The iPhone 14 hasn’t even appeared yet, and we’re already hearing reports of what to expect from next year’s so-called “iPhone 15.”
With Apple’s iPhone 2023 plans likely not yet finalized, most of these rumors should be taken with a heavy dose of skepticism — but there are enough interesting bits and pieces to give us an idea of where Apple is likely to be headed.
Goodbye Lightning, hello USB-C
The most fascinating report comes from well-known supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who predicts that 2023 will be the year we finally see a USB-C iPhone.
It’s very preliminary information, but Kuo has found that many Apple suppliers are preparing to order more USB-C chips and port components — too many to account for Apple’s current USB-C product lineup.
While it’s still likely Apple’s final game will ditch ports entirely and rely on MagSafe technology instead, the European Union (EU) is expected to impose Apple’s hand before the world is ready for a fully wireless iPhone.
5G modem chip from Apple
Apple has been working on its own 5G modem chip for a few years now, and many experts have predicted it will be here now. Unfortunately for Apple, making a 5G modem is difficult. Over the past few months, Apple has been talking with major chip suppliers to pack the first 5G modem chips.
It’s too early to say what tangible benefits Apple’s 5G modem chip will offer over the Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 chipsets that Apple currently uses. At the very least, it would potentially save Apple a lot of money, which would allow the company to add other improvements. The iPhone 14 this year is expected to go up to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65, but if reports are accurate, we’ll never see the recently announced Snapdragon X70 in an iPhone.
Another rumor that has been circulating for a while claims that Apple is working on a new periscope lens technology. Recently, some trusted analysts have put a tighter schedule for 2023 on new camera technology.
Periscope lenses have been on Android smartphones for years, so Apple is a bit behind the game here. However, this will allow the iPhone to finally overcome the 3X zoom barrier, making better use of the 48-megapixel (MP) primary camera expected to be introduced in the iPhone 14 this year.
Apple will almost certainly stop using the boxed 5.4-inch iPhone mini with the iPhone 14 this year, replacing it with the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max instead. Since Apple rarely makes major changes to its lineup for only one year, the lineup is also expected for 2023.
That means a pair of 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models accompanied by the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Max and iPhone 15 Pro Max. We’re not sure Apple will use the “Max” designation for the standard iPhone model, but the iPhone 15 release will adopt whatever name Apple calls the standard 6.7-inch iPhone 14 this year.
While Apple is widely expected to get rid of the notch this year, this will likely only happen on the iPhone 14 Pro models, which will go for a bean-shaped notch while the standard iPhone 14 retains the notch. Next year’s iPhone 15 will see the full notch shed across the entire lineup.
There is a slight chance that the iPhone 15 Pro will be able to eliminate the front-display holes entirely by switching to an in-display Face ID, but more reliable reports say that won’t happen until 2024.
What will come next?
With more than a year to go before the iPhone 15 sees the light of day, we’ll likely hear a lot more as we head into 2023. Apple typically finishes designs about 10 months before a new iPhone is released and shuts them down for final production around January. So, by early 2023 we should get a much better idea of what the iPhone 15 will look like, but for now it’s important to keep in mind that even Apple probably hasn’t made its final decision on the 2023 design.