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New iPhone 15 Pro Max CAD Leak Reveals Apple’s Biggest Design Changes – Forbes

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max new red finish
04/11 Update below. This post was originally published on April 8
The most exciting and most controversial iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max design changes have just been rendered following the leak of new detailed CAD files obtained by 9to5Mac. Let’s break them down.
Massive New Rear Camera — the 9to5Mac CADs (rendered by exceptional 3D artist Ian Zelbo) show that the iPhone 15 Pro Max may actually have a slimmer rear camera hump than its predecessor due to an exclusive space-saving periscope (optical zoom) module. On the flip side, the iPhone 15 Pro will have a massive rear camera hump that is almost as thick as the phone itself (render below).
The massive iPhone 15 Pro Max camera hump
World’s Thinnest Bezels — best illustrated by Zelbo’s exclusive Twitter image (shown below), the new CADs confirm the iPhone 15 Pro Max has astonishingly thin front bezels. Leakers claim it will measure just 1.55mm, which beats the 1.81mm of the current record holder, the Xiaomi 13.
iPhone 14 Pro Max bezels (left) Vs iPhone 15 Pro Max (right)
Curved Chassis — splitting the difference between the curvy iPhone X and the angular iPhone Pro models of recent years, the new CAD renders show the iPhone 15 Pro will soften its corners to make the phone more pleasant to hold. It’s a welcome change that should be appreciated by case-less owners and looks great.
Detailed iPhone 15 Pro Max renders show the new curved edges
Solid State Volume And Action Buttons — easily the most controversial design change, and now revealed in all its divisive glory. The 9to5Mac renders show a single flat volume strip that is flush with the phone (and may operate through swiping up and down) and the pill-shaped Action button, which will replace the Mute button, the function(s) of which can be customized in settings.
The solid state volume and action buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro Max
USB-C Is Coming — This is now an open secret, but the 9to5Mac CADs give us the best look yet at USB-C on the iPhone 15 Pro models. It’s a minor visual change from Lightning (given the two ports’ similar, symmetrical, pill-shaped openings), but its implementation is likely to prove contentious.
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max render from leaked CADs showing the new USB-C port
Lastly, 9to5Mac has learned that 410D0D is the color code Apple has chosen for its new iPhone 15 Pro model finish and replicated it in the render you can see at the top of this post. Personally speaking, this deep red tone is my favorite finish in years and 9to5Mac states that it will replace the iPhone 14 Pro’s deep purple in the lineup.
Needless to say, what these renders cannot confirm are internal changes, such as the allegedly ballistic new A17 chip and upgraded LiDAR. Rumors of a $200 price increase will also have to wait until Tim Cook announces pricing onstage in September. So yes, there are still plenty of surprises to come.
04/10 Update: iPhone 15 Pro Max design details continue to leak, with both physical glass from the phone’s display and the first dummy model of the device shared.
The front glass was revealed by popular anonymous leaker Ice Universe, who said: “the glass cover of the iPhone, is part of the phone, not a protective film. So its bezel is equal to the bezel of the phone.” According to the leaker, that bezel measures 1.55 mm (vs 2.1mm for the iPhone 14 Pro Max), which aligns with earlier leaks and would make it the thinnest bezel on any smartphone.
As for the dummy model, it was shared on Chinese TikTok-esque video site Douyin, giving us our first real-world look at how Apple’s new flagship iPhone will shape up.
The main physical differences are the new solid-state volume and action buttons and the introduction of USB-C. One notable inclusion is a physical SIM card slot, something Apple removed from iPhone 14 models in the US and this sim-less design is tipped to roll out to more countries with the iPhone 15 lineup.
That said, not every country has embraced eSim yet, so the slot is likely to survive for another generation in some regions. Apple does have the influence to drive change with carrier, however, so it will be interesting to see on what scale the sim card slot remains.
04/11 Update: thanks to a new report from The Elec, we not only know more about the iPhone 15 lineup but Apple’s iPhone 16 plans as well.
According to the respected publication’s supply chain sources, Apple plans to stick with the same Samsung Display M12 OLED material set used for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro for all iPhone 15 models. An OLED material set is comprised of the light-emitting layer, common layers and prime layers of individual pixels that make up the OLED display.
Sticking with M12 would mean an upgrade for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, whose predecessors used Samsung Display’s M11 material set, but The Elec says we will have to wait until 2024 for a bump to Pro models with Samsung Display working on M14 for the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max.
It is worth noting that despite their matching material sets, standard iPhone 15 models and their Pro stablemates will have key differences. Non-Pro models stick to LTPS (low-temperature polycrystalline silicon) TFTs (thin-film transistors), with which Apple sticks to fixed refresh rates.
In contrast, iPhone Pro models use LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) TFTs which can vary their refresh rate from 1-120Hz — something which makes them more power efficient, allowing Apple to run its ProMotion high refresh rate technology without seriously impacting battery life.
However, iPhone fans hoping Apple will bring this feature to standard models look set to be in for a long wait. Last week display specialist Ross Young claimed that Apple’s roadmap only plans to bring ProMotion to all iPhone models in 2025, which would be the year of the iPhone 17.
This is the same year Young also tips Apple to move Face ID under the display on iPhone Pro models, creating a larger area for the Dynamic Island and therefore a new point of differentiation to standard models at the time they get a long-awaited Pro feature. And this level of forward-thinking is exactly why Apple is the market leader in device segmentation.
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