my 13 Mini, I will pay for a new battery. I will do that repeatedly until it no longer can keep up processor-wise. Until then, Apple you are not getting a dollar from me for a new phone. Getting rid of a mini size version is… just stupid. I have an iPad already. I am a guy. I have pants with pockets. I am one of your core life long customers. Come on, man.