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iPhone 15 — all the rumors so far

iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has officially unveiled the iPhone 14, and pre-orders have been as brisk as ever with delivery dates already slipping into October if you haven’t already ordered. But if Apple’s latest and greatest doesn’t appeal, perhaps you’ll be better off holding out for the iPhone 15? Our iPhone 14 vs iPhone 15 guide spells out key differences between the phones. 

This year, Apple gave its iPhone 14 Pro models a big upgrade over the regular iPhone 14. It reserved the new A16 Bionic chip for the Pro's and we saw a huge display upgrade with a new animated notch — what Apple calls a Dynamic Island. The company also focussed heavily on safety features this time and brought Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via satellite connectivity features to all the iPhone 14 models. 

As for the iPhone 15 — it’s extremely early days and as such very little has been revealed. But longer-term upgrades like a USB-C charging port and a new periscope camera for additional zoom capabilities have been rumored for some time — and we can already begin to piece together a picture of what 2023’s iPhone 15 will feature, when it’ll arrive and how much it’ll cost.

Here’s everything we know about the iPhone 15 so far.

iPhone 15 possible release date

Of all the early iPhone 15 rumors, this is the most set in stone. In the last decade, Apple has only announced its new flagship smartphones outside of September once: October 2020, amid a once-in-a-generation pandemic that necessitated stay-at-home orders and disrupted tech supply chains.

As such, it is highly likely that the iPhone 15 will arrive in September 2023. Typically Apple announces its phones about ten days before they’re released, with pre-orders opening a week ahead of go-time.

iPhone 15 price speculation

With the iPhone 14, there was strong speculation that we would see a 15% price increase, but this turned out to be incorrect — if you live in the United States. Other regions saw a substantial increase, but in the US the only change in pricing was the elimination of the cheapest ‘mini’ model.

That means that prices currently go from $799 for the 128GB entry-level iPhone 14 all the way up to $1,599 for the 1TB iPhone 14 Pro Max. We would expect something similar this time around, but it’s entirely possible that the iPhone 15 will see the price rise that the US missed out on in 2022. If so, expect an increase of $100 or so.

iPhone 15 possible models

iPhone 14 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

This year, Apple killed the iPhone mini, and introduced the iPhone 14 Plus instead. That simplified the choice: whether you wanted to go Pro or not, you could get either a 6.1- or 6.7-inch screen.

It’s extremely likely that this will continue into next year. It was obvious within months that the iPhone 12 mini was not selling well, but Apple had to persist with the iPhone 13 mini because plans were fixed and couldn’t be changed. 

That means that in the unlikely event that the iPhone 14 Plus bombs, we will probably still see next year’s lineup mimicking this year’s: the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. 

But there could be one addition to this list — an iPhone 15 Ultra. Reliable tipster, Mark Gurman recently tweeted (opens in new tab) that after the Apple Watch Ultra that was launched this year, we could "expect" the variant for iPhones in the future — something he later reiterated in his newsletter. Could this mean an iPhone 15 Ultra? We will have to see.

iPhone 15 design rumors

The only real iPhone 15 design rumor so far is that 2023 is the year when Apple finally abandons the Lightning port on its phones. This isn’t wholly surprising: not only has the company adopted the connection for its laptops and tablets, but the European Union is mandating that all phones will have to use USB-C by 2024. While Apple could keep the Lightning port elsewhere in the world, it would be adding complexity and expense for no real gain.

While rumors of a portless iPhone persist, the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reckons that it’s USB-C for at least some of Apple’s handsets. If a portless one does come next year, our guess is it could be a Pro feature.

iPhone Lightning cable

(Image credit: Future)

This USB-C rumor for the iPhone 15 was given more backing by somewhat reliable tipster LeaksApplePro, who claimed that USB-C ports and the Dynamic Island could be seen on every iPhone 15 model. The latter is a positive tip, as we'd be a little put out if Apple were to only give iPhone 15 Pro models a USB-C connection 

Otherwise, two other things seem possible. The first is that Touch ID will make a return, to offer a second way to log in alongside Face ID. This has been MIA on top-end Apple handsets since the iPhone 8, but an underscreen fingerprint reader has apparently been in testing for some time. It certainly would have been handy during the pandemic months when everyone was wearing a mask and Face ID struggled to cope.

iPhone 15 camera

One of the earliest rumors of the iPhone 15 includes a likely upgrade to a new camera. After raising the megapixels bar to 48MP on the iPhone 14 Pro models, word is that the iPhone 15 could finally get a periscope camera for better long-range photography and zoom capabilities. This is something that Android handsets in our best camera phones list have done for some time, and it would be great to see Apple finally offering this. Though, as ever, we’d be very surprised if this wasn’t initially Pro only — if it arrives in 2023 at all. 

Speaking of ‘Pro’ differentiation, the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks that Apple will give its 'Pro' models some unique features and could be looking to upsell its larger 6.7-inch handsets with exclusive features over the smaller models. What these could be was left open to speculation at this point, but it’s possible that a periscoping camera could be an iPhone 15 Pro Max-only feature in an effort to upsell. 

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iPhone 15 expected specs

It’s early days, but two rumors have emerged. One feels extremely likely, while the other could yet be wishful thinking.

Starting with the ‘likely’, adoption of the A17 chipset would once have felt like a certainty, but this year only the iPhone 14 Pro benefited from an all-new chipset, while the regular model used a slightly souped-up version of the A15. We would assume this is the new normal, so the iPhone 15 Pro handsets could get the A17, while the regular iPhone 15 might get an enhanced version of the A16.

An A16 Bionic SoC Diagram on a black background

(Image credit: Apple)

Obviously, that doesn’t tell us much about performance, but the A17 is expected to be the first chip to be made with the 3nm manufacturing process which could mean big things for both speed and efficiency.

iPhone 15 Ultra

There has been some speculation in recent weeks that Apple may release an iPhone 15 Ultra, instead of the usual Pro Max model. There had been rumors of an iPhone 15 Ultra before, but it was speculated that this would be a fifth iPhone. Now it seems this may not be the case.

We've also heard some suggestions that Apple wants to better differentiate the iPhone 15 Ultra from the iPhone 15 Pro — rather than the screen size being the main point of difference. But so far we haven't had any word on what those changes might actually be.

Originally it was suggested that Apple would reserve USB-C connectivity for the most expensive iPhone 15 model. However more recent rumors suggest that this change will come to all iPhone 15s, ahead of EU legislation that would mandate USB-C charging on electronics.

Of course there are long-standing rumors that a portless iPhone is in the works. It could be that the iPhone 15 Ultra skips over USB-C entirely, going straight for a port-free design that doesn't need a physical connector. This could also improve durability, especially if Apple includes the titanium alloy design that debuted on the new Apple Watch Ultra.

Other potential upgrades could include the long-rumored periscope camera. While a staple features on other flagships, Apple could benefit greatly from optical zoom capabilities greater than the current 3x limit.

iPhone 15 outlook

It’s extremely early days for iPhone 15 rumors, but nobody ever went broke by betting on Apple. The expected introduction of USB-C could tempt those yet to fall for the charms of iOS, while the anticipated gains of the 3nm A17 chip could cement the already commanding lead Apple has over the best Android phones in terms of raw speed. 

A possible increase in price is a big worry, and we would like to hear more firm rumors about improvements to the cameras, but considering we’re a year away from the iPhone 15’s release date at this point, there’s plenty of time for more exciting speculation to emerge.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.