Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are Worth Upgrade?

Wondering if it’s worth upgrading from the iPhone 14 Pro to the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max? Well, I’ve got all the details for you today, covering everything that’s changed – the good, the not-so-good, and what might disappoint you.

And let me tell you, my conclusion about this iPhone launch might just catch you off guard.

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Apple has placed a strong emphasis on design, introducing new materials, a powerful chip, and enhanced cameras. One notable change is the shift from stainless steel, which we’ve grown accustomed to, to titanium for the build. Titanium offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and showcases a sleek brushed finish, departing from the shiny stainless steel. Personally, I find it quite impressive.

iPhone 15

Additionally, Apple has slimmed down the bezels, resulting in a smaller overall phone size that fits comfortably in your hand. They’ve also introduced a contoured edge, providing both a secure grip with its flat sides and added comfort. What’s remarkable is that this titanium design makes it the lightest Pro iPhone ever, even surpassing the iPhone 11 Pro. That’s certainly a noteworthy improvement.

Regrettably, the color choices for the new iPhone are somewhat underwhelming and quite similar. Instead of the vibrant Deep Purple and Space Black, as well as the classic Silver and Gold that many of us adore, we’re presented with Black Titanium, Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, and White Titanium. It’s worth noting that some of these options feature the same color on the sides, with variations only on the back. I’m curious to hear your thoughts – are you satisfied with these color offerings?

Action Button

Another compelling reason to consider upgrading is the disappearance of the physical silent switch that we’ve all grown accustomed to. By default, you can still engage in silent mode by holding down a button, but the exciting part is that you can now customize this button’s functionality.

iPhone 15

It can be programmed to perform various actions, such as quickly switching to an audio recording or, one of my personal favorites, launching the camera with lightning speed. The possibilities don’t stop there – you can even create your own custom action button shortcuts using shortcuts. This promises to be a highly versatile and useful feature.

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Now, let’s dive into the all-new A17 Pro chip, which marks the first time Apple has added the “Pro” branding to its A-series chip. There was significant excitement around this chip, especially because it represents Apple’s move to three nanometers, a first for any device. We anticipated substantial improvements in CPU, graphics, and battery life performance. However, what we got wasn’t quite what we expected.

Before I delve deeper, I want to mention that I’ll be conducting extensive real-world tests covering performance, screen dimming, heat management, and battery life. Be sure to hit that subscribe button to stay updated.

The A17 Pro features two performance cores and four efficiency cores, similar to the A16 Bionic. It packs 19 billion transistors compared to the A16’s 16 billion, which is a nice boost. However, surprisingly, Apple stated that it’s only 10% faster than its predecessor. Previous chip upgrades usually brought more significant performance gains. Apple seems to have focused on the efficiency cores, claiming they deliver three times better performance per watt compared to the competition. It’s worth noting that the A16 also had this efficiency boost at its time.

In terms of graphics, we now have a six-core GPU, up from five, with Apple touting a 20% speed increase. While this is an improvement, it’s not as substantial as the 40% increase we’ve seen in the past. Part of the increase can be attributed to the extra core.

One exciting addition is Hardware Ray tracing, which promises four times the performance compared to software. This should enable better-quality games and graphics with potentially lower power consumption – something we’ll put to the test.

Apple has also emphasized the new neural engine, which includes a new Metal Effects upscaling for gaming that uses less power while enhancing graphics quality. The neural engine itself is now two times faster than the one in the A16, boasting 35 trillion operations per second and dedicated engines. This is what Apple is leveraging to introduce new features and boost overall performance.

Apple didn’t officially disclose the RAM size, but leaks suggest it could have 8 GB compared to the previous 6 GB. This increase could allow for more apps to stay open in the background without automatic shutdowns.

Type-C Port

With the introduction of this new chip, we now have USB 3 speeds thanks to the controller for the new USB Type-C port. However, it’s worth noting that many were expecting Thunderbolt support, which didn’t materialize. Instead, we have a 10 gigabit per second speed, which is significantly lower than the 40 gigabits per second Thunderbolt offers. This means it’s 20 times faster than the iPhone 14 Pro if you use the connector for transfers. If you don’t use that feature, it might not make a big difference to you. It seems like Thunderbolt might be on the horizon for next year, possibly with the “Ultra” model.

Regarding the included cable that you can purchase for $19, it supports 60-watt charging. However, it’s important to note that the iPhone itself cannot accept 60-watt charging; it’s limited to USB 2 speed. If you want to take advantage of faster transfer speeds, you’ll need to purchase your own cable.

In your assessment, you suggest that the new A17 Pro should not be labeled as “Pro” and that it’s one of the less impressive upgrades in terms of specifications. It’s clear that you have reservations about these changes. What are your thoughts on this?

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Now, let’s dive into the camera upgrades, and this is where things get a bit interesting. The main camera sensor they showcased as being better than the iPhone 15’s is, in fact, the same sensor found on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, boasting 48 megapixels. Essentially, the hardware remains unchanged, but what they’re doing in software is intriguing.

