This image, which was shared by @URedditor on Twitter (via WCCFTech), doesn’t give us a complete look at the phone, but it does reveal what might be the biggest design change we’ll see with the upcoming model.
Specifically, the bottom edge of the phone is shown, and it includes a USB-C port. This is something that has long been rumored for the iPhone 15, and which Apple will have to add to iPhones within the next couple of years due to new EU laws. This is the closest thing yet to confirmation that we’ll see this change as soon as this year.
The source additionally claimed to MacRumors that USB-C will be used by all four iPhone 15 models, and that Apple is planning to replace the E75 Lightning Controller with an E85 Port Controller for the iPhone 15 series.
There’s no explanation given of what that will mean, but it suggests that only Apple-approved chargers and accessories will work with the port, as has also recently been rumored.
While the USB-C port is the focus of this leaked image, there are some other details to note too. For one thing, the phone shown appears to have a brushed metal finish, which is different to what you’ll find on the iPhone 14 series. That could be down to the rumored switch to titanium for the Pro models in the iPhone 15 series.
Finally, the frame is slightly more curved at the edges than on the current models, which is something else we’d previously heard might be planned.
We would, of course, take this leak with a pinch of salt, especially as the source doesn’t have much of a track record yet, but it certainly looks like it could be the real deal.
Analysis: the switch to USB-C is a good move – if done right
Moving to USB-C could allow for much higher data transfer speeds than Lightning supports, as well as meaning that the millions of USB-C cables and plugs most people have already will be compatible with their iPhones. But neither of those things are guaranteed.
Apple would have to choose to support higher transfer speeds and current leaks suggest that while the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max – or iPhone 15 Ultra as it might be called – will indeed offer higher speeds, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus won’t.
As for the move to USB-C offering wider compatibility with charging cables, well, there might be restrictions and limits there too, since leaks suggest Apple might not support all USB-C chargers and accessories.
It will be interesting to see how much control the EU’s new rules will actually allow Apple to have, but we might find ourselves with a new port that – especially in the case of the non-Pro models – brings very few tangible upgrades. Which would be a shame, because this could be an easy way for Apple to significantly improve on the current best iPhones.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.