Apple has recently unveiled its latest non-pro iPhones, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. At first glance, they may seem like iterations of the past few generations, which could be frustrating for some users. Especially considering the lukewarm reception of the iPhone 14, which felt like a clone of the iPhone 13 with some uninspiring color choices, However, after spending a week with both the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, it’s clear that there are several subtle yet noteworthy improvements that will make these devices stand out in 2024.
A Fresh Look
Despite the familiar appearance, there are changes worth mentioning in the physical design. Here are some notable updates:
- New Colors: The iPhone 15 series introduces vibrant pastel shades. While they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they add a refreshing touch to the lineup. The muted finish on the regular 15, like the pink variant, gives the phone a refined feel. The darker options, such as black, exude a sleek and timeless vibe.
- Well-Crafted Frames: Apple sticks with aluminum frames, eschewing stainless steel or titanium. Nevertheless, these frames are skillfully designed, featuring a brushed finish that’s remarkably resistant to fingerprints. They harmonize well with the overall aesthetic.
- Matte Back: In a notable departure from the norm, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus sport a satin finish on the back, ditching the glossy surface. This change not only makes the phones easier to keep clean but also imparts a more mature and sophisticated look.
Display and Design Continuity
While the dimensions and screen-to-bezel ratios remain unchanged, the phones continue to employ Super Retina XDR OLED panels that deliver stunning visuals. However, there is a significant shift that photography enthusiasts will appreciate:
- Notch-Free Design: The adoption of a pill-shaped camera cutout marks the end of the era of the notch. This change opens the door to Apple’s new feature, Dynamic Island, which enhances multitasking by allowing users to monitor one task while working on another.
A Missed Opportunity
One aspect that leaves enthusiasts somewhat disappointed is the absence of a higher refresh rate display. While Apple’s integration of hardware and software ensures a smooth experience even with a 60Hz refresh rate, the competition has moved ahead with higher refresh rates. It would have been a significant selling point if Apple had introduced a 90Hz panel while keeping the Pro models distinct.
USB Type-C Adoption
In a surprising move, Apple has embraced USB Type-C, replacing its proprietary Lightning connector. This shift may not be accompanied by faster charging or USB 3 high-speed data transfer on the regular iPhone 15s, but it does simplify the charging experience for users.
Power and Performance
Under the hood, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are powered by the A16 Bionic chip, the same processor found in last year’s iPhone 14 Pro. This upgrade from the iPhone 14 represents a step in the right direction, ensuring a seamless and snappy user experience.
While the external appearance of the camera system remains unchanged, there are significant improvements:
- 48-Megapixel Sensor: The primary camera now boasts a 48-megapixel sensor, previously seen only in the Pro models. This not only enhances image detail and sharpness but also enables a 2x optical zoom by utilizing the larger sensor.
- Software Enhancements: Apple has introduced new software features, such as an always-on portrait mode and the ability to adjust the focus point after capturing photos. These additions enhance the photography experience without compromising the signature Apple image quality.
Apple continues to excel in the realm of smartphone videography. While the iPhone 15 series lacks the Pro models’ advanced video features, the standard 4K video capabilities are exemplary. The ease with which these phones produce top-notch video, without the need for manual adjustments is a testament to Apple’s prowess in this area.
Impressive Battery Life
Battery life has been a concern for some iPhone users in the past, but the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus seem to have addressed this issue:
- Exceptional Battery Life: The 15 Plus, in particular, stands out with remarkable battery life, easily lasting a day and a half with moderate use. It’s a welcome improvement compared to previous models.
While the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus may not immediately dazzle with their exterior design, the subtle upgrades, including the new processor, camera enhancements, USB Type-C, and extended battery life, make them compelling choices. These non-pro models offer excellent value for their price points and could be the preferred options for users looking for a solid iPhone upgrade. Apple may have played it safe with the design, but the improvements under the hood are enough to recommend these devices over their more expensive counterparts. Ultimately, the iPhone 15 series proves that sometimes, it’s what’s on the inside that truly counts.