Apple products have always excelled in their respective markets. One of the most common Apple products is the iPhone. Apple just launched their new iPhone 15 series on the 12th of September.
With this launch, Apple introduced several new things to the iPhone lineup. So, it will be interesting to see how last year’s highest-end model, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, fares against this year’s highest-end, the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
In this article, we will be doing just that. This will also put into perspective what changes have been made over the year to this year’s flagship and how much of an upgrade it is over last year’s. So, without further ado, let us dive right in.
As smartphone cameras have started becoming more and more reliable with each passing year, they have also become one of the key deciding factors for people to consider before buying a phone. The iPhone 15 Pro Max brings several upgrades over the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
First comes the primary camera; the iPhone 15 Pro Max supports capturing images in 24MP resolution and 48MP, in addition to the default 12MP. The predecessor only supports 48MP, with the default still being 12MP.
Another thing you can do on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is set a default focal length for the primary camera. The available options are 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm. These translate to about 1x, 1.2x, and 1.5x zoom, respectively.
These are in addition to the 0.5x ultrawide and the 2x sensor crop zoom presets available in the camera app. The last two presets are also available on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Now, let us discuss the new telephoto camera. The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a new lens that enables up to 5x optical zoom. On the other hand, the iPhone 14 Pro Max features up to 3x optical zoom. Both of these phones feature a 12MP sensor for the telephoto camera. Arguably, 3x is a more optimal zoom range for capturing portrait images. However, 5x zoom does help in long-range zoom.
Moving on to videography, these iPhones are the same in most areas. The iPhone 15 Pro Max’s three new capabilities are what separates them. The first is recording ProRes video at up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. Until now, this was only possible up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second. This change applies to the front camera as well.
The other two advantages that the iPhone 15 Pro Max has over the iPhone 14 Pro Max are log video recording and ACES. Log video recording allows users to save the videos directly to an external drive rather than the internal storage.
Besides that, ACES is a color encoding system. It stands for Academy Color Encoding System and is the industry standard. In layman’s terms, having this will allow the iPhone 15 Pro Max to record and display colors that match the industry standard.
One more area where the iPhone 15 Pro Max takes a lead over the iPhone 14 Pro Max is Smart HDR. It is the processing of images captured by iPhones. The iPhone 14 Pro Max supports Smart HDR 4, while its successor supports the 5th iteration. Smart HDR 4 has been quite underwhelming, and Apple hinted that they have improved the processing with Smart HDR 5.
Speaking of portraits, Apple introduced a new feature with the iPhone 15 series, including the Pro Max, which enables the iPhone to detect when a living subject is being captured automatically. The software allows the user to edit the depth mapping and other things.
This way, the user does not have to switch to Portrait Mode manually; they can change the normal photo to a portrait in the Gallery app after the image is captured. Larger, higher-resolution sensors make this possible since they capture more details simultaneously.
Other than these, the rest of the camera hardware and features are pretty much the same. Even the ultrawide camera and the front camera are not different. However, they benefit from the new and improved Image Signal Processor (ISP). Apart from that, all the sensors feature the same aperture. The software features in the camera app are also the same.
Apple brought about a pretty significant change in the chip of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Firstly, they ditched ‘Bionic’ from the name of their A-series chips for this year. Instead, they launched the A17 Pro chip for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Starting with the hardware, the A17 Pro is the first smartphone chip in the world that is based on a 3nm process. TSMC fabricates the 3nm process.
This is new for all smartphones, rather than just a generational upgrade for iPhones. For the unaware, we have had 4nm process-based chips for quite a while now.
Other upgrades to the chip are in the GPU. They are also pretty huge. For the hardware, the chip inside the iPhone 15 Pro Max sports a 6-core GPU, whereas the iPhone 14 Pro Max has one with a 5-core GPU. This does not seem to be big on paper.
But Apple has worked with several developers to bring their games to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. These include AAA titles that were only available on PCs and consoles before. Some examples that Apple mentioned were Resident Evil and Assassin’s Creed. Apple gave us an expected release time of early 2024.
Not only that, the A17 Pro inside the iPhone 15 Pro Max is also capable of hardware-based ray tracing. Ray tracing enhances the graphics considerably, and seeing it coming to a smartphone via hardware is very enticing. This could significantly impact mobile gaming for the better.
3. Build Quality and Design
iPhones are known for their rugged and sturdy build quality. This year, Apple has further improved the build quality of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It comes with a Grade 5 Titanium frame. It is essentially an alloy of titanium and aluminum, as claimed by Apple. This allegedly has more tensile strength than stainless steel, from which the iPhone 14 Pro Max frame is built.
Additionally, the frames have a brushed texture and contoured edges. Contoured edges make the iPhone 15 Pro Max more comfortable than the boxy and sharp edges of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The latter also has a gloss frame, which attracts a lot of smudges.
Furthermore, these touches enhance the overall aesthetic of the iPhone as well. The camera module is also seamlessly integrated with the rear of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Besides, the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes in four different colors, as mentioned below.
- Black Titanium
- Blue Titanium
- Natural Titanium
- White Titanium
Apple has gone for pastel and slightly dull colors this year. On the contrary, we have bright options too on last year’s models. Colors are a subjective choice, so we will leave deciding whether the new colors look good or not up to you.
In addition to these changes, the iPhone 15 Pro Max weighs 19 grams less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Moreover, the bezels of the former have been reduced significantly. This also allowed Apple to reduce the dimensions of the iPhone by some margin while maintaining a screen size of 6.7 inches.
Apple has relied on the Lightning connector for about a decade for iPhones. However, EU laws mandated all smartphone brands to adopt the USB Type C connector by 2024 at the latest. This forced Apple to either make the switch or lose a large chunk of its market share. Fortunately for everyone, they went the former way.
We now have a USB-C connector on the entire iPhone 15 series. The iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max also come with USB-C 3.0 connectors, which offer much higher data transfer speeds (up to 10Gbps) than the Lightning connector on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
5. Action Button
One of the elemental changes Apple has made this year for the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the Action Button. This is a replacement for the iconic mute switch that is available up to the vanilla and Plus models of the iPhone 15 series.
The fact that the Action Button is programmable to several different tasks makes it an objectively better choice than the mute switch. However, checking whether your iPhone is in ring or silent mode is a more convenient mute switch. That is about the only downside of the Action Button. Also, the Action Button is set to mute or unmute your iPhone by default. You can change it later.
6. Base Storage
The iPhone 14 Pro Max can be bought in four storage variants — 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. Apple has ditched the 128GB version with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which means it is available in only three storage variants — 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.
There are some more minor things that Apple has introduced with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The WiFi version has been bumped up to WiFi 6E from WiFi 6 in the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Moreover, the Ultra Wideband chip has also been upgraded to its second iteration on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. This will allow the iPhone to recognize Apple devices nearby in a larger range and with better precision.
Apple has also introduced something called Thread Networking Technology. The new iPhone 15 Pro Max also has NavIC ‘precision dual frequency GPS.’ NavIC stands for Navigation with Indian Constellation and is the navigation satellite system in India. This will allow Indian users to navigate better using the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The iPhone 14 Pro Max does not possess this.
Apart from all that is mentioned in this article, nothing has changed. The upgrade still seems to be considerable. There is, of course, the newer iOS version, iOS 17, on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Other enhancements to existing features are mostly via software tuning and the new chip.
As for the pricing, Apple has not increased it this year. However, they have removed the 128GB version. So, effectively, the starting price has increased. You can check the pricing below.
- 256GB model: $1199
- 512GB model: $1399
- 1TB model: $1599