Every year around September, Apple releases a new iPhone and every year, netizens fire up their meme machines to highlight how the iPhone hasn’t changed very much aesthetically. The thing is, the iPhone doesn’t need a facelift. It’s already the best looking phone on the market. This year, however, the Cupertino giant also went the extra mile to not only outfit their iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models with titanium, but also upgrade its software to create one of the best smartphones around.
Read on for our thoughts on the top-of-the-range iPhone this year.
Should you get the iPhone 15 Pro Max?
The iPhone 15 Pro Max might look largely similar to its predecessor, but there are a few key changes well worth upgrading for this year.
It’s really sleek
The most obvious aesthetic upgrade is its casing, which is now crafted from aerospace-grade titanium that gives it an impossibly sleek body, complete with a sumptuous brushed texture, contoured edges, and the thinnest borders on an iPhone. This alloy is also used in spacecrafts, and when combined with the toughest back glass in any smartphone and the Ceramic Shield on the front makes it both lightweight and durable. We didn’t test this out, but just know your phone can withstand all the knocks and drops it’ll inevitably suffer in its lifetime.
The Pro models come in four sexy colours – Black, White, Blue, and Natural. All perfectly show off the beautiful texture of the titanium case, but the best-looker in our opinion is Natural, which has an industrial-chic look and feel to it that’s effortlessly cool.
The A17 Pro chip
Apple ditches the A16 chip in the iPhone 14 Pro models for the A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. It might be the industry’s first three-nanometre chip, but it also packs the biggest GPU redesign in Apple’s history, with a CPU that’s up to 10 percent faster, and a Neural Engine that’s up to twice as fast. It’s new 6-core design also uses energy more efficiently, while increasing performance across the board.
Essentially, this means that graphics are now much more smoother, especially if you’re using AR applications or playing graphic-heavy games like console titles Resident Evil 4, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and more.
It’s too easy to take good photos and videos
All professional photographers out there should be sweating a little right now, because the new advanced systems on the iPhone 15 Pro Max makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to take good photos. Thanks to the A17 Pro chip, the Pro Max packs the equivalent of seven pro lenses, despite only having the usual three at the back and one in front. This is because it uses computational photography.
To break it down simply, the 48MP Main camera shoots at a new 24MP high-resolution default, which is ideal for storing and sharing. However, you can also choose between 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm focal lengths and then make your favourite the new default. There’s also an expansive 5x Telephoto camera on the Pro Max, and the longest optical zoom ever on an iPhone with a 120mm focal length, which lets you capture any action from further.
Then there’s the topic of Portrait mode, which has for seven years (it was first introduced on the iPhone 7and iPhone 7 Plus) allowed us to create Instagram-worthy mug shots. On the iPhone 15 Pro Max, these can be done without having to switch to Portrait mode. The device recognises when there’s a person, pet, or subject in the frame, or when you tap to focus, and automatically captures its depth information. If you decide later that you want that #artistic bokeh effect on the shot, just convert it via the Photos app; you can even adjust the focus point too.
Night mode is also improved with sharper details and vivid colours, and we appreciated that there wasn’t any fuzziness on the edges of the subject anymore.
An Action Button
Those used to iPhones will be familiar that little switch on the left side of the device – you know, the one that toggles between silent and ring. If you’re a Millennial, chances are your phone’s permanently on silent, rendering it quite useless. For that, Apple has now replaced the switch with what it calls an Action button, which can be programmed as a shortcut to a feature of preference. Ring/Silent is still the factory-set feature here, but you can customise it for quick access to the camera or flashlight, Voice Memos, Magnifier, Translate, or Shortcuts here.
Since there are already shortcuts to the camera and flashlight on the home screen, we found it more useful to set the Action Button direct to Shortcuts, although we also foresee the Translate option being helpful on overseas trips.
It finally charges with USB-C
If you are knee-deep into the Apple universe like we are, chances are you’ve had to carry multiple cables along when on-the-go. This time, Apple has done away with the Lightning cable by making the iPhone 15 phones compatible with USB-C, which is infinitely more convenient because it’s now the same cable used on the new 2nd-generation AirPods, the iPad, and selected MacBook Air models.
All iPhone 15 models – which come with a fabric-braided USB-C cable – can now also charge lower-energy devices such as your Airpods or Apple Watch directly, so you’ll get that bit of extra juice when needed without having to carry a battery pack.
It’s more sustainable
Apple’s growing commitment to sustainability means that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max devices prioritise recycled and low-carbon materials in its manufacturing process. Besides using 100 percent recycled aluminium substructure and completely recycled cobalt in the battery for the first time ever, the tech giant also used 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in all magnets and 100 percent recycled gold in the USB‑C connector and within the circuit boards.
Apple has also replaced leather accessories with a microtwill option instead that’s just as luxurious and durable. The new FineWoven finish is made of 68 percent post-consumer recycled content and has significantly lower emissions compared to leather.
The iPhone 15 Pro starts at S$1,649 (or S$68.71 per month), and is available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage capacities. The iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at S$1,999 (or S$83.30 per month), and is available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage capacities. Both models are available in Apple stores, retailers, and online now.