The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max just debuted at Apple's September event and Apple made this a much harder decision again this year.
The Pro and Pro Max have been at parity for the last several years with just the battery life to separate them, but now you are once again losing some features by not opting for the most expensive and largest iPhone.
The primary differences are in the cameras, so if you don't take a lot of photos and videos and prefer a smaller phone this is going to remain easy for you, but for snap-happy iPhone owners you have a tough (and expensive) choice ahead of you.
Here's a closer look at the iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max.
iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Specs
|Spec||iPhone 15 Pro||iPhone 15 Pro/15 Pro Max|
|Screen size||6.1 inches||6.7 inches|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|CPU||A17 Bionic||A17 Bionic|
|Cameras||48MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP 3x telephoto||48MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP 5x telephoto|
iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Price
The iPhone 15 Pro has held the line with its pricing starting at $999 with 128GB of storage, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max jumps up to $1,199, but it now starts at 256GB of storage up from 128GB.
- iPhone 15 Pro: $999
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: $1,199
iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Design
- Small redesign with slightly curved edges
- Thinner bezels all around
- Goodbye, lightning. Hello USB-C! You can thank the EU for that one
Other than the overall size difference the design of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max is virtually identical. The new titanium chassis makes each one lighter than its stainless steel predecessor. The slightly curved design should make them more pleasant to hold.
Another big change that is coming to all iPhones is the move to a USB-C port. We're still waiting on the final details regarding charging speeds, but if you want to know more about what brought about this change you can read our coverage on the Apple vs EU saga.
So while there is a strong sense of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to the sandwich of metal and glass that is the standard iPhone aesthetic, there are small tweaks coming to breathe a little bit of new life into it.
The Action Button is the other big change coming to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. The mute switch is gone, replaced by this multifunction button that can be customized to handle a variety of tasks or if you prefer it can still just function as mute.
iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Display
- Shift to LIPO display tech
Display sizes remain the same: 6.1 and 6.7 inches. Resolution is unchanged as well and both models once again support refresh rates from 1-120Hz, it's simply the underlying LTPO panel that should offer improved power efficiency and a brighter image.
iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Processor
- iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max jump to a 3nm chipset in the A17 Pro
Another year of the iPhone as the most powerful smartphone in the world is likely with the jump to Apple's A17 Bionic chipset. However, while we'll need to get the phones in our labs to see exactly how powerful they are, the more important difference is likely to be in efficiency.
The A17 Bionic is the first 3nm chipset in an iPhone, which could potentially mean hours of extra battery life on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max compared to the 14 Pro and Pro Max.
The iPhone was already wildly more powerful than most users need it to be, so the efficiency is likely to have a larger impact.
iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Cameras
- Pro Max adds a 5x optical zoom
The biggest change comes to the iPhone 15 Pro Max alone with a periscope zoom lens that bumps the optical zoom from 3x to 5x.
The primary sensor on both remains the excellent 48MP wide-angle introduced last year, which for iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Plus fans is notably coming to those phones as well.
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max continue to pull away from the standard iPhone 15 models, but it's disappointing to see the Pro Max pulling away from the Pro. The $100 price increase for the iPhone 15 Pro Max is reasonable considering all of the upgrades including the move to 256GB of storage.
While the larger display and longer battery life were obvious tradeoffs you made by skipping the biggest iPhone, it was nice to be able to choose the smaller Pro iPhone and still know you were getting all of the best features.
Based on what we know so far it's hard to weigh in with a final decision, if you want the best of the best the iPhone 15 Pro Max is of course the only choice, but we'll need to get both phones in our labs and in our hands to find out just how much of a difference there is in performance and camera quality.
We'll continue to update this face-off with new details as we get them, so stay tuned.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.