A White Titanium year

Apple's Wonderlust event has wrapped up, and now I await the arrival of my shiny new iPhone 15 Pro.

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Another Apple event has come and gone, and leading up to today, I had just one question: should I preorder the Blue Titanium or White Titanium iPhone 15 Pro?

I made the decision to go for the smaller Pro iPhone ahead of the Wonderlust event on Tuesday, and with rumors indicating it would be lighter, faster, have better cameras, and (potentially) longer battery life, I just needed Apple to show me the colors the 6.1-inch device came in so I knew what to do come preorder time.

The iPhone 15 Pro is the smaller sibling of the 15 Pro Max, and these two devices are a third of the seven new devices Apple announced during the event. We also got the standard iPhone 15, an iPhone 15 Plus, the Apple Watch Series 9, a second-generation Apple Watch Ultra, and a new pair of AirPods (sort of).

I don’t plan on buying any of the other gadgets Apple announced. I bought an Apple Watch Series 8 last year which will last me at least until the mysterious Series X drops, and my AirPods work totally fine (although I’m pretty jealous of their new feature). I’m most excited for the 15 Pro, and I’m looking forward to its arrival next Friday.

A quick recap

If you somehow missed the frenzy of Apple coverage from news outlets this week, allow me to fill you in.

  • iPhone 15 and 15 Plus: Apple’s new baseline iPhones have a lot of Pro-grade features (minus a 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate, of course). The notch is replaced by the Dynamic Island, the old 12MP main camera was upgraded to a larger 48MP sensor, the Lightning port was replaced by USB-C, and the design was tweaked to feel more comfortable to hold. There were also a few smaller upgrades like Roadside Assistance, which can help if you experience an issue while in your car. You still get 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch sizes, with the same $799 and $899 starting prices.
  • iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max: The tagline of the new iPhone 15 Pros is “Titanium,” at least if you check Apple’s website. That’s thanks to their new titanium design, which looks both cool and kinda ugly at the same time since it seems to attract more fingerprints than we thought. Beyond that, there are a lot of upgrades here, like the A17 Bionic chip (the world’s first 3nm processor inside a smartphone), revamped cameras with a 5x telephoto lens on the 15 Pro Max, USB-C with USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds, and a programmable Action button that replaces the mute switch. They also come with skinnier bezels, which help the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch displays seem even bigger. The 15 Pro sticks with the same $999 starting price as the 14 Pro, while the 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199, a $100 increase over last year, while doubling the base storage to 256GB.
  • Apple Watch Series 9: Perhaps one of the most boring Apple Watch updates in recent memory, the Series 9 doesn’t do a lot that’s different compared to the Series 8. There’s a new S9 chip inside that gets you on-device Siri response processing, faster dictation speeds, and a new feature called Double Tap that lets you use your index finger and thumb to select things on the watch without touching the screen. You also get Apple’s second-generation Ultra Wideband chip for finding devices with better precision. Beyond that, the displays are brighter (up to 2,000 nits), there’s a pink color, and there are some new bands. You still get 41mm and 45mm sizes, and the starting price remains $399.
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2: The Ultra 2, Apple’s first sequel to the original Ultra that came out last year, is also a pretty boring update. It carries the same S9 processor, which also means it gains Double Tap. Apple also throws in automatic Night Mode for using certain watch faces in the dark, up to 3,000 nits of peak brightness (which is, admittedly, insane), and offers some new colors for each of the Ultra’s first-party bands. It, too, keeps its starting price of $799.
  • AirPods Pro (2nd-gen) with USB-C: Did you know Apple had new AirPods? Well, they’re not technically “new,” but they do new things. There’s now a USB-C port on the bottom of their charging case, which will come in handy for all future iPhone 15 owners. Apple is also including improved dust resistance and lossless audio support… when paired with an Apple Vision Pro. I recommend checking out David Phelan’s piece on Forbescovering the new AirPods for all the details. What you need to know is they still cost $249.99, and it doesn’t look like Apple will be selling USB-C charging cases for existing AirPods Pro (2nd-generation) users. Womp womp.

