iPhone 15 could finally upgrade a feature unchanged since the iPhone 11

A render of the iPhone 15 from the front and back
(Image credit: 9to5Mac / Ian Zelbo)

We may see the iPhone 15 series get a long-overdue tracking upgrade thanks to a new ultrawide-band (UWB) chip, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

UWB was first added to 2019's iPhone 11 in the form of Apple's U1 chip, but now can be found in Apple Watches and the HomePod and HomePod mini. It allows an iPhone to detect the position of nearby devices more accurately, powering features like Precision Finding with AirTags, or prioritizing which other iPhones appear at the top of your AirDrop sharing list based on which devices are nearby and pointing in the right direction.

As Kuo tells it, Apple will be moving from a UWB built with a 16nm process to one made with a smaller 7nm one. This should at least mean more power-efficient running from the iPhone's UWB features, if not improved performance as well.

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This, plus future changes to Wi-Fi on the iPhone (see below), are supposedly being made in light of the incoming Vision Pro headset. Apple wants to build out the ecosystem for its new spatial computer, says Kuo, and is therefore planning a raft of UWB and Wi-Fi upgrades for related products.

Kuo refers only to the iPhone 15 in his tweet, not individual models. Hopefully this means the new UWB chip will be found in all four of the expected models, and not just the more expensive iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

No Wi-Fi 7 until next year

One other detail Kuo shared in his tweet was that the iPhone 15 likely wouldn't get the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard for wireless internet connections. That upgrade will apparently be saved for the iPhone 16 next year. 

iPhone 14 Pro

The iPhone 14 Pro, which offers Wi-Fi 6. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While it's a shame that the iPhone 15 won't be as future-proof as it could be, it's arguably not necessary to offer Wi-Fi 7 yet. Only a select few of the best Wi-Fi routers offer Wi-Fi 7 right now and are necessary to get the new standard running in your home. Given most people won't have made this upgrade yet, perhaps Apple's actually doing people a favor by sticking with the established Wi-Fi 6/6E standards.

Other upgrades are expected to come to the iPhone 15 series though. As well as the new UWB chip, we should see a revised design with more rounded edges, 48MP main cameras for all models and Dynamic Island notches for all models as well. We should also see a brand new chipset in the Pro models, and Apple's first periscope telephoto camera in the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

As we get closer to the iPhone 15's launch, more rumors and leaks will appear, and hopefully they'll fill out the remaining gaps in the unofficial specs sheet. But as things stand now, including with these UWB and Wi-Fi claims from Kuo, we're probably going to have to wait until an Apple event in September for confirmation of the iPhone 15's new features.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.