iPhone 15 Ultra: What it may look like, and what to expect in 2023

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2022
The iPhone 15 Ultra is a bit less than a year away, but reports are already pouring in about what to expect. Here's what the rumor mill thinks is coming, and a first glance at what it may look like.

iPhone 15 Ultra to have a new curved edge
iPhone 15 Ultra to have a new curved edge


Rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup began in the middle of 2022. Despite the early start, they have been much more realistic than early iPhone 14 rumors.

The generational jump for the iPhone 14 Pro was a little wider than others. Cameras were improved across the board, a new cutout for the sensor housing was introduced, and the display gained always-on capabilities.

However, Apple didn't change the external design by much. The Dynamic Island is an interesting software feature, but little else is noticeable unless the iPhone camera bumps are side-by-side.

Rumors suggest the iPhone 15 Pro will get some significant external design alterations along with much-needed upgrades. The 6.7-inch iPhone Pro Max may be referred to as the "Ultra," which is the focus of this rumor roundup.




Rumored iPhone 15 Ultra design

Apple tends to find a design it likes and stick with it for several years. The current flat-sided design debuted with the iPhone 12, and while some elements have changed, it has remained mostly the same.

A curved edge made from titanium would have a premium look and feel
A curved edge made from titanium would have a premium look and feel


The iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to iterate on this design by curving the bottom edge. The sides will remain flat, but the part that connects to the back glass would resemble the corner of a MacBook Pro.

The back would still be made from glass so MagSafe and wireless charging could work. But the edges are rumored to be made from titanium.

This would make the phone lighter but tougher overall. The curved edge would also provide more protection from drops.

The camera bump may need to shift to accommodate the curved edge
The camera bump may need to shift to accommodate the curved edge


Until more rumors are shared, we expect the camera bump to remain the same. It may have to shift to accommodate the new curved edges depending on how Apple implements the design.

Rumored iPhone 15 Ultra features

Outside of design changes, there are some increasingly obvious feature updates coming too. A port transition is expected, and Apple may finally improve its telephoto camera.

USB-C port, Thunderbolt

Apple's move to USB-C has been predicted for years, but, for the iPhone 15, it may not be a choice. The EU has passed a law forcing smartphone manufacturers to adopt the universal port, and Apple has to comply by 2024.

The iPhone 15 Ultra could finally get USB-C with Thunderbolt speeds
The iPhone 15 Ultra could finally get USB-C with Thunderbolt speeds


Some had speculated that Apple would go port-less before adopting USB-C, claiming that Lightning and MagSafe were necessary proprietary fixtures. However, that doesn't seem to be the case, as the transition to USB-C has already begun in other products.

Moving to a USB-C port doesn't guarantee faster speeds, but rumors suggest the port will offer more than convenience. Apple could use the USB 4/Thunderbolt spec in the iPhone 15 Pro, at least according to Ming-Chi Kuo.

That would allow wired data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, an approximate 80x increase over the USB 2.0 speeds used by iPhone today. Thunderbolt speeds would be a massive improvement for creatives, especially those working with massive ProRes video files.

Two selfie cameras

The iPhone has only one front-facing camera alongside an array of sensors used for Face ID, but that could change in 2023. The 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Ultra is rumored to have two selfie cameras.

Two selfie cameras could mean improved portrait mode shots
Two selfie cameras could mean improved portrait mode shots


This addition would be limited to the larger iPhone, likely due to space considerations. So, the smaller iPhone 15 Pro would likely retain the dot-dash Dynamic Island cutout.

Two selfie cameras could serve multiple purposes, perhaps for better depth data collection or a wider depth of field. The rumor didn't specify what this hardware would be used for.

Apple may want to differentiate its most expensive "Ultra" model since the standard iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, and iPhone 15 Pro will all likely have a Dynamic Island with no notch.

One rumor suggests that Apple could hide Face ID components below the display, which would change how the Dynamic Island would display itself in software. That change could be tied to adding a second selfie camera, but it isn't clear if the rumors are related.

Periscoping telephoto lens

Rumors of a periscope telephoto lens have been around for years. It seems Apple is working on the technology internally, but it never makes the final cut.

The telephoto camera could get a big upgrade with a periscope lens
The telephoto camera could get a big upgrade with a periscope lens


The iPhone 15 Ultra could get a periscope lens for much better optical zoom. Ming-Chi Kuo seems to suggest the lens would only be used in the iPhone 15 Ultra model, then the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Ultra would both get the periscope lens.

The technology works by stacking a series of lenses "folded" so it fits vertically within the iPhone case. A mirror reflects the image from the outward-facing lens and optically zooms using the periscope-like lens stack.

Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers have been using periscope lenses for years, so Apple would be entering the market with a more mature initial version. It could enable zoom ranges like a modest 10x optical zoom or even the incredible 100x zoom found in some smartphones.

Other rumors

In September 2021, Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the iPhone 15 would get an under-display Touch ID sensor. He pulled back that rumor in March 2022, stating that the 2023 and 2024 iPhones wouldn't have the feature, as Face ID with a mask is a good-enough solution.

