Are the new iPhones new enough?

Big changes cost big money

On track with speculators, Apple almost played to its audience, hitting every nail on its head, including the final one - 5x optical zoom on the Pro Max, sealed the deal. No surprises, no jaw-dropping moments and no “one more thing”, the 2023 September event was probably the most anticlimactic Apple event in a while. Yet, success is almost guaranteed as Apple has mastered the art of spin and the iPhone 15, Pro and Pro Max models have just enough differentiation to ensure that there is curiosity to have a closer look. What will you find there?

As usual, the iPhone 15 Plus is the sweet spot of the range with a price tag starting from ₹89,900 which basically gets you last year’s iPhone 14 Pro with more lustrous hues. Dynamic Island, brighter 2000nits display, 48MP camera with the ability to crop the image for a 2x telephoto option and the brilliant (still) A16 Bionic processor. It’s the most iPhone anyone needs and will probably also make up the bulk of Apple’s sales.

But of course, an Apple event is about being left in wonderment and the only device from the 90-min long event that came close to leaving a lump in my throat was the iPhone 15 Pro Max. As expected, Apple took the veils off its newest and greatest mobile processor ever, the A17 Bionic, built using a 3nm process that packs in 19 billion transistors on a chip smaller than your fingernail. Let that sink in. What it lets you do remains to be experienced but if the A16 Bionic was anything to go by, Apple will have left the competition in the dust for another couple of years.

Desktop class gaming and DSLR class photography are now within reach, just like it’s claimed at every iPhone event. But this year, Apple means business. With a huge upgrade to the GPU and the inclusion of the tetraprism 5X optical zoom lens to the camera system, for those looking to be on the bleeding edge of bragging rights, nothing else will do. What remains common amongst every new iPhone is the death of the Lightning connector. USB-C finds a new home and an optional USB-3 cable for the Pro models allows for faster transfer speeds up to 10Gbps.

So which of the new iPhone 15s should you get? Common sense typically takes a backseat to irrational impulses and I reckon if you walk into an Apple store and get your hands on the Titanium lathered devices, you might be tempted to upgrade. Apple still didn’t speak of Realme-level fast charging or Samsung-level zoom. But within the realm of Apple, where subtlety wins over showboating, the iPhone 15 Plus brings all the goodness of last year’s top model at a more affordable price.