The iPhone 15 releases have mixed reactions from the public. From the announcement of the product on September 12th 2023 in one of Apple’s annual fall events to the official sale of the said products on September 22nd, iPhone 15 models have both positive and negative reviews from the public. Sure, mostly the negatives were about “Android is better”, but this time it’s slightly more than that. Take a look at the switch from the lightning port to the USB-C port for iPhones, for example—Apple called it ‘innovative’ even though the USB-C had already been a thing almost a decade ago (in 2015). I swear I’m so done with writing about iPhones.
So, we’ll take a look at all the iPhone 15 models, and see what we have to say about it.
They have sprung back to using curved edges—something we would genuinely appreciate. They do still retain the flat edges, in some ways—just slightly more curved to accommodate human hands (our hands aren’t made from Legos). The flat edges on the past three previous models (iPhone 12, 13 and 14 series), whilst quite nice, can be slightly painful to hold for long periods.
We do notice that the screen itself is slightly curved at the edges, though. It’s not a big deal, though; it’s just that you might run into slight issues with accumulating dirt at the gap between the screen protector and the edge of the phone over time if you slap a screen protector on top of it.
The design is still overall the same; nothing new. The cameras, though, have bigger sensors this time around, as compared to all of its previous models. Instead of a 12-megapixel sensor, we now have a 48-megapixel camera sensor. This means better photos in low light and contrasting/harsh brightness, mostly. iPhone models have long since made full use of the 12-megapixel cameras they had on the iPhone 12, 13 and 14 series. Since photography is one of the iPhone’s strongest suits, bumping up the camera sensor for the new chipset to work with is a good call to make.
The Action Button
And then we have the action button. For switch button lovers, don’t worry—the mute/unmute switch is still present in standard iPhone 15 models. Only the Pro models get the action buttons (which can be either fortunate or unfortunate, depending on how you see it). The switch button has been quite useful on countless occasions I have been using an iPhone myself—I know when my phone is switched to silent mode or vice versa.
With the action button, perhaps there would be an indicator somehow (possibly through vibration to let users know they’ve switched to silent mode), but chances are, if they forget, they may need to re-press the button just to make sure their phones are in silent mode (kinda like how you would do multiple saves in a video game just to make sure).
But the good thing about the action button is that you can assign it to not just mute/unmute your iPhone. It can open up cameras, act as a shutter, open up certain apps, and assign accessibility features—it suits your preferences of how you use your phone. It’s a bit disappointing to see that the action button is only available on the Pro models; it’s like an exclusive feature only on Pro models that the regulars cannot have.
Is it a ground-breaking feature? Not really; Androids have already had this feature long ago. Is it nice to have on an iPhone? Yes. Is it a deal-breaker? You decide.
USB-C Finally Makes Its Debut.
We won’t be hearing from our friends asking for lightning chargers anymore every time they run out of juice after this. You might still be hearing from them asking for chargers, though. The good news is that you can lend yours to them now. Jokes aside, USB-C is now introduced to all of iPhone’s latest models, both standard and Pro models. Despite their claims to shift towards a more ‘eco-friendly’ move and avoid cable clutters, it is most likely that this shift is because of EU’s new regulations that have been imposed on all smartphone manufacturers, and other small electronic devices (tablets, digital cameras, headphones, and handheld video game consoles) in October 2022.
The European Parliament passed legislation that requires all small electronic devices sold in the EU to have a USB-C charging port by the end of 2024. So yes, no more lightning ports for all iPhone releases from this point on. It’s one good thing that the EU has done, honestly speaking—exclusivity can only get you so far before it passes on of being snobbish and so-called ‘top-class’ as compared to the other.
Seriously, who has tried transferring photos and videos to computers with the cable and has issues with it just because the computer doesn’t recognise the device? Hopefully, with the introduction of USB-C, this will change that (no, before you say, “Just transfer it over the cloud”, not everyone has 1TB cloud storage on iCloud to transfer large files).
Whilst it is welcome to have USB-C on our new iPhones, there’s one slight issue.
The standard models can only support USB-C 2.0. Only the Pro models support the latest USB-C 3.2 Gen 2. This means that the standard iPhone 15 models will have slower data transfer speeds and charging speeds than the Pro models—USB 2.0 has a maximum data transfer speed of 480 Mbps, while USB 3.2 Gen 2 has a maximum data transfer speed of 10 Gbps. It’s not exactly a deal breaker, but this appears as a caveat if you opt for the standard model of iPhone 15. It’s the same speed you will get with a lightning port.
I can tell Android users were laughing on their couches when they found out about this.
It is understood that this move is not because they want to separate the superiority that Pro users will get (even though I have some doubts), but it’s because of the inferior chipset they have in the standard models compared to the Pro models. The standard models use the A16 Bionic chip, which back then housed iPhone 14 Pro models that only supported lightning cables. Regardless, hopefully, this will be the stepping stone for a good change.
Speaking of Chipset…
It’s a trend now, so don’t expect much to change. Only Pro models can benefit from the latest Bionic chip introduced; the standard models will always get the chipset found in the previous Pro models. So the iPhone 15 Pro models will get the latest A17 Bionic chipset, and the standard iPhone 15 models get the A16 Bionic chipset from the iPhone 14 Pro models. And the standard iPhone 14 models get the A15 Bionic chipset from iPhone 13 Pro models… the list goes on. I wouldn’t say it’s a problem; it’s just another method to differentiate between the users of standard iPhone models and the Pro models (as if they haven’t differentiated themselves enough from Android users).
Before iPhone 15 releases, the differences in the chipset usually go unnoticed, because honestly—hardly any of us do a benchmark test on these models every day just to get that boost of serotonin. But for iPhone 15 models—the differences matter when it comes to charging and transfer speeds. So should we expect all standard iPhone models to have inferior charging and transfer speeds from this point on? Considering how things are right now, chances are likely (let’s hope not, though).
The Titanium Material on Pro Models.
It looks cool. It feels cool. However, some of the YouTubers have already mentioned some small issues with it. Dave2D mentioned the fingerprint smudges he would be more likely to leave on the titanium material on the iPhone 15 Pro models, especially on the darker model. It is more noticeable around the area near the buttons.
MrWhoseTheBoss have mentioned this, too—though the materials are made for durability, it can also mean that they can be scratched more easily. In other words, it’s more to being functionally perfect, rather than aesthetically perfect. For a flagship phone, it does raise some concerns. Would it be a problem? Not really. But it does raise the question: I paid RM5k for this?
If the standard models hide the smudges better than flagship ones, shouldn’t the concerns be raised? Eh, slap a case on it and you’re good, I suppose. Wabi-sabi, as they say.
iPhone 15 Pro models (screenshot taken from https://www.apple.com/iphone-15-pro/).
It’s a mixed bag. iPhone 15 series (standard and Pro models) have some new features that are definitely welcomed, such as the switch to USB-C and the improved camera system. But, they also have some drawbacks. We’re talking slower data transfer speeds and charging speeds on the standard models, and the use of titanium on the Pro models, which is more prone to fingerprint smudges and scratches.
Would I say the iPhone 15 series is good? They are, but they are definitely not ground-breaking. It is a tad disappointing to see that Apple is not innovating as much as it used to. Though I might say, if you have the budget, and are already anticipating this new series, then by all means go for the iPhone 15 (Pro or standard, your choice). The hardware may not be all that it offers; iOS always thrives on the ecosystem and the software it provides to consumers. In the end, we are just going to use the phone for day-to-day use rather than scrutinising every little detail that is advertised.