Apple will likely stick with Face ID, no Touch ID for iPhone 15
Apple will likely stick with Face ID, no Touch ID for iPhone 15


Kuo also stated in an October 2022 note that iPhone 15 could get solid-state buttons. They would replace the physical volume and power buttons, which may increase device rigidity and water resistance.

Sony to provide new camera sensors that improve exposure clipping at the high and low ends. This would reduce overexposure or underexposure in certain settings.

iPhone 15 Ultra release date window

Apple tends to announce its iPhone lineup during a September Apple Event. Depending on supply chain constraints, all models could release at the same time or take a staggered approach based on availability.

Expect the iPhone 15 Ultra to cost a premium with its new design, periscope lens, and other improved technologies. High-end models with 2TB of storage could cost well over $2,000.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,921member
    Still hating the camera bump. 
    dewmeurashidwilliamlondonpulseimagesllamabaconstang
  • Reply 2 of 35
    thttht Posts: 4,730member
    cornchip said:
    Still hating the camera bump. 
    Yup. Would like them to offer an optional camera module with worse cameras but is flush with the back. For both iPhones and iPads.

    One place where they could a camera bump? Mac laptops  o:)
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 35
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,136member
    A wider angle lens on the front would make group selfies (is that an oxymoron?) a bit easier as my arms will likely not get longer.
    rundhvid
  • Reply 4 of 35
    thttht Posts: 4,730member
    Where they put the transition from back glass to the metal sides will be interesting. These renders look horrible imo.

    Look at the Apple Watch. They have rounded bottom edges and the glass is part of the round, and the round is more parabolic than circular. The rounds on the Macs are also bigger.

    So, I think the round will be bigger than in these renders.
    twokatmew
  • Reply 5 of 35
    Look at the Apple Watch. They have rounded bottom edges and the glass is part of the round, and the round is more parabolic than circular.

    The problem with this approach is that it exposes the glass directly to drops on the edge. For that reason, I think they will keep the glass flat and just curve the titanium.
    llamabaconstangtwokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 35
    Given that MagSafe aligns the charger, I would think that they could extend the titanium much further on the back if they wanted, just leaving a small glass part in the center. This would make the phone lighter and more durable, and could shave off a tiny bit of thickness, although they would probably just use that space to include a bigger battery and make the phone thicker anyway, as usual. But rounded edges, if well executed, can make the device seem thinner than it is.
    twokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    JP234JP234 Posts: 822member
    "Thunderbolt speeds would be a massive improvement for creatives, especially those working with massive ProRes video files."

    Massive ProRes video files? On a PHONE? Sounds like an exercise in high tech torture! Maybe use a MacBook Pro, a Mac Studio or an Apple Silicon Mac Pro (soon, soon…).
    baconstang
  • Reply 8 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,569administrator
    JP234 said:
    "Thunderbolt speeds would be a massive improvement for creatives, especially those working with massive ProRes video files."

    Massive ProRes video files? On a PHONE? Sounds like an exercise in high tech torture! Maybe use a MacBook Pro, a Mac Studio or an Apple Silicon Mac Pro (soon, soon…).
    Got to shoot it on something.
    doozydozenmuthuk_vanalingamcharlesnllamatwokatmewbageljoeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 35
    JP234JP234 Posts: 822member
    JP234 said:
    "Thunderbolt speeds would be a massive improvement for creatives, especially those working with massive ProRes video files."

    Massive ProRes video files? On a PHONE? Sounds like an exercise in high tech torture! Maybe use a MacBook Pro, a Mac Studio or an Apple Silicon Mac Pro (soon, soon…).
    Got to shoot it on something.
    LOL! In the good ol' days we used to shoot pro video on pro camcorders. And edit them on pro computers (Powermac G4/5's, Mac Pros). Doubt "Foundation" was shot on an iPhone!
    baconstang
  • Reply 10 of 35
    One way to address the camera bump would be to install a phone case on it whose thickness tapers from the top down to the bottom. Voila, flat.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 35
    thttht Posts: 4,730member
    sloaah said:
    Look at the Apple Watch. They have rounded bottom edges and the glass is part of the round, and the round is more parabolic than circular.
    The problem with this approach is that it exposes the glass directly to drops on the edge. For that reason, I think they will keep the glass flat and just curve the titanium.
    This won't stop them from doing it. They did it for the iPhone 8, X, XS, and 11. If they maintain the structural design from the iPhone 14, they have essentially designed for it by making display and back glass repairs more easily done.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,569administrator
    JP234 said:
    JP234 said:
    "Thunderbolt speeds would be a massive improvement for creatives, especially those working with massive ProRes video files."

    Massive ProRes video files? On a PHONE? Sounds like an exercise in high tech torture! Maybe use a MacBook Pro, a Mac Studio or an Apple Silicon Mac Pro (soon, soon…).
    Got to shoot it on something.
    LOL! In the good ol' days we used to shoot pro video on pro camcorders. And edit them on pro computers (Powermac G4/5's, Mac Pros). Doubt "Foundation" was shot on an iPhone!
    Probably not for "broadcast," but the pre-imaging and test shots were.

