iPhone 15/15 Pro Impressions: Not Just USB-C!

  •  All right, so today I got a hold of and got to poke around the new iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pros. I do remember flying here and I'm thinking what could Apple possibly do? Like what could they possibly introduce with a new iPhone, the 23rd iPhone that's interesting? Now, there is more stuff than just the iPhone that was mentioned at this Wanderlust event that Apple hosted including some stuff that straight-up wasn't mentioned on stage at all, so we'll get to that. But this is just the new iPhone stuff. So stay tuned and get subscribed to see the rest. But let's just talk about the new iPhone 15 and 15 Pro. So here's a lens to look at all this stuff through. Coming into this, basically, everything Apple just added to their newest flagship phones falls into two buckets. It's either something we've already seen in some other phone for years, or it's some ecosystem feature that only works with other iPhones, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's just a lens to look through this stuff, just to keep an eye on it. So this is the iPhone 15. There are the same two sizes, again, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.
  • And yeah, you know there's some small changes, like the slight soft corner radii on the aluminum rails and the one-piece glass back fading between a lighter and darker version of the same color, like this new pink one. It's pretty seamless. Also, satin soft touchbacks across the whole lineup instead of glossy. I like that. But the big headlining feature is its USB now. Lightning is officially dead. These new iPhones are all USB-C across the board. Now, on one hand, this is a huge deal, like there's only ever been one port change in the iPhone. Back in 2012, it went from that 30-pin connector thing to this new lightning thing, which we've had ever since. And now the second one ever is USB type C. But on the other hand, it's, I don't know, it's just USB. It's the same port all these other laptops and tablets all over the planet have had for the past couple of years. I imagine that might be another year or two before the whole lineup, like the baseline cheap iPad and the iPhone SE and everything else gets USB-C. But yeah, I don't know. We knew it was coming, but it's still kind of surreal to look at an iPhone and see a USB port on it.

  • So what does this enable is a real question, right? First of all, it's the one cable that you can ideally use to charge all your stuff, so your Mac, your iPad, your iPhone, your friend's Android phone, the new AirPods which just got a new USB-C case. All that stuff, one cable. Oh, and now you can charge accessories like the new AirPods with the wire. So there's no wireless reverse charging right now, but that C-to-C cable that comes in the box, you can like to plug it into the iPhone, plug it into the AirPods and charge the AirPods up from the iPhone battery. So that's pretty cool. But they did hold back on one very key thing and they saved it for the iPhone 15 Pro. So I'll get to that in a bit, but that's the USB-C. Aside from that, it's a slightly updated phone. It's a little bit of a new display. You know, you get the Dynamic Island here, of course, on these baseline iPhones and there's also now a higher peak brightness, 2,000 nits now which is twice as bright as the iPhone 14s. And there's a new camera. The primary camera is now a 48-megapixel chip, presumably the same one that was in the iPhone 14 Pro last year.

  • And all the benefits that come with that. And then the rest of the phone follows that same formula. They do this thing where the new baseline phone is last year's Pro phone repackaged, so it inherits the same A16 Bionic chip from last year's Pro phone. The coolest feature of this phone though, and you know, it's also on the Pro phone but I still think it's pretty solid, Does the camera have this new next-generation portrait mode but it automatically detects when there's a subject in a photo and captures all of the depth information needed to be able to turn it into a portrait-mode photo later. So you don't have to remember to switch it to portrait mode every time. And if you ever forget but want to add that blur later, you can do it with high-quality results. So that's cool. Aside from that, the rest of the phone, I mean it's the same thing, right? Same sizes, guys, same ceramic shield, same dust and water resistance and the same starting prices, 799 for the 15 and 899 for the 15 Plus. So then there are the Pro phones, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.
  • There is some more news here. A lot of it, I'm gonna want to test just to see if it's actually what they say, but make sure you get Follow to see those full reviews when they come out later this month and we can figure out if the phones are worth it. But it's not bleeding-edge stuff that we've never seen before. It's just welcome stuff. And those are mostly in build quality, the chip inside, and the cameras. So let's just start with the chip inside. First of all, it's a brand-new chip that's called the A17 Pro. It's the first time they've used the word Pro in an iPhone chip, and it's their first three-nanometer chip, so it promises some performance and efficiency improvements as a result. I think they said it's like 10% faster high-performance cores and neural engines up to twice as fast, a bunch of other stuff. Not sure how much of this you'll notice in everyday use, but hey, future-proofing and headroom are never a bad thing, so this is a powerful chip. They showed a demo of a game with like faster ray tracing which isn't new, but you know, it helped make their point.

  • But the interesting thing to note here with this chip Have they mentioned the chip has a new USB 3 controller on it, which means the 15 and 15 Plus don't have that. So basically that means the Pro iPhone USB-C port gets upgraded USB 3 speeds, the faster data transfer speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, but the base iPhones without that controller, they get USB-C, but they're gonna be stuck at USB 2. 0 speeds. Basically the same we've always had with lightning, like 480 megabits per second. Now this probably won't make a real difference to most people. Like I don't know when the last time you plugged your phone in, but it's kind of a bummer that not all of the benefits of USB-C come to all phones but for the Pro phones that are gonna be shooting more ProRes video or ProRaw photos, I mean it takes forever. If you've shot this stuff like I have, you know it takes forever to get those off of the phone 'cause they're big files. So I kind of wish they'd gone all the way. I wish they'd done Thunderbolt speeds, 20, 30, 40 gigabits per second. But yeah, it's just gonna be USB 3 on the Pro iPhones
  • And USB 2 on the base iPhones. Do you know what is disappointing, though? No fast charging. but like switching to USB-C, you'd think, oh, this is a huge opportunity for Apple to like explain why they're doing it, and we know why they're doing it, but oh, why are you giving us this new port and all this big new USB-C deal and it's just the same 20 or so-watt charging we've had for the iPhone forever, no new fast charging. Kind of figured they would try to do that better. But yeah, this will still take an hour and a half, two hours to charge. But anyway, the new design is what most people are fawning over at the moment with the pros. So they have switched the rails from that shiny fingerprint stainless steel to this new grade 5 titanium alloy with a brushed texture. And it's nice. First of all, it's noticeably lighter in the hand, which I love and it seems like it's also enabled them to shrink the body of the Pro iPhones just a little bit.

