iPhone 15 Pro Max — 5 reasons to buy and 3 reasons to skip

A concept image of the iPhone 15 Pro with a thumbs up and thumbs down illustration
(Image credit: Technizo)

The new iPhone 15 Pro Max is shaping up to offer some of the biggest upgrades in years. Everything from the design and performance to the cameras and battery are tipped for major changes, and there could be an exclusive feature for the Pro Max that the regular iPhone 15 Pro lacks.

As we get closer to the Apple Event, which is expected to take place September 12, the leaks and rumors seem pretty much set at this point. And there's a lot to be excited about for what could be the best iPhone yet. And I'm not talking about USB-C, which is a given for all four new iPhones. But there's also some reasons to possibly hold off.

As we get closer to the new iPhone 15 release date, here's the reasons to buy and skip the iPhone 15 Pro Max based on what we know so far. 

Reasons to buy iPhone 15 Pro Max

Periscope zoom camera 

iPhone 15 Pro renders

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

This is the one killer feature that could help Apple take back the top spot on our best camera phone list. The iPhone 15 Pro Max will reportedly feature a periscope telephoto lens, which could very well boost the zoom range from 3x optical on the iPhone 14 Pro Max to 6x zoom. Just don't expect this perk to any other new iPhone, as it's allegedly a Pro Max-only feature. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is already the zoom champ at least in terms of specs with its dual 3x and 10x telephoto lenses, but the variable zoom lens on the iPhone 15 Pro Max could very well beat Samsung on image quality. What we don't know is the digital zoom range on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Samsung's handset goes all the way up to 100x, which can capture pretty convincing shots of the moon (even if AI is involved). 

A17 Bionic power

A17 Bionic chip for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max

(Image credit: Apple / Future)

The A17 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 15 Pro Max could blow away every Android phone. Tipped to be the world's first 3nm processor, Apple will be able to squeeze even in more transistors inside its new chip, which should make everyone else nervous. 

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iPhone 15 Pro Leaked Benchmark Scores
Row 0 - Cell 0 Geekbench 6 single-core scoreGeekbench 6 multi-core score
iPhone 15 Pro (alleged)3,2697,666
iPhone 14 Pro Max2,5236,396
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra2,0005,164
OnePlus 111,5365,065

In fact, the leaked iPhone 15 Pro leaked benchmarks show a massive performance leap. On Geekbench 6, the iPhone 15 Pro allegedly reaches 3,269 in the single-core test and 7,666 in multi-core. The Galaxy S23 Ultra scored just 2,000  and 5,164, respectively. This is just one test, of course, so we'll have to see well the A17 Bionic performs once we perform our iPhone 15 Pro Max review. 

Action button 

iPhone 15 Pro CAD render camera bump and buttons

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

Yes, the iPhone 15 could be the end of an era. And that's because Apple is expected to ditch the trusted ringer/mute switch that's been part of the design since the original iPhone. What we're supposed to get in its place is a new sold state action button, which will reportedly offer all sorts of capabilities.

In addition to quickly muting your iPhone, the action button is tipped perform several actions: This includes Camera, Flashlight, Focus, Magnifier, Translate and Voice Memos. The action button will also likely tie in to Apple's Shortcuts app, so you'll be able to create customizable shortcuts and string several actions together with a button press. 

Titanium design 

an image of an iPhone 15 Pro render and claimed solid-state buttons

(Image credit: MacRumors)

Raise your hand if you're getting bored with the stainless steel sides of the iPhone Pro series. Well, I have good news.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro are both expected to boast a new titanium design. Titanium is stronger than aluminum and lighter, so we could see a more portable iPhone 15 Pro Max that can also do a better job of withstanding drops and other damage. 

A separate leaker says that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will specifically use Grade 5 titanium. According to the leaker @URedditor, Apple has been testing various titanium alloy mixes over the past year to find the optimal combination of strength, durability, and radio frequency (RF) performance. 

Even longer battery life

iPhone 15 Pro renders show off rumored volume button design

(Image credit: MacRumors/@Unknownz21)

We ran a battery test on all four iPhone 14 models, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max was the champ, lasting an epic 13 hours and 39 minutes. That's enough endurance to make our best phone battery life list. Well, it gets better.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max will reportedly feature an even bigger 4,852 mAh battery, up from 4,323 mAh on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. And thanks to so-called stacked battery technology on the iPhone 15 series, Apple should be able to offer more capacity without growing the physical footprint of the battery.

Reasons to skip iPhone 15 Pro Max

Higher price 

iPhone 15 Pro renders by Technizo

(Image credit: Technizo)

We hope you're sitting down. We've heard from multiple sources now that the iPhone 15 Pro Max could get a major price hike. How big? It could be as high as $200, which would take the starting price of Apple's biggest and best new iPhone from $1,099 to $1,299.

For comparison, the Galaxy S23 Ultra costs $1,199, so Apple would take the title for most expensive flagship that isn't a foldable phone. To be fair, adding a periscope zoom and titanium design will likely cost Apple more than if it just gave us standard upgrades, but a heftier premium could be lots of would-be upgraders pause. 

Bigger screen coming with iPhone 16 Pro Max?

iPhone 15 Pro renders

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

I'm not complaining about the 6.7-inch screen size that's supposed to come on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but some people just want larger displays. And we could see just that with the iPhone 16 series. The iPhone 16 Pro Max is tipped to get an even bigger 6.9-inch panel, and it could even see a smaller notch as the new iPhone 16 Pro may get under-display Face ID

No Wi-Fi 7

A smartphone showing the logo for Wi-Fi 7

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Based on everything we've learned so far, the iPhone 15 Pro Max won't be getting Wi-Fi 7 and will instead feature Wi-Fi 6E. The new Wi-Fi 7 standard is tipped to be the best upgrade for your home network in years.

For instance, when we reviewed TP-Link’s Archer BE800 router, we were able to reach speeds of almost two gigabits per second (Gbps) in real-world testing. In addition, Wi-Fi 7’s data channels are also significantly wider, which means that more bandwidth is available for your devices. Lastly, Multi-Link Operation in Wi-Fi 7 allows devices like your phone or PC to send and receive data across different bands as well as different channels

iPhone 15 Pro Max Outlook

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Ice Universe / Twitter)

As someone who owns an aging iPhone 12 Pro Max, I'm personally excited to upgrade to the iPhone 15 Pro Max — mostly for the more powerful periscope zoom. I'm also excited to see the new titanium design and what the new A17 Bionic chip can do.

However, I'm also nervous about the rumored price hike. I wouldn't be surprised if the new iPhone 15 Pro Max costs at least $100 more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. But I can live without Wi-Fi 7 and I don't need an even larger display.

So right now I'm on the side of upgrading to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but we'll see what our full review reveals. 

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.