    An iPhone doesn't replace the pro video cameras, obviously. But lots of stuff is shot on them, and getting the video off faster is a good thing.
    JP234watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingamtwokatmew
  • Reply 13 of 35
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,167member
    Even with a titanium rim, a hard drop onto concrete would likely still mar a naked iPhone, which is why most people put a protective case on them, which in turn makes the camera bump less of an issue.

    For the rare few people who do use the phone naked though, as long as the titanium edge isn't a shiny finger magnet like stainless steel, it should be a step up in terms of aesthetics.
    watto_cobrallama
  • Reply 14 of 35
    JP234 said:
    JP234 said:
    "Thunderbolt speeds would be a massive improvement for creatives, especially those working with massive ProRes video files."

    Massive ProRes video files? On a PHONE? Sounds like an exercise in high tech torture! Maybe use a MacBook Pro, a Mac Studio or an Apple Silicon Mac Pro (soon, soon…).
    Got to shoot it on something.
    LOL! In the good ol' days we used to shoot pro video on pro camcorders. And edit them on pro computers (Powermac G4/5's, Mac Pros). Doubt "Foundation" was shot on an iPhone!
    Probably not for "broadcast," but the pre-imaging and test shots were.

    An iPhone doesn't replace the pro video cameras, obviously. But lots of stuff is shot on them, and getting the video off faster is a good thing.
    Apple should work with professional digital camera makers to create an interface so photos and videos can easily and quickly transfer to iPhone while you shoot. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 35
    JP234JP234 Posts: 822member
    Apple should work with professional digital camera makers to create an interface so photos and videos can easily and quickly transfer to iPhone while you shoot. 
    In an ideal world, instead of quickly and easily transferring photos & videos to your iphone from your pro equipment, the pro equipment know your Apple ID and would automatically upload the projects to your iCloud account and you'd access them from there at any time, on any editing platform!

    I have a dream…
    Oferbaconstangtwokatmew
  • Reply 16 of 35
    thttht Posts: 4,730member
    JP234 said:
    JP234 said:
    "Thunderbolt speeds would be a massive improvement for creatives, especially those working with massive ProRes video files."

    Massive ProRes video files? On a PHONE? Sounds like an exercise in high tech torture! Maybe use a MacBook Pro, a Mac Studio or an Apple Silicon Mac Pro (soon, soon…).
    Got to shoot it on something.
    LOL! In the good ol' days we used to shoot pro video on pro camcorders. And edit them on pro computers (Powermac G4/5's, Mac Pros). Doubt "Foundation" was shot on an iPhone!
    Probably not for "broadcast," but the pre-imaging and test shots were.

    An iPhone doesn't replace the pro video cameras, obviously. But lots of stuff is shot on them, and getting the video off faster is a good thing.
    Apple should work with professional digital camera makers to create an interface so photos and videos can easily and quickly transfer to iPhone while you shoot. 
    Don't understand this whole sub-thread whatsoever. Thunderbolt/USB4 is basically the standard.

    Apple already has it implemented on the iPad Pros, on the Macs, and having it on the iPhone Pro models is a no-brainer. If camera makers want to implement fast transfers, they should implement TB/USB4. 40 gbit/s.

    Most of these ports will be limited by the PCIe lanes that the bus is attached to, with the vast majority at 4 lanes of PCIe 3, or 4 Gigabyte/s or 32 gbit/s. There will be meta information and bus oriented loss, so it mostly boils down to 2.5 to 3 Gigabyte/s. The storage has to support that read/write speed too.

    So a 0.5 TB ProRes RAW video will transfer in about 200 seconds. For USB protocols at say 0.6 Gigabyte/s (5 gigabit/s)? It would take about 900 sec. That's a huge difference, and definitely something that iPhone users that want to transfer large amounts of data will find quite valuable.

    iPhones will have a 2 TB storage level in the next model year or two if ProRes RAW or RAW photography is something a niche of iPhone Pro buyers users. The SoC hardware isn't there yet. Perhaps the next model year, and when it is, Thunderbolt would be required. And there TB5 is slated to double bandwidth to 80 gigabit/s, so there are pathways to improvement.
    danoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 35
    Might as well use wifi 7 for ultrafast wireless transmission, too!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 35
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 864member
    Up until now I’ve been meh on transfer speeds but now even raw image files are big enough at 50 or more mb that a few days of travel shooting and I’ll appreciate faster transfer (and an up in storage, sigh.). 

    And for that same reason, travel, where I rely on battery pack power: I’d really prefer to not lose half through wireless induction transfer inefficiency. 
    edited November 2022
  • Reply 19 of 35
    Two selfie cameras can also present users of the upcoming AR/VR glasses with a 3D projection of your face in FaceTime 3D...
    preclarotipo
  • Reply 20 of 35
    I think two A17s are required to have the name ‘ultra’.

    Currently, in iPhone 14, there is a huge gap in the area of the internal boards where the sim slot use to be. They haven’t properly redesigned the inside of the phones to use that space. (Because some international versions of iPhone 14 still use physical sims)
    iphone 15 could be the phone they fully utilize that space for two A17 dies interconnected like the M1 Ultra. 
    twokatmewwatto_cobra
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