  • They have the same screen sizes, but the screens now get even closer to the edges and there are even slightly thinner bezels. And I do notice that. Now, a lot of people are also quoting stronger as one of the benefits too, but I don't think this is gonna make as much of a difference as people are thinking. Like the Pro iPhones have had this stainless steel rails for a while now. I've dropped this phone, as you know, I don't have a case, on the ground. I've dented the stainless steel rails. It's fine, it doesn't break. It's not the stainless steel that breaks, it's the glass that breaks. And as far as we can tell, it's the same ceramic shield glass on the iPhone 15 Pro. That hasn't changed. So if you drop it on the glass, you're still gonna have not great results. But yeah, technically, sure, titanium is stronger. Either way, the new colors are black, white and this new blue which is subtle, and then natural which I guess, kind of embraces the raw titanium feel. Reminds me of "Starlight," if you're curious. Kind of like this warm tone.
  • Weirdly, I think I like it the most. But also something else Apple set on stage, and this was pretty quick so you might not have even picked it up, but they did mention that they have redesigned a bit of the interior of the chassis to make the back glass more replaceable. So it's a more repairable iPhone design. Technically. It's a small thing, it's just one little step, but it's a step in the right direction for a more repairable iPhone. But my favorite feature, and before we get to any of the cameras, I honestly think this is my favorite feature, is the new action button, a new customizable button on the side of the iPhone, just the Pro iPhone. So it replaces the mute switch, which is pretty iconic, but it's in the same spot as the mute switch and it's customizable. So it's a pretty small button, basically about the same size as the switch. And by default, it behaves just like the mute switch did. So you hold it down to switch between muted or ringer on, great. But if you dive into the settings, there's a section for this action button.

  • And it's really in-depth and super solid. It lets you go through and pick the function of the button, and there's way more here than I expected. So you can keep the mute switch on, or you can have it switch you in and out of a certain focus mode, like do not disturb, or you could pick whichever other one you want. You could also have it auto-launch the camera and pick whichever camera mode it opens. You could also do a flashlight turning on or opening up voice memos, or it can toggle the magnifier. The last option is you have it trigger a series shortcut, which as you know, can technically do almost anything, including basically launching any app on your phone. I think there may be a bit of a delay from the button press to the app opening, if I'm thinking about this correctly, like it's done in the past but I'll have to test that for the full review. But theoretically, you can map this button to open whatever, your calendar app, your to-do list app, whatever app you want which is not what I expected to be on the list of things you could do with a new button on the side of the iPhone. But now you can. But then last but not least,
  • The new cameras across the board here. There's a new larger 48-megapixel main sensor for the Pros and improved ultra-wide. And then the Pro Max, just the Pro Max gets a new intricate folding 5X telephoto camera. I'm guessing if I asked Apple, they would say that there is only enough room in the bigger Pro Max to fit this folding lens. I'll ask, we'll see what they say. But until then, the regular 15 Pro is still has the 3X telephoto, the regular 3X from last year. And then we found this seemingly random feature, it's in the settings, they also talked about it in the keynote, but where you can change your default focal length to be either 1X or 1. 2X or 1. 5X, for some reason. So it's buried in the middle of the camera settings, but you can tell it to default to one of these specific three focal lengths. So if you switch back to the camera app, that 1X button is now always going to take you to the new focal length that you've chosen. And you can still get to 1X or whatever other focal length you want, but I just found that interesting.

  • If you're someone that takes 1. 2X photos so often that you want a button to get there as fast as possible 'cause it's the perfect focal length for you, then sure. Maybe if you're a photographer, you don't wanna do the work of digital cropping, just hit that focal length every time, sure. But there's been a lot of comments that at the end of the day, it feels like USB is the biggest headlining new feature of this year's new iPhone, which is crazy. I can't quite get rid of my lightning cable yet. There's still some accessories, there's like MagSafe Duo there's AirPods Max, there's like the Magic Trackpad, there are a couple of things that still are lightning now, maybe they'll switch that in the next couple of months. But now I'm genuinely curious if there's going to be a bunch of new USB-C phone accessories because of of the iPhone getting USB-C, Anker. So they've made a whole new lineup of products for the iPhone 15 headlined by the Anker Nano which is like this little small but mighty USB-C power bank that can crank out 30 watts with the built-in USB-C cable and it can also charge up to 30 watts. And if you have that little button-up at the top here, it'll show a literal percentage of how much battery you have left, or if you're plugged in,
  • It'll show you a time that counts down so you know exactly how much of the 10,000 milliamp-hours you have left. Plus there's some other stuff in the lineup. There's a wall charger, and braided USB-C cables galore. So iPhone 15 Pro will start at the same price as last year, which is 999, but they've bumped up the iPhone 15 Pro Max sneakily. Interestingly, it will start at 1,199 but it's also the only one with the 5X camera and it's the only one that starts at 256 gigs. And last year, the price of the 256 gig Pro was the same, so you're kind of matching. It's just like getting rid of the $1,100 phone, for some reason. Either way, let me know if you're interested in these new iPhones at all. You're either in camp don't care at all, or you're in camp like totally getting one of these. Or maybe you're watching to see if the reviews prove that the new features are worth it.

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