iPhone 15 Ultra: What it may look like, and what to expect in 2023

iPhone 15 Ultra to have a new curved edge

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The iPhone 15 Ultra is a bit less than a year away, but reports are already pouring in about what to expect. Here’s what the rumor mill thinks is coming, and a first glance at what it may look like.

Rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup began in the middle of 2022. Despite the early start, they have been much more realistic than early iPhone 14 rumors.

The generational jump for the iPhone 14 Pro was a little wider than others. Cameras were improved across the board, a new cutout for the sensor housing was introduced, and the display gained always-on capabilities.

However, Apple didn’t change the external design by much. The Dynamic Island is an interesting software feature, but little else is noticeable unless the iPhone camera bumps are side-by-side.

Rumors suggest the iPhone 15 Pro will get some significant external design alterations along with much-needed upgrades. The 6.7-inch iPhone Pro Max may be referred to as the “Ultra,” which is the focus of this rumor roundup.

Rumored iPhone 15 Ultra design

Apple tends to find a design it likes and stick with it for several years. The current flat-sided design debuted with the iPhone 12, and while some elements have changed, it has remained mostly the same.

A curved edge made from titanium would have a premium look and feel

A curved edge made from titanium would have a premium look and feel

The iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to iterate on this design by curving the bottom edge. The sides will remain flat, but the part that connects to the back glass would resemble the corner of a MacBook Pro.

The back would still be made from glass so MagSafe and wireless charging could work. But the edges are rumored to be made from titanium.

This would make the phone lighter but tougher overall. The curved edge would also provide more protection from drops.

The camera bump may need to shift to accommodate the curved edge

The camera bump may need to shift to accommodate the curved edge

Until more rumors are shared, we expect the camera bump to remain the same. It may have to shift to accommodate the new curved edges depending on how Apple implements the design.

Rumored iPhone 15 Ultra features

Outside of design changes, there are some increasingly obvious feature updates coming too. A port transition is expected, and Apple may finally improve its telephoto camera.

USB-C port, Thunderbolt

Apple’s move to USB-C has been predicted for years, but, for the iPhone 15, it may not be a choice. The EU has passed a law forcing smartphone manufacturers to adopt the universal port, and Apple has to comply by 2024.

The iPhone 15 Ultra could finally get USB-C with Thunderbolt speeds

The iPhone 15 Ultra could finally get USB-C with Thunderbolt speeds

Some had speculated that Apple would go port-less before adopting USB-C, claiming that Lightning and MagSafe were necessary proprietary fixtures. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as the transition to USB-C has already begun in other products.

Moving to a USB-C port doesn’t guarantee faster speeds, but rumors suggest the port will offer more than convenience. Apple could use the USB 4/Thunderbolt spec in the iPhone 15 Pro, at least according to Ming-Chi Kuo.

That would allow wired data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, an approximate 80x increase over the USB 2.0 speeds used by iPhone today. Thunderbolt speeds would be a massive improvement for creatives, especially those working with massive ProRes video files.

Two selfie cameras

The iPhone has only one front-facing camera alongside an array of sensors used for Face ID, but that could change in 2023. The 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Ultra is rumored to have two selfie cameras.

Two selfie cameras could mean improved portrait mode shots

Two selfie cameras could mean improved portrait mode shots

This addition would be limited to the larger iPhone, likely due to space considerations. So, the smaller iPhone 15 Pro would likely retain the dot-dash Dynamic Island cutout.

Two selfie cameras could serve multiple purposes, perhaps for better depth data collection or a wider depth of field. The rumor didn’t specify what this hardware would be used for.

Apple may want to differentiate its most expensive “Ultra” model since the standard iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, and iPhone 15 Pro will all likely have a Dynamic Island with no notch.

One rumor suggests that Apple could hide Face ID components below the display, which would change how the Dynamic Island would display itself in software. That change could be tied to adding a second selfie camera, but it isn’t clear if the rumors are related.

Periscoping telephoto lens

Rumors of a periscope telephoto lens have been around for years. It seems Apple is working on the technology internally, but it never makes the final cut.

