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Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max go all in on photography and performance

Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max go all in on photography and performance

Apple iPhone 15 Pro (left) and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max (right).

Apple has finally announced the iPhone 15 Pro series, consisting of the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max. Let’s get right into the details and learn about what’s new.

Titanium body, USB-C port

Apple iPhone 15 Pro series' new titanium body with slimmer bezels.

The iPhone 15 Pro series (15 Pro and 15 Pro Max) uses a Grade 5 titanium alloy enclosure, the same titanium blend used for the Mars Rover. Shifting away from the old Pro series’ usage of surgical-grade stainless steel isn’t just a premium flex, but the new material weighs less while offering greater durability, with no change to its display sizes thanks to a reduced border around their displays. Like before, the Ceramic Shield front glass protection stays.

iPhone 15 Pro in Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, and Natural Titanium colourways.

Apple finished off its surface with a brushed texture and used PVD coating(physical vapour deposition) for colours. That means the four new colours use the base material to inform their base coat, and Apple named them as such: Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, and Natural Titanium.

Apple claimed that the new structural frame is easier to repair and uses recycled aluminium, which aligns with Apple’s sustainability goals.

A new tactile Action Button with haptic feedback means you no longer flick to silence, but you press and hold instead.

The classic ring/silence hard toggle/switch is now a tactile Action Button with haptic feedback. It can also be customised further with other functions, like accessing your camera, getting to preferred accessibility features, and launching shortcuts.

iPhone 15 Pro retains its 6.1-inch display, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max also keeps its 6.7-inch panel, both with Super Retina XDR panel type. It also retains all the old perks like Dynamic Island, ProMotion, an Extreme Dynamic Range, and Always-on Display. iOS 17 takes advantage of these display perks with a new feature called StandBy (an iOS 17 feature introduced during WWDC 2023).

USB-C iPhones are no longer a pipe dream. Like its regular series, the iPhone 15 Pro series also now has USB-C ports, and it supports reverse charging too — the demonstration by Apple showed an iPhone 15 charging AirPods.

USB-C ports are also extra-fast on Pro models, with the new A17 Pro chipset’s USB controller conferring 10Gbps data transfer speeds and USB 3 support (more about the chipset below).

Apple A17 Pro chipset

Apple A17 Pro chipset for iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

While the regular series inherit the previous year’s chipset, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max get a new Apple A17 Pro processor.

The A17 Pro chipset is manufactured on a 3nm process, making it one of the first phones in the world with a chipset that has 19 billion transistors that are 12 silicon atoms-wide each.

A17 Pro has a 6-core CPU: two performance cores that are 10% faster than before, and four high-efficiency cores which are three times more performance-per-watt than “the competition).

Apple A17 Pro chipset for iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Also on board is a 2x faster, 16-core Neural Engine that processes 35 trillion machine-learning operations per second, on-device.

Apple also made good use of the space by including dedicated engines for AV1 decoding, the ProRes codec, and its display engine for ProMotion and Always-on Display features.

The new “pro-class”, 6-core GPU is 20% faster for peak performance and better sustained efficiency. Additional features are mesh shading (which sounds suspiciously like variable rate shading). Apple also added hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which adds realistic, responsive, real-time light and reflections in graphics-heavy content like games and AR apps.

iPhone 15 Pro series cameras

Main camera on iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

iPhone 15 Pro (and 15 Pro Max) has an “equivalent of seven camera lenses in your pocket”, said Apple.

Apple didn’t increase the physical number of lenses, though. It keeps to its same triple rear camera configuration, with a 48MP main camera with a larger sensor than iPhone 15 series' main camera.

The Main Camera has a quad-pixel sensor (4×4 pixel-binning), and a new 48MP HEIF shooting mode. The additional computational work on its Photonic Engine also enables a default “super-high resolution” for still images. The camera also comes with “2x better low-light performance”.

The combination of new sensors, new engine, and better performance across the board also grants not one, but three default focal lengths for its Main Camera: 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm-equivalent shooting. These are popular fixed lens ranges for professional photography.

iPhone 15 Pro's 3x optical zoom via its Telephoto camera.

iPhone 15 Pro’s 12MP 3x Telephoto camera now has a 25% larger sensor, but that’s not the only feature. By default, it offers 3x optical zoom like before, offering a focal length of 77m.

iPhone 15 Pro Max's tetraprism design for its telephoto, granting it 5x optical zoom.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max telephoto camera instead gets 5x optical zoom at an equivalent focal length of 120mm. Apple fitted the 5x optical glass structure by creating its “tetraprism” design (their version of a periscope zoom lens). Additional perks supporting its tetraprism design include OIS and sensor-shift stabilisation, which moves the sensor in 3D to maintain stability at 10,000 micro-adjustments per second.

Both 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max also get a 12MP ultra-wide camera with 13mm focal length, packing a new anti-reflective coating, a better Smart HDR, and the return of macro photography capabilities.

ProRes recording now gets 4K60FPS, up from its old 4K30FPS, on top of support for recording directly to an external storage drive. The new Pro series also works directly with Capture One post-processing software, supporting 48MP ProRAW. Log-format encoding is also built-in, which, in turn, supports ACES colour standards.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max prices in Singapore

Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max starts accepting pre-orders on 15 September 2023. Screenshot prices are from Apple's keynote, which is in US Dollars.

For the full range of prices on these 2023 Apple smartphones, don’t forget to check out our detailed pricing article.

In Singapore, the iPhone 15 Pro starts at S$1,649 for 128GB, with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB variants also available. The iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at S$,1999 for 256GB, with 512GB and 1TB variants available.

Pre-orders begin on 15 September 2023, with street retail starting on 22 September 2023. Each purchase of iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max comes with three months of free Apple Arcade.

Summary of iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

The underlying operating system, iOS 17, will be pushed out as an iPhone update on 18 September 2023.

For those using iCloud, the Apple cloud storage gets new 6TB (S$42.98/month) and 12TB (S$84.98/month) tiers, two higher tiers on top of its existing range of iCloud storage allotment.

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