iPhone 15 Pro and Grade 5 Titanium: A Detailed Overview
The iPhone 15 Pro is widely rumored to feature an all-new titanium frame. Over the past several months, a variety of credible sources such as Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple analyst Jeff Pu, and leaker ShrimpApplePro, have all claimed that Apple would be switching to titanium for the iPhone 15 Pro, finally replacing stainless steel.
MacRumors has confirmation that Apple intends to use Grade 5 Titanium as the exact material for the chassis of the iPhone 15 Pro and the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Grade 5 Titanium, also known as Ti-6Al-4V, is a titanium alloy consisting of titanium along with small amounts of aluminum and vanadium. Most commonly known for its excellent corrosion resistance, Grade 5 Titanium is used in a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, racing, and prosthetics manufacturing. The light weight, strength, and hardness of the material could explain why Apple decided to use Grade 5 Titanium for the iPhone 15 Pro.
Apple has a history of using titanium for its products – from the PowerBook G4 Titanium in 2001 to the Apple Watch Series 5, down to the Apple Watch Ultra. Apple's decision to use titanium for the iPhone 15 Pro models may have been influenced by the Apple Watch Ultra, as the new Pro iPhones are also set to adopt the multi-purpose Action Button from the high-end Apple Watch.
The use of titanium on the iPhone 15 Pro also brings with it a change to the chassis finish. Previously, all Pro iPhones used heavily polished stainless steel with a mirror finish as the chassis material. The iPhone 15 Pro will have a brushed finish that is considerably less reflective than the finish of previous Pro iPhones. The image below is perhaps the most accurate representation of the new brushed finish, closely resembling the finish found on prototype devices.
The new brushed finish is expected to reduce scratch visibility. Early in the development of the iPhone 15 Pro, Apple experimented with a mirror finish for the device for the titanium frame, in appearance very similar to the iPhone 14 Pro. The versions of the iPhone 15 Pro with mirror finish, however, were found to be prone to scratches and dents – both of which were immediately noticeable on the frame. Because of this, the mirror finish for the device was seemingly quickly abandoned in favor of the new brushed look.
While titanium in combination with the brushed finish will allow for better fingerprint resistance and fewer visible scratches - durability issues may still be a potential concern. Although titanium has a higher hardness compared to stainless steel, it's also lighter, making it more prone to dents. To be more specific, the devices may be especially affected by corner dents, which can result in the color coating flaking off, revealing bare metal underneath. This phenomenon has been seen on prototype devices, although it is unclear if improvements have been made since.
The introduction of titanium also influenced the selection of color options planned for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. Back in early July, we revealed Apple was testing four different color options for the iPhone 15 Pro:
- Space Black / Space Gray
- Titanium Gray
With the removal of the gold color option, we can expect a switch to more gray tones for the iPhone 15 Pro. Apple is expected to replace gold with a color option known internally as "Titanium Gray." Titanium Gray, as the name implies, is a color option similar to the color of natural titanium - darker than Silver, but lighter than the Space Black option.
More recently, Apple issued invitations to its September 12 event with the tagline "Wonderlust." The accompanying image and animation feature a multi-colored Apple logo made up of metallic particles, which many consider a subtle nod to the upcoming titanium frame on the iPhone 15 Pro. Furthermore, the colors used for the Apple logo match the color options for the 15 Pro, with varying shades of silver, gray, black and dark blue.
The titanium chassis is also expected to lead to lighter devices. According to information obtained by MacRumors, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are expected to be lighter than their respective predecessors by 18 grams, which is a reduction in weight by around 10 percent.
To sum up, these are the key benefits and changes titanium is set to bring to the iPhone 15 Pro:
- Brushed finish
- Scratches will be less visible
- Improved fingerprint resistance
- Device weight reduced by 18 grams
- New color option – Titanium Gray