iPhone 15 adds Dynamic Island and 48MP camera, dumps Lightning port


iPhone 15 colors
The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus come in a range of pastels, plus basic black.
Screenshot: Apple
Wonderlust 2023

The just-launched iPhone 15 and 15 Plus include the Dynamic Island previously reserved for Pro models. And they’re enhanced with another previously Pro feature: a 48 megapixel camera.

What they don’t have is a Lighting port or screen notch. These have been replaced with better options.

“iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus represent a huge leap forward with exciting camera innovations that inspire creativity, the intuitive Dynamic Island, and features like Roadside Assistance via satellite that make a real difference in users’ lives,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing.

The handsets were unveiled Tuesday at Apple’s Wonderlust event, along with two iPhone 15 Pro models andnew Apple Watch iterations.

iPhone 15 stands on the shoulders of giants

iPhone is Apple’s most important product, with sales bringing in almost half of the company’s total revenue.

It’s now up to the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus to contribute to that total by persuading millions of shoppers to upgrade from an older iOS handset or give up their Android.

It probably won’t be an uphill battle considering the number of benefits the new models have over their predecessors. That said, most of these are features that debuted first in earlier Pro models.

Hello Dynamic Island

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus
Both the 6-1-inch iPhone 15 and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus have the Dynamic Island.
Photo: Apple

Perhaps the highlight of last year’s iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max was the Dynamic Island. The feature just made the jump to iPhone 15 and 15 Plus.

It replaces the screen notch with a less-obtrusive elongated pill-shaped cutout. Living up to its name, it shows alerts and other information from applications — both Apple’s and third-party apps. The feature expands as needed.

Now that all iPhone models have the Dynamic Island, expect more apps to support it.

And a hearty welcome to the 48MP camera

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are getting a 15 megapixel main camera, similar to the one from the iPhone 14 Pro series. “It’s built for shooting sharp photos and videos every day with a quad pixel sensor and 100% focus pixels for fast autofocus,” said Kaiann Drance, VP for iPhone Product Marketing.

By default, the camera takes pictures at 24MP for a balance of resolution and files size. But full resolution is available.

A 2x Telephoto option gives users three optical-quality zoom levels — 0.5x, 1x and 2x.

iPhone 15 48MP Camera features
Many of the best features of the iPhone 14 Pro camera are now in the iPhone 15.
Screenshot: Apple

Say goodbye to Lightning, at last

Apple dumped its proprietary Lightning port in favor of USB-C at the insistence of the European Parliament.

Thanks to the change, Mac, iPhone and iPad now all get power through the same cables. And the same goes for most Androids, Windows computers, etc.

iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will come with the necessary charging cables. And any USB-C cable for any device can charge the phone.

Faster A16 processor joins the party

The Apple A16 processor that debuted in the iPhone 14 Pro models is at the heart of the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. The A16 is a relatively modest update, with increased speed, CPU and GPU enhancements, and other improvements.

If you’re looking for the most powerful handset on the market, you’ll need to go with the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max which sport the A17 chip.

Roadside Assistance via satellite does too

The iPhone 14 series brought Emergency SOS via Satellite, but when non-emergency help is needed the iPhone 15 models add Roadside Assistance via satellite. This connects users to AAA if they have car trouble while off the grid.

Users fill out a short questionnaire with important details, and the info is transmitted via satellite so AAA can message with the user directly and send help.

Access to Roadside Assistance via satellite will be included for free for two years. It’ll stay free for AAA members.

iPhone 15 features
Here’s a summary of everything new in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.
Screenshot: Apple

Some things stay the same, including price

Apple tweaked the design of the iPhone 15 series. Still, the new models look much like its predecessors.

And, as noted, the iPhone 15 has a 6.1-inch screen and the iPhone 15 Plus has a 6.7-inch one. Those are the same dimensions as before. But peak HDR brightness now reaches up to 1600 nits. And peak outdoor brightness is up to 2000 nits — twice as bright as the previous generation.

But surely no none will complain that the iPhone 15 stays at $799 for the base model with 128GB of storage, and the Plus will start at $899 with the same capacity. It’s also available in 256GB and 512GB capacities, though additional storage raises the cost, of course.

Preorders will begin on Friday, September 15. The products are scheduled to reach customers and store shelves on Friday, September 22.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.