Apple iPhone 15 and 15 Plus First Look: Dynamic Island, New Colors and USB-C
Apple's iPhone 15 already feels like a bigger upgrade than the iPhone 14.
Eli BlumenthalSenior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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Among the big new features is the expansion of Dynamic Island, the animated feature at the top of the screen that gives contextual information and which debuted last year on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, to the iPhone 15 line. Also widely tipped was the addition of USB-C, which has replaced the Lightning port for wired charging and connectivity.
Watch this: iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max: First Look
Pricing starts at $799 (£799, AU$1,499) for the 128GB iPhone 15 and $899 (£899, AU$1,649) for the 128GB iPhone 15 Plus, so long as you're activating with a carrier. Preorders begin on Friday, with the phones going on sale next Friday, Sept. 22.
The Dynamic Island appears to be the same incarnation that debuted on the iPhone 14 Pro in 2022. It's essentially a secondary display that can be used to view media playback, sports scores, rideshare status and other bits of information without flipping back and forth between apps.
As with 2022's iPhone 14 line, there is no "mini" iPhone 15, with Apple once again releasing a 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and a larger 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus. The displays are brighter this year as well, up to 2,000 nits of brightness.
There are five colors for the new phones: pink, yellow, green, blue and black. The main camera on the iPhone 15 is now 48 megapixels and in addition to taking higher resolution photos and videos, also allows for a new 2x telephoto zoom (albeit at 12 megapixels). That's a significant jump from the iPhone 14's 12-megapixel camera system, although it's impossible to tell how much of a difference that makes in practice without spending more time with it.
But it's not just the colors that are different. Apple is using a new color-infused back glass for the iPhone 15, which gives it a frosty and translucent look. So far, this new matte finish looks less prone to fingerprint smudges compared to the glossy iPhone 14.
The chip under the hood is last year's A16 Bionic, which was in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. (Last year's iPhone 14 and 14 Plus relied on the A15 Bionic.) There is a bigger battery in the iPhone 15 line, though Apple didn't reveal specific battery sizes.
The new devices continue to keep a host of prior iPhone features, including 5G and satellite connectivity for emergencies. New for this year is the ability to call for roadside assistance via satellite, with Apple partnering with AAA in the US. The roadside feature is included in AAA membership, while Apple says it will offer satellite connectivity for free for two years with the purchase of an iPhone 15.
Overall, the iPhone 15 seems like a larger leap than last year's iPhone 14, thanks to the Dynamic Island, the sharper camera, USB-C charging and the new design. While it's still a step below the iPhone 15 Pro, it feels like the biggest difference in the regular iPhone since the iPhone 12.