iPhone 15 Ultra: Everything we know so far

iPhone 15 Ultra render via 4RMD
(Image credit: 4RMD)

The iPhone 15 Ultra is the net big talk of the town, as leaks and rumors have sparked a conversation about Apple adding a fresh entry to 2023's iPhone lineup — and it's already looking to be the Cupertino tech giant's most durable and priciest iPhone yet.

Now that the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are out in the wild, the rumor mill is shifting its focus to all things iPhone 15. While we're already a good while away from Apple launching its next-generation flagship smartphones, there are already whispers of what the mysterious iPhone Ultra will bring to the table.

Many believe it will replace the usual iPhone Pro Max models, but will the rumored Ultra model be a simple name change or deliver a host of premium features? Read on to find out everything we know about the iPhone 15 Ultra so far. 

iPhone 15 Ultra latest leaks and rumors (Updated December 13)

iPhone 15 Ultra rumored release date 

Apple is consistent when it comes to iPhone launch dates, meaning we can expect to see the iPhone 15 lineup around the same time we saw the iPhone 14 release in 2022. 

iPhone 15 Ultra render via 4RMD (Image credit: 4RMD)

This means the iPhone 15 Ultra is likely to launch sometime in September 2023, although its shipping date could be pushed further back — much like how the iPhone 14 Max came out a couple of weeks later than the rest of the iPhone 14 lineup.

Seeing as the similarly branded Apple Watch Ultra was announced alongside the new Apple Watch Series 8, it's likely the iPhone 15 Ultra will follow suit and not have its own separate launch event. Of course, everything is still up in the air, and it may not be called the "Ultra" after all. 

iPhone 15 Ultra price

According to well-regarded leaker LeaksApplePro, the iPhone 15 Ultra may start at $1,299 next year, a full $200 up from the iPhone 14 Pro Max. That's the first solid rumor we've seen about the Ultra's price, and considering the specs it boasts, it (unfortunately) seems likely. But there are other things to ponder.

For one, Apple didn't change the price of its iPhone 14 compared to the previous year's iPhone 13 lineup (well, only in the U.S.). Secondly, if the iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to replace the iPhone Pro Max model, it could be priced similarly. Ergo, we could see the 15 Ultra cost around $1,099. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

However, this is an "Ultra" model we're talking about. We've seen the Apple Watch Ultra and the M1 Ultra chip make their way to the Mac Studio. These are Apple's most powerful products in their respective categories, and they come with a high price tag. If this is the case, the 15 Ultra is expected to be costly.

The Apple Watch Ultra is the company's priciest smartwatch to date by a long shot. Starting at $799, that's a $400 price jump compared to the Apple Watch Series 8. While it offers a list of upgrades over the standard model, its titanium case is one of the reasons why it comes with a high price tag.

With this in mind, the iPhone 15 Ultra also coming in a titanium chassis (more on that later) would jack up the price. The iPhone 14 Pro Max already starts at $1,099, and considering the Apple Watch Ultra's price gap, we could the rumored 15 Ultra be priced somewhere between $1,500-$2,000. However, with the rumored price starting at $1,299, it may not be that pricey — unless you add more storage. 

iPhone 15 Ultra design

We're still presumably ages away from an expected iPhone 15 Ultra launch, but we already have renders of what it may look like. Of course, these are fan-made renders, as it's too soon to know how the Ultra model may look. However, creator 4RMD has offered a convincing take on its design, especially seeing how all iPhone 15 models are expected to come with Dynamic Island and that the iPhone's design shouldn't stray too far from previous models. 

However, oft-reliable analyst Mark Gurman speculates that Apple will revamp the iPhone design next year. While no specific changes were mentioned, he notes that Apple is now sticking to a "three-year redesign cycle," with the iPhone 15 primed to get a design overhaul. If true, it would be the perfect time to introduce an Ultra model.

If the iPhone Ultra is expected to replace the iPhone 15 Pro Max, we may see it come in the same size. If this is the case, we can expect a sizeable 6.7-inch display. Of course, this is just speculation, but anything bigger may make the iPhone seem unwieldy.

