New rumours suggest that we’re going to witness quite a makeover for the flagship iPhone in 2023. Curved edges, design cues from the MacBook Pro, and a chassis partly constructed from titanium are apparently on the cards.
But that isn’t what you care about. No, all you care about is the fact the next generation top-end iPhone might be called the iPhone 15 ‘Ultra’.
Does that mean we can take it scuba diving? Will it have been developed in conjunction with elite athletes? Will there be a MagSafe-compatible extreme hiking accessory?
Will it have an International Orange power button, Tim?
Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s anything quite as exciting as that, and I believe I’ve already sussed out who this phone is for (whether Apple likes it or not).
I’ll get to that in a moment, but let’s dig into the rumours, first!
iPhone 15 Ultra rumours – the design
The iPhone 15 Ultra rumours appear to originate from a number of sources, none of whom I can be bothered to quote directly because, as we know, Apple rumours can be incredibly unreliable.
This is the gist I managed to derive from a great AppleInsider rumour roundup.
The iPhone 15 ‘Ultra’ is reported to have a new curved edge design, thus seemingly giving it some serious iPhone 6 vibes. However, the rumour mill suggests that the new iPhone 15 Ultra will only feature a curved ‘bottom edge’ (i.e. the bit that connects the sides of the phone to the rear glass casing) thus resembling the aesthetics of the current MacBook Pros.
Those partly curved edges will allegedly be made from titanium which could make the phone lighter and tougher overall. It’s even being suggested that the curved edge could provide better protection from accidental drops.
If Apple does implement a curved edge on its next flagship iPhone the camera bump may require a ‘bump’ (I’m here all week) to accommodate those tapered sides.
iPhone 15 Ultra rumours – the port
We live in a very strange era where you can buy an Apple TV remote with a USB-C charging port, yet still be saddled with a Lightning port if you spend silly money on a new iPhone.
Even the recently-launched second-generation AirPods Pro retained Apple’s ageing, slow, and increasingly irrelevant data and power connector.
Thankfully, the EU has recently passed a law that forces smartphone manufacturers to adopt USB-C by 2024, which is getting deliciously close. While there have been rumours of a portless iPhone, I’m not convinced we’re ready for that yet – it’s far more likely that USB-C will arrive first, thanks to the EU and their lovely red tape.
iPhone 15 Ultra rumours – the camera
If you thought one front-facing camera is enough, think again – Tim apparently thinks we should have two.
If true, this double-lens selfie camera system is expected to debut only on the iPhone 15 ‘Ultra’, due to space requirements (and, one would assume, the desire not to turn the Dynamic Island into a Dynamic States of iPhonerica).
No one seems to know why there might be two front-facing cameras on the next flagship iPhone, but as someone who is increasingly using his iPhone for content creation, I’m rather excited by the continual improvements being made to the selfie cam.
Apple isn’t stopping there, though (apparently). As always, we’re likely to see some pretty significant changes to the main camera system on the back of the phone, too.
A periscope lens is rumoured for the iPhone 15 ‘Ultra’ which would provide better optical zoom capabilities by implementing a ‘stack’ of lenses that act like – you guessed it – a periscope.
As you might suspect, Apple won’t be first to the party with periscope lenses if they decide to head down that route next year – Samsung and other manufacturers have used such hardware for a while now. Apple will simply enter the market with a far more considered, matured version which will be accompanied by a silly name.
iPhone 15 Ultra rumours – miscellaneous stuff
The rest of the iPhone 15 Ultra rumours are basically just a collection of the stuff we’ve been hearing for a while now.
Face ID may or may not be replaced by an under-display Face ID sensor. I’d welcome this, personally, having got very used to the brilliant fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 7 Pro (and countless other Android devices). But with Monkey Island being such a prominent and nascent feature of the flagship iPhone lineup, I can’t see Apple ditching their biometric sensor of choice for a while.
There are also rumours of solid-state buttons replacing the current physical power and volume buttons in order to increase water resistance and improve device rigidity. I can’t get excited about that, I’m afraid – but if it improves the two aforementioned aspects of the iPhone, I’m all for it.
Lastly, there have been suggestions that Sony might be jumping on the iPhone gravy train by providing new camera sensors for the next-generation flagship device. This would, apparently, be in a bid to improve exposure clipping which sometimes results in over- or under-exposed iPhone snaps.
As for rumoured pricing, well, if we do see an iPhone 15 Ultra next year, it’s going to be hold-onto-your-trousers expensive. The highest-end models with 2TB of storage could cost north of $2,000.
Wrap-up: who is the iPhone 15 Ultra for?
That last rumour is the most important of the lot. The most you can currently spend on an iPhone is around $1,749 before you add on AppleCare, accessories, or any local taxes.
That’s a trouser-filling amount of money for a portable telephone – particularly when you take into account the considerably more reasonable pricing strategies adopted by the Android competition.
Push that price beyond $2,000 and – even with carrier subsidies – the top-end iPhone becomes nothing more than an aspirational product most people will never own.
Many countries are already heading deep into one of the worst global recessions we’ve seen for decades. In the UK, everything is more expensive. Disposable income, and even cash that’s earmarked for life’s essentials, is at an absolute premium. Very few people have the stomach or financial reserves for such expensive tech when there are so many cheaper and just as capable alternatives on the market.
This leads me to a pretty obvious conclusion about the rumoured iPhone 15 Ultra. If it hits the shelves next year, it will become a rare sight on the high street – the only time you’re ever likely to spot one in the wild is in the palm of a content creator or as a possession of someone who is lucky enough to have significant cash reserves.
It will immediately become, as the rumoured name suggests, the Apple Watch Ultra of the iPhone lineup. There will be some incredibly cool tech included, and a bunch of Ultra-only features that pull at your tightly-fastened purse strings, but justifying such a purchase will be nigh-on impossible for most people.
Just like the silly flagship Apple Watch, the supposed iPhone 15 Ultra will be a content creator’s dream – and I’ll be more than happy for you guys to join me on my journey with it – but it’ll do nothing more than drive sales of the ‘lower end’ iPhones.
Maybe that’s what Apple wants!
Main image courtesy of AppleInsider