After more than 10 years, and forced by the European Union, Apple has finally said goodbye to the Lightning port, the small connector used by iPhones and some of their accessories to charge and transfer data. The iPhone 15 and 15 Pro, announced today at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, instead use the USB-C connector that already accompanies most consumer electronics products.
Some of the company's new iPhones, which hit the market in the coming weeks, will also be the first phones to use a processor made with a three-nanometer process (a measurement that refers to the level of miniaturization of transistors). These processors not only make these phones more powerful but also more efficient, increasing their autonomy significantly.
The company has presented the new devices at an event in which the company's environmental responsibility strategy has also played a prominent role. Apple, for the first time, has eliminated leather in all its products - replacing it with a new synthetic material called finely woven fabric - and completely offset the carbon emissions of some of the devices it will launch this year.
Apple launched the Lightning connector in September 2012 with the iPhone 5 as a replacement for the 30-pin connector that its portable devices used until then. The new connector was not only more compact, but it offered some advances that the company, which is a member of the USB consortium and has collaborated in the design of USB-C, would later also use in this new standard, such as the possibility of connecting the cable in any orientation.
In 2012, most mobile phones from other brands were charged using a Micro USB connection, which had serious limitations compared to Lightning, equipped with more transmission channels and support for transmitting audio, not just data, but Apple's decision to maintain the The commitment to a proprietary port generated a lot of criticism.
Over the years, Lightning has accompanied a growing collection of accessories, both from Apple and other brands, which from now on will also change connectors. At the event, Apple presented new charging cases for AirPods, its wireless headphones, for example, which use the new port.
The connector, in any case, is not one of the most important changes in the new iPhone models. There are several improvements and advances compared to the previous generation of phones that make the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro an interesting proposition.
As in previous years, the two versions of the phone result in four iPhone models, as there are two sizes available. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro have a 6.1-inch screen while the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max have a 6.7-inch screen.
The physical dimensions of the phones are not exactly the same. The Pro models are a little more compact thanks to having slightly smaller frames. This year, they also arrive with an important change: Apple has eliminated the steel metal band around the phone and replaced it with titanium, a lighter material that dissipates heat better.
The Pro models also have the most advanced mobile processor of the moment, the A17 Pro. It is the first processor created with a 3 nanometer manufacturing process, a measurement that refers to the distance that separates the emitter and the collector within each of the millions of transistors present on the chip and which is used as a guide to the level of miniaturization of the component.
Processors with a higher level of miniaturization have important advantages. They generate less heat and on the same surface and can integrate more transistors. There are about 18 billion transistors in each of the new iPhone chips. This makes them more efficient and powerful.
For practical purposes, the new A17 Pro is 10% more powerful in general calculation and 20% more powerful in graphic processing thanks also to a new GPU design, which now supports ray tracing, a technique that allows you to create three-dimensional scenes in games. with more realistic lighting details.
The real practical use of the new processors for most users, however, is that they contribute to increasing the autonomy of phones thanks to their greater efficiency.
The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, on the other hand, will continue to use the A16 Bionic from the previous generation. The four models will also have a broadband chip that will allow you to find friends and family with precision, as is now done with AirTag locators.
The most important differences between the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro are once again in the camera and screen. Although the iPhone 15 now has the "dynamic island" on the screen (a black area that hides the front camera and the FaceID biometric identification system and that can be filled with contextual information), it is still betting on a panel of only 60 hertz of refresh rate. Its screen is also brighter compared to the iPhone 14, reaching 2,000 nits. The Pro models have a more advanced panel that can vary its refresh rate from 1 to 120 hertz depending on the content displayed on the screen.
Cameras have changed on all phones. The iPhone 15 now has a 48-megapixel camera similar to the one that was only available on the Pro models last year and that allows you to get a higher quality 2x zoom. Although the camera has a portrait mode, as always, the iPhone can now detect if there is a person centered in the image and stores the depth information of the scene so that the background blur effect can be applied later.
The main camera of the iPhone 15 Pro model will have a more advanced and larger sensor, which will allow different focal lengths to be imitated through different cropping modes. You can take 48-megapixel photos in HEIF format, or shoot in an intermediate 24-megapixel mode, in addition to the conventional 12-megapixel.
The most interesting novelty is that the iPhone 15 Pro Max model, the most expensive in the catalog, now has a periscopic zoom lens. Apple is not the first manufacturer to integrate these types of cameras into a phone, but they are not common yet.
The camera uses a series of prisms and lenses that allows it to achieve a greater optical zoom range, equivalent to 120 mm. In conventional photography or, for practical purposes, what could be defined as a 5x zoom. Apple has also designed a one-of-a-kind stabilization system that helps keep the image still when using that advanced level of zoom and allows for faster focusing.
The iPhone 15 Pro will also be the first phone capable of capturing "spatial" video, a three-dimensional video designed to be viewed with Vision Pro, the augmented reality viewer that the company will launch in 2024.
The Pro models also have a new configurable action button instead of the switch that until now allowed the phone to be silenced, and which has been present on the product since the original iPhone. By default, the button occupies the same position above the volume rocker and continues to perform that same action, but it can be modified to launch a specific app, such as the camera, accessibility options, or a shortcut.
Both phones will be available on September 22. The iPhone 15, available in 5 colors, will start at 959 euros for the 128 GB capacity model, the same price as the iPhone 14. The Plus model will start at 1,109 euros.
The iPhone 15 Pro, which will be available in four colors, will start at 1,219 euros. The Model 15 Pro Max will be available starting at 1,469 euros. Both will arrive in stores on September 22 but can be reserved from today. Along with the new phones, Apple will also launch new versions of the iOS 17 operating system, which includes important improvements in messaging, search and calendar management.
New phones are, as always, the focus of Apple's September event, but the company also takes advantage of the event to announce new Apple Watch smart watches, which is ultimately a product closely related to the phone.
Apple will launch two new versions of its watches this year, essentially small revisions of the models already on the market (next year marks 10 years since the launch of the original Apple Watch, and, according to rumors, plans of the company contemplate a major redesign).
The most important change in the Apple Watch Series 9 is that it uses a new processor, the S9, designed from the A15 Bionic that the company used in the iPhones of a few years ago. This is a more powerful processor than the one present in the latest generations of watches and will help make the user experience more fluid, reducing the loading time of applications and helping to increase autonomy. It will also allow you to use Siri locally in many more scenarios, without having to send information to the cloud to process instructions.
Thanks to the new processor, the watch can now also be controlled with a new gesture, a double tap with the index fingers and thumb in the air, similar to what the Vision Pro will use. The screen of the Apple Watch Series 9 has also gained brightness, reached 2,000 nits of brightness.
The Apple Watch Ultra model, more advanced and equipped with more precise GPS, will also be updated with the new processor. This watch, which was launched on the market for the first time last year, is focused on active athletes and risky sports. It is more resistant, can withstand harsher conditions and submerges deeper than the conventional Apple Watch. It will have an even brighter screen, 3,000 nits.
The Apple Watch Series 9 will be available in four different colors in an aluminum version and three in steel and will be launched on September 22. It starts at 449 euros for the model with a 41 mm case.
The new Apple Watch Ultra 2 will also be available on the same date and with a price starting at 899 euros. Along with both versions, a new version of the watchOS operating system will also arrive that includes a major redesign of the interface that makes better use of the screen and more advanced sports tracking functions.