The iPhone 15 is now out, and if you're staring at your iPhone 14 Pro Max (one of the best phones) and wondering whether to upgrade to the top-of-the-range iPhone 15 Pro Max, then this is the guide for you. We'll run down all of the differences between the 2022 and 2023 flagship iPhones.
Launching at the same price as last year (in the UK anyway) it's a big decision when deciding to splash £1,199/$1,199 on a new phone. If you don't have an iPhone already you might be tempted to get last year's model at a reduced price, while existing 14 Pro Max owners could take advantage of some tempting trade-in offers. But is it worth it? Let's begin.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: what's new?
This is a lightning-quick description of the difference between the two devices. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is made of a brand new material, a titanium alloy that gives it added strength and creates the lightest Pro Max ever. Also obvious is the move to a USB-C cable from Lightning that will finally unite Android and iOS users.
In other news, the mute slider has been replaced by an 'action button' that can be programmed to do a variety of different functions (including acting as a mute button), while the camera has received a dramatically improved optical zoom.
Under the hood, there have of course been incremental performance upgrades, but the jump to a 3nm process is probably the most important, bringing a chunky speed boost.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: price & availability
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is available from the usual network suppliers on a contract or purchasable outright from Apple itself. You can choose from the 256GB, 512GB and 1TB options which are priced at £1,199/£1388/£1599 respectively or the same figures in USD for those stateside.
It might be a bit harder to get an iPhone 14 Pro Max with Apple only selling the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus on its own site. Of course given the immense popularity of iPhones, you shouldn't struggle to find one elsewhere. UK retailer Curry's is currently offering it for £1,139. That's not much of a saving, but expect prices to tumble in the coming months.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: design
Both phones are of course good-looking handsets but the iPhone 15 Pro Max might be one of the most obviously different iPhones from its predecessor. This is largely due to the addition of titanium instead of stainless steel. Titanium is stronger and lighter than stainless steel and the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are the lightest Pro models ever. The 15 Pro Max weighs 221 grams, down from 240 grams.
Dimension-wise, the Pro Max 15 is actually a bit thicker (0.4mm) but does sport thinner bezels around the display.
In terms of colours, there are four to choose from, Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium and Black Titanium.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: display
This isn't an area that you should expect to see much of a difference in with the newest iPhone. Both models use Super Retina XDR displays 6.7-inch displays with the same resolution 2796x1290 and 120Hz refresh rate.
The display is not something to factor in when deciding whether or not to upgrade, but if you don't already have an iPhone it is definitely one of the best things about recent iPhones.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: hardware
Sporting a new generation of silicon, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is powered by the A17 Pro chip whereas the 14 Pro Max features the A16 Bionic chipset. This has enabled the newest iPhone to become the first phone with a 3nm (Nanometer process), while the 14 Pro Max is still on 4nm. In real terms this means a pretty clear difference in power with a promised 10% boost in CPU speed.
This upgrade has also made the iPhone 15 Pro Max a gaming powerhouse with a 20% GPU speed boost and significantly better hardware-supported ray-tracing capabilities.
More visibly, the new flagship iPhone has the customisable 'Action Button' and a new USB-C connector.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro: battery
Apple doesn't like to share battery capacities so we won't know until someone does a teardown of the 15 Pro Max but the upgrade in processor should see performance efficiency improved, even if the battery is the same.
On Apple's website, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is listed as capable of 29 hours of video playback from a single charge, which is pretty impressive, but the same as the 14 Pro Max.
Both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 15 Pro Max support MagSafe and Qi wireless charging but only the 15 has Qi2 certification.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro: cameras
This is probably one of the most noticeable upgrades from last year and if you are a keen photographer could be reason alone to invest in a new phone.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the first to feature a brand new tetra-prism lens that provides dramatically improved optical zoom (up to 5x) which is much less distorted than digital zoom.
All iPhone 15 models are also receiving an upgraded portrait mode, while the Pro Max boasts improved nighttime photography and a smarter Smart HDR that captures skin tones more effectively.
If you're planning on getting an Apple Vision Pro when it launches in 2024, then the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the only iPhone so far that can take spatial pictures and video to view in spatial 3D on the headset.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: conclusion
Of course, budget should always be considered but the jump from the iPhone 14 Pro Max to the iPhone 15 Pro Max is definitely one of the larger ones in recent years. The titanium design is nice but functionally shouldn't be too different from the old model however features like the switch to USB-C, improved performance and amazing optical zoom are the main takeaways.
If you're coming from an older model, though, then yes I would say the time is probably right to upgrade, especially considering there isn't much of a price difference between the 14 Pro Max and the 15 Pro Max.
Those iPhone owners desperate to get their hands on the titanium of the latest iPhone should also remember to take advantage of Apple's trade in deals to get a much better price.