We have about four months before Apple announces the next iPhone models — the event typically takes place in September. Again, we expect two non-Pro iPhone models, then an iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max (also maybe, probably, but not likely an
iPhone 15 Ultra, but that's a separate thing).
So, the big bad — the Pro Max. We kind of expect it to be like an iPhone 14 Pro Max on steroids — slightly different design, much thinner bezels around the screen, a titanium body, and a periscope zoom camera that can reach up to 5x or 6x optical zoom. Of course, also a new processor — in fact, Apple is poised to release the world's first 3 nm smartphone SoC with the iPhone 15 Pro series.
So, it will be better than the current iPhone 14 Pro Max? But... how much better? Would it be enough to warrant an upgrade? Or is the iPhone 14 Pro Max still going to be good enough — now a better purchase due to being discounted as "last year's device"?
Let's see what we know so far!
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max expected differences:
- Slight redesign
- Titanium frame
- Mute switch to be upgraded to Action Switch
- New processor with some performance improvements
- 8 GB of RAM (upgraded from 6 GB)
- Same storage options
- New camera system — periscope zoom
- Even brighter display
- USB Type C instead of Lightning
Table of Contents:
- Design and Size
- Display Differences
- Audio Quality
- Battery and Charging
- iPhone 14 Pro Max review
- iPhone 15 Pro Max all leaks and expectations
Design and Size
This one won't be a Spider-Man meme
Apple typically sticks to the same design for years on end. The
iPhone 8 from 2017 looked pretty much like an
iPhone 6 from 2014. The iPhone 14 Pro Max looks just like an
iPhone 12 Pro Max, with a larger camera. Point being, Apple rarely changes a product's design, but it's a big deal when it happens. In the smartphone department — it happens once every three-four years.
Which means that the iPhone is due for a facelift with the 15 series. And rumors do state that we will see something of the sort... just not exactly a "face" lift.
Reportedly, the back of the
iPhone 15 series will have rounded-off corners where the
iPhone 14 series has right angles. This will let the device lay more softly in the palm of your hand, as opposed to the cold, jabbing frame that the iPhone 14 has. Also, it will make the 15 appear more like a MacBook Pro, specifically how the bottom shell is more rounded while the flap is more flat and angular around the edges.
But we are not being fair — rumor has it that the front will see a slight change, too. Apparently, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have incredibly thin bezels around its screen — possibly the thinnest bezels on a smartphone right now. Which is a bit weird, since Apple typically prefers to leave some bezel there for the user to grab to. But leaked measurements of the iPhone 15 Pro Max do state that it will be slightly shorter and narrower, while — supposedly — keeping the same screen size and aspect ratio. So, this could very well be true.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is also reported to be built with titanium, which should make it lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max with its stainless steel chassis. And, titanium still looks and feels premium, so no losses to be had there.
As for buttons — rumors did suggest a buttonless iPhone 15 or one with a volume rocker instead of two buttons. However, the latest leaks say that all went out the window and the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have the same setup of separate power, volume+, and volume- buttons. What's interesting is that the mute switch may be replaced.
As per latest leaks, the mute switch from the iPhone 14 Pro Max will become an action button a-la
Apple Watch Ultra. You can still have it mute your notifications and sounds, but — should you choose to — you'd be able to customize it to quick-launch specific apps and functions.
Also, the iPhone 15 series will be getting a USB Type-C port instead of the Lightning port for charging and data transfers. You have the EU regulators to thank for this. Though, rumor is that Apple will be selling its own USB C cables with a chip inside, which "unlocks" the iPhone's fast charging and fast data transfers. Using a generic USB Type-C cable might not yield the best results. We are not rid of MFi yet!
As for data transfer speeds, rumor mill says the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have a USB 3.2 connection, which is heaps, bounds, years, and miles better than the USB 2.0 speeds the iPhones have been stuck with so far. USB 3.2 supports transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps (or 10 Gbps if it's Gen 2), which is already 10 times faster than USB 2.0 and its 480 Mbps. Boo! Boo, Wendy Lightning-burger, boo!
We expect mostly the same screens from both devices — Samsung-made OLED panels that have the Dynamic Island cutout on top, 120 Hz refresh rates, and outstanding max brightness. The iPhone 14 Pro Max was already capable of peaking at 2,000 nits — rumor says, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will go up to 2,500 nits.
Do you ever need that much brightness? Possibly not, we assume pushing that envelope is done specifically to give the iPhone 15 Pro Max more headroom with the brightness controls, not really to drive the screen searing hot at all times.
But otherwise, here's the boring stuff — we expect the same 6.7-inch size, with the same 1290x2796 resolution, and a 120 Hz ProMotion refresh rate. Apple has found what it's comfortable with and we don't expect a change in those specs.
Performance and Software
A17 Bionic... Commando?
Another iPhone, another new processor. If the line of succession is followed, the SoC inside the iPhone 15 Pro Max should be called Apple A17 Bionic. Who knows, maybe it's time for a shakeup and a name change — A17 Cyborg? A17 StarDestroyer? We'll see.
In any case, it will be a faster and more efficient chip — again. Supposedly, the A17 will be the world's first smartphone SoC to be built on a 3 nm process, which is ridiculously small. It will, reportedly, fit 4 to 8 billion (with a b) more transistors in it, and perform 18% more operations per second than the A16 Bionic inside the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Do keep in mind that "operations per second" does not translate to performance increase 1 to 1, so thus far — as much as we are thankful to the rumors and leaksters — this doesn't mean much to us.
