iPhone 15 Ultra may get USB-C — and an extra camera where you least expect it

iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For the iPhone 14 launch, Apple clearly set out to distinguish its Pro models from the other phones in its lineup. That could happen again with next year's iPhone 15, only this time Apple is rumored to be making more distinctions between the two Pro handsets.

Specifically, rumors have emerged of an iPhone 15 Ultra model, which some are tipping to replace the current iPhone 14 Pro Max. This may not be a mere rebranding, though, as some rumors point to this new iPhone adding features that justify the Ultra name.

To that end, leaker MajinBu took to Twitter (opens in new tab) with a few rumored iPhone 15 Ultra capabilities. The leaker sites a source that claims the iPhone 15 Ultra will come with two front cameras, 256GB of storage in the base model and USB-C.

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In contrast, the iPhone 15 Pro would just feature one front camera — presumably the TrueDepth camera Apple just introduced with the iPhone 14 update — and 128GB of capacity in its base model. Like the iPhone 15 Ultra, the regular Pro model would make the switch to USB-C, replacing the iPhone's current Lightning port.

Clearly, the big story here would be with the dual front cameras on the iPhone 15 Ultra, as that would mark the first time Apple would place dual shooters on the front of one of its phones.

Apple Insider (opens in new tab), which spotted the MajinBu tweet, says that there's no known reason for adding a second camera to the front of the iPhone. Other phone makers who've made such a move typically tout the ability to switch between viewing angles, with one of the front cameras able to squeeze in more people for group selfies. Another possibility would be cameras featuring different focal lengths for improved portrait photos. You could even add a camera with an optical zoom, though the utility of that feature on a front camera would seem limited.

iPhone 15 — the ultimate augmented reality phone?

There's another possibility, and it has to do with augmented reality capabilities. A second camera could theoretically be dedicated to AR apps, helping place virtual objects in the background and foreground of a shot.

Apple reportedly has a mixed reality headset in the works, with many expecting the device to appear next year, so the addition of boosted AR features on the iPhone 15 Ultra might complement that potential release.

The extra storage on an iPhone 15 Ultra is less of a mystery. We've been among the people grumbling that if Apple really wanted a starker iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro comparison, it could have equipped the Pro models with 256GB of base capacity instead of the 128GB they feature. Calling your next device the iPhone 15 Ultra would seem to command that you go above and beyond the current storage standards for phones.

The USB-C prediction mirrors what a lot of Apple watchers have been saying about Apple's future iPhone plans, with many expecting Apple to adopt USB-C for at least its Pro phones next year. The European Union is demanding that all phones offer USB-C connectivity by 2024, so adding that to the iPhone 15 would let Apple get ahead of that mandate.

Still, it's very early in the game for iPhone 15 rumors, especially since the iPhone 14 launch is still ongoing. The iPhone 14 Plus, for example, won't even ship until October 7. So we'd expect to hear a lot more about 2023's iPhone models later on, including more details on this supposed iPhone 15 Ultra model.

Read next: Don't expect Touch ID to make a triumphant return on iPhone 15 or future models, plus iPhone 15 be getting USB-C, but there's still a future for a possible portless iPhone

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.