Interestingly, another tip indicates Apple's next high-end flagship will be made out of titanium. That's the same material used in the Apple Watch Ultra, which offers a rugged design with improved scratch and corrosion resistance and stronger durability.

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As stated by notable tipster LeaksApplePro on Twitter, it seems only the Ultra model of the rumored iPhone 15 lineup will be getting the titanium treatment. This isn't the first we've heard of iPhones using titanium instead of the usual aluminum and stainless steel, as the iPhone 14 Pro models were once tipped to incorporate a titanium alloy chassis.

While this didn't turn out to be true, Apple has allegedly tested using titanium on iPhones (via MacRumors). However, the Cupertino-based tech giant didn't follow through due to it being too expensive. With a new Ultra entry expected to arrive with the iPhone 15 lineup, it makes sense that we could see a titanium model.

In fact, we may have already seen the titanium material thanks to a leak from known tipster ShrimpApplePro. An image of the iPhone 15 Ultra's rumored titanium frame finish was shared by Setsuna Digital (opens in new tab) on Weibo. While we're still just under a year away from Apple possibly announcing a new, premium entry to the iPhone 15 lineup, the image teases what we can expect. 

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We're also expecting to see the addition of a USB-C port instead of a Lightning slot in 2023 iPhone models, seeing as an EU mandate will force Apple to include USB-C in its smartphones.

iPhone 15 Ultra specs

With Apple continuing to deliver a new A-series chip with each iteration of the iPhone, it's likely the iPhone 15 Ultra will use an A17 Bionic processor.

While the Ultra model could mean even better specs under the hood, it's good to note that the Apple Watch Ultra sports the same S8 chip as the Apple Watch Series 8. It's certain that the A17 chipset will be more than powerful enough even for a new high-end iPhone, so we're at least expecting the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra models to come with identical chips.

We can expect a 10-15% boost in performance, but it's the Ultra's battery life that's most interesting. We could see an even bigger battery capacity come to the iPhone Ultra model, especially if it's following similar features on the Apple Watch Ultra — offering a claimed 36 hours of battery.

In our testing, the iPhone 14 Pro Max's battery reached an impressive 13 hours and 7 minutes. If that's the case, and if Apple's intention of a device being "Ultra" means better battery life, the high-end model could go beyond that. Plus, with the switch to USB-C, we could also see real fast charging make an appearance.

Another tip comes from leaker Majin Bu on Twitter, who states the iPhone 15 Ultra will have a starting storage capacity of 256GB. 

iPhone 15 Ultra cameras

Apple revamped its camera on the iPhone 14 Pro models, which now boast a 48MP wide camera, 12MP ultra-wide, 12MP telephoto lens, and a 12MP selfie camera. This was the biggest change in an iPhone's camera specs over the last few years, meaning we're likely to see similar lenses.

However, rumors suggest that only the iPhone 15 Pro Max will get a periscope zoom. If the Ultra is meant to be taking over the Pro Max, that means the Ultra model is the iPhone that will get a periscope lens. 

iPhone 15 Ultra render via 4RMD (Image credit: 4RMD)

That will be a much-needed upgrade, but it's apparently not the only one we can expect. Apparently, the iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to get a major camera upgrade. According to known tipster Majin Bu on Twitter, an anonymous source claims the iPhone 15 Ultra will have two front-facing cameras. Having dual-selfie cameras will be a first on an iPhone, but the source doesn't note what the additional camera could be used for.

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With the scaled-up storage capacity, it makes sense for an "Ultra" model that may have a second camera at the front. 

Outlook

We're still a while away from any kind of concrete iPhone 15 details, and with an iPhone 15 Ultra being a completely fresh addition to the lineup, it isn't certain if Apple is brewing a high-end flagship iPhone just yet.

Still, rumors of an Apple Watch "Pro" had been lingering well before the announcement of the Apple Watch Ultra, so there's reason to believe an iPhone Ultra will arrive.

While we wait for more juicy details on everything iPhone 15 Ultra, check out our thoughts on the iPhone 14

Darragh Murphy
Editor

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.