The new iPhone 15 Exclusive confirms Apple’s impressive design choice

03/05 update below. This post was originally published on March 2nd

According to the latest leaks, the new iPhone 15 models from Apple will be rounder, faster and more expensive. But their most requested feature seems to be coming with a nasty surprise.

Respected Apple insider ShrimpApplePro confirmed leaks last month that Apple will be banning the USB-C port on all iPhone 15 models. The leaker states that “Yes, USB-C with MFI is happening” and “Cables without MFI will be software limited in terms of data and charging speeds”.

This will stun Apple fans and industry watchers because 1) USB-C is meant to be an open standard, and 2) Apple has rolled out USB-C to iPads and MacBooks with no restrictions.

For those who don’t know, MFi stands for “Made For iPhone/iPod/iPad” and is Apple’s official licensing program for accessories for these devices. Licensing fees associated with MFi certification are not disclosed, but were previously reported to cost up to $4 per connector. Because of this, MFi-licensed accessories cost significantly more than their unlicensed counterparts.

Apple keeps manufacturers in check by installing an authentication chip on ports that can even restrict accessories or disable them entirely. A pop-up notification also warns the owner that an unlicensed accessory is connected.

Apple argues that MFi protects devices, which has some merits, although the profit the program generates is widely believed to be the main reason iPhones haven’t switched to USB-C. After an EU crackdown on proprietary ports, there was an expectation Apple would open up iPhones, but it now appears the company has decided to rig the standard.

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This will be a hit, as USB-C opens the door for iPhones to introduce much faster charging and data speeds, and leaks claim iPhone 15 Pro models will deliver over 40x faster performance. But now apparently only via MFi-approved accessories. Not the greenest option for those who already have a drawer full of USB-C cables.

ShrimpApplePro says Foxconn has already started mass-producing MFI-licensed accessories, including Apple’s own EarPods and cables. While iPhone fans probably won’t take this news as a deal breaker, I doubt that’s how industry watchers and EU lawmakers expected the world’s largest smartphone maker to implement USB-C.

Apple’s iPhone 15 lineup is expected to launch in September with a more rounded design, new body materials and colors, solid-state buttons, next-gen Wi-Fi, and a 3nm A17 chipset. But also significantly higher prices.

03/04 Update: Anticipation builds around the next-gen A17 chipset, exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. The A17 will be Apple’s first 3nm chipset and the first consumer-focused 3nm chip ever released, with only Samsung’s cryptocentric “gate-all-around” chips making it.

Now, DigiTimes is reporting that Apple partner’s N3E (3nm Enhanced) technology “will enable TSMC to make significant specification upgrades in the upcoming iPhone series,” the sources said. Suppliers involved in the iPhone supply chain anticipate replacement demand for the 2023 models.”

Chipsets alone often do not drive customer demand, as more noticeable upgrades such as external design changes and camera upgrades capture customer attention. However, suppliers could be right here if 3nm can live up to some of the bigger claims about its benefits.

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In particular, 3nm is said to be 35% more energy efficient than the 5nm “N4” manufacturing process used to make the A16 chips in the iPhone 14 Pro models and deliver higher performance. Additionally, Apple is said to have secured all orders for TSMC’s first-generation 3nm technology, so rivals may have to wait some time to catch up. Watch this room.

03/05 update: iPhone 15 details continue to be leaked. Today, leakers ShrimpApplePro and Unknownz21 confirmed two leaked videos showing the front glass panels of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (left and center in the video below) versus the iPhone 14 Pro (right).

This is the first time a video has been leaked claiming to show real iPhone 15 Pro components, and there are two main differences compared to its predecessor. First, they show that Pro models will actually feature a curvier new design this year.

Second, the bezels are noticeably thinner than any iPhone Apple has released before. Shrunkened bezels always improved a phone’s looks, but previously leaked dimensions for the iPhone 15 Pro Max also suggest they will make the phone slightly shorter and narrower than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Although the differences are likely to be overlooked by most:

iPhone 15 Pro Max – 159.86 x 76.73 x 8.25mm iPhone 14 Pro Max – 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85mm

This bezel reduction is expected to be Pro-exclusive, with the iPhone 15 models taking styling cues from the iPhone 14 Pro range, complete with a pill-shaped cutout and Dynamic Island UI.

At this stage of iPhone development, improvements are increasingly incremental. However, the new designs seem to strike a good balance between the hard edges of the iPhone 4-5 and iPhone 12-14 compared to the heavily rounded first iPhones, something historically reintroduced for the iPhone 6-8 with Apple. oscillate between extremes.

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MORE FROM FORBESNew Apple Exclusive Reveals Stunning Finishes for iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 ProBy Gordon Kelly

I am an experienced freelance technical journalist. In addition to Forbes, I have written for Wired, The Next Web, TrustedReviews, The Guardian and the BBC. I started in B2B print journalism, covering tech companies at the height of the dot-com boom and transitioned to covering consumer tech when the iPod was starting to catch on. A career highlight for me was being a founding member of TrustedReviews. It started in 2003 and we were repeatedly told that websites couldn’t compete with print! Within four years, we were acquired by IPC Media (Time Warner’s publishing division) to become their flagship tech title. What fascinates me are the machinations of the biggest technology companies. Got a pitch, tip or leak? Contact me on my professional Facebook page. I do not bite.

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