At Apple's annual fall event on Tuesday, the company pulled the cover off the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus and, as expected, it’s mostly another iterative update — but with a few nice new features nonetheless. That said, the biggest change will undoubtedly impact lots of potential buyers, as Apple is saying goodbye to the Lightning port it introduced in 2012 with the iPhone 5. In its place, as expected, is USB-C.
As you'd expect, USB-C will carry power, audio and video. Charging is bidirectional, so with an appropriate cable you'll be able to charge your Apple Watch or AirPods case directly from your iPhone.
Like last year, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus include 6.1- and 6.7-inch displays, respectively. The big change this year is that the notch is gone, replaced by the so-called Dynamic Island that Apple first brought to the iPhone 14 Pro lineup last year. Almost everyone will likely appreciate a less obtrusive front camera cutout, though the notification utility of the Dynamic Island isn’t exactly the game-changer that Apple positioned it to be last year.
Another big change to the display this year is that it is brighter than ever before — the peak brightness in sunlight reaches 2,000 nits, while HDR video playback goes up to 1,600 nits.
The camera is getting some notable upgrades, as well. While there are still only two distinct camera lenses, the phone now has the same 48-megapixel sensor that Apple first introduced in last year's iPhone 14 Pro. It groups the pixels and makes a 24-megapixel output, but you can also crop in closer and use the middle 12 megapixels for a 2x telephoto option. Naturally, it still also has a wide-angle lens as well. There's also a new portrait mode that is enabled automatically when it sees you focusing on a person or pet.
Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 15 is using the A16 Bionic chip that Apple put in the iPhone 14 Pro last year. That’s not a big surprise, given that the A15 chip is now two years old — even though it’s still plenty powerful, it would have been surprising to see Apple try and stretch it for another year.
There's a new ultra-wideband chip in the iPhone 15, same as the one found in the Apple Watch Series 9. This makes it easier to find friends or devices when you're near them. You'll get an indicator showing you which direction to head and about how far away you are. Apple's existing SOS service is being extended to work with AAA roadside service, as well.
Like Apple is doing with the Apple Watch, new iPhone cases will not use leather; instead they are using Apple's own FineWoven fabric. As usual, the iPhone 15 comes in five colors: Black, light blue, mint green, light yellow and pink. (These are my interpretations of these colors; I'm sure Apple will have their own names for them.) Pricing is unchanged from last year: The iPhone 15 will cost $799 and the 15 Plus will cost $899, both with 128GB of storage. Pre-sales start on Friday, September 15, and they'll be available in stores on September 22.
Update September 13 1PM: This story was updated after publish to note that the iPhone 15's reverse-charging feature also works with AirPods, as well as Apple Watch.