We recently reported on rumors that the iPhone 15 Ultra will arriving packing a telephoto camera with a variable zoom lens, and new leaks suggest this won’t be the only impressive camera upgrade heading to Apple’s upcoming flagship. According to serial Apple tipster Ice Universe (opens in new tab), the iPhone 15 Ultra – which, as a reminder, is expected to replace the iPhone 15 Pro Max in 2023 – will use Sony’s new IMX903 48MP sensor. Why is this significant? Well, the IMX903 measures 1/1.14 inches, meaning the iPhone 15 Ultra could be shipping with the biggest camera sensor ever used in an iPhone.For comparison, the iPhone 14 Pro Max (aka Apple’s best iPhone right now) uses Sony’s already-excellent IMX803 48MP sensor, which measures 1/1.28 inches. The larger sensor size on the iPhone 15 Ultra, then, should allow for more efficient light capture and detail retention. As Ice Universe notes, 1/1.14-inch sensors aren’t strictly the same as 1-inch sensors – of the sort used on photography-focused phones like the Xiaomi 12S Ultra and Sony Xperia Pro-I – but they suggest that the difference between the two sizes will be negligible on the iPhone 15 Ultra. “The specifications of IMX903 for [the] iPhone 15 [Ultra] are close to 1 inch, that’s for sure,” Ice Universe writes. “I’m looking forward to Apple joining the 1-inch club.”The specifications of IMX903 for iPhone 15PM are close to 1 “That’s for sure.I’m looking forward to Apple joining the 1 “club.April 23, 2023See moreSuffice to say, the iPhone 15 Ultra looks set to challenge the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra to the title of best camera phone – read our analysis of why the iPhone 15 Ultra will be the wake-up call Samsung needs – but the rumored camera credentials of the former could give traditional photographers a serious headache, too. Combined with its periscopic zoom lens for real telephoto zoom, the iPhone 15 Ultra’s huge 48MP sensor will make Apple’s next flagship a phenomenally powerful camera in its own right. And, at an expected price of around $1,199 / £1,309 / AU$2,099, the phone should provide a cheaper alternative to many of the best cameras, which typically retail for figures in excess of $2,500 / $2,000 / AU$3,700. (Image credit: Apple)As TechRadar’s former Cameras Editor, Mark Wilson, explains: “Mirrorless cameras still have much larger sensors than the iPhone 15 Ultra’s rumored 1/1.14in chip, but Apple’s computational processing will help compensate. The larger the sensor, the more light and information those algorithms will have to work with – and that could be particularly helpful for the Ultra’s periscope zoom lens, as those traditionally have quite dark apertures.””But these upgrades for the Ultra could give photographers like me a difficult decision. If the rumors are true, the Ultra will be opening up a sizable photographic gap to the rest of the iPhone 15 series – so it could be a decision between splashing out on that flagship, or waiting until next year for an iPhone 16 Pro with a periscope zoom.”
iPhone 15 Ultra: what else to expect
The iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to arrive in place of an iPhone 15 Pro Max (Image credit: Apple)In terms of what else we expect to see from the iPhone 15 Ultra, unofficial iPhone 15 Ultra renders have hinted that Apple’s upcoming flagship will be getting a USB-C port, a slightly shallower camera bump and a curvier chassis than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The phone could be clad in titanium, too (which is typically stronger and lighter than the stainless steel used by current iPhones).Also on the design front, the iPhone 15 Ultra was widely rumored to get solid-state volume and power buttons. Leaks had suggested that these buttons would use vibrations to simulate the sensation of being touched despite not actually moving (think the iPhone 7’s haptic Home button), but analysts Jeff Pu and Ming-Chi Kuo recently poured water on those claims. Other leakers, however, still believe that the iPhone 15 Ultra will be getting solid-state buttons. Despite using the same A17 Bionic processor, the iPhone 15 Ultra is rumored to be even more powerful than the iPhone 15 Pro, with one source claiming that the former’s software won’t limit the phone as much as it will on the Pro model. We’re keeping tabs on all the latest iPhone 15 Ultra rumors as and when they appear, so stay tuned to TechRadar as we learn more about what to expect from Apple’s next flagship handset.
What to expect from iPhone 15 Ultra camera upgrades?
Rumors suggest that the upcoming iPhone 15 Ultra will have some of the most advanced camera features ever seen in a smartphone. Some of the expected camera upgrades include a triple-lens setup, improved low-light performance, and advanced AI features for automatic image optimization. All of these features could give photographers a serious dilemma, as the iPhone 15 Ultra could potentially replace the need for a dedicated camera for many people.
Will the iPhone 15 Ultra make dedicated cameras obsolete?
While the iPhone 15 Ultra’s camera upgrades are impressive, professional photographers will still likely rely on dedicated cameras for their work. However, for everyday users and hobbyists, the iPhone 15 Ultra’s camera could be a game-changer. With advanced features that rival even some professional cameras, the iPhone 15 Ultra could make it easier than ever for people to take high-quality photos and share them with others.
What are the potential downsides of using the iPhone 15 Ultra as a primary camera?
One potential downside of relying on the iPhone 15 Ultra’s camera is that it could limit the creative control that photographers have over their images. While there are advanced features like manual focus and exposure control, they may not be as precise or customizable as those found on dedicated cameras. Additionally, the smaller sensor size and lens limitations of the iPhone 15 Ultra may not allow for certain types of shots, like wide-angle landscapes or extreme telephoto shots.
Should photographers invest in the iPhone 15 Ultra for its camera upgrades?
Whether or not photographers should invest in the iPhone 15 Ultra for its camera upgrades will depend on their individual needs and preferences. For those who prioritize convenience and ease of use, the iPhone 15 Ultra’s camera could provide a lot of value. However, for those who require more advanced features or who take their photography more seriously, a dedicated camera may still be the better choice. Ultimately, the decision will come down to personal preference and budget.
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