iPhone 15 Pro leak gives you one more reason to skip iPhone 15

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max/iPhone 15 Ultra renders from 4RMD
(Image credit: 4RMD)

If you're already chewing over the question of iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro, then a new rumor may just give you a reason to go for the Pro model over its standard sibling. 

That's because according to analysts from Barclays (via MacRumors), iPhone 15 Pro's LiDAR scanner could be given a boost in power and efficiency, delivering the first upgrade for the sensor since it was introduced in the iPhone 12 Pro

Analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O'Malley wrote in a recent report that the current LiDAR module, designed by Lumentum and manufactured by WIN, would be replaced by one designed and built by Sony

Fellow leaker Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors) has also claimed Apple was bringing a new LiDAR sensor to this year's new iPhones. The benefit of the new parts, Kuo says, will apparently be either more power efficiency or greater performance, depending on how Apple wants to tune the new parts. 

Apple's not talked much about the LiDAR sensor since its debut on the pro phones. However, given the sensor's use in augmented reality applications, and with Apple strongly rumored to be bringing out an AR/VR headset soon, it would make sense that the company would pick this iPhone generation to revamp the feature. Perhaps the sensors could be used to better support possible iPhone/headset feature integration.

We are still unlikely to see the LiDAR sensor added to the vanilla iPhone 15 models though. Just like a 120Hz refresh rate, a telephoto camera or Apple's latest chip, LiDAR is expected to be for Pro models only.

With Apple's normal iPhone launch window in September still six months away, there's more time for rumors such as those alleging USB-C ports, solid-state buttons on the Pro models and slightly curvier designs for the new models, to appear. And you'll be able to catch up on them all in our iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro hubs.

Analysis: iPhone 15 Pro LiDAR upgrade

LiDAR in the recent iPhones has arguably been a feature that's easy to forget about unless you're really into AR apps. But it does help with depth sensing, which can yield benefits with things like better depth of field in portrait photos. 

A more powerful LiDAR sensor could deliver the scope for better profile photos, allowing for more object separation and edge detection.  This could be one way the iPhone 15 Pro models could hit back at the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and its excellent portrait photos; it currently tops our best camera phones list, beating the iPhone 14 Pro Max

And improved efficiency should help the iPhone 15 Pro offer better battery life even in the face of snapping loads of profile shots. 

But the scanner may also be the key to supercharge AR apps and really bring them to the fore. In their current guise, they can be very handy (say, figuring out where to place a sofa or cupboards in a room via the IKEA app), but they lack any real killer apps or use cases. A next-gen LiDAR scanner could change that; time will tell. 

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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.

  • Madashell1
    For people who work in construction you do not need an AP to make LIDAR useful. In theory you can scan a situation on site in minutes and bring it back to the office and take measurements or view it in 3D at your leisure. It is a little glitchy at the moment, but if it were to improve significantly there would not be an engineer, architect, tradie, real estate agent, arborist or whatever that could operate competitively without it. I think it is almost a game changer already.