Apple iPhone 15 might have a launch date: this is what Apple must do to wow me

iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit:

Apple may have a launch date for its anticipated iPhone 15, at least if you believe the latest report from 9to5Mac, which claims to have seen documents urging Apple employees not to take time off on September 13.

The date, falling in the second week of September, is not a surprise. I've attended virtually all the launches since the iPhone 5S and they have virtually all been in September.

Still, knowing the date is nice for planning purposes, getting a flight, booking a hotel, telling my family I'll be incommunicado for 24 to 72 hours around that date. But Apple's timestamp for the unveiling of its latest smartphones (and likely other devices like the Apple Watch 9, maybe a new pair of AirPods or an iPad mini) is just a tiny piece of what occupies my mind space at this moment.

Knowing a date triggers an assessment or rather reassessment of the iPhone 14 Pro I have in my hand and all the ways it disappoints me. Please understand, it and its brothers (the iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14, and iPhone 14 Plus) are among the best smartphones on the market. Time, however, stands still for no smartphone and since the iPhone 14 launch in September 2022, we've seen new phones from Nothing, OnePlus, Motorola, and most notably, Samsung.

I won't argue with anyone who says Apple's iPhone 14 Pro A16 Bionic silicon still outperforms the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside the Samsung Galaxy S23 lineup. The modern smartphone is not just about the versatile and performant brains, it's about the features, design, and cameras.

It's in this last area where Apple is left most wanting.

Better photos

iPhone 14 Pro Max review camera

One of these lenses on the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro better be a 10X optical zoom. (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Virtually every handset I've seen or used this year has higher megapixels and more powerful optical zoom than even the best iPhone. That's been the case for a couple of years now and it can't continue. Apple has fantastic image processing, but it's time for it to put the focus squarely on real optics. Rumor has it we will finally see periscope zoom technology that will, I pray, take the iPhone 15 Pro Max at least to 10x optical zoom. If Apple backs it with a 96MP sensor (one that can bin four pixels at once for a lovely 24MP image), I will be more than pleased.

Under the screen and battery

The iPhone 14 Pro facing forwards, held in a hand at an angle

Imagine a bigger display in the same-sized device. (Image credit: Future)

I know Apple is apparently looking at trying to extend its Super Retina Displays to the bleeding edge of all its iPhone 15 phones. That's a worthy goal, but I want something special under the screen. FaceID remains a reliable (and maybe the best) way to unlock a phone but I want an under-the-screen fingerprint reader, too. Most competitors offer multiple biometric options, but only Apple seems averse to the idea.

I'm also hoping Apple does some work on its battery technology. We need bigger batteries but also, finally, the ability to fast charge with a larger (and, I know, not included) power adapter. Give me 100% in 40 minutes or give me...well, just give it to me.

OnePlus 8

Not an iPhone but the kind of under-the-screen fingerprint ready I'm talking about. (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

Swap that port

I think we're all ready to give up the lightning port and adopt USB-C for our iPhone 15 but only as long as Apple ships every new iPhone with a lightning to USB-C adapter, at least for this first new model with the USB-C charging technology.

Oddly, I don't expect Apple to break the design or technology mold with the iPhone 15. It should look exactly like the iPhone 14. The screens and Dynamic Island will be unchanged, buttons unmoved, materials all the same. At least I can rest easy in the knowledge that the iPhone 15 will come preloaded with iOS 17, a platform update I'm already enjoying on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro base

Bye lightning. (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Sure, I'd love the see the iPhone Fold or Flex (or whatever it's finally called) but Apple's foldables are not on the menu this year.

With the apparent knowledge that September 13 is the date, it's these and myriad other Apple thoughts that will fill my days and dreams. I will go to sleep thinking about all the ways Apple could excite and inspire while knowing that this is probably not the year for either. That's okay. I'll be there, covering it all, anyway.

Lance Ulanoff
US Editor in Chief

A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.