U.S. phone maker Apple’s latest flagship series, the iPhone 15, turned out to be unimpressive for the Chinese market. However, despite that, the series may still sell more than a hundred million pieces globally like the previous generations.
The iPhone 15 series received a “standard” upgrade, much like the previous iPhone 14 series. The two non-pro models got some features that used to be exclusive on iPhone 14 Pro, like the Dynamic lsland to hide the punch holes on the screen and the A16 chip.
At the same time, the two new pro phones received some new exclusive features, like the titanium body and the A17 Pro chip.
This is a very balanced way to upgrade the product line. If you see it from the angle of logistics professionals, that’s even borderline elegant. The problem is – the market doesn’t like it very much.
Memes spread fast on short video platforms about how unappealing the iPhone 15’s update was. There’s almost no surprise that would make people say “Wow!” especially compared to the emotional moments Apple created during the Steve Jobs era.
It seems that Apple has changed, turning from a passionate innovator to a rational organizer.
“It’s a pity that my prediction turned out to be true,” said Zhao Ming, head of Chinese competitor Honor who previously said he had nothing to expect from the iPhone 15 series. “Apple has been the leader of the smartphone industry in terms of philosophy and inspirations, but the latest upgrade let us down.”
Incremental performance boost
The performance boost is also mediocre. The new pro models are only 10 percent faster than the iPhone 14 Pro in general speed and 20 percent faster in graphics speed.
The boost is too small especially when Apple utilized the latest three nanometer process to build the new chips, which should revolutionarily change like previous times.
People on Chinese social media even started questioning the quality of 3nm process used by TSMC for the new phones.
Regardless of the smaller performance boost, Apple still bragged about how the iPhone is “the best mobile gaming platform in the world,” claiming the phones can run AAA titles.
That doesn’t sound convincing at all when the iPhone 14 Pro cannot run Genshin Impact for even 15 minutes without dimming the screen to reduce heat, not to mention that the graphics quality of the mobile version is significantly worse than its console and PC counterparts.
For mobile gamers looking for console-level graphics on the iPhone 15 Pro, they are most likely to be disappointed, as Apple didn’t mention any thermal system upgrades at all to solve the overheating problem.
We cannot confirm if the weaker boost was caused by the resignation of multiple chip designers from Apple. But Qualcomm has beaten Apple by a large margin in mobile graphics performance with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.
With that said, speed is not a big problem for casual iPhones users because the current chips are big overkills for daily tasks. Even if Apple doesn’t boost the speed of iPhone 15 at all, people will still buy them without worrying about performance.
Apple has for the first time used titanium in the two Pro models of the iPhone 15.
Titanium sounds like high-end material for smartphones. The advertisements for other titanium products often brag about how the metal is used for space missions and Apple failed to come up with a less cliched idea.
Since titanium is no stronger than steel, it’s reasonable to guess that Apple used the metal mainly to reduce the weight of the phones.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the heaviest iPhone ever made at 240 grams, partly because of its steel framework.
Apple has been strict on crafting so buyers can probably enjoy the lighter experience with the two new pro iPhones.
The new material is not available for the two basic models, which are light enough to stick with steel.
Apple also introduced some “new” features that are normal, or even outdated, on other phones.
The most obvious one is the USB-C port. The port is called “the Huawei port” in some areas in China as the Shenzhen-based phone maker adopted the port back in 2016. In fact, “the iPhone port” was the strange kid on the market for many years.
Apple bragged about the USB 3.0 speed of the new port, saying it’s 20 times faster than their proprietary, decade-old, expensive Lightning port. Samsung adopted USB 3.0 with Galaxy S5 released over nine years ago.
The current USB4 standard can run as fast as 40 Gbps, quadruple the speed of the new iPhone port.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max received a periscope lens that provides five times optical zoom. The first phone with a periscope lens was the Sharp 902 released in 2004. The tech was made popular in China with the hot sales of Huawei P30 Pro in 2019. Latest phones from other brands no longer feature this lens because it makes the phones thicker than they could be.
The charging speed of the iPhone 15 series is still capped at around 27 watts, which will juice up a depleted iPhone 15 Pro Max battery in about two hours. This is way too slow as most $299 phones on the Chinese market today take less than an hour, if not less than half an hour, for a full charge.
But all these means nothing to people who only use iPhones because they have never experienced the better options. So, despite the lame upgrades and catch-ups, the iPhone 15 series will still sell by a gigantic quantity as it has been with the iPhones in the last few years.