Why I’m getting an iPhone 15 Pro

I wrote about my divorce from big phones last week, partly because I wanted to get my thoughts out and partly because I wanted to offer a different perspective. Big phones are a bit overrated to me, which I learned after using the iPhone 14 Pro Max for a year. And after seeing so many excellent folding phones come out this year, I’m convinced that you should only buy a big phone if it folds in half.

So, I’m going small this year. I wanted something that could fit in one hand, which I value tremendously when on the move and want to send a quick text or refer to directions in Apple Maps (yes I use Apple Maps and I’m not ashamed to admit it).

I also wanted to maintain the “iPhone Pro” experience, or whatever that means. I was thinking about just using an iPhone 13 mini, but I like having a 120Hz screen, bleeding-edge cameras, and the latest processor too much. Plus, I want USB-C on my iPhone. I’ve waiting for it for years, and now that it’s finally here, I will never go back to Lightning.

You may think that to maintain the “iPhone Pro” experience, you have to have every single “Pro” feature Apple offers, and I agree with that. But in order to do that, I’d need to buy the 15 Pro Max, which comes with a more complex 5x telephoto lens. As nice as that would be to have, it’s not worth an extra $100 to me, especially since it would mean I’d have to lug around a huge phone for another year. 

What sealed the deal was the lack of a price increase: the iPhone 15 Pro Max now starts at $1,199 instead of $1,099, while the standard 15 Pro remained $999 just like last year. That meant the 256GB storage configuration I was eyeing it would be $1,099, which is fine by me for the phone you get in exchange.

The cherry on top? My preorder experience was effortless. I get my iPhone every year through T-Mobile’s JUMP! program, which gets you a phone upgrade after you’ve paid off half your lease, which works out to be 12 individual payments (the perfect amount to jump to the new iPhone every year). Last year, T-Mobile’s website was a buggy mess on preorder day, but this year—for whatever reason—it worked like a charm. I got the 15 Pro in White Titanium with 256GB of storage, signed my paperwork, and had my order processed in under 10 minutes.

Preorder nightmares

A lot of my friends were having issues with their preorders through Apple’s website, which seems to crash and bug out when you first try to preorder every single year.

And that’s a shame, because shipping dates for the new iPhones have slipped quite substantially: the iPhone 15 Pro Max in every color (especially Natural Titanium) and storage configuration won’t be arriving at doorsteps until mid-October and, in some cases, November. The iPhone 15 Pro is also facing delays until October through Apple’s site. The regular 15 and 15 Plus are also facing shipping delays, but only in certain colors and storage capacities (the Pink, Blue, and Green models seem to be the most delayed between both phones).

If you want to get a phone on launch day, you might be able to visit an Apple store to pick one up, although inventory is shrinking by the day at most locations across the country, so you’ll want to get your order in as soon as possible.

It’s best to wait anyway

If you’re not like me and you like to make sensible purchasing decisions when it comes to upgrading your phone, it’s probably best to avoid all of this preorder drama and wait to pick up an iPhone 15.

Reviewers are likely getting their hands on devices as I type this email, with some already using the new phones in their everyday lives. I’m not one of them, so I’m just guessing based on past iPhone rollouts, but we won’t know whether they’re good or bad until early next week.

And if you can’t quite trust a slew of good reviews (which some people can’t and I’m empathetic to that), the safest option is to wait a few weeks after the new iPhones launch to see if there are any issues. Whether it affects the new titanium build of the iPhone 15 Pro, the contoured glass of the iPhone 15, the new anti-reflective coating on the ultra-wide cameras, or the new USB-C ports, it’s usually best for the early adopters to spot any hardware or software problems before pulling the trigger.

They’re coming

Whether you’ll be preordering, waiting to pick one up at a later date, or plan to skip this generation entirely, the iPhone 15 lineup is almost here.

Just six more days until we find out how good Apple’s latest iPhones are, folks. Stay tuned—I’m sure I’ll have a lot of thoughts.