The telephoto camera could get a big upgrade with a periscope lens

The telephoto camera could get a big upgrade with a periscope lens

The iPhone 15 Ultra could get a periscope lens for much better optical zoom. Ming-Chi Kuo seems to suggest the lens would only be used in the iPhone 15 Ultra model, then the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Ultra would both get the periscope lens.

The technology works by stacking a series of lenses “folded” so it fits vertically within the iPhone case. A mirror reflects the image from the outward-facing lens and optically zooms using the periscope-like lens stack.

Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers have been using periscope lenses for years, so Apple would be entering the market with a more mature initial version. It could enable zoom ranges like a modest 10x optical zoom or even the incredible 100x zoom found in some smartphones.

Other rumors

In September 2021, Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the iPhone 15 would get an under-display Touch ID sensor. He pulled back that rumor in March 2022, stating that the 2023 and 2024 iPhones wouldn’t have the feature, as Face ID with a mask is a good-enough solution.

Apple will likely stick with Face ID, no Touch ID for iPhone 15

Apple will likely stick with Face ID, no Touch ID for iPhone 15

Kuo also stated in an October 2022 note that iPhone 15 could get solid-state buttons. They would replace the physical volume and power buttons, which may increase device rigidity and water resistance.

Sony to provide new camera sensors that improve exposure clipping at the high and low ends. This would reduce overexposure or underexposure in certain settings.

iPhone 15 Ultra release date window

Apple tends to announce its iPhone lineup during a September Apple Event. Depending on supply chain constraints, all models could release at the same time or take a staggered approach based on availability.

Expect the iPhone 15 Ultra to cost a premium with its new design, periscope lens, and other improved technologies. High-end models with 2TB of storage could cost well over $2,000.

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Reach new depths with the Oceanic+ app and Apple Watch Ultra

‘Call To The Wild’ Apple Watch Ultra ad leans into extreme adventure

Apple Watch Ultra handles freezing temperatures

The new Apple Watch Ultra ad highlights not just durability, but also the one of the most extreme adventures mankind has ever undertaken.

Apple’s ad for the Apple Watch Ultra, called “Call To The Wild,” showcases some of the model’s features. Some of the device’s capabilities are water resistance, dust resistance, and a red night vision watch face called Wayfinder.

The titanium Apple Watch Ultra features a 49mm display, dual-band GPS, and an Action button that can be programmed for various functions. It can act as a depth gauge, and the device certified to EN13319, an internationally recognized standard for dive computers and gauges.

The Ultra also meets the MIL-STD 810H certification standard. Apple’s tests for the watch involved altitude, high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock, immersion, freeze/thaw, shock, and vibration.

Nevertheless, both the advertisement and Shackleton’s expedition captured the public’s imagination throughout the nineteenth century, all the way to Apple in 2022.

Apple Watch Ultra has exposed screws, but still a difficult repair

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The repair mavens at iFixit have torn down an Apple Watch Ultra, and despite access screws, the screen alone makes it a tough repair.

The repair company has a video on YouTube explaining the process, and may publish a blog post later detailing the teardown. The screen looks challenging to repair, with the test model breaking even under the professional hands of iFixit.

The Apple Watch Ultra is the company’s solution for users in extreme conditions. The new Apple Watch features a rugged, titanium design with a 49mm display, Action Button, dual-band GPS, and more.

This Apple Watch model has exposed screws on the back of the case, marking the first time Apple has done so with its Apple Watch series. But, because of the screen, the watch as a whole remains a difficult repair.

There is a gasket underneath the display that iFixit says behaves like glue. It was destroyed upon removal of the Watch’s back plate, which means an official repair by Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider may be needed to keep this part intact. During the course of the teardown, a gasket crucial to the device’s water resistance was broken.

With that gasket intact, the Apple Watch is compliant with EN13319, which is an internationally recognized standard for dive computers and gauges. It works to a maximum depth of 130 feet or 40 meters. Without it, it has no resistance at all.

Other components, such as the Taptic Engine and battery, require the screen to be removed beforehand.

