05/29 Update below. This post was originally published on May 27
iPhone 15 leaks have revealed a number of surprising design decisions, including an exclusive Pro Max periscope camera and new Action button controls. But perhaps the biggest shock is they are shaping up to be the most open standard iPhones ever released.
According to a new leak by ChargerLab, a power specialist website with a rock-solid track record, all iPhone 15 models will support fast 15W wireless charging using the Qi2 open standard. If correct, this is a major U-turn because Apple had previously limited open wireless charging standards to 7.5W, with only Apple MagSafe licensed accessories getting the full 15W.
Combine high-speed, open standard, wireless charging with the iPhone 15 range’s adoption of USB-C wired charging, and this is completely new territory for Apple’s smartphones. And the good news doesn’t stop there.
“ChargerLAB confirmed from the supply chain that the wholesale price of Apple’s MagSafe module is about $16, it takes up the largest part of the cost, resulting in higher retail prices,” the site explains. “The quotation of the new Qi2 wireless charging module is less than one-third of Apple’s MagSafe module, and the manufacturer does not need to be a member of MFi. In this way, there will definitely be cheaper and faster wireless charging accessories on the market.”
Qi2 is based on Apple’s MagSafe standard, right down to support for the same halo-like ring of magnets that snap the chargers into place. That said, it was far from a given that Apple would support the full charging speeds of Qi2, given the sizeable bite it is now likely to take from Apple’s official MagSafe licensing program as accessory makers flock to the cheaper standard.
Moreover, the leak further highlights a previously unseen willingness from Apple to work with open standards on the iPhone. Yes, EU law will force Apple to adopt USB-C, but not until December 2024. So Apple could have released the iPhone 15 and iPhone 16 (likely September 2023 and 2024 launches, respectively) with Lightning, but instead, it is proactively shifting to USB-C two generations earlier than required.
In addition, iOS 17 is expected to enable sideloading of apps through third-party app stores. Again, pressure was coming from the European Union for Apple to open up the App Store, but not for another year. Apple is embracing the change.
Whether all these changes are just a sign of Apple’s confidence in its increasingly dominant market position or a reluctant acceptance of the unavoidable, remains to be seen. Either way, it gives potential iPhone 15 upgraders something to look forward to, just as doubts were being owned. Especially with bigger changes coming to iPhones in 2024.
05/29 Update: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has corroborated leaks claiming Apple will increase the size of the iPhone Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 in his latest Power On newsletters.
Gurman’s source aligns with consistently accurate display analyst Ross Young, who last week stated that Apple would increase the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max displays to 6.3-inches and 6.9-inches, respectively (link below). This was also endorsed by respected anonymous leaker Unknownz21, who has provided consistent, accurate information for the last two iPhone generations.
Speculation is already mounting about Apple’s reasons for enlarging its 2024 iPhones before the 2023 models have arrived. One credible technical explanation is that Apple plans to bring a periscope optical zoom lens to the smaller iPhone 16 Pro next year, after multiple leaks revealed it will be limited to the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year, due to size limitations of the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro.
Given Apple’s determination to closely match its iPhone Pro models, this makes a lot of sense. Rival periscope-sporting smartphones are also all larger models, such as the Galaxy S23 Ultra. In fact, if Apple does equip the 6.3-inch iPhone 16 Pro with a periscope lens, as it stands, it will be the smallest smartphone to achieve this feat. That said, the age of the premium, compact smartphone now looks truly dead.
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