A couple of years ago, I became that weird tech guy. That weird tech guy who opts for Apple over Android. As I’ve said a few times, it’s down to what Steve Jobs said many moons ago; “it just works”. My daily rider is an iPhone 13 Pro, which means this is my upgrade cycle’s natural time to get a new phone. This all means I’m going through the process thousands of you are going through. Asking myself, “should I buy the new iPhone 15?”
Introduction to the iPhone 15 Range
To loud applause, Apple pulled back the curtains a few nights ago, unveiling the iPhone 15 range. We got a new iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. This year has perhaps the most amount of variance between the phones with different cameras, processors and even USB-C ports across the board.
I won’t dwell here too long simply because I’m really writing this article for iPhone 13 Pro users like myself. They are unlikely to be looking at the iPhone 15. If you have an iPhone 13 or earlier, your ears are pricked up at the sound of a new iPhone launch. Because, like me, you’re likely due an upgrade. Where the 15 actually offers an upgrade on the iPhone 13 is a little harder to find.
Ok, so it’s got USB-C now. Not the fastest USB-C, but USB-C nonetheless. More on that later. The iPhone 15 screen size is the exact same as it has been for iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. In fact, the display specs are nearly identical across the board.
Dynamic Island is no-longer reserved for Pro models, but I always thought that was more gimmick than innovation. I could, and do, live without it.
However, when we get to camera, the specs go wild. The iPhone 15 retains the usual dual-camera system but ramps the megapixels up for 48MP. This blows previous 12MP models out of the water on paper but we’ll have to wait and see what that means in real world.
The upgraded hardware is also supported by Apple’s A16 Bionic Chip. This processor was last year’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max Processor, so not to be sniffed at.
Should I Buy the iPhone 15?
If you have an iPhone 14, you should not buy the iPhone 15.
if you have an iPhone 13, you should not buy the iPhone 15.
If you have an iPhone 12 or older, you should buy the iPhone 15.
If you’re using an iPhone 14 or iPhone 13 and are still tempted, there is one exception. If you’re really into photography, a case could be made for the upgrade. I’d argue that case is overshadowed by the iPhone 15 Pro option if photography is really important to you.
iPhone 15 Plus
I earmarked the iPhone 15 Plus to be retired if I’m honest. Apple retired the iPhone 13 mini after poor sales, and I kind of thought the iPhone 15 Plus would go the same way. But here we are.
The iPhone 15 Plus offers very similar specs to the iPhone 15 but with more display to look at and a bit more battery. That’s it really. Other than that, they are the same phone. So if you’re choosing between iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is really does only matter whether you want a big phone or not.
If you have an older phone, like the iPhone 14 Plus or iPhone 12 Pro, what should you do?
Well, the iPhone 15 Plus doesn’t get Apple’s new A17 Pro chip but it does get the A16 Bionic Chip. That, and the camera upgrade that I spoke about earlier means, again, diehard photography heads might be tempted by this phone. But, again, I’d argue if you’re really into photography you should be looking at the Pro range.
Because the Plus only entered the market last year, I’m also looking at the iPhone 12 Pro. If you felt the iPhone 12 Pro was limited in screen size, the iPhone 15 Plus is a good upgrade path. The A14 Bionic is a little longer in the tooth however so I would say there are more compelling options.
Should I Buy the iPhone 15?
If you have an iPhone 14 Plus, you should not buy the iPhone 15 Plus.
If you have an iPhone 12 Pro, you should not buy the iPhone 15 Plus.
Anything before the iPhone 12 Pro leaves the iPhone 14 Plus looking really tempting for those who want some more screen size but don’t need power.
iPhone 15 Pro
This is the one I’m looking at the closest. This is the direct upgrade path for me as an iPhone 13 Pro owner. I’m tempted, but I also know people are keeping phones longer than ever before. Let’s get to it.
The biggest upgrade between the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro is the camera. The iPhone 13 Pro’s triple camera system with 12MP is completely overshadowed on paper by the iPhone 15 Pro’s triple camera system with 48MP. One notable caveat here is that the iPhone 15 Pro camera isn’t the best iPhone camera any more. The iPhone 15 Pro Max has one extra trick up its sleeve with a 5x optical zoom ceiling versus the 15 Pro’s 3x optical zoom.
USB-C has been a massive talking point this year. But I rarely use cable charging at all. I use MagSafe for nearly all my charging needs. However, because Apple staggers their processors these days, the USB-C on iPhone 15 Pro is very different to iPhone 15’s USB-C. The A17 Pro chip has a USB 3 controller on-board. That means iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max can handle much faster data transfers. This isn’t something I use a lot, but I use it a little bit.
Because the Pro range opens up to content creators, transferring files can be a handy feature to pump some power into. The iPhone 15 Pro’s faster USB-C port is a big shout for some.
The iPhone 15 Pro also offers some impressive gaming specs and could be a game changer; sorry. Apple’s demos showed off Resident Evil: Village seemingly being played locally and looking amazing.
When literally weighing up the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro, the 15 is going to offer more comfort, shaving 16 grams off.
Should I Buy the iPhone 15 Pro?
Ok, I probably shouldn’t but I will.
If you have an iPhone 14 Pro, you should not buy the iPhone 15 Pro.
If you have an iPhone 13 Pro, you should not buy the iPhone 15 Pro – but you will be tempted.
If you have an iPhone 12 Pro or older, it’s probably time to grab a new phone and the iPhone 15 Pro is a great choice. I don’t see a long run way for the likes of the iPhone 14 Pro anymore.
iPhone 15 Pro Max
And then we have the weird option. I get the iPhone 15 Pro Max and why it exists. I find it too big and heavy. The camera upgrade this year adds a new layer, but am I bothered? It’s the most expensive iPhone on the market and maybe some Apple people or photographers can justify it. Personally, I can’t. Could you argue the extra battery life matters? Perhaps.
For me, the iPhone 13 Pro was the perfect choice a few years ago and it remains as such.
Should I Buy the iPhone 15 Pro Max?
If you’ve bought a Pro Max in the past, I guess this is for you then.
If you have an iPhone 14 Pro Max, you should not buy the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
If you have an iPhone 13 Pro Max, you should consider the iPhone 15 Pro Max if camera specs are important to you.
If you have an iPhone 12 Pro Max or older, this is the phone for you.