iPhone 15 Design: USB-C hinted for Apple’s latest phone
Rumors suggest a major design overhaul for the iPhone 15 in 2023, with USB-C, curved edges, new cameras and more
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: iPhone 15 overhauled
📸 Leaked renders and images hint at USB-C for iPhone 15 series
📱 iPhone 15 and 15 Pro may have softened, curvy edges
🏝️ Apple’s cheapest phone may get the Dynamic Island, lost the notch
📏 Base model iPhone 15 leaks suggest a slightly larger screen
👍 Bezels may be shrinking across all phones
⚡️ iPhone 15 Pro rumors hint at capacitive, not mechanical, side buttons
The iPhone 15 series might be the most consequential design update in years for Apple’s famed handset, if rumors to date are accurate, gaining a long-awaited charging standard, gentler edges and superior camera tech along with the usual litany of smaller improvements to connectivity, performance and battery life. We’re collecting those changes as we encounter them here to help you plan for your next iPhone upgrade as the iPhone 15 Pro Max release date approaches.
iPhone 15 USB-C: is it finally happening?
It seems like every year for the last few years Apple has been rumored to have plans to make the switch to USB-C for its iPhones, but this time it feels much more real, and it’s not just me wishcasting. Last year, the European Union decreed that Apple must make the switch, and in October, Apple marketing head Greg Joswiak said the iPhone would have USB-C, but didn’t say when.
On February 16, 2023 in an apparent iPhone 15 Pro leak, renders alleged to have been based on actual CAD designs provided to 9to5Mac by a reputable case manufacturer surfaced, showing, among other things, a USB-C port on the bottom edge.
The leak was quickly echoed by an alleged photo of the actual iPhone 15 Pro USB-C port leaked by the usually-accurate Twitter leaker Unknownz21 (the tweet has since been deleted without explanation). A few days later, iPhone 15 leak renders likewise strengthened iPhone 15 USB-C port rumors.
The same day, alleged photos of the iPhone 15 USB-C port and screen surfaced in a MacRumors story (also courtesy of Unknownz21), though it was much more difficult to make out details from the image. Still, you could make out some details about the screen and updated charging port, further beefing up related rumors.
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iPhone 15 design: Apple’s phone gets curves
In November 2022, prominent Twitter leaker ShrimpApplePro shared a rumor that the iPhone 15 design was seeing a fairly major change in more rounded edges, speculating it could be similar to the iPhone 5C, as well as titanium construction like you’d find in our pick for best Apple Watch for fitness, the Apple Watch Ultra.
That was backed up later with the renders and photos linked above, showing the change for both the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro lines. If accurate, those leaks further hint at another rumored change for Apple’s iPhone 15 design: the Dynamic Island on base model iPhones – that is, the shapeshifting, pill-shaped cutout where you find the camera and various sensors. That was predicted by Bloomberg (via MacRumors) Apple analyst Mark Gurman in January, and it seems all the more likely the old notch is going away.
One of the more startling design hints from the iPhone 15 Pro renders was the camera system. Apple has steadily grown the camera bumps of its iPhone’s Pro series phones, and it may be content to continue doing so now if the images are accurate. In July 2022, a rumor from supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicated the iPhone 15 Pro Max alone is getting a new periscope telephoto lens and that the iPhone 15 will inherit the 48-megapixel lens currently only found on the Pro lineup, but we haven’t seen any real rumors addressing what’s happening with the regular iPhone 15 Pro camera outside of these renders.
I can’t stress enough that the CAD files used to create them didn’t apparently come directly from Apple and therefore should be treated with healthy skepticism.
iPhone 15 Pro design: solid-state buttons
In October 2022, Kuo tweeted that Apple would be moving to solid-state volume and power buttons for the iPhone 15 Pro series phones, similar to the home button change of the iPhone 7, a change that was later hinted in a November 23, 2022 MacRumors article reporting on a Cirrus earnings call.
When the renders above dropped, we got a visual clue that may point that way, too. The button cutouts don’t appear to have a hole to push the buttons through, like you’d find on an iPhone with mechanical inputs, implying the company may be planning to use capacitive inputs. The change does not appear to be coming to the iPhone 15, however, which again mirrors Kuo’s original tweet.
iPhone 15 screen size: bigger screen, slim bezels
With the rumored edge curves we may also see curved glass screen edges come to the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro phones, and we may see slimmer bezels for the phones this year. As for what that means for the phones themselves, it looks like Apple may have taken the opportunity to both shrink the chassis of the iPhone 15 Pro, which is expected to stay a 6.1-inch phone, while the base model screen may actually grow to 6.2 inches, with its frame keeping the same, or similar, dimensions.
iPhone 15 rumors: maintain your skepticism
While much of the information that came from dissecting the renders provided in the 9to5Mac and MacRumors stories linked above seems to corroborate past rumors from reputable analysts and researchers, it’s good to take them with a grain of salt. Even when rumors are accurate about early plans for a phone, plans can change to accommodate manufacturing issues, materials availability and cost as development proceeds.