The 2023 iPhone 15
Apple hasn't even released the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models, but it's looking like these devices are going to get a more moderate refresh than we've seen lately, and in past years, they probably would have gotten an "iPhone 13s" nomenclature. For that reason, we've already been hearing rumors about the iPhone 15, and there are some notable changes that are being bandied about at the current time.
The iPhone 15 is more than a year away, so nothing is set in stone yet, but USB-C, periscope camera technology, and an Apple-designed modem chip have been suggested. This roundup covers everything that we've heard about the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro so far, but keep in mind that it's early in the development cycle and Apple's plans could change.
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Rumors suggest the iPhone 15 models will look similar to the iPhone 14 models, but the pill-and-hole cutout will expand to the entire lineup. That means all iPhone 15 models would have no notch, instead adopting the two cutout design rumored for the iPhone 14 Pro models.
There have been some rumors suggesting an under-display Face ID system could be introduced in 2023 in the iPhone 15 Pro models, but it is unclear if that information is correct as other sources like display analyst Ross Young have said that under-screen Face ID simply won't be ready until at least 2024.
As there are no major design changes expected, Apple will likely continue to offer four models: The 6.1-inch iPhone 15, the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro, the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Max, and the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max. The "pro" models will have higher-end features and will be more expensive, while the standard iPhone 15 models will be cheaper.
Apple is considering swapping the Lightning port on the iPhone 15 devices for a USB-C port, which would allow it to comply with European regulations that are in the process of being passed. These regulations would require Apple to produce iPhones with USB-C ports in Europe, so Apple either needs to make a worldwide design swap or develop special iPhones for sale in Europe.
Reliable sources that include Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have said that Apple is going to make the swap, so this is a strong possibility at the current time. Of course, Apple's plans could change.
Periscope Lens Technology
There have been multiple rumors about Apple's work on "periscope" telephoto lens technology, and this type of lens could be introduced in the 2023 iPhones, likely in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
Periscope lens technology offers optical zoom capabilities that exceed those possible with a standard telephoto lens, allowing for 5x or even 10x optical zoom. With a periscope lens, the iPhone's zoom capabilities would be significantly enhanced as the current Pro models are limited to 3x zoom.
Apple competitor Samsung has come out with smartphones that use periscope lens technology that enables 4x to 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom.
Apple-Designed Modem Chips?
For the past few years, Apple has been working to develop modem chips in house, and rumors suggested that 2023 could be the year when Apple-designed modem chips debuted, but it is unclear if the modem chips will be ready.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said that Apple's 5G modem chip efforts have "failed," so Apple won't be able to use its own chips in the 2023 iPhones. Instead, the company will need to rely on Qualcomm for the iPhone 15 models.
The iPhone 15 models could be the first to feature an A-series chip built on Apple supplier TSMC's next-generation 3-nanometer node. 3nm chip technology is expected to increase processing performance by 10 to 15 percent, while also reducing power consumption by up to 30 percent.
TSMC is expected to begin 3nm chip production in 2022, which means it would be ready for launch in 2023.
The iPhone 15 models will likely be released in September 2023 if Apple follows its traditional September launch timeline.