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Do You Need to Upgrade Your iPhone? An Agent's Guide to the Latest Apple Release

September 12 2023

Almost every September, Apple unveils a new series of iPhones for the masses. The release on September 12 was no exception to the rule: There are four new versions of the iPhone now available for ordering or purchase.

Is it time for you to upgrade your phone? The short answer: If you already have some version of an iPhone 14, the updates to this series are pretty minimal, and you may decide to wait until September 2024 to buy a new phone.

But if you have an iPhone 13 or older, then the iPhone 15 may have quite a few different options for you that could help you out in your working life. Let's review what's new.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 15 Pro lineup color lineup 230912The iPhone 15 Pro Max is now the most powerful (and expensive) mobile device available from Apple. It's available in four different colors. If you were partial to the purple or gold, then you'll want to hang on to your iPhone 14 Pro Max, because those colors have been replaced with dark blue and a slate gray.

The new iPhone 15 Pro Max does not have a ring/silent switch on the side of the phone like the previous version did. There is now an "action button" that can be used to access different phone features.

There's a new processing chip in this iPhone, the A17 Pro. An upgraded chip usually means faster, more responsive phone performance.

Apple didn't change much in terms of the camera on the 15 Pro Max, either. The optical zoom can go up to 5X (compared to 3X with the 14 Pro Max or the 13 Pro Max).

Like the 14 Pro Max, the new 15 Pro Max comes with Emergency SOS (also available via satellite), as well as crash detection and roadside assistance via satellite built into the phone.

In terms of battery life and charging speed, there have not been any significant improvements since the iPhone 13 Pro Max: The Pro Max phones offer about 29 hours of video playback, 95 hours of audio playback, and can charge up to 50% in 35 minutes with a 20W or higher adapter.

There is a new charging port for the 15 Pro Max, so if you do decide to upgrade, you'll need to buy some new cables, too! It's using the standardized USB-C port instead of Apple's proprietary Lightning charger.

iPhone 15 Pro

Like the Pro Max, the new iPhone 15 Pro has lost the ring/silent switch and added an "action" button. The button defaults to switching the phone between "ring" and "vibrate," but users can customize what the button does in the Settings if they would prefer a different action option.

The latest iPhone Pro has also upgraded the processing chip to an A17 Pro, meaning it likely has better performance and responsiveness than previous models. And this version has also swapped out the Lightning port for a USB-C charging port.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro lineup camera system 230912The cameras on the 15 Pro haven't changed significantly from the 14 Pro, but if you're still using an iPhone 13 Pro, the camera could be a good reason to upgrade: Both the 14 Pro and 15 Pro offer 48 megapixel main cameras, compared to the 13 Pro's 12 megapixel main camera.

If you use your phone for listing photos or to create marketing or other types of content for your business, and you're currently using a 13 Pro or older version, then upgrading the camera could be a solid move. The cameras on the 14 Pro and 15 Pro both take better photos in bright outdoor light than the 13 Pro does.

iPhone 15

Apple iPhone 15 lineup color lineup 230912Apple changed up the colors for its basic iPhone again — pink instead of purple, the yellow is more gold-hued, and white and red are sitting out this round to let green have some time on stage. And the new basic iPhone 15 now includes Apple's Dynamic Island technology, a little pill-shaped display at the top of a phone that can offer details from other "important" apps, such as how long is left on your timer, or who's on the other end of that phone call.

The main camera on the iPhone 15 is a solid upgrade from the 14 or 13. The main camera is a 48 megapixel shooter, while the 14 and 13 only offer 12 megapixels on their main camera. The 15 also offers a 2X optical zoom option, which is not available for previous models.

The iPhone 15 also includes a new charging port (USB-C instead of Lightning). The memory sizes are the same ones offered for the 13 and 14. It still has the same ring/silent switch as the 13 and 14.

iPhone 15 Plus

Like the iPhone 15, but a bit bigger and heavier, the 15 Plus is for those who have decided they prefer a larger screen. It's kept the ring/silent switch from previous versions but now includes the Dynamic Island on the screen. And it's also swapped out the Lightning charger for a USB-C.

If you use your phone a lot for taking photos and you're currently using a 14 Plus or a 13, then upgrading could be a smart move. The iPhone 15 Plus offers a 48-megapixel main camera, compared to 12 megapixels for the 14 Plus. And it also offers a 2X optical zoom instead of just 0.5X or 1X like the 14 Plus. This camera is also more adept at capturing images in the bright outdoors, at up to 2000 nits peak brightness.

The more things change …

There are a few things that didn't change with the new release. Here's what you should not expect from a new iPhone:

  • Increased memory or capacity: If you're hoping for Apple to release a phone that provides more than 1TB in storage, you'll be waiting at least another year. The latest iteration maxes out at 1TB, as did the 14 and the 13 rollouts.
  • Water resistance: You still should not take your iPhone swimming with you. (You can submerge more recent versions of the Apple Watch if you need something that you can take swimming with you.)
  • Portrait and Night Mode: These features (while some of our favorites on the iPhone) have not changed significantly with recent updates.
  • Face ID: This feature has not changed significantly in its most recent iteration.
  • Charging speed and battery life: The iPhone 15 version of each phone does not provide more battery life or a faster charging speed than its predecessor, the iPhone 14 version.