They’ve introduced Smart HDR5 for improved HDR capabilities, and a significant software enhancement is the ability to capture 48-megapixel images and save them as such. By default, you’ll get 24-megapixel files instead of the 12-megapixel ones on the iPhone 14 Pro. You can also switch to the full 48-megapixel mode without needing to shoot in ProRAW, which consumes a lot of storage space. Interestingly, this is something that could potentially be implemented through a software upgrade on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, although that remains uncertain.

Apple has made a big deal about the variety of cameras packed into the new iPhones. However, much of this involves utilizing different crops. On the iPhone 14 Pro, they introduced a 2X crop mode, which many users appreciated for its unique focal length. Now, you can tap back to 1X to achieve 1.2X and 1.5X crops, effectively giving you focal lengths equivalent to 28mm and 35mm, with a jump to approximately 50mm for the 2X mode. It’s essential to note that this is already possible on the iPhone 14 Pro.

If we look at the iPhone 15 Pro, the telephoto camera remains identical not only to the iPhone 14 Pro but also to the iPhone 13 Pro, marking the third year of using the same camera hardware with some software updates. The same applies to the ultra-wide lens, which remains unchanged.

So, in terms of actual camera hardware, there’s little difference between the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro, which can be disappointing for some users.

However, in the larger-sized phones, there’s a brand new 5X telephoto camera replacing the 3X we’ve had for a while. It features an interesting design using multiple mirrors to capture more light compared to some Android counterparts, potentially resulting in improved low-light performance. The sensor itself is 25% larger, which is promising. But there’s a caveat: the 120mm equivalent focal length for portrait shots may be too zoomed in for many situations, which could be a drawback.

The smaller-sized 16 Pro also gets the updated telephoto camera, so that’s one reason to consider waiting for it. Unfortunately, there’s no support for 8K video recording, although they’ve introduced some software updates, such as shooting cinematic mode in 4K at 60fps and new features like taking a photo and adding portrait mode later or adjusting where the portrait mode focuses. These are valuable software additions but don’t represent groundbreaking changes.

So, while there are some intriguing software enhancements, the camera hardware itself hasn’t seen substantial upgrades, which may be a bit disappointing for those expecting significant improvements in this department. What are your thoughts on these camera updates?

Other Changes

Now, there are a few other changes that may not be significant for most people but could be very appealing to those considering the Vision Pro model. With the Vision Pro, you’ll have the capability to record videos in a sideways orientation, as demonstrated with the iPhone. This feature uses dual lenses to capture depth and create a 3D-like effect for vision videos. So, if you’re planning to purchase a Vision Pro, this functionality will be essential.

Additionally, you’ll have the ability to record directly to external devices or external storage. This is particularly valuable when shooting in ProRes format, which consumes a substantial amount of storage space. Being able to disconnect the device and plug it into your computer for immediate editing can streamline your workflow. Alongside this, there will be support for log recording, allowing professionals to have more control over the video’s appearance, especially if they prefer a look different from the standard super HDR style.

These features cater to professionals and video enthusiasts who require advanced video recording capabilities, but for the average user, they may not have a significant impact on their daily smartphone experience.


These are indeed significant changes that could make upgrading quite appealing. Now, in terms of pricing, there was an expectation of a $100 to $200 increase, but the interesting part is that the iPhone 15 Pro, the smaller-sized model, remains at the same $999 price point. It also continues to offer 128 gigabytes of storage, which is a positive note for consumers.

However, the 15 Pro Max does see a price increase of $100. But the catch here is that it starts at 256 gigabytes of storage, essentially maintaining the same price as the 256 gig model from the previous generation. So, in essence, it didn’t become more expensive; instead, they’re nudging consumers towards a higher storage option.

These pricing strategies and storage configurations can certainly impact the value proposition for potential buyers.


To answer the original question of whether you should upgrade, I have to be honest. This is the first year in a while when there’s a sense of disappointment when considering what’s been introduced, what’s missing, and the overall value proposition. Even our main editor, Angelica, isn’t planning to upgrade to the iPhone 15 Pro this year, and I’m having second thoughts about upgrading my wife’s iPhone 14 Pro Max to the new model.

Compared to previous generations, this feels like one of the smallest overall leaps with the fewest new features and updates. Many aspects remain the same, and Apple has reiterated some of the same selling points. Yes, there’s the new satellite feature for roadside assistance, the lightweight titanium build, and the introduction of USB Type-C. However, none of these changes present a compelling reason to upgrade, especially if you have a lot of existing accessories that use the previous ports.

If you were on the fence before, my recommendation would be to consider waiting for the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max or Ultra models, as they might offer more substantial upgrades. Of course, if there’s a particular feature that you absolutely can’t live without and it’s available on the iPhone 15 Pro, you can still go ahead and upgrade. However, it’s crucial to understand that this iteration appears to offer one of the smallest jumps in recent years.

Ultimately, more testing and exploration of features that Apple may not have highlighted will provide a clearer picture of the device’s overall performance and capabilities.

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