Apple ushered in a radical shift in the world of iPhone last year when it added a new device and a new naming scheme to the iPhone 14 lineup with the iPhone 14 Plus.
Originally thought of as an ‘iPhone 14 Max’ and designed to complement the large iPhone 14 Pro Max – with a simpler chip, display and camera system, the 14 Plus also showed that Apple didn’t go far beyond rephrasing its product names for better clarity.
Rumors now suggest that the company will apply a similar treatment to the top of the iPhone lineup for 2023. Instead of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it’s starting to look like we’ll be introduced to the ‘iPhone 15 Ultra’, set above the iPhone 15 Pro.
The naming is not mismatched with Apple. The company just launched an extreme version of its smartwatch — loaded to the gills with features — called the Apple Watch Ultra.
The idea of the Apple iPhone 15 Ultra makes sense to us and separating from the Pro by name would give Apple a better justification for any differences Apple decides to make in the two more capable 2023 iPhones. The 15 Ultra is likely to be more than just a larger screen and battery, as is the case with the iPhone 14 Pro and Existing Pro Max.
cut to the chase
- What is this? The largest and worst iPhone 2023 expected from Apple
- When is the exit? Likely September 2023
- How much will it cost? Maybe more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Ultra release date predictions
Apple events historically fall in the first or second week of September. The company likes to release an announcement on a Tuesday or Wednesday, then start pre-sales that same Friday. The phone usually hits stores the following Friday.
For the iPhone 14, that event occurred on September 7 (admittedly, earlier than expected), with three of the four phones going on sale more than a week later, on September 16 (the iPhone 14 Plus arrived on October 7).
In 2023, this means that September 5 or 12 are likely event dates (both on Tuesday), though the 6 and 13 are also possibilities. We can see the phone in stores since September 15th.
iPhone 15 Ultra price leaks
Early leaks about how Apple will price the iPhone 15 Ultra tell us. Apple may start the Ultra at $1,199. This would put the phone in the same pricing category as Samsung’s current “Ultra” device, the Galaxy S22 Ultra. This phone costs $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849.
However, a more recent leak suggests it could be pricier, at $1,299, likely to be equivalent to £1,429 / AU$2,249 in other regions.
The current iPhone 14 Pro Max costs $1,099 / £1,199 / AU$1,899, which itself is a price hike outside of the US market over last year’s model. We think it’s possible that when Apple switches from the Pro Max to the Ultra, it will raise the price by $100 or $200 in the US with a corresponding price hike elsewhere.
Hopefully, this price increase will come with more reasons to buy. The current iPhone 14 Pro Max gives you a larger screen and battery than the standard 14 Pro, and that’s it. That’s a big $100 bonus, but if Apple is going to push the price higher, they need to offer more features and more hardware to justify the price.
Fortunately, one source claims the starting capacity will be 256GB, which is double the starting size of current models, and will go some way to justifying the price.
- iPhone 14 Pro Max: $1,099 / £1,199 / $1,899
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G: $1199.99 / £1149 / AU$1849
- iPhone 15 Ultra (expected): $1199 / £1309 / AU$2099 – $1299 / £1429 / AU$2249
iPhone 15 Ultra news, rumors and leaks
We’ve already been hearing a lot about the expected iPhone 15 with rumors dating back to before the launch of the iPhone 14 series, but only recently has news surfaced of a higher-end Apple iPhone 15 Ultra. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman mentioned after Line 14’s launch that Ultra was coming, and that was the first we heard about this potential new naming.
Like I said yesterday: Ultra is coming. https://t.co/IrZUBHlLN2September 9, 2022
Then, we heard additional confirmation from other iPhone 15 leaks, and one leaker suggested that in addition to a bigger screen and bigger battery, the iPhone 15 Ultra could see a better camera setup than its sibling, the iPhone 15 Pro.
The information came somewhat vague, as the leak said that Apple was testing the long-awaited 8K video recording feature for the upcoming iPhone, but the leaker wasn’t sure if this feature would come to the iPhone 15 Pro or just a higher end. iPhone 15 Ultra. This led to speculation that the Ultra could see camera improvements over the Pro.
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra is a step ahead of its Galaxy S22 Plus and base model Galaxy S22, and one significant improvement is the addition of a periscope-style telephoto zoom lens. Leaks indicate that Apple could also use periscope zoom on the larger Ultra, and the size requirements for such a lens would make more sense on the larger phone compared to the smaller iPhone 15 Pro expected next fall as well.
Another camera upgrade could come in the form of a new Sony sensor that apparently captures more light and is better at avoiding overexposing or underexposing shots than current smartphone cameras, even in tricky scenes where the foreground lighting is very different from the background.
We’ve also heard that the Ultra may feature a dual-lens front camera, with the same source also saying it may only come in one shade — the same silver as the Apple Watch Ultra.
Elsewhere, a reputable source claims that Pro models of the iPhone 15 line (presumably including the iPhone 15 Ultra) will get a USB-C port with support for data transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps or 40Gbps, up It’s only 480 Mbps for the current iPhone.
Of course, it is sure to be very powerful as well. Expect the A17 Bionic chipset, which the source claims could be more efficient than the A16 Bionic used by the iPhone 14 Pro line, which in turn could lead to better battery life.
Moreover, we also heard that the iPhone 15 Ultra may be covered in titanium, which is typically stronger and lighter than the stainless steel used in the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This claim comes from a tweet by the leaker leaks (Opens in a new tab)who wasn’t the biggest dropout but was right before.
Another source said the same thing now, so that may be true. This second source added that the sides will apparently be a different shape as well, as they curve to the back of the phone, rather than being a right angle.
Another rumor suggested that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra will have slimmer bezels than their predecessors, and that all models in the range are equipped with curved edges.
Another design tweak could come in the form of the solid state power and volume buttons, which are flush with the body of the phone and don’t physically move.