Apple launches iPhone 15 and 15 Plus with slow USB C, 2000-nit display, and welcome camera updates ↺
After weeks of leaks hinting at an increased price and hardware and design updates, Apple has finally launched the iPhone 15 at its Wanderlust event. The latest iPhone features a new processor, new materials, and a display to match the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max — at least in terms of brightness.
The new 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus feature basically the same internals, except for the bigger battery in the 15 Plus. By far, the most notable update to the line-up is the adoption of USB Type-C for charging and data transfer.
The devices also feature updated Super Retina XDR displays, with the same 60 Hz refresh rate but with greater brightness. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus both top out at 2,000 nits peak brightness in bright outdoor scenarios, while the displays are limited to 1,600 nits under normal conditions.
Perplexingly, Apple made no remarks about improved transfer or charging speeds or USB-C generation, like it did when it announced Thunderbolt 5 on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Shuffling on over to the iPhone 15 specifications page confirms that it is limited to USB 2 speeds, just like the Lightning standard.
The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus both come with a massively updated 48-MP main camera, finally bringing pixel binning to the base-model iPhone. While there is no telephoto camera on the base model iPhones this time, Apple claims that it can achieve the same end result as optical zoom by using an up to 4× crop from the main camera to produce a 12-MP image.
Along with new camera hardware and the A16 Bionic SoC, Apple has updated its camera processing, with low-light performance and fidelity being a key point for Cupertino. Primarily, the iPhone 15 will combine binned stills, which produce better noise signatures and perform better in low-light scenarios, with full-resolution images to get sharp low-light images. How this plays out in real-world tests is yet to be seen, but it should be a decent upgrade from the iPhone 14.
Despite the slow transfer speeds, Apple's move to USB Type-C also allows the iPhone 15 to output 4K 60 FPS video using an HDMI cable plugged into the US$69 USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.
Apple also appears to be chasing environmental targets harder than ever, boasting 100%-recycled-copper in the iPhone 15 family's main logic board, 100% recycled cobalt in the phone's battery, and 75% recycled aluminium in the frame of the phone. Apple also mentioned that it has shrunk the bezels on the iPhone 15, and it has once again smoothed over the corners of the aluminium frame and switched up the textures and colours of the glass backs of the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus.
The iPhone 15 starts at US$799, while the iPhone 15 Plus starts at US$899, and both are available in pink, yellow, green, blue, and black.