iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max hands-on

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    We’ve just got our first look at Apple’s new iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which were unveiled at the company’s annual autumn event in Cupertino. There are many new features on the smartphones, including as camera enhancements and the new A17 Bionic CPU, but there are three aspects about the phone that stand out right immediately. It’s composed of titanium, has an Action Button on the left side, and a USB-C connector on the bottom. Oh, and one more thing: the sides of the phones on exhibit were completely coated with fingerprints.

    At first appearance, the 15 Pro appears to be identical to previous iPhone Pro models. Pick one up, and the lower weight due to the titanium frame, as well as the curved edges, are immediately apparent. It’s just more comfortable to grip. Apple claims that the titanium allows them to make the device’s edges thinner, which makes the display appear larger than normal, although it’s the same 6.1 inches on the Pro and 6.7 inches on the Pro Max.

    That’s a USB-C port

    There’s now a USB-C port on the bottom that Apple claims allows 10Gbps transfers over a USB 3 cable — enough to handle live shooting 48-megapixel photographs with Capture One and shooting 4K video directly to external storage. But from the exterior, it just appears to be a USB-C connector – we’ll have to test it to find out more.

    The new Action Button is located on the side and can be remapped using a delightfully designed settings menu — you can set it to launch voice memos, open the camera or flashlight, change Focus modes, launch various accessibility features, or even launch Shortcuts, which means it can do anything you want it to do.

    iPhone 15 Pro & Pro Max

    Inside is the new A17 Pro processor, the industry’s first 3nm chip – a significant achievement in the high-stakes semiconductor market. There’s a big list of specifications here: Performance cores that are 10% quicker than the iPhone 15 Pro, a 2x faster Neural Engine, and a new six-core GPU that is up to 20% faster than the 15 Pro. The new chip also has a dedicated AV1 decoder for more efficient video streaming, as well as support for 4K60 video output through the USB-C connector. The iPhone 15 Pro ran a variety of games without bursting during our limited hands-on time, so is that a good sign? To learn more, we’ll need to put this device through rigorous testing.

    The hands-on portion of the Steve Jobs Theater is one of the best-lit demo venues around, so the new cameras looked terrific, and the sample photographs put on the demo phones were amazing. The new primary camera can adjust between 24, 28, and 35mm focal lengths, and the Pro Max’s new 5x tetraprism zoom lens provides a 120mm focal length that was interesting to experiment with. The main camera shoots at 24 megapixels by default, but you can now shoot at 48 megapixels ProRaw and 48 megapixels HEIF, which Apple pronounces “heef.” This is an astonishing revelation.

    The upgrade to Portrait Mode, which automatically takes depth information when it recognizes a human, cat, or dog in the frame — allowing you to alter photographs to portrait after the fact — is the most noticeable new camera feature. You can also change the focal point after the event, which is a pretty cool technique that folks have been attempting to implement in consumer devices for over a decade. We’ll have to wait to see how this all works in practice, but everything appeared to operate beautifully in Apple’s bubble.

    The 15 Pro now supports Wi-Fi 6E for improved wifi performance, and they have Thread radios built in for…. whatever happens with Matter and Thread. (Even Apple doesn’t seem to understand what they’re for.) There’s also the new second-generation UWB chip, which enables precision locating in Find My if your pals have new Apple Watches or the iPhone 15.

    Finally, the satellite connectivity functions have been expanded to include AAA roadside help – Apple’s website states that access to Roadside help is free for the first two years, but the actual roadside service will cost you, or you must be a AAA member. We’ll look at it as well.

    We clearly have a lot to talk about in this review! Let us know what you want us to look into, and we’ll get to work.

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