The teardown also confirmed Apple Watch Ultra specifications. It has a battery of 2.1 watt-hours, which is 60% bigger than the Apple Watch Series 8 at 1.19 watt-hours.

Introducing Apple Watch Ultra – Apple

YouTubers test durability of Apple Watch Ultra in different ways

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The Apple Watch Ultra is a durable wearable device, and YouTubers have tested it in varying ways, with one testing out its diving capability while the other tested the screen with a hammer.

Apple launches are, as always, accompanied by a variety of teardowns and tests by tech vloggers, and in a variety of different ways. For the Apple Watch Ultra, billed as a durable diving-capable watch that adventurers could depend on, two videos neatly sum up the extremes of testing capability.

In a Sunday video, DC Rainmaker wanted to test out the diving capabilities of the Apple Watch Ultra, which is EN13319 certified, water resistant to 100 meters, and also offers a Depth app to show how far the user has descended.

However, based in Amsterdam, there are few opportunities to actually dive deep, so the test was conducted with a custom table-top dive chamber. Throughout the controlled “dive,” the Depth app was shown to be accurate enough to use, as well as demonstrating the readings a user would see on completion.

In testing the app going to further depths than rated, the app changes to show a bright yellow background, along with the text “Beyond 130ft,” indicating it has gone beyond the parameters of the app. The Apple Watch Ultra survived going to a simulated depth of 159 feet, before being returned to the “surface.”

While the app didn’t display depths after 130 feet on the screen, the Health app does show deeper depths for Underwater Depth. Unlike the watchOS app, the results show it went “beyond 144 feet,” not quite the level the chamber was set to, but beyond what Apple uses in its marketing.

The more conventional and sensational testing of the Apple Watch Ultra was uploaded to YouTube on Saturday by TechRax. The same channel that wrecked a car to demonstrate the crash detection capability of the iPhone 14.

In a battery of tests right after unboxing, the YouTuber initially dropped the Apple Watch Ultra face-first onto concrete, with only minor scratches to the titanium case.

The second test involved dropping the Apple Watch Ultra into a jar full of screws, which was then vigorously shaken to try and scratch the device. Aside from a little dirt on the band, there was very little extra damage to the device.

Lastly, the YouTuber brought out a hammer and liberally applied it to the watch face, starting somewhat gently then ramping up in power. The screen turned off after 12 hits, but again, there was minimal external damage visible from the outside.

A further three hits caused the display glass to break, and a direct hit to the rear glass broke the back cover.

Amusingly, it seems that the Apple Watch Ultra is tougher than the YouTuber’s furniture. After six hits, the surface of the table started cracking underneath the Apple Watch itself, forcing the YouTuber to reposition it and continue with the “testing.”

While obviously attention-grabbing, the video does at least demonstrate that Apple really did make the Apple Watch Ultra a very rugged device. If it can shrug off a few hammer blows, it can certainly handle everyday life.

AppleInsider doesn’t recommend conducting similar destructive testing at home. Partly because of the safety issues behind such activities, but mostly because it’s a $799 smartwatch.

Apple Watch Ultra and next-generation AirPods Pro available in stores Friday

Apple updates Logic Pro X, MainStage with new features, M1 Ultra optimizations

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Apple has issued new updates to its Logic Pro X, GarageBand, and MainStage music that bring new features, stability improvements, and more.

The new updates, which were issued on Monday, March 14, are relatively minor in scale, but they all add some new capabilities to Apple’s suite of music-making applications.

Additionally, Apple says that Logic Pro X is also updated to optimize performance on M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips on the new Mac Studio.

The update also contains a slew of bug fixes and performance improvements, along with other tweaks to music creation features like the step sequencer, sampler, and live loops.

On Apple’s MainStage app, which is meant for live performances, Apple has implemented a new refined design, expanded the sound library with more patches and kits, and introduced optimize performance for M1 Max and M1 Ultra Mac Studio models.

Apple also issued version 10.4.6 of its free GarageBand music app. According to Apple’s release notes, the version contains stability improvements and bug fixes.

All three updates are currently available to download from the Mac App Store.

Apple unveils M1 Ultra, the world’s most powerful chip for a personal computer