iPhone 15 first launch experience: a phone that just needs improvement, pragmatic romanticism

As of press time, I still have the opportunity to order the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus that will arrive on the launch day on Apple’s official website. Against the backdrop of the iPhone 15 Pro with a titanium alloy body, this generation of conventionally upgraded iPhone 15 series looks inconspicuous. , even the official promotional video is only 48 seconds long, while the iPhone 15 Pro video is a full 4 minutes.

Is iPhone 15 worth replacing and what kind of user is it suitable for?

After experiencing it in depth for a period of time, I think the answer to this question is obvious:

This is a phone that just needs improvement. It is a less Pro but better iPhone 14 Pro.

Appearance and performance

Every time Apple launches a pink iPhone, it will be the center of attention, and the iPhone 15 is no exception.

This generation of iPhone digital series continues the previous fresh color matching style, providing five colors: black, blue, green, yellow, and pink. Although the size of the fuselage has not changed significantly, the fused glass process is used for the first time – this is a new and improved glass coloring process. The backplane glass is first strengthened by a double ion exchange process, and then polished and etched with nanocrystalline particles. Make the glass color more refreshing and watery, especially pink.

The feel of the back glass is also close to the matte glass texture of previous generations of Pro series. It feels more delicate to the touch, is less likely to be stained by fingerprints, and is stain-resistant and durable. In addition, the aluminum alloy middle frame of the iPhone has become rounded and fits the hand, and the screen glass has also been treated with curved edges, returning to the design of the iPhone

As for the screen, the most intuitive upgrade is that all iPhone 15 series are equipped with smart islands. After a year of adaptation, most application manufacturers have figured out the applicable scenarios in this area. Listening to music, takeaways, taxis, and navigation are all very practical. High-frequency scenarios are more convenient and effective than pop-up information.

10 years ago, Apple acquired PrimeSense, an Israeli 3D motion sensing technology company. Before the acquisition, the company's most famous product was Kinect, a motion sensing camera dedicated to Microsoft's XBOX 360 game console, which is better than the cameras on many smart TVs today. Several times bigger.

Six years ago, Apple released the iPhone changes.

Last year, the iPhone 14 Pro series adopted a new TrueDepth camera module, which is only the size of two pinky fingernails, and introduced the Smart Island interactive design for the first time.

After six years of iteration, the iPhone finally integrated Face ID into the interaction of iOS, allowing the iPhone to achieve a full screen in a sense – the screen interaction becomes complete, and each part can perform its duties.

In addition to Smart Island, the screen brightness of iPhone 15 has been significantly improved compared to iPhone 14. The daily maximum brightness has been increased from 800 nits to 1000 nits. The peak brightness can reach 1600 nits when watching HDR content. The peak brightness is the highest when outdoors. It can reach 2000 nits, and it can maintain high visibility in most scenes. The experience of using it outdoors in the bright sun is obviously improved. It is a good screen that is beyond reproach except for the lack of a high refresh rate.

In terms of performance, since the chip and memory have not changed much, the iPhone 15 is basically the same as the iPhone 14 Pro in terms of performance. It still has the configuration of A16 Bionic + 6GB RAM. The overall performance is still at the leading level among smartphones. It is fully sufficient for mainstream applications and games, but background killing still occurs from time to time.

The battery life is basically the same as that of the previous generation. The iPhone 15 is not able to sustain a full day of battery life. Heavy mobile phone users can choose the Plus version to effectively alleviate charging anxiety.

It is worth mentioning that this time the iPhone 15 has finally been replaced with a USB-C interface. Charging is indeed much more convenient. Fast charging can be activated with a charger above 20W. The maximum charging power measured by Aifaner can reach 25.7W.

Although the transfer rate is at the level of USB 2, with a maximum of only 480Mb/s, it supports the DIsplayPort protocol and can be used with an external monitor via a DP cable of the USB-C interface. It is quite convenient to watch movies and catch up on dramas.

In addition, the USB-C interface also supports reverse charging. You can use iPhone 15 to charge AirPods or Apple Watch. The 4.5W charging power is not high, but it can be used in emergencies when there is no power.

In general, the appearance design, screen performance, and overall performance of the iPhone 15 are relatively excellent. You can find that the new technologies and functions of the past few generations of iPhone Pro series have been transferred to the iPhone 15, and the benefits are very perceived. Obviously, you will have a good experience once you get started.

imaging system

The 2x telephoto lens was once the watershed for many people to decide whether to buy the iPhone Pro model or not. As the main camera of the iPhone becomes wider and wider, and the telephoto lens becomes longer and longer, the 52mm focal length, which is more suitable for shooting portraits, is increasingly becoming a necessity.

Apple is obviously aware of this problem and has equipped the entire iPhone 15 series with a 2x focal length zoom capability for the main camera – hoping to use computational photography to achieve "optical quality."

After actual measurement, this 2× focal length is indeed worth reusing.

The first is the upgrade of the main camera specifications of the iPhone 15. It uses a 48-megapixel sensor and a new camera algorithm. It can control the resolution of photos and shoot without zooming, portrait mode, night mode or flash. 12MP, 24MP or 48MP photos.

