Editor's Note: Apple has officially revealed the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max so we’ll be updating this article to reflect the new information as we find out more from Apple. In the meantime, check out our Apple September event live blog for everything you need to know about Apple’s new devices.
Apple is likely to launch four phones in September, with the iPhone 15 at the bottom end, the iPhone 15 Pro Max at the top end, and the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro filling out the middle of the line.
We don’t expect too many people will be deciding between the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max, as these are set to be vastly different handsets at very different prices, but comparing them can give you an idea of just how varied Apple’s iPhone 15 line might be.
Below then, we’ve looked at all the key aspects of the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max, to see how they’re likely to stack up based on all the leaks and rumors so far.
iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: specs comparison
Nothing about the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro Max has been confirmed just yet, so we can only go by leaks and educated guesses, but that’s enough for a quite complete picture of what each phone might offer, which you can see at a glance in the specs table below.
|iPhone 15 (rumored)||iPhone 15 Pro Max (rumored)|
|Display:||6.1-inch OLED||6.7-inch OLED|
|Resolution:||2532 x 1170 pixels||1290 x 2796 pixels|
|Refresh rate:||60Hz||Adaptive 1-120Hz|
|Chipset:||A16 Bionic||A17 Bionic|
|Rear cameras:||48MP main, 12MP ultrawide||48MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 12MP telephoto with 6x variable zoom|
|Storage:||128GB, 256GB, 512GB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB|
iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: price and availability
Going by leaks and rumors, the iPhone 15 will probably either cost the same amount as the iPhone 14, or slightly more. For reference, that phone starts at $799 / £849 / AU$1,339, however the production costs are reportedly around 12% higher for the iPhone 15, so the price may rise accordingly.
As for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, that will almost certainly cost more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max from what we’ve heard, with even reputable leaker Mark Gurman saying there will probably be a price rise.
The 14 Pro Max starts at $1,099 / £1,199 / AU$1,899, so expect to pay more than that, though the exact price is so far less clear. That said, you might at least get more storage for your money.
As for availability, both phones will of course be widely available around the world once they’re launched, with iPhone 15 release date rumors pointing to an announcement on September 12, which based on past form would mean the shipping date is likely to be September 22.
iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: design and display
From the front, the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max might look quite similar, with both phones likely to have a Dynamic Island rather than a notch. They’ll reportedly also have rounded sides, rather than the flat sides of the current models.
Flip them over though and there should be some clear differences, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max almost certainly set to have an extra camera lens. Though both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the iPhone 15 might have a textured matte glass rear panel.
Other likely differences include the rumored presence of an Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which would be in place of a mute switch, the use of titanium rather than aluminum or steel in the Pro Max, and the colors, with the iPhone 15 colors rumored to include Light Blue, Cyan, Pink, Midnight, Starlight, and Product (RED), while the iPhone 15 Pro Max might be available in Dark Red, Silver, and Gold, as well as either Graphite, Space Gray, or Space Black.
Of course, the biggest visual difference might simply be their size, with the iPhone 15 likely to have similar dimensions to the iPhone 14, at 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8mm, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max might more or less match its predecessor at 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9mm.
That difference is thanks to their likely differing screen sizes, with the iPhone 15 expected to sport a compact 6.1-inch display, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max will probably have a massive 6.7-inch screen.
That’s not the only expected screen difference either, as the iPhone 15 will reportedly be lumbered with a 60Hz refresh rate, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max is almost certain to have an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. If you want an iPhone 15 always-on display, then you’ll also probably have to opt for a model in the Pro line.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is also expected to have a brighter display and a higher resolution (of likely around 1290 x 2796, compared to roughly 1170 x 2532 on the iPhone 15) – but given the size differences, they’ll probably have the same pixel density, of around 460 pixels per inch.
iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: cameras
Both the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max might have a 48MP main camera, but one leak suggests that the iPhone 15’s camera will have a smaller sensor, so probably won’t be as good. Both phones might also have a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and it’s unclear whether they will share a sensor for that one.
But that’s probably all the cameras the iPhone 15 will have on the back, whereas the iPhone 15 Pro Max will almost certainly have a telephoto camera too, and some leaks suggest it will use a periscope design, allowing for longer distance optical zoom than the telephoto camera on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Either way, that extra lens should make it a much better photographic option than the standard iPhone 15.
However, the two phones might both have a 12MP single-lens selfie camera. One early leak suggested the iPhone 15 Pro Max could have a dual-lens front-facing camera, but this claim came from a source with a poor track record, and it hasn’t been echoed elsewhere.
iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: performance
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is likely to have an advantage when it comes to performance, as this phone will almost certainly have Apple's expected A17 Bionic chipset, while the standard iPhone 15 will reportedly inherit the A16 Bionic currently used by the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
The A17 Bionic is said to have a 20% more powerful CPU, so it could be a significant upgrade, and it might be joined by 8GB of RAM (compared to just 6GB in the standard iPhone 15), though sources disagree on this point.
Finally, the iPhone 15 Pro Max might support higher data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps, while the standard iPhone 15 might top out at 20Gbps.
iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: battery
Leaks suggest that both the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max will sport bigger batteries than their predecessors, with the iPhone 15 supposedly having a 3,877mAh one and the iPhone 15 Pro Max apparently having a 4,852mAh one.
So the iPhone 15 Pro Max is likely to have by far the biggest of the two, though remember it also has a larger screen to power. That said, based on past form, it will probably have superior battery life.
Both iPhone 15 models will probably charge via USB-C though, and support wireless charging, and there’s even a chance that both of these iPhone 15 versions will offer reverse wireless charging, so you can use them to wirelessly charge other devices.
iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: verdict
Based on leaks, rumors, and what we’d expect from past form, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will probably have a bigger screen than the iPhone 15, along with a higher refresh rate, a more premium construction, an Action Button, an extra camera lens, a bigger battery (offering longer life), and a more powerful chipset.
There are other things it may have too, such as more RAM and higher data transfer speeds, along – probably – with more storage at the top end, as a 2TB iPhone 15 Pro Max has been rumored.
Of course, the trade off is that it’s sure to cost a whole lot more than the standard iPhone 15, a phone which is likely to offer many of the core iPhone 15 line features (including a Dynamic Island and a USB-C port) at a fraction of the price. The iPhone 15’s likely smaller screen may also prove more appealing to some buyers.
So there are a lot of differences here, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max will almost certainly come out on top overall, as you’d expect, but it’s sure to be priced accordingly.
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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.