The iPhone 15 Ultra could have better cameras and more power than the Pro

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max lock screen
An iPhone 14 Pro Max (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

The iPhone 14 Pro Max isn’t much better than the iPhone 14 Pro, with the main differences just being the size of the screen and capacity of the battery, but Apple could be looking to differentiate the top two entries in the expected iPhone 15 line later this year, based on new revelations from iOS 17.

That’s according to information from LeaksApplePro, posting on HowToiSolve. They claim to have seen iOS 17 code, and it reveals that the iPhone 15 Ultra – which is likely to be what Apple launches instead of an iPhone 15 Pro Max – will apparently have more advanced image processing software than the iPhone 15 Pro, as well as the rest of the iPhone 15 series.

So even if the camera hardware is the same across the 15 Ultra and Pro, the iPhone 15 Ultra sounds as though it'll have an edge in the photography department.

It might be able to get more out of its chipset too, with the source adding that the Ultra's performance won’t be as limited by software as on the Pro model. Those performance limits are in place to stop the phones overheating, so if this is true then the iPhone 15 Ultra will presumably must have a better cooling system too.

There are also details that we’ve heard before, including that the entire iPhone 15 line will apparently have a Dynamic Island rather than a notch, and that while they’ll all apparently use USB-C, the top two models will offer higher data transfer speeds (similar to USB 3.2 technology).

As for iOS 17 itself, there’s not actually much about that here, despite this information apparently coming from iOS 17 code, but the gist is that there will apparently be few visual changes, with the focus instead being on stability and efficiency.

A number of apps will apparently be getting small tweaks though, and the Home app is supposedly in for major changes.

In other iPhone 15 news, some or all models will apparently support Wi-Fi 6E, according to a research note from Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O'Malley, seen by MacRumors. This would add support for 6GHz Wi-Fi, which is faster – but only when connected to a router that also supports it.

Analysis: the Ultra sounds like the phone to go for

With the iPhone 14 line, it was the Pro and the Pro Max that stood out as the phones to buy – if you could afford them.

The iPhone 14 itself was barely an upgrade on the iPhone 13, and while the iPhone 14 Plus offered a screen size upgrade without shelling out for a pricey Pro Max, it was otherwise a slightly dated-feeling handset, with a notch and a year-old chipset.

That division looks set to somewhat continue with 2023's lineup, but with the iPhone 15 Ultra standing out above even the iPhone 15 Pro.

At least this time the cheapest two models might get a Dynamic Island and USB-C, which is nice, although leaks suggest they’ll still be stuck with a dated chipset.

The Ultra meanwhile might have things like a titanium frame and a dual-lens selfie camera, on top of the developments from this latest leak; none of which might be offered by the iPhone 15 Pro. So while this is sure to be a very expensive phone, it will also probably be one of the very best phones – and undoubtedly the best iPhone.

James Rogerson

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, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.