Supposedly, the A17 Bionic was supposed to support / come with LPDDR5X RAM. The Android flagships in the industry have already made the switch — the new memory technology is about 30% faster than regular LPDDR5, so... it's about time. But no, more recent leaks say that this upgrade has been postponed for the iPhone 16 series.
What we do know is that the iPhone 14 Pro Max is is still very snappy, fast, smooth, and basically among the best-performing smartphones on the market. Its A16 chip will likely live on inside the non-Pro iPhone 15, so it's obviously not going to be considered obsolete just yet. As far as raw performance differences — we'll have to wait for benchmark leaks or the actual device release so we can start frying that 3 nm circuit.
And software? Given that Apple updates its older iPhones just as fast as the newer ones — expect both of these devices to have
iOS 17 at the same time. With mostly the same features and definitely the same looks and software behavior. Supposedly, Apple has its engineers hard at work to try and figure out various ways to make the Dynamic Island useful. Which is good news here, since both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro Max (will) have a Dynamic Island around the selfie camera. We mean, it's good news for us, not good news for the engineers pulling all-nighters to figure out a use for that... design decision.
Periscope up! Actually, it's internal... well, you know what I mean
Some leaksters were saying that the main camera sensor of the iPhone 15 Pro Max would be updated to the
almost-1-inch-large Sony IMX903. However, those leaks
have been refuted by more recent reports, stating the the IMX903 switch has been postponed for the iPhone 16 series.
And that makes sense — the iPhones just got a new high-res sensor with the iPhone 14 Pro Max series. And Apple likes to pace and spread out upgrades nicely. The iPhone 15 Pro Max will likely make use of the same 48 MP main sensor and we don't expect huge differences in the main camera performance.
What the iPhone 15 Pro Max is getting (maybe, probably, and likely) is a new periscope zoom telephoto lens. Supposedly, it will give us "up to" 5x or 6x optical zoom — up from the iPhone 14 Pro Max's telephoto camera 3x zoom. It's very possible that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have an actual variable optical zoom between 3x and 5/6x, like the
Sony Xperia 1 V has (it's 3.5x to 5.2x there).
Selfie camera? Ultra-wide camera? We have no information on those. Though, no hot leaks can mean that Apple doesn't plan changes there. So, a 12 MP selfie and 12 MP ultra-wide camera, same as before.
Audio Quality and Haptics
Apple's haptics have been industry-leading for years (though, Android manufacturers did catch up about 3 years ago). At this point, we don't know how the haptics can be made better — the Taptic engine in the iPhone 14 Pro Max clicks and clacks super-accurately with pleasing feedback, as it has for years now. We don't see that changing with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
As for speakers — the iPhone 14 Pro Max already sounds excellent, with loud and full stereo sound. It can be a bit harsh or crackle a bit in the highs with specific genres. We do think Apple should revisit the EQ curve for the speakers of the iPhones just for a couple of tweaks. But we don't think it will happen with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Battery Life and Charging
All day battery? You betcha
The Apple A-series chips have the capability of being powerful but also energy-efficient. Really, if you put an iPhone under a huge strain — max-res 3D gaming, video-editing and exporting, or just benchmark stress testing — it will eat through a battery fairly fast. Even then, the iPhone 14 Pro Max delivered pretty respectable battery life under heavy load.
On the other end of the spectrum, iPhones are exceptionally good at preserving charge while in standby, and also don't drain much for regular tasks, such as browsing, chatting, and YouTube binging. Again, the iPhone 14 Pro Max smashed results, giving us 19 hours of web browsing before turning off.
We fully expect that the iPhone 15 Pro Max would be on par. If worse than this — then only slightly. Yes, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to have a slightly smaller footprint, so one would assume "Ha! Smaller battery, then!". But leaks say that it will have a slightly thicker profile. So, maybe we will get a cell similar to the 4,323 mAh one in the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
What about charging? We kind of doubt Apple will suddenly jump on the ultra-fast-charging bandwagon. So, we will likely see the same spec of 27 W wired charging, 15 W wireless (with MagSafe, otherwise - 7.5 W).
Let's lay out the main specs of the two massive phones, so we have a clearer picture of what to expect. If you want a full specs comparison, you can always hit up our dedicated page for
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max specs comparison.
|iPhone 15 Pro Max||iPhone 14 Pro Max|
|Size, weight||6.29 x3.02 x 0.32 (159.86 x 76.73 x 8.25 mm)*; unknown||6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 inches (160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85 mm);8.47 oz (240.0 g)|
120 Hz ProMotion
120 Hz ProMotion
|RAM, Storage||8/128 GB|
|Cameras||48 MP main|
12 MP ultra
12 MP 5X-6X zoom
12 MP front
|48 MP main|
12 MP ultra
12 MP 3X zoom
12 MP front
|Battery||4323 mAh*||4323 mAh*|
27 W wired
15 W MagSafe
27 W wired
15 W MagSafe
Not a huge difference? Well... par for the course in iPhone world. But, let's not forget — the iPhone 14 Pro Max is still fresh and bleeding-edge. How much improvement can one bring to it? We'll have to wait and see...
Summary and Final Verdict
By all means, if you currently have an iPhone 14 Pro Max, you should feel pretty set — we don't think an upgrade to iPhone 15 Pro Max would be mandatory or that much of an improvement. Unless you really, really want that optical zoom (and if we get it).
In fact, we do think we will be recommending the iPhone 14 Pro Max as a "cheaper super-premium phone" once the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes out and makes its price tick down by a bit.
But don't get us wrong — the iPhone 15 Pro Max is definitely shaping up to be a killer phone. If you are on an older iPhone — specifically 12 or below — it will be an awesome jump. If you've never had an iPhone, it would be the most impressive starting point.
We think... Oh, September, why art thou so far into the future?