iPhone 15 rumors give me hope Apple’s phones are on the right track

iPhone 15 concept by 4RMD
(Image credit: 4RMD/YouTube)

We're about two months out from this fall's iPhone 15 launch, and by this point in the annual iPhone release cycle, that generally means two things. First, we have a pretty good idea about what Apple is planning for this year's models. And second, this is about when you'll start to see reports that the upcoming launch may not go off smoothly.

Right on cue, a pair of reports surfaced this past week warning of potential delays and product shortages for the iPhone 15. On the former front, a Bank of America analyst warned that Apple may push back the release of the iPhone 15 by a couple of weeks, which means it could be October before we see the new phones. And on the latter end, the two Pro models are reportedly facing production issues involving the phones' displays to the point that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max might be in short supply when the new handsets make their debut.

It all sounds very stark, but as a veteran of 16 years of iPhone launches, I'm here to tell you there's nothing in either report worth worrying about. A delayed launch until October is essentially a bookkeeping matter — Apple's iPhone 15 sales data would only appear starting in its holiday quarter instead of a trickle of sales happening during the tail end of the fiscal fourth quarter concluding in September. If you own Apple stock, maybe that matters to you. If you just want to buy an iPhone, well, it's simply a matter of keeping your weekends open in late September and early October.

The iPhone 15 Pro report is a bit more concerning, if true. But even then, this sounds like a temporary problem that's only inconvenient if you want a Pro model immediately at launch. As anyone who's followed any iPhone launch over the past decade or so knows, occasionally, there are supply issues with one or two models in particular that don't get resolved until a few months after launch. That might make it difficult to get an iPhone 15 Pro Max right away, though not impossible.

Really, at this point in the iPhone 15 rumor cycle, I'm struck by how everything seems to be falling into place for Apple. And that seems especially true if you're in the market for the base model of Apple's new phone coming the fall.

Why the iPhone 15 is looking like a great upgrade

I realize that seems like an odd thing to say given the attention Apple is reportedly lavishing on its Pro phones. Indeed, in a straight iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro comparison, it's the more expensive Pro models that are likely to get the more headlining-grabbing improvements.

But the rumored features coming to the regular iPhone 15 model would tick off some boxes for welcome enhancements to Apple's standard smartphone. And assuming that Apple keeps the $799 starting price — a pretty good bet, according to the rumor mill — the iPhone 15 could prove to be quite the steal.

iPhone 15 Pro renders by Technizo

(Image credit: Technizo)

Take USB-C, for example. Apple is expected to replace the Lightning port on all of its phones with the more universal charging system. That could mean faster charge times for the iPhone, though there's a rumor that Apple will reserve that feature for its Pro models, similar to how the Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra charge faster than the standard Galaxy S23. Even if that is the case, it should make tracking down charging accessories for newer iPhones easier in the future.

Last year, Apple dropped the notch on its Pro phones, shifting to a Dynamic Island feature to house the front camera and sensors needed for Face ID. That's likely extending to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus this time around, giving more useable screen real estate to those two models. Even better, the Dynamic Island doubles as a place to receive notifications and track Live Activities like updated delivery times and sports scores, so that's an additional feature finding its way to Apple's less expensive flagships.

iPhone 15 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

In an even more welcome adoption of an iPhone 14 Pro feature, the iPhone 15 is rumored to be getting the same upgrade to a 48MP main camera that last year's Pro models received. This would be an excellent addition to the entry-level iPhone 15, enabling it to capture more detailed shots. You'd have to assume the iPhone 15 would also gain the ProRaW feature that enables the camera to capture images at full resolution. This comes in handy at capturing a particular shot and then cropping down on a specific area without losing too much in the way of detail.

Put simply, if the iPhone 15 gains that 48MP camera upgrade as rumored, it's automatically a contender for the title of best camera phone. And considering it's likely to cost hundreds of dollars less than the iPhone 15 Pro, the iPhone 15 would put a much improved camera in the hands of a whole lot more people.

What's missing from the iPhone 15

Would I like to see additional improvements to the iPhone 15? Sure — it's quite apparent that an upgrade to the new phone's refresh rate isn't going to happen, as Apple continues to treat that feature as an iPhone Pro-exclusive. With midrange and budget handsets adopting either 90Hz or even 120Hz refresh rates, though, Apple's decision to keep the main iPhone's display at a 60Hz rate stands out — and not in a good way.

I'm also not a huge fan of Apple's decision to use different processors for its regular iPhone and its Pro models — something likely to continue this year when the iPhone 15 Pro gets a new A17 Bionic chipset while the iPhone 15 adopts the A16 powering current Pro models. That disappointment aside, it's not like the A16 isn't an extremely capable processor that still bests the top Android phones, so that's a sacrifice I can live with.

The three big changes outlined above add up to a pretty compelling upgrade for iPhone users this fall. Should those rumors pan out, we've got nothing to panic about, no matter what kind of reports about iPhone 15 launch dates we hear in the coming weeks.

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Philip Michaels

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.