Apple's iPhone 15 Pro could feature game-changing graphics

It's been more than four months since the iPhone 14 range was released, so naturally we're now eagerly awaiting news of the iPhone 15. But while there's been little in terms of official announcements, an unusual story that's surfaced about the development of the current range offers some clues about where Apple might be heading next. 

As we highlighted in our iPhone 14 Pro review, Apple's latest flagship is a great phone, but at the same time it was a little... underwhelming. For many years, we got used to Apple utterly wowing us with every new release, but more recently, they've been more about small, iterative improvements than total game-changers.

iPhone 15 Ultra concept

A fan-made render of the rumoured iPhone 15 Ultra (Image credit: 4RMD)

A report in The Information (opens in new tab), however, suggests that Apple actually had more ambitious plans for the iPhone 14 Pro. Their aim was to give it a next-generation GPU (graphics processing unit), which would have supported advanced features such as hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which would allow for more sophisticated, immersive and photorealistic 3D graphics.

Unfortunately, what was described in the report as an error "unprecedented in the group’s history" meant that the new GPU drew more power than the engineers had expected based on software simulations. That would have damaged battery life and made the phone run too hot: not a great look for a new flagship phone. 

A photo of the iPhone 14 Pro

The next-gen GPU had to be dropped as it was draining too much power (Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Ultimately, then, the new GPU had to be ditched. And the chip they went for instead wasn't much different from that in the iPhone 13 Pro, albeit with a 50% higher memory bandwidth offering small improvements to performance.

At the same time, though, we're predicting that the iPhone 14 Pro's loss will be the iPhone 15 Pro's gain. After all, Apple isn't the kind of company that likes to give up on an idea (they spent enough years defending the Lightning connector against all odds to prove that).

By the time the iPhone 15 Pro is launched – which we have tipped for September 2023 – the development team will have had another year to work on the problem, and we have every confidence they'll nail it. So it's likely that the iPhone 15 Pro (and maybe even the standard iPhone 15) will be the one to offer game-changing graphics to an audience hungry for innovation. For more information on where Apple's heading with the next iPhone release, read Apple iPhone 15: from design to specs, everything we know so far.

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.