A brand new name, as well as a brand new camera
According to Andrew O’Hara of AppleInsider (citing “multiple sources”) on Twitter, the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max is out and the iPhone 15 Ultra is in as the moniker of Apple’s flagship iPhone this year.
We learned early in the iPhone 15 series rumor cycle that the highest model would be dubbed Ultra rather than Pro Max. However, with reports of the new name dwindling, we anticipated that Apple will remain with basic, Plus, Pro, and Pro Max model names for at least another year.
Apple has been slow to adopt the Ultra moniker. While Samsung and other companies have been using it for phones and other devices for years, the only Ultra-branded Apple products are the M2 Ultra chipset in high-end Mac desktops and the Apple Watch Ultra. There has never been an iPhone labelled as Ultra, but that may be about to change.
If prior rumors are correct, the feature difference between the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra may not be significant. The primary difference is their overall sizes, with the iPhone 15 Pro expected to be 6.1 inches and the iPhone 15 Ultra expected to be 6.7 inches, with the Ultra also expected to include a periscope telephoto camera (more on that below).
Both the Pro and Ultra variants are expected to have the same titanium-framed design, as well as a rebindable Action button in place of the mute switch, as well as a more powerful A17 Bionic CPU with more RAM and storage capacity than prior Pro iPhones. Both will undoubtedly become more expensive as a result, with a $100 – $200 price increase being inevitable.
The periscope camera, rumored to be an iPhone 15 Pro Max/Ultra-exclusive feature, will also have 10x zoom rather than the 5x or 6x magnification we’ve been hearing up to this point, but O’Hara says he’s less certain about this than the new moniker.
This would be a significant improvement over the existing iPhone Pro models, which only offer 3x optical zoom. It would also match the maximum optical zoom of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the iPhone 15 Ultra’s main competitor and the current top of our best camera phones guide.
However, given the numerous speculations of 5x/6x zoom for the top-tier iPhone 15 model, we can’t help but wonder whether the 10x figure is actually “hybrid” zoom, which would crop in on the 5x or 6x photo to deliver the equivalent of a 10x shot but with no loss in quality. Similarly, there have been reports that Apple may provide this camera variable zoom capabilities, so perhaps this is how the iPhone 15 Ultra would handle both magnification levels without the addition of a second zoom camera.
With the Apple September event scheduled for September 12, it’s only a matter of weeks before Apple officially unveils the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max (or iPhone 15 Ultra). Then we’ll know whether or not the claimed features are accurate, or at least what the phones are called.