The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max

The iPhone 15 Pro line announced today managed to tick most of the rumour boxes: it is made of titanium and available in a range of tinted greys, it will be able to take spatial video compatible with the forthcoming Vision Pro, the big model has a more impressive telephoto camera, and it has a USB-C port in place of Lightning. Apple cites a wide range of benefits:

The iPhone 15 Pro lineup offers convenient new ways to charge, find friends in busy places, and stay connected while travelling. Both models use the USB‑C connector, a universally accepted standard for charging and transferring data, allowing the same cable to charge iPhone, Mac, iPad, and the updated AirPods Pro (2nd generation). Users can also charge AirPods or Apple Watch directly from iPhone with the USB‑C connector. iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max support USB 3 for data transfer speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, up to 20x faster than before.

But, as rumoured, the speed advantages are limited to the Pro models. Even if you use a faster cable with the standard iPhone 15, it will only support USB 2 speeds — the same data transfer standard used by the iPods Apple sold twenty years ago. It also appears to me that the cable included with the Pro models is limited to USB 2 speeds and taking advantage of the faster speeds of a standard now ten years old requires the purchase of another cable.

I know lots of people will write this off as a petty complaint for a feature not many people will use and even fewer will take full advantage of — that USB 2 is good enough for most people. But the thousand-dollar “Pro” model iPhones are not supposed to be good enough; they are supposed to be the flagship models, showcasing the best of what Apple is able to do for that year. Besides, USB 2 has not actually been good enough for a very long time. It was Apple’s decision to neglect that connectivity even at a time when more people were regularly using wired data transfers.

But, at the very least, it is here: you can buy a $10 braided cable from Monoprice and get fast wired transfers plus, as Apple is wont to brag, universal charging for all your stuff. Imagine that.

One rumour that did not pan out as expected is a $100 across-the-board price increase. Greg Joswiak emphasized that the iPhone 15 Pro “will start at the same price as last year, $999” and noted that, while the Pro Max appears to have a $100 price increase, it starts at a 256 GB of storage instead of 128 GB, so it is also the same price as an equivalent iPhone 14 Pro Max. The U.S. press release reiterates this claim — “iPhone 15 Pro remains at the same starting price”.

That is not necessarily true elsewhere. In Canada, Apple increased the price of a base model iPhone 15 Pro by $50 compared to the equivalent outgoing model, while there is a $100 price bump in Australia and New Zealand. In the U.K., the new models are £100 less expensive than their predecessors.

I am looking forward to reading some reviews of these next week. My early impressions are pretty positive as far as what I was looking for. It is barely lighter than my 12 Pro, but it is a little narrower and thinner (Update: I got mixed up; it is actually thicker by 0.85 mm); its telephoto camera is much improved, though not as much as the one in the Pro Max; and it has considerably better battery life. Based on what I have seen so far, I think I know what I am getting: a 15 Pro in Natural Titanium. And a handful of Monoprice cables.