iPhone 15: In addition to the arrival of cooler weather and the changing of leaves, three other things are guaranteed every fall: pumpkin spice, the start of football season, and the introduction of new iPhones.
Staying true to tradition, Apple recently unveiled the latest additions to its iPhone lineup, the iPhone 15 family, and other devices at the “Wonderlust” event held at Apple Park’s Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.
For those who followed USA TODAY’s live blog of the event, you’re already aware that Apple introduced four new iPhone 15 models: the standard iPhone 15 (starting at $799) and iPhone 15 Plus (starting at $899), both with 6.1 and 6.7-inch displays, respectively, retaining the same sizes as last year’s iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. The premium options include the iPhone 15 Pro (6.1 inches; starting at $999) and iPhone 15 Pro Max (6.7 inches; starting at $1,199). So, what makes upgrading worthwhile this time?
As a firsthand witness to the event, I had the opportunity for some hands-on time with the new iPhone 15. Here are the key takeaways for those considering a new iPhone:
- USB-C: A Welcome Change Apple has made the long-awaited shift from its proprietary Lightning port to the more universal USB-C. This change allows iPhones, iPads, Macs, and even non-Apple devices to share the same charger and cable. This transition was partly driven by new European Union regulations mandating standardized charging ports. It’s a significant move that simplifies the charging process across devices and brands, saving consumers money and reducing e-waste in landfills. If you already have USB-C cables at home, this change will likely be appealing.
However, if you own a collection of Lightning cables, this transition might not be as enticing. In such cases, you can purchase a USB-C to Lightning Adapter for $29.
- Dynamic Island: A Screen Revolution All four iPhone 15 models now feature a “Dynamic Island,” which replaces the notch at the top of the display. Unlike last year, where only the Pro models had this feature, it’s now standard across the lineup. Dynamic Island not only maximizes screen real estate but also displays context-sensitive information tied to the open app. For instance, it can show your Uber driver’s ETA, your flight’s gate information, or the currently playing song, allowing for easy access to additional details with a simple tap. There are numerous first- and third-party applications that leverage Dynamic Island.
While it may be considered an evolutionary rather than revolutionary change, new iPhone users will likely appreciate the added functionality.
- Enhanced Camera Systems The premium iPhone 15 models (Pro and Pro Max) feature a 48-megapixel camera with a larger sensor, improved computational photography capabilities, and a 5x telephoto zoom (Pro Max) or 3x telephoto zoom (Pro). These upgrades enable capturing more detailed images from a distance and cropping photos while maintaining image quality.
While the iPhone 15 family is undoubtedly Apple’s best yet, it’s worth noting that the incremental improvements year after year mean that you may not notice a significant difference if you upgrade annually. Generally, it’s advisable to wait a few years between upgrades to fully appreciate the advancements compared to your current device.
One noteworthy change for the Pro models is the use of titanium, which replaces stainless steel, making them more durable and lighter. However, it’s more of a “nice to have” feature than a necessity.
Despite the anticipation of a price increase, Apple maintained pricing in line with last year’s models.
Additionally, the mute switch on the left side of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max has been replaced with a multipurpose Action button, which can be handy for quick app launches, although using Siri may still be faster for some tasks.
For those contemplating an upgrade, consider taking advantage of the aggressive trade-in programs offered by Apple, carriers, or retailers to maximize the value of your current device.