The New and Notable Features of the iPhone 15 Pro & Pro Max

I once again upgraded to a new iPhone, going from last year’s iPhone Pro 14 to the new iPhone Pro 15 Max. In my latest video I take a look at some of the new features introduced in this year’s model – many of them centered around Apple’s move to a USB-C port.

I opted for the larger Pro Max, which boasts a 6.7-inch display. It’s been a while since I had a phone this large, the last one being the iPhone 7 Plus back in 2016. The reason I went for the larger phone this time was the 15 Pro Max’s superior camera system. The telephoto lens on the larger phone offers a 5x Zoom, compared to the 3x on the smaller variant. This provides around a 120mm equivalent for zooming in, which I found might be useful for my video work.

Surprisingly, as someone who prefers a smaller phone the larger size of the new Pro Max didn’t bother me. It felt comfortable, and I can type on it one-handed. The slightly thinner bezels do make a difference in the hand. Even though it’s heavier than my old 14 Pro, the 15 Pro Max feels lighter. This might be due to the materials used and how the weight is balanced.

Unlike prior versions, the new iPhones have an “action button” vs. a switch for silent mode. But it can now be configured to do other things. By default, holding it down toggles between silent and ring. However, you can customize the action button to perform different actions. I had fun setting mine to activate the Tesla fart machine, much to the amusement of my kids.

The most significant change is the shift from the proprietary lightning connector to USB Type-C. On the pro phones, that port can run at Gen 2, get a 10 gigabit speeds. As a full service port the phone can take power in, output to an external display, and work with USB data devices simultaneously when connected to a USB-C dock or hub.

For video professionals, the iPhone 15 Pro can record professional ProRes video onto external SSDs at up to 4k at 60 frames per second. The phone will output HDR, SDR, or LOG video.

The camera system of the iPhone has always been impressive. With the new iPhone, you can now switch between lenses at 4K 60 while recording. The new 5x lens offers a nice natural bokeh, but it requires a lot of light to get the best results. In low light conditions, the image quality isn’t as good.

Performance-wise, the new iPhone showed a 22% performance boost over the iPhone 14 Pro in gaming on the 3DMark Wildlife Extreme Test. But the phone tends to throttle significantly when under load, leading to a drop in performance after a very short period of time.

Battery life seems decent on the phone but it’s hard to say how long that experience will last given what I experienced with my iPhone 14 Pro which lost nearly 14% of its max battery capacity in less than a year. Apple did finally add a means of checking the battery’s charge cycle count in the about section of the settings app.

While the new iPhone doesn’t feel groundbreaking compared to its predecessor, it does offer several improvements. The 5x lens, the switch to USB Type-C, and the ability to record ProRes video onto external media are the most notable new features.