Apple has today released the next iteration of its iPhone with the iPhone 15 arriving in customer's hands and prompting the customary queues outside Apple stores from this morning.
As an upgrade, iPhone 15 follows the route of recent Apple annual refreshes boosting new camera power, offering new colours and a new titanium frame with a curved profile for the iPhone 15 Pro. Many of the rumours that circled around for months were proven right when Apple announced that the latest in the lineup would feature USB-C meaning that for the first time all of Apple's products feature the industry standard port, including a lightly refreshed AirPods Pro whose USB-C case can now be charged from the iPhone 15.
The price tag for the latest Apple handset starts at £799 for the iPhone 15 with a 6.1" display, increasing to £899 for the iPhone 15 Plus with a 6.7" display.
Meanwhile the iPhone 15 Pro starts at £999 with a 6.1" display, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max with 6.7" display going for £1,199. The main difference between the two Pro models is that the larger phone features a 'telescope' lens for the first time giving its camera a 5x optical zoom (the smaller Pro has 3x zoom) and has 256Mb storage out of the box (with the smaller Pro sticking on 128Mb).
Triple AAA, cross-platform gaming
The main upgrade this year is in the new A17 chip with the Pro's A17 Pro being a significant upgrade over the A17 chip inside the base iPhone 15. The A17 Pro chip features a 6‑core CPU with two performance and four efficiency cores, a 6‑core GPU and 16‑core neural engine, all of which got a severe workout during their unveil event earlier this month where high-level gaming was pushed as a key reason to upgrade for the first time.
Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak claimed that “iPhone is the best mobile gaming platform in the world" and demos of Honkai: Star Rail, Genshin Impact, The Division Resurgence, Resident Evil Village and Resident Evil 4 showed off the new phone's power.
“On the new iPhone 15 Pro, Honkai: Star Rail has never looked better,” claimed miHoYo's senior director of global business development, Fish Ling.
Most notable was Ubisoft's reveal that, for the first time, upcoming AAA title Assassin's Creed Mirage would be released across all platforms, including mobile, as the same AAA console-style game. The introduction of iPhone 15 perhaps may be a line in the sand where mobile gaming truly stands alongside other platforms for prowess and power, but having one game across all platforms introduces its own new challenges in terms of distribution and pricing.
Could things be about to change? What's the expert's take on all this new power?
The iPhone 15 Pro (& Max) boasts hardware specs clearly designed to take mobile gaming to another level. The A17 Pro, with its dedicated ray tracing chip, is coupled by a 6-core CPU that is fast enough to compare with the best desktop CPUs. If the actual performance can actually back up the theoretical speed, this will be an incredible mobile gaming device.
With ray tracing finally on mobile, the portfolio of upcoming AAA titles, such as RE4 and Assassins Creed, should have the hardware capabilities to maximise the gameplay and experience. This could open up a whole new market of mobile players who are currently predominantly PC or console only if the devices meet performance expectations.
[people id="3668" name="Christian Lövstedt"] [/people]
AAA support from Apple pushes the envelope on what games are available on iPhone, but developers should remember that games are best on mobile when adjusted for small screens. Overall, it's great to see mobile devices becoming more powerful, with a better variety of games available as a result.
Apple GPUs are becoming impressive, but platform costs remain the biggest concern for game and other developers with iOS ecosystems. As a result, the most exciting commercial prospects for Apple right now are the consequences of European competition authorities forcing the company to lower its walls and offer customers more choices.
Games make up the vast majority of App Store revenue, and if Apple wants to keep it that way, it will need to build more trust with game developers by giving them commercial space to grow rather than paying for old ports and one-off press announcements. Apple has a long history of false starts in the gaming space, and the gaming industry has rarely seen a reason to trust and collaborate with Apple.