Apple’s iPhone 15 launch event is done and dusted, with four new phones – the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max – now out in the wild (these are the best iPhone 15 deals to look out for this week).
This year, alongside USB-C connectivity for every iPhone 15 model, the addition of a titanium frame on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max seems to be Apple’s headline marketing play, with titanium-focused key art dominating the company's event presentation and, now, its official website.
“Titanium. So strong. So light. So Pro,” reads the new banner copy on Apple.com, which clearly hints at the two main benefits of Apple’s shift away from stainless steel frames on its Pro-level iPhones. But just how much stronger and lighter is the iPhone 15 Pro versus its predecessor, and do both upgrades equate to tangible improvements for you, the end user?
Let’s start with the good news. Apple’s claims surrounding the weight benefits of titanium are well founded. The iPhone 15 Pro weighs just 187g, some 19g lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max also weighs 19g less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max (221g versus 240g). For reference, 19g is about the weight of four credit cards stacked on top of one another, which doesn’t sound like much, but the difference is palpable.
In his hands-on iPhone 15 Pro Max review, TechRadar’s US editor-in-chief, Lance Ulanoff, wrote: “In my hand, the iPhone 15 Pro Max felt noticeably lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.” The same will surely be true of the iPhone 15 Pro.
There may be certain folk who actually prefer the heftier weight of the iPhone 14 Pro Max – for some, that 240g weight brings a psychological sense of power and build quality – but there’s no denying that the 221g weight of the iPhone 15 Pro Max makes it a much more usable device. So far, so good.
Now let's talk durability. Apple says that the grade 5 titanium used in the body of its new Pro-level iPhones is “the same alloy that spacecraft use for missions to Mars,” which bodes well for its ability to resist drops on your kitchen floor.
Technically, the use of titanium in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max does indeed make these phones more durable than their predecessors – but we’re only talking about the sides here, which is an important distinction to make.
To go along with this “strong titanium band,” Apple’s new Pro phones feature “the toughest back glass in a smartphone” and a Ceramic Shield front “that’s even tougher than any smartphone glass.” That all sounds great – and those claims are true – but the latter two materials were also a feature of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Apple hasn’t upgraded the glass on either of its iPhone 15 Pro models, which is indisputably the main point of weakness on any smartphone.
This is a point that tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee raised in his reaction video to the iPhone 15 launch. The stainless steel rails on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are already pretty resistant to drops; sure, they may scuff a little, but the real damage typically comes when the glass makes contact with a hard surface. And that’s still the reality for the iPhone 15 Pro.
So, yes, Apple’s new Pro phones are “so strong” – but they’re not all that much tougher than their predecessors, when you consider how most iPhones are broken by everyday users.
Admittedly, these titanium sides do look damn cool. Apple says it’s using “precision machining, sanding, brushing and blasting” to achieve the sides’ fine‑brushed finish, and you can pick up either Pro model in black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium or natural titanium. But since most people will use their iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max in a case, it’s hard to give too much credence to the visual improvements on offer here. The use of a case will also cover up those oh-so-strong titanium sides.
The most tangible benefit of Apple’s switch to titanium, then, is the weight reduction to both new Pro phones. This is not an insignificant upgrade, and Apple deserves major kudos for cramming all of the iPhone 15 Pro’s technological smarts into a lighter, more attractive package – but it's worth remembering that titanium isn’t necessarily the game-changing feature that Apple wants it to be.
More iPhone 15 stories
- iPhone 15: everything we know
- iPhone 15 Plus: everything we know
- iPhone 15 Pro: everything we know
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: everything we know
- iPhone 15 price: should you go for iPhone 14 instead?
- iPhone 15 deals: the best offers to look out for
- iPhone 15 USB-C: everything you need to know
- iPhone 15 Pro Max camera: 7 big upgrades
- 15 things we learned at Apple's September 2023 event
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Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. 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.