This option is hidden by default on the iPhone and needs to be manually turned on in "Settings-Camera-Format-Resolution Control". Then click the HEIF MAX option in the upper screen of the viewfinder to turn on the maximum resolution of 48 million pixels, which greatly improves the imaging resolution. Obviously, great for landscape photography.

Thanks to the 48-megapixel sensor and the powerful computing power of the A16 Bionic chip, even when the main camera has a 2x zoom, it can still achieve resolution close to that of an optical telephoto lens.

▲Proofs: 48MP proofs vs. 24MP proofs (pictures are compressed)

▲ Sample: iPhone 15 outdoor sample during the day (pictures are compressed)

▲Proof: iPhone 15 low-light indoor sample (pictures are compressed)

▲Proof: iPhone 15 night scene mode sample (pictures are compressed)

The new portrait mode greatly reduces the decision-making cost required for shooting.

With the support of iOS 17, the camera will automatically recognize the subject of the picture and obtain the spatial information of the scene. At this time, the aperture symbol f will appear in the corner of the viewfinder, indicating that the iPhone has activated portrait mode. At this time, click f to preview the portrait. The blur effect of the mode, click on the screen to select the focus.

Of course, you can also shoot directly and then adjust the focus and aperture. It is very convenient to use. In the past, the problem of not being able to activate the portrait mode for half a day has been greatly reduced. The focusing distance can also be closer than that of an optical telephoto lens. Suitable for portraits and still lifes.

▲iPhone 15 focus adjustment function demonstration

▲Proof: iPhone 15 character sample (portrait mode on)

▲Proof: iPhone 15 still life sample (portrait mode on)

It is worth mentioning that the iPhone 15 relies heavily on computational photography. It can switch between live, portrait, night scene and other modes at the same time. It will also add various optimization algorithms to the photos, which means that taking pictures will be one of the scenes with the largest amount of calculations for the chip. First, the phone will obviously heat up when taking pictures for a long time. This is also a long-standing problem of the iPhone. We can only hope that subsequent system updates can improve it.

Since the release of iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has been exploring the potential of computational photography. I think the 2x telephoto focal length on iPhone 15 and the 35mm humanistic focal length on iPhone 15 Pro are the latest achievements of Apple's computational photography. The two-lens iPhone 15 has three focal lengths: ultra-wide angle, wide-angle, and telephoto, while the three-lens iPhone 15 Pro is equipped with seven focal lengths, from macro to ultra-telephoto.

The significance of computational photography is that users make fewer decisions and get more choices. The core that supports all of this is the more than 10 billion transistors packaged in 4nm chips. Every time the shutter is pressed, it means that hundreds of millions of calculations will be completed in milliseconds – this photo should activate the live broadcast Photo or portrait mode, daytime or night scene, telephoto or macro – the iPhone has made countless choices in invisible places, and what is finally presented to the user are classic lens focal lengths.

This is the most interesting part. The iPhone uses focal length rather than scene to distinguish the camera mode of the phone. The reason behind it, I think, is to return to the origin of photography. Computational photography uses algorithms to solve many problems, but in the end, it is never the algorithm that determines the quality of the image, but you behind the lens.

Conclusion: The urgently needed improved mobile phone, pragmatic romanticism

Since iPhone 11, Apple has adjusted its mobile phone product line into digital series and Pro series. The digital series guarantees an excellent basic experience. This is a golden line called iPhone, which is usually the choice of pragmatists. The Pro series combines the best of the industry, with new technologies, new processes, and new materials all arranged. This is a vision called iPhone. Regardless of disappointment or surprise, it all belongs to the romanticism of consumer electronics.

Romantic grand narratives are always fascinating, but pragmatism is always the reassuring option. After experiencing the iPhone 15 in depth, I increasingly like the practicality brought by this generation of iPhone. This solidity stems from Apple's continuous strengthening of technical barriers – fresh and sleek body design, integrated full-screen interaction, strong performance of 4nm process chips, and reusable computational photography system. Although there are not many new things, the experience is Much better.

To make a loose comparison, the iPhone 15 is an iPhone 14 Pro without the high-definition screen and telephoto lens. The starting price is 5,999 yuan. The iPhone 14 Pro has been removed from Apple’s official website and is the mainstream of third-party channels. The price is around 7500. The price difference of 1,500 yuan between the two is the dividend brought by the technological iteration of the iPhone Pro series in recent years. When the iPhone 14 Pro advanced, it transformed into the iPhone 15.

If you are holding an iPhone 13 or previous mobile phones, then I think the iPhone 15 is a very affordable choice. The shortcomings of the previous generations of digital series iPhones such as the telephoto lens and screen performance that have been criticized are all made up at once. Considering the trade-in ( The 256GB iPhone 12 Pro Max I have on hand can be discounted by 3,500 yuan, the price is not bad) and with the discount of 24 interest-free installments, the iPhone 15 replacement threshold has indeed reached a new low.

This is why I think the iPhone 15 is a mobile phone that just needs improvement. This is not an iPhone suitable for chasing new innovations, and it really doesn’t have many innovations to speak of. But this is also the basic iPhone model with the best experience after several iterations, both in terms of experience and price.

I think this is also a kind of pragmatic romanticism.

Author of this article: Xiao Qinpeng

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