For a phone that hasn't even been officially confirmed to exist, we sure have heard a lot about the iPhone 15 Ultra. Some say the Ultra is a new name for the top-of-the-range iPhone 14 Pro Max, while others believe it will exist in its own space above the current range.
Regardless of how the range lines up, any phone given the Ultra moniker is sure to be a powerhouse. Rumours suggest it could feature the first 3nm processor in Apple's range. Others have alluded to the device having a titanium frame. There's even talk of a redesigned camera array.
For a device that might not even exist, that's a pretty chunky list of upgrades. As far as the design goes, though, notes are scarce. Previous renders and impressions have been based on a combination of leaked information and the current iPhone norms.
But now, one designer has taken a different approach. Jonas Daehnert has created a render for the handset which utilises the blueprint of the Apple Watch Ultra. The premium smartwatch is Apple's take on the kind of rugged, go-anywhere, do-anything wearable popularised by Garmin.
And this render of the phone falls into a similar camp. It features rounded edges with no hint of gentleness, and the orange side button which has become an integral part of the Apple Watch Ultra's personality. That button sits flush on the render; other side buttons are housed within raised notches. The ring/silent selector has a knurled top – presumably for easy changes with gloves on.
It's also thick. It's slightly shocking to look at in an era where every piece of tech has been pared down to its slimmest, lightest form, though in reality it probably wouldn't be too noticeable – particularly with those curved edges.
But it's also unlikely to just be for show. One Reddit user, u/Protonic-Reversal, shared a comprehensive list of Apple patents which could feasibly fit a phone like this. This includes getting a host of features to work underwater, such as touchscreen sensitivity, photo and video capture, navigation and communication. Couple that with the portless design which Apple have reportedly been working on, and you could have a real monster for underwater use.
On top of that, an upgrade to the satellite messaging system has been patented. Used for the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature, the current system requires users to move around in search of a usable satellite. The beam forming antenna array in the patent could do away with this, making it much more usable if, for example, you're injured and need assistance.
It's an interesting concept. It certainly breaks free from Apple's current fashion-focussed state, and, while its unclear why the Cupertino company have such a focus on extreme environments right now, it's proven to be popular with consumers.