We’re still several months away from the unveiling of the iPhone 15, and if the rumors are to be believed, everyone will be talking about one thing: the new Ultra model. Like the Apple Watch Ultra, the iPhone 15 Ultra is rumored to have the best of everything Apple has to offer in an iPhone. As Apple’s largest iPhone, it’ll have a similar feel to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but everything will be upgraded inside and out. Here’s what we expect from Apple’s first truly new iPhone in years:
iPhone 15 Ultra: Release date
The one thing we’re absolutely sure of? It’ll arrive this fall, likely in mid-September alongside the rest of the iPhone 15 handsets. There may be a longer delay before the reimagined iPhone Pro Max goes on sale though. As we’ve seen in the past some handsets launch later, such as the iPhone 14 Plus which arrived three weeks after the other iPhone 14-series handsets, and the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max which arrived three weeks after the rest of that range.
iPhone 15 Ultra: Price
While the iPhone 14 Pro Max has cost the same $1,099 for the past four years, rumors say the iPhone 15 Ultra will likely bring a price hike. So start saving now, because the iPhone 15 Ultra is likely to be the most expensive iPhone of all time. Several reports have claimed that the iPhone 15 Ultra will have a higher starting price than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, possibly as high as $1,299.
iPhone 15 Ultra: Design
According to leaked renders, the iPhone 15 Ultra isn’t expected to deviate all that much from the rest of the iPhone 15 lineup. The design of all four models will reportedly be somewhat refined, with slightly curved edges and thinner bezels around the display. But there will reportedly be several design elements that set the iPhone 15 Ultra apart from the rest of the lineup.
First and foremost, it will reportedly have a titanium frame instead of stainless steel. Apple has been rumored for years to be working on an iPhone that uses a different material than stainless steel or aluminum, and after the Apple Watch Ultra, it makes sense for Apple to shift to lightweight titanium. Like the Apple Watch Ultra, it’s possible that Apple only offers the iPhone 15 Ultra in a single color to accentuate the difference.
It’s also expected to be thicker than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, making it one of the thickest iPhones ever. According to rumors, the iPhone 15 Ultra will be 8.25mm thick compared to 7.85mm on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which will also let Apple trim down the camera bump. The overall dimensions of the phone are expected to be slightly smaller than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, giving the phone a svelter, smaller feel.
The buttons are reportedly changing as well. The most recent rumors say Apple will return to a volume rocker rather than individual buttons and reportedly use solid-state buttons with dedicated haptic engines, eliminating the last of the moving parts. The mute switch is also reportedly changing from its long-standing switch to a haptic button.
iPhone 15 Ultra: Display
The iPhone 14 Pro Max has had a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display since the iPhone 12, and it’s not expected to change. It will also still have the Dynamic Island, ProMotion technology with adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz, an always-on feature, True Tone, and 2000 nits of peak brightness when outdoors.
However, it’s possible that the Ultra could get a larger screen. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg suggests that the iPhone Ultra could be “an even higher-end iPhone above both Pro models,” rather than a replacement for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. That means it could have an even larger display, which means it would rival—or even top—the 6.8-inch S23 Ultra. Since renders show significantly reduced bezels, Apple could deliver a slightly larger screen without needing to increase the body of the phone.
iPhone 15 Ultra: Processor and specs
Like the iPhone 14 Pro models, the iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to get Apple’s newest A17 processor, which will be built using a 3nm process for the first time. Apple has used a 5nm process since the A14 was introduced in 2020. The A17 will be built using the same architecture as the upcoming M3 chip for the Mac, which is expected to deliver a significant speed and power efficiency boost.
The other big change for the iPhone 15 Ultra is the expected move to USB-C. Not only will USB-C let users use the same cable to charge their iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but it should also bring a boost to data transfer speeds. Lightning is currently capped at 480 Mbps, but and the iPhone 15 Ultra’s USB-C port will reportedly support Thunderbolt, with transfer rates up to 40Gbps.
Additionally, the iPhone 15 Ultra will almost certainly get Wi-Fi 6E, which was already introduced on the iPad Pro, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro, and possibly a storage boost to 256GB at the low end and 2TB at the high end.
iPhone 15 Ultra: Camera
While the iPhone 14 Pro Max brought an impressive main camera upgrade from 12MP to 48MP, the iPhone 15 Ultra will reportedly take things even further. Literally—the iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to get a new periscope zoom lens, which will reportedly raise the optical zoom from 3X all the way to 6x or 10x, with digital zoom that will likely reach 30x or 50x with incredible clarity.
The wide and ultra-wide cameras will likely be the same 48MP and 12MP, respectively, but Apple will surely refine the processing and add some new camera tricks. Also rumored to be using a more efficient LiDAR Scanner supplied by Sony.