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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

New features of Apple's iPhone 15: Titanium design, 5x zoom camera and more

Further, the iPhone is making strong gains in India, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone nation

Mathures Paul Published 14.09.23, 05:24 AM
Apple CEO Tim Cook interacts with visitors to the Apple Park after the launch of the iPhone 15 series.  

Apple CEO Tim Cook interacts with visitors to the Apple Park after the launch of the iPhone 15 series.   Pictures: Mathures Paul

People love Spider-Man for a reason — he can defy gravity and rules. The same logic applies to the iPhone. Consider this: the iPhone has had several iterations since 2007. Yet, it remains the device that defies market trends. The magic continues with the new iPhone 15 series, which was revealed at the Steve Jobs Theatre in Apple Park, Cupertino, on Tuesday.

The years have been kind to the device as it expanded its share in several top markets of the world, including India, China, Japan and Europe. The US, of course, remains the phone’s most important market. On the other hand, Android smartphones have been losing ground in the past few years as more people turn to the iPhone, which remains a privacy-focused device.

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And here is some eye-popping data: According to Piper Sandler, an investment bank, 87 per cent of teens in the US own an iPhone; 88 per cent expect an iPhone to be their next phone; and 35 per cent own an Apple Watch.

Further, the iPhone is making strong gains in India, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone nation.

Let’s look at some of the features that come with the new iPhone 15 series, which has four models — iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Tech enthusiasts try the new iPhones at Apple Park in Cupertino

Tech enthusiasts try the new iPhones at Apple Park in Cupertino

Tetraprism magic

Before attending the Taylor Swift gig in Singapore in March, get the iPhone 15 Pro Max for tetraprism camera magic. We are not kidding.
March next year, there will be one name on the lips of most Indian teenagers — Taylor Swift, who will turn in multiple gigs in Singapore. There will be one device in the hands of many concertgoers — the iPhone 15 Pro Max and that too for a good reason. Zoom arising from tetraprism tech.

Unlike the last few years when we have seen great leaps on the video front, this year Apple has dedicated a lot of effort towards photography. First, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone Pro Max have received the new A17 Pro chip, which should help a great deal with photography and video.

The new main camera on the Pro can move between 24mm, 28mm and 35mm focal lengths. In case, you opt for the Pro Max, you get the new 5x tetraprism zoom lens which has a 120mm focal length.

What the tetraprism does is bend the light path four times before it meets the sensor. The problem with telephoto cameras is that they require physically longer lens assemblies but given the space in a phone, that’s not possible. Apple’s technology use prisms or mirrors to bend the light path for a more roundabout route that’s compact. In other words, to find more distance between the nodal point and infinity, they bounce the light around four times inside the lens, giving light a longer travel distance, within a design that remains small.
The main camera shoots at 24MP by default, but you can now shoot at both 48MP ProRaw and 48MP HEIF.

Let’s talk about video. Users can now shoot 4K60 ProRes video on the Pro devices or shoot directly to an external drive through the USB-C port.

The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max uses titanium, making the phones lighter and more durable

The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max uses titanium, making the phones lighter and more durable

Portrait Mode has been updated

The Portrait Mode has roughly remained the same for years. On the iPhone 15, the camera app takes the help of machine learning to determine when there’s a person in the frame and then automatically switch to Portrait Mode. It can even recognise pets.

The clever implementation involves what happens after you take a photo in Portrait Mode — you can toggle which person or pet remains in focus.

Helping spatial videos

Another important addition to the camera setup is the addition of a new nanoscale coating to reduce lens flare, and some computational photography chops that allow the phone to use the two wide-angle cameras in parallel to shoot 3D ‘spatial videos’, which can be converted to video and images with depth perception for Apple’s headset — Apple Vision Pro. Obviously, the iPhone 15 Pro is a consumer device but it can also be a professional tool for film-makers.

iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are easy default choices

All the phones in the iPhone 15 series now have Dynamic Island, which allows one to access important information without having to switch between apps. It includes information like the time needed for Uber to arrive or a quick look at the timer.

But it is the main camera sensor that has received the biggest change. It’s now a 48MP sensor, up from the 12MP found on iPhone 14. There’s also a 12MP ultra-wide that’s capable of telephoto. Further, updates to the portrait mode mean you don’t have to manually switch to portrait mode anymore.

The chip on these two phones has been upgraded to A16, the same one found in last year’s iPhone 14 Pro models. There’s more: The iPhone 15 includes a second-generation ultra wideband chip, just like the new Apple Watch Series 9. It improves connectivity to other devices that are further away, and it can allow precision finding in Find My.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Titanium power and Action Button

One complaint people have always had is how heavy the Pro models of the iPhone are. That is changing with the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, which are made of titanium. It means, the device is lighter and there is better heat management. Plus, it is far more resistant to corrosion.

The ringer switch on the iPhone 15 Pro is now an Action Button that can be customised to run shortcuts, bring up accessibility features, open the camera, turn on the flashlight, and more. When you take the phone out of the box, it’s a ringer switch by default.

Pricing and availability

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be available in pink, yellow, green, blue, and black in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage capacities, starting at
Rs 79,900 and Rs 89,900 respectively. You will be able to pre-order both models from September 15, with availability beginning September 22.

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be available in black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, and natural titanium finishes. iPhone 15 Pro starts at Rs 134,900 and is available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage capacities. iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at Rs 159,900 and is available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage capacities. Pre-order from September 15 and availability begins September 22.

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