Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro bezel Vs iPhone 14 Pro
08/10 Update below. This post was originally published on August 7
Apple’s iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro design changes have already been leaked by several sources, including Apple itself. But now we have multiple reports revealing the range’s most eye-catching upgrades.
First, long-time leaker Majin Bu has posted high-resolution photos of iPhone 15 Pro cases which show off the controversial new Action button. The button, inspired by the Apple Watch Ultra, will replace the mute switch on both iPhone 15 Pro models, and thanks to code found in iOS 17 beta 4, we know it is programmable with Accessibility, Camera, Flashlight, Focus, Magnifier, Shortcuts, Silent Mode, Translate and Voice Memo functions.
The button has attracted criticism because its flat, solid-state design is unlikely to be as easy to hit as the current mute switch via muscle memory. That said, its lack of moving parts should make it more durable and increase water resistance.
iPhone 15 Pro Max case showing the location of the new Action Button
Second, a pair of overall design leaks. Popular industry insider Ice Universe has tweeted images of an iPhone 15 Pro dummy model, while 9to5Mac and leaker Yeux1122 (top image) have published renders of the stunning new iPhone 15 Pro bezel, comparing it to the iPhone 14 Pro.
Critics have joked that Apple has run out of innovation if all it can do is reduce bezel size, but this has long been the company’s aim. Moreover, the renders show it does make a significant difference to the look of the iPhone 15 Pro, and the manufacturing challenges behind the circa 30% decrease have caused problems for suppliers. To me, it looks stunning.
Elsewhere, the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will adopt the Dynamic Island of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, inherit their A16 chip, a new 48-megapixel primary rear camera and, like all iPhone 15 models, USB-C.
Meanwhile, iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max buyers will have fractionally larger displays thanks to the slim bezels (6.12 and 6.69 inches, respectfully), a 3nm A17 chip, lighter titanium chassis, upgraded UWB, stacked battery technology, WiFi 6E and more RAM. It’s a solid upgrade list, though the expected worldwide price rises for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models are unlikely to go down well with buyers.
08/09 Update: iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max buyers could be in for a very exclusive upgrade, according to The Information. The report claims Apple and its primary chip supplier, TSMC, have signed a “sweetheart deal” which is likely to make the manufacturing of next-gen 3nm chips exclusive to Apple for at least a year.
The 3nm fabrication process is at the heart of the new A17 chip used in both iPhone 15 Pro models, and the die shrink will allow it to run faster, cooler and with lower energy consumption compared to the 5nm fabricated A16 chips used in the iPhone 14 Pros, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. Moreover, the move would effectively block Android rivals from using TSMC to match the tech until circa 2025.
The deal gets better for Apple too, as The Information reports that under the terms, “TSMC effectively eats the cost of the defects that inevitably crop up in a new manufacturing process.”
What’s in it for TSMC? First, scale, with Apple able to provide unrivaled demand for its chip, and second, an exclusive partner while it fine-tunes the 3nm process before expanding it to other companies as yields increase. It’s a deal that could have ramifications for the rest of the smartphone industry for some time.
08/10 Edit: the existence of this Sweetheart deal is now disputed after respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saying this is a standard way to do business which has be used for years:
08/10 Update: Leaker LeaksApplePro has published a new article revealing what they believe are Apple’s biggest secrets for its September iPhone 15 launch event.
Much of the iPhone 15 information corroborates earlier leaks, including the adoption of the Dynamic Island design used by the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus as well as their A16 chipset. Midnight, Starlight, Pink, Product RED and Blue are tipped as their color options.
Similarly, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max news that they will move to a titanium chassis, a 3nm A17 chip and thinner bezels is not new. That said, LeaksApplePro does play down the supposedly record-breaking bezels, stating that “the bezels will be slightly thinner, although it is not so noticeable when you spend some time using them, according to one of my sources.”
Where LeaksApplePro does deviate from the pack is some skepticism around recent reports of a 2TB iPhone 15 Pro, which they claim has existed in prototypes but may not make it to the final release. Pro models are also tipped for a price rise, but only of $100, not the $200 others have claimed.
In addition, LeaksApplePro says the Apple Watch Series 9 will be an incremental upgrade with “a new faster chip, but little else is going to change. Two exclusive watch faces according to my sources and that’s it. The real changes this year were in watchOS 10.” They say the same is true for the Apple Watch Ultra.
Lastly, LeaksApplePro claims, “There is a very real possibility that Apple decides to launch a new iPad mini during the event.” This would sport the same design and price tag ($499) and an A series chip rather than M2. Anyone looking to buy new AirPods will be disappointed because they state: “New AirPods are being tossed around in the media, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least as of today.”
Interestingly, LeaksApplePro says filming for the pre-recorded Apple event has already begun and is scheduled to take two full weeks to complete.
More on Forbes.