Last-minute iPhone 15 rumors tease huge zoom camera and Ultra naming scheme

iPhone 14 Pro Max on a yellow background
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

The launch of Apple's iPhone 15 line is now just weeks away, but that hasn’t stopped eagle-eyed tipsters from sharing fresh leaks about the company’s upcoming handsets.

According to AppleInsider's Andrew O'Hara, the biggest and best iPhone in 2023 will be known as the iPhone 15 Ultra, after all – and it'll arrive packing a supersized 10x zoom telephoto periscope lens.

Suffice to say, this is a significant development. Early iPhone 15 rumors had suggested that Apple would release its first Ultra-branded iPhone in 2023, but more recent conversations have referred to that device as the iPhone 15 Pro Max. O'Hara, however, now reports that “Apple will indeed use the ‘iPhone 15 Ultra’ moniker for [its next] plus-sized Pro phone.”

This tip comes from “multiple sources,” so there’s a real chance that this year's iPhone lineup could – for the first time – comprise an iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra.

As mentioned, O’Hara’s post also teases the presence of a huge 10x zoom telephoto periscope lens on the iPhone 15 Ultra, which develops previous rumors we’ve heard about this iPhone’s potentially world-beating camera capabilities.

We knew, for instance, that Apple’s next best iPhone might feature a telephoto periscope lens with a greater than 3x optical zoom, but O'Hara suggests that this lens will be capable of 10x zoom, putting the iPhone 15 Ultra on a par with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

It’s not yet clear whether the iPhone 15 Ultra – or the iPhone 15 Pro Max, as it may yet be called – will have a dedicated 10x lens or use sensors to crop to that magnification. We’ve also previously heard that the iPhone 15 Ultra could get a variable zoom lens that slides between two different zoom magnifications, which is a feature that’s likewise been rumored for the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

The other iPhone 15 Ultra-bound upgrades noted by O’Hara will be familiar to anyone who’s followed the iPhone 15 rumor cycle closely. “Both the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra will be titanium, have the Action button in place of the mute toggle, and likely get the new 3nm A17 Bionic chip,” he writes.

Leaked iPhone 15 Pro Max case images have already teased this multi-function Action button, and leaked benchmark specs have already hinted that the A17 Bionic could boast a 20% more powerful CPU than its predecessor, so we’re confident that both features are indeed destined for Apple’s next best iPhone. 

We’re less certain about this naming scheme situation. Will Apple really adopt the Ultra moniker in 2023, or stick with its traditional Pro Max title? We can't know for sure just yet, but with the iPhone 15 release date edging closer, we don’t have too long to wait for answers. 

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Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.