The iPhone has an advantage over its competitors as the only choice for iOS users. This guarantees its popularity among those who are concerned about appearing as a blue bubble to their friends. The features of the iPhone, such as FaceTime and iMessage, are what make it a desirable choice for users, as the specifications alone may not be enough. However, the iPhone 15 is equipped with outdated and unimpressive specs, which would not be acceptable for any comparable Android phone.
To make things easier, I will divide the specifications of the iPhone 15 into two groups: those that seem similar to what was leftover from the iPhone 14 Pro, and those that are simply unsatisfactory. Let’s examine what you can get for $799 (or more).
Firstly, let’s discuss the division between those who have and those who do not. Apple’s Pro models fall into the “have” category, while the standard iPhones belong to the “have-nots”. They fall behind in terms of display, chipset, and other features, all of which are often criticized on similar Android devices. This is why the iPhone 15 seems more like an iPhone 14 Pro Minus.
Unfortunately, the iPhone 15 will not be following in the footsteps of the 2022 iPhone 14 Pro series when it comes to its display. While it will include features such as Dynamic Island for notifications, current Spotify selection, and message previews, it will not have much else in common.
Unfortunately, the always-on display feature is still not available. It took Apple 14 generations to adopt this feature, while Android manufacturers were already implementing it in their mid-range devices. However, this feature is only available on the Pro models. Moreover, Apple’s implementation of the always-on feature may be too excessive. Nonetheless, at this price point, the always-on feature is expected, especially when comparing to devices outside of Apple’s ecosystem.
Apple’s main focus for its lock screen updates was the ability to utilize them on the always-on panel. The widgets, customizable clock, and optional layering were all designed to be easily visible, but unfortunately, they cannot be viewed on the iPhone 15 without fully waking the display. At that point, it may be more beneficial to unlock your phone and use the full-size widgets instead of the small lock screen icons.
The iPhone 15 is limited to basic features such as refresh rates and always-on displays, while other devices offer more advanced capabilities.
The iPhone 15’s display has been criticized for its low 60Hz refresh rate, which has been a known issue for some time. Even though Google released the Pixel 6a with the same refresh rate in 2021, we expressed disappointment. And now, in 2023, Apple is still sticking with this lower rate. The comparison to the Pixel 6a is even more unfavorable when considering that it was priced at $449 upon release, while the iPhone 15 costs $799. Despite Google’s improvement with the Pixel 7a’s 90Hz panel, the base iPhone model seems content with ignoring this issue.
Is anyone making their iPhone selection based on its refresh rate? Most likely not, but it’s one of those features, along with the Dynamic Island and USB-C port, that should theoretically enhance our experience.
The chipset from the previous year
Apple is setting a double standard by using an outdated chipset in their new $799 device. While the A16 Bionic is a good chipset and an improvement over the previous version, it is still a generation behind. This is not a practice seen in other major manufacturers. For example, if Samsung were to release their Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 but the Galaxy S23 Ultra with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, there would likely be backlash. However, Apple does not seem to be bothered by this discrepancy.
Other lineups, like Google’s annual Pixel series, use the same chipset across both flagships, the mid-range A-series, and even the ultra-premium Pixel Fold. Google finds other ways to differentiate its setups — display sizes, cameras, RAM, and storage spring to mind — but the chipset is as close to a great equalizer as it gets. Going further, Apple used to keep its chipset consistent across its lineup, starting when it introduced multiple sizes and continuing up to the iPhone 13 series, but those days are over.
The A16 Bionic chip is not subpar, however, the intentional delay between generations seems like a strategic move to encourage consumers to upgrade to the iPhone Pro.
Apple’s dominance in designing its own chipsets and optimizing them for iOS 17 allows them to fully utilize the power of the A16 Bionic. As a result, iPhones typically have less RAM than similar Android devices. While the A16 Bionic performs well in benchmark tests, the delay in releasing it feels like another strategy for Apple to encourage customers to upgrade to their Pro models.
Not up to par
There are certain specs for the iPhone 15 that we disagree with because they are not up to par. We have already mentioned a few, such as the limited 60Hz refresh rate, but there are others, like the USB-C setup, that deserve to be addressed separately. This is where Apple’s charging port falls short.
This port is not a place of refuge in a storm.
The Lightning port has been replaced, but it’s still here to stay. Despite much speculation, Apple finally decided to include USB-C on the iPhone, but in typical Apple fashion. Similar to the display, chipset, and Action Button (which we haven’t mentioned yet), the iPhone 15 is treated as a lesser device.
The USB-C port on the iPhone 15 is limited to the 2.0 protocol, unlike the USB-C 3.0 port found on its Pro models. This results in a maximum data transfer speed of 480Mbps, while the higher-end models can transfer files at a much faster rate of 4.8Gbps. This may not have a significant impact if you’re only sharing a few photos, but the difference becomes more noticeable when transferring larger files, such as videos.
“USB 2.0? That’s outdated… it’s been a decade.”
Although USB 3.0 was introduced in 2008, it is still more advanced than USB 2.0, which was introduced in 2000. However, high-end Android devices such as the Galaxy S23 Ultra now use USB-C 3.2, which has a data transfer speed of 20GB, making it superior to the iPhone 15 series.
Aside from transferring files, there may be some challenges when it comes to charging your iPhone 15. The device, priced at $799, is only capable of reaching 20W speeds with wired charging. While this falls a bit short of Samsung’s 25W rate on the Galaxy S23, it has a lot of catching up to do compared to Motorola’s Edge Plus (2023) with its impressive 68W wired charging or OnePlus’ 80W speeds on the OnePlus 11 – both of which are priced similarly to Apple’s flagship model.
What are the reasons for purchasing an iPhone 14 Pro Minus?
It’s undeniable that the iPhone 15 will be in high demand now that it’s on the market. We are all aware of this, as many people prioritize having blue bubbles and using FaceTime. However, aside from those features, I struggle to see the value in Apple’s basic iPhone 15. It is essentially a less advanced version of the iPhone 14 Pro, which can now be purchased secondhand at a reduced cost.
Perhaps you prefer the lighter materials offered by the vanilla iPhone 15, or maybe features like titanium, the action button, or the revamped camera system are not important to you. In that case, I would recommend the iPhone 14 Pro, which has an extra telephoto lens and a smoother 120Hz refresh rate, or a similar flagship Android device. It’s currently the busiest time in the tech world, so if you’re not convinced yet, there will likely be something new coming soon.
These are just my personal thoughts, but I’d like to hear your opinion. Considering its lackluster specifications, is there any justification for purchasing the basic iPhone 15?