The iPhone 14 hasn’t even come out yet, and we’re already hearing reports on what to expect from next year’s so-called “iPhone 15”.
With Apple’s iPhone plans for 2023 likely not even finalized, most of these rumors should be taken with a large dose of skepticism – but there are enough interesting tidbits to give us an idea of where Apple is likely to be headed.
Goodbye Lightning, hello USB-C
The most intriguing report comes from well-known supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who predicts that 2023 could be the year we finally see a USB-C iPhone.
It’s very preliminary information, but Kuo has noted that many of Apple’s suppliers are preparing to order many more USB-C chips and connector components — too many to be accounted for by Apple’s current USB-C lineup.
While it’s still likely that Apple’s endgame is to ditch ports altogether and instead rely on its MagSafe technology, the European Union (EU) is expected to force Apple to do so before the world calls for a fully wireless iPhone ready.
Apple’s 5G modem chip
Apple has been working on its own 5G modem chip for a number of years, and many pundits expected it to be here by now. Unfortunately for Apple, making 5G modems is difficult. In recent months, Apple has been in talks with major chip suppliers to package its first 5G modem chips.
It’s too early to tell what specific benefits Apple’s own 5G modem chip will offer over the Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 chips currently used by Apple. At the very least, it will likely save Apple a ton of money, which will allow the company to add more improvements. This year’s iPhone 14 is expected to step up from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65, but if the reports are true, we’ll never see the recently announced Snapdragon X70 in an iPhone.
Another rumor that has been circulating for a while says that Apple is working on a new periscope lens technology. More recently, some fairly reliable analysts have set a firmer 2023 timeline for the new camera technology.
Periscope lenses have been found in Android smartphones for years, so Apple is a bit late here. However, this would allow the iPhone to finally break the 3x zoom barrier and make far better use of the 48-megapixel (MP) primary camera that’s expected to come to the iPhone 14 this year.
It’s almost certain that Apple will phase out the ailing 5.4-inch iPhone mini with the iPhone 14 this year, replacing it with a 6.7-inch “iPhone 14 Max” instead. Since Apple rarely makes any significant changes to its lineup for just a single year, that’s likely to be its lineup for 2023 as well.
That means a pair of 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models, accompanied by 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Max and iPhone 15 Pro Max phones. We’re not sure if Apple will use the “Max” designation for the standard iPhone model, but the iPhone 15 version will adopt the name Apple calls the 6.7-inch standard iPhone 14 this year .
Although Apple is widely expected to eliminate the notch this year, it will likely only happen on the iPhone 14 Pro models, which will switch to a pill-shaped cutout while the standard iPhone 14 will retain the notch. Next year’s iPhone 15 will eliminate the notch across the lineup.
There’s a slim possibility that the iPhone 15 Pro could eliminate front-facing cutouts entirely by switching to in-display facial recognition, but the most reliable reports suggest that won’t happen until 2024.
With over a year to go before the iPhone 15 sees the light of day, we’ll likely hear a lot more as we get closer to 2023. Apple typically finalizes its designs about 10 months before releasing a new iPhone, locking it in for final production to shut down around January. So by early 2023 we should have a much better idea of what the iPhone 15 will look like, but for now it’s important to remember that even Apple probably hasn’t made a final decision on 2023’s design just yet.