The iPhone 15 might be more of an upgrade than you think

iphone 15 fan render
(Image credit: 4RMD)

Early signs aren’t looking good for Apple’s basic iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. While the Pro models have a three-week lead time for orders, the regular phones are readily available, and we’ve heard that panel shipments for the larger version are “close to zero.” Pro models reportedly make up 64% of demand — a big increase on the 51% of the iPhone 13 era.

While being able to upsell to a more expensive model is a good problem for Apple to have, this kind of demand mismatch still isn’t ideal. And according to a note from analysts at Nomura, seen by Investing.com (opens in new tab), Apple will be looking to a “more balanced mix between lower-end and higher-end shipments” with the iPhone 15.

That, according to the analysts, means upgrades to the basic iPhone 15 to make more people opt for it, with Nomura predicting three big upgrades for the iPhone 15. Firstly, the handset will apparently get Dynamic Island on their LTPS OLED screens.

Secondly, Nomura believes we’ll see an improvement in the camera, bringing it closer to the iPhone 14 Pro. “They will have main cameras (wide) upgraded to 48MP with image sensor size at 1/1.5” (slightly smaller than the i14 Pro’s 48MP sensor size, but much better than i14’s 12MP one),” the note to clients reads. 

Finally, “they will use the 4nm A16”, the analysts write. This one isn’t unexpected, as it will simply bring the regular iPhone 15 in line with the iPhone 14 Pro, power-wise. The iPhone 15 Pro will presumably enjoy an upgrade to the A17 chip — which could be built to the 3nm fabrication process

Of course, Nomura doesn’t believe that Apple will stand still with the iPhone 15 Pro either, even if it does argue the improvements are generally “less significant to consumers”. 

It highlights a periscope camera upgrade, an upgrade to 8GB RAM and haptic-feedback buttons as the more significant improvements — all upgrades we’ve heard mooted before, though the periscope camera is disputed by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Pinch of salt at the ready

Should you believe this report? Maybe, but I’m not sure the reasoning is sound. It’s not that I believe the iPhone 14 is worth getting — I’ve long advocated for buying an iPhone 13 Pro instead — it just feels like an overcorrection to something that isn’t really a problem.

Apple has deliberately made recent iPhone Pro models more desirable for fairly obvious upselling reasons. If the regular iPhone 14 is struggling compared to the Pro model, it’s a sign that the strategy is working — perhaps a bit too well, but working all the same. 

The sensible reaction to this, to my mind, would be to adjust the quantities in which the phones are manufactured rather than attempting to level the playing field between them.

But even if the natural response is to try and make the two tiers of phones more comparable, I’m not sure any change can be put down as a response to the disappointing sales figures. 

Remember that Apple was stuck releasing an iPhone 13 mini a year after it was obvious that the iPhone 12 mini was a sales disaster. It’s hard to imagine Apple being any more agile in response to a market reaction this time around.

In other words if we do see these upgrades arrive on the iPhone 15, the reasoning is probably a bit simpler: advances on Pro products make their way to non-Pro ones eventually. Whether that will level the sales divide between the handset tiers in 2023 depends on what the Pro models can offer — and whether the rumored iPhone 15 Ultra actually exists.

Alan Martin

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.