Apple’s iPhone 15 has a sleeker look and USB-C support

13 Sep 2023

iPhone 15. Image: Apple

The tech giant is moving away from its Lightning connector to comply with the EU, while its latest flagship product sports a sleek design and a powerful camera.

Apple has unveiled its annual batch of hardware upgrades, with the new iPhone 15 range, watches and the release of the company’s first carbon neutral product.

The new products were unveiled yesterday (12 September) and while the new products are exciting, one of the biggest changes was the long-awaited introduction of USB-C ports.

This marks a significant change for the future of Apple products – which typically feature the company’s Lightning connector – but this wasn’t Apple’s decision.

Last October, the European Parliament voted that all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to be equipped with a USB-C charging port by the end of 2024. Apple had initially criticised the idea, arguing a universal charger will lead to an “unprecedented” volume of e-waste.

iPhone 15 and 15 Plus

Two different coloured iPhone 15 models next to each other, in a white background.

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. Image: Apple

Apple’s latest flagship product bears a similar design to its predecessor, but also comes with contoured edges to give it a slightly sleeker look. The company said colour has been “infused” into the back glass to enhance the design of the phone.

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus come with powerful cameras, with a 48MP main camera and a Telephoto option to give users three optical zoom levels. These phones also come with the A16 Bionic chip, to give “fast and efficient” performance, according to Apple.

The phone’s six-core CPU is designed to handle intensive tasks and give more battery life to the device, while the five-core GPU has better memory bandwidth to support streaming videos and playing games.

All of the iPhone 15 models come with the Dynamic Island, which first debuted on the iPhone 14 Pro. This is essentially a upgraded method of checking alerts and notifications such as music that’s playing, an AirDrop connection and directions from map apps.

The iPhone 15 is priced at €979 for the 128GB model, while the iPhone 15 Plus starts at €1,129 for the 128GB version. These smartphone will be available for pre-order in 40 countries on 12 September, with availability beginning on 22 September.

iPhone 15 Pro

Two iPhone 15 models next to each other in a dark background.

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models. Image: Apple

Meanwhile, the more powerful Pro and Pro Max models come in a titanium design to give a strong but lightweight quality to the powerful devices.

These stronger models come with Apple’s A17 Pro chip, which the company claims is the industry’s first three-nanometre chip. The company said this chip features a massive GPU redesign and is able to bring console games to the smartphone, such as Resident Evil Village and Death Stranding.

Greg Joswiak, Apple senior VP of worldwide marketing, said this chip ushers in a “new chapter of performance and games never before seen on iPhone”.

“iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max represent the best of Apple design and industry-first innovations to help enrich the everyday experiences of our users, while enabling them to unleash their creativity,” Joswiak said.

These models also come with a powerful camera and Apple said the portraits from these smartphones feature sharper detail, more vivid colours and better low-light performance.

The iPhone 15 Pro comes in at a starting price of €1,239, while the Pro Max starts at €1,489. Both models will be launched on 22 September.

iOS 17

The iPhone 15 models also come with the iOS 17, the latest operating system that Apple unveiled at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year.

The iOS 17 is set to upgrade the core apps of the iPhone, with new features for Phone, Messages and FaceTime.

The Phone app will soon include Contact Posters, which will let viewers change how they appear when calling other people. This sounds like it will be similar to users creating their own avatars on social media sites like Snapchat.

A live voicemail feature will let users see a real-time transcription as someone leaves a voicemail, along with the opportunity to pick up while the caller is leaving a message.

FaceTime is getting boosted with new audio and video messages, which a user can leave if their contact is not available. This feature is also getting new reactions that can be activated through simple gestures while on a call.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2

A row of different coloured Apple smartwatches in a black background.

Image: Apple

The iPhone usually steals the show at these events, but Apple also revealed its latest batch of smartwatches.

The company claims its “custom Apple silicon” makes its Series 9 watch more capable, intuitive and faster. The device’s dual-core CPU has 5.6bn transistors, which Apple said represents a 60pc upgrade over the S8 chip.

The new watch aims to be more user-friendly, with a double tap option to let users quickly answer calls, open notifications or pause their music. Apple said this new smartwatch comes with a brighter display, to make it easier to read when in sunlight.

As an incentive to buy all of the Apple products possible, the Series 9 watch also comes with the Precision Finding feature to help users find their iPhone if it gets lost.

This device comes with the watchOS 10, which features a range of redesigned apps to make it easier for users to quickly see information on their smartwatch.

In an environmental push, Apple claims this watch will come in case and band combinations that are carbon neutral, representing the company’s first carbon neutral product.

Meanwhile, the more powerful Ultra 2 watch features a lightweight titanium case, designed to be corrosion resistant and protect the sapphire crystal from edge impacts. This model also shows dynamic info for users such as altitude, depth and seconds.

The company’s Series 9 watch is available at roughly €449, while the more powerful Ultra 2 watch comes in at €899.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic