Massive iPhone 15 Pro Upgrade, Apple Watch X Surprise, Disturbing iPhone Launch Details

iPhone 15 specifications updated August 20th; article originally posted August 18th.

Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes a new iPhone camera choice, a stunning iPhone Pro upgrade, Thunderbolt for iPhone, Apple Silicon M3 roadmap, iPhone SE details, Apple Watch X celebration, and Apple’s ESPN dream.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

iPhone 15’s Leaked Specifications

While the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro are, broadly speaking, iterative updates, one massive change will be in the wired connectivity port. After many years of teasing and denying consumers their way, Apple is finally relenting and adding USB-C. But not just any USB-C:

“ChargerLab has seen further images of the parts and believes that they show an integrated circuit (IC) for Thunderbolt data transfer speeds. The IC, known as a retimer, rebuilds signals and mitigates jitter. It augments signal transmission stability for high-capacity data ports and extends transmission ranges. Such chips are seen in other Thunderbolt/USB 4 devices, and ChargerLab believes it is clearly identifiable on the iPhone 15 ‘s USB-C components.”

(Charger Lab via MacRumors).

Update: Saturday 19 August. One interesting feature of this upgrade is that it goes beyond previous details on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro. Earlier this year, Thunderbolt connectivity was expected to be available only on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, leaving the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus with slower USB-C. The latter was presumably to keep the cost down and an easier upsell to the Pro models. That no longer looks like the case:

“Given that this upgrade was previously tipped only for the two iPhone 15 Pro models at best, that discovery is a genuine shock. Apple’s current strategy with iPads, for instance, restricts Thunderbolt speeds to the Pro range. Moreover, the difference in speeds is enormous. For context, until now, all iPhone models have been limited to USB 2.0 speeds (480 megabits per second), while Thunderbolt 4’s 40Gbps performance is the equivalent of 40,000 megabits per second. It’s a stratospheric upgrade.”


Update: August 20th: Also popping in the leaked specifications this weekend was the potential for fast charging the iPhone. Apple’s 20W charger lags behind the competition – from Samsung’s 45 watt charger right up to 150 watts supported by some of Oppo’s phones. Given that, a move up to 35 watts will be welcomed by Apple’s community, but it’s nowhere close to being best in class:

“The iPhone 15 could be compatible with a 35-watt charger, allowing the device to charge faster… A 20-watt charger can fully power an iPhone 14 in one hour. The charging speed of the 35-watt charger is unclear when used with the iPhone 15 series. Even at 35 watts, the iPhone 15 will still be significantly slower to charge than competitor flagship models…”


iPhone 15 Production Cut Before Launch

Ahead of the launch of the iPhone 15 family in September, Apple will be building up stock and deciding just how popular the new iOS smartphones will. News from the supply chain suggests that Apple is not as confident in 2023 as it was in previous years:

“Apple analyst Jeff Pu… states that Apple will now build 77 million iPhone 15 units by the end of the year, down from 83M, due to multiple ongoing manufacturing issues. These problems include yields for a new Sony-made primary camera module on all iPhone 15 models and the production of a new display (with super slim bezels) and titanium chassis for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.”


iPhone 16’s Bigger Camera

Looking ahead, the next generation of iPhones will offer a significantly larger ultrawide camera, bringing it into line with many leading Android smartphones:

“Respected industry analyst Jeff Pu, of Haitong International Securities, predicts that the iPhone 16 Pro range will feature a new 48-megapixel ultrawide camera. That’s a huge increase in resolution from the 12-megapixel version currently found in the iPhone 14 Pro—and expected to remain in place for this year’s iPhone 15 Pro range.”


Apple Silicon M3 Roadmap

Following the launch of the iPhone, Apple’s attention will turn to macOS and the new hardware built around Apple Silicon’s M3 chipset. Now we have a fair idea of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Studio, and Mac Pro configurations:

“The M3 line of Apple Silicon chips will have a fairly familiar roadmap, a report points out in a breakout of the processor family’s expected configurations. As part of the fall product release schedule, Apple is anticipated to introduce the M3 generation for Apple Silicon. With speculation of the new chip lineup in full flow, fueled by developer logs, a roadmap for M3 has been created.”

(Apple Insider).

The Next iPhone SE

There’s one other iPhone that people love; that’s the iPhone SE. The current version was launched in 2022 and built around the iPhone 13 architecture. While it won’t show up in September, an iPhone 14-derived SE could be released early in 2024:

“The device will apparently feature a USB-C port, moving the iPhone SE away from Lightning for the first time. It will also purportedly have Face ID, dispelling previous rumors that the iPhone SE could retain a Touch ID button. Most interestingly, they claim that the device will sport an Action Button like the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.”


Apple Watch X Plans

The Apple Watch’s ten-year anniversary is coming up, and a larger-than-normal refresh is coming. Given the yearly update cycle and its interaction with longer personal update cycles, the presumptively named Apple Watch X and the associated online discussions could push many towards an earlier upgrade.

“[Gurman says] that Apple is considering “switching away from this slow-but steady annual upgrade cycle.” I’ll be honest, I believe those considerations will not lead anywhere. Few people upgrade their phone, tablet or smartwatch on an annual basis, anyway. So, when you’re ready to trade up, you may well find there are enough accumulated innovations to make you eager to do so.”


And Finally…

With MLB and MLS already on Apple TV, Apple’s continued experiments with Sports Broadcasting could result in a rather spectacular move. Would Tim Cook and his team really consider buying ESPN?

“ESPN is currently owned by The Walt Disney Company, and there have been ceaselessly wild predictions that Apple should or must or will buy the whole Disney firm. Now Wedbush analyst Dan Ives is scaling down those expectations by focusing solely on ESPN, but at the same time is adamant that Apple will buy it. “I believe it’s a matter of when, not if ESPN and Apple get together,” Ives said on CNBC’s “Last Call” show.”

(Apple Insider).

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.


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