1-minute news: iPhone 15 Pro Max launches with 5x optical zoom camera

The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max on a beige background
(Image credit: Apple)

What's the story?

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is Apple's new flagship smartphone – and it has the most powerful camera we've seen so far on an iPhone.

Launched alongside the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro, the 6.7-inch Pro Max has all of the new features introduced on its siblings, including a new customizable Action Button and, of course, a USB-C port.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max's periscope zoom camera

(Image credit: Apple)

But it also delivers Apple's first take on the periscope zoom lens, with its 'tetraprism' design giving it a powerful 5x optical zoom to help it take on the best camera phones. Combine that with Apple's 2x crop from the 48MP sensor, and you can get what Apple claims is effectively 10x optical zoom.

It was announced at today's Apple September event – check out our Apple event 2023 live blog if you missed the show – and can be pre-ordered now ahead of its release next Friday (September 22). It costs $1,199 / £1,199 / AU$2,199.

What do I need to know about it?

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is, as the rumors predicted, the most expensive iPhone we've seen. But for good reason, as it's also comfortably the most powerful iPhone in almost every area.

For starters, like all the new iPhones, it has a USB-C port, which replaces Apple's proprietary Lightning connector. As on the iPhone 15 Pro, this port also offers USB 3 speeds to help you speedily download video files and more. Inside, there's also a powerful new A17 Pro chip.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max's periscope zoom camera

(Image credit: Apple)

But the big story is those camera upgrades. Most significantly, the 15 Pro Max has a 'tetraprism' telephoto camera to help it deliver 5x optical zoom, which is a big jump over the 3x zoom of its predecessor. 

While the iPhone 15 Pro Max is similar in size to its predecessor, it also brings a new titanium build, rounded edges and a new customizable Action Button on the side, which had been all but revealed by iOS 17.

What do we think of it?

A grid showing the iPhone 15 Pro Max's new features

(Image credit: Apple)

We haven't yet had any hands-on time with the iPhone 15 Pro Max (that is changing as we speak), but based on the specs we're very impressed so far.

There's now clear daylight between the Pro Max and standard iPhone 15 Pro, thanks to those big camera upgrades. So if your wallet hasn't gone into hiding after seeing the price tag, and a 6.7-inch phone isn't too big for you, then it's shaping up to be a fine upgrade, particularly if your current iPhone is a few years old or more (you you've been saving up during that time).

It'll undoubtedly be a strong contender for the top spot in our guide to the best phones, as well as instantly becoming one of the best iPhones. We'll bring you our final verdict once we've had the pleasure of living with Apple's new flagship.

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.