05/22 Update below. This post was originally published on May 19
iPhone 15 leaks have revealed a mix of exciting upgrades and incremental changes. But now Apple fans have been warned off buying any iPhone 15 model.
Influential leaker Unknownz21, who has consistently provided accurate information about the last two generations of iPhone, has warned users that:
“The entire 15 lineup is worth skipping – base models especially. Not because of any defects, it’s too mediocre of an upgrade. I wish I could elaborate, but I can’t…”
Unknownz21 cites what happened to fellow leaker analyst941 as the reason they cannot elaborate on this. Analyst941 was a relatively recent but similarly accurate leaker Apple caught via a sting operation.
According to Analyst941, Apple fed inaccurate but slightly different information to several employees. When analyst941 leaked the information they received, the details led Apple to the leaker’s sibling, who worked at Apple. Analyst941 claims their sibling was promptly fired, and the leaker subsequently deleted their account.
This was just the latest in a series of Apple crackdowns that have significantly shrunk the pool of leakers in recent years. That said, Unknownz21’s track record means their comments are worth taking seriously.
The leaker’s disdain for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is perhaps unsurprising. Based on Unknownz21’s own leaks and photos, these models will be cheaper versions of the iPhone 14 Pro, using last year’s A16 chipset and moving over to the Dynamic Island punch-hole design.
Unknownz21 has also leaked the new periscope lens for the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Apple’s decision to scrap its ambitious solid-state volume buttons for both Pro models. USB-C is also tipped to be tightly locked down, something that has already seen Apple receive a warning from the European Union about open standards. However, what dealbreaker the leaker is holding back on remains to be seen.
One distinct possibility is price. Apple has been hotly tipped to increase iPhone 15 prices, particularly Pro models, but the company could use specific pricing details to identify more insiders. Either way, Unknownz21’s declaration is sure to get iPhone fans talking — especially with greater iPhone 16 changes already expected.
05/21 Update: Unknownz21 has commented further on their cynicism for the iPhone 15 lineup. Responding to one follower, the leaker advised an iPhone 13 Pro owner looking to upgrade to a Pro Max model to hold out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max.
“You’d get a larger display with the 16 Pro Max, along with two other things which I can’t comment on,” states Unknownz21, adding that “they’re neat features… rather distinct. Imo it’s worth the wait just because of the screen size alone.”
Replying to another follower, the leaker explains that “The regular 15 Pro does not feature periscope [lens], so you’re out of luck in that regard. I’d wait for the 16 Pro – that will have periscope + larger display, along with a few other goodies I can’t talk about.”
Earlier this week, Unknownz21 stated that they had “received independent confirmation” that the new iPhone periscope zoom lens would be a Pro Max exclusive.
Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, added further credence to this a day later, noting that the iPhone 16 Pro will have a 6.3-inch display, 0.2-inches larger than previous Pro models, with the primary reason being so that model can fit the periscope lens. Upgraders have a decision to make.
05/22 Update: further details have leaked about the iPhone 16 Pro Max, and they help to explain the stance of leaker Unknownz21, who argues you should skip the iPhone 15 generation.
Coming from 9to5Mac, via long-time leaker Sonny Dickson, we can see the new 6.9-inch dimensions of the iPhone 16 Pro Max vs the widely leaked iPhone 15 Pro Max.
What stands out is the 2024 iPhone has a new aspect ratio, with the phone looking significantly taller but with barely any change to the width. Why would Apple do this? I suspect for the same reason the company increased the height of its MacBook Pro laptops: so the cutout does not detract from the size of the screen.
The benefits of this would be twofold. First, the usable area of the screen becomes roughly 6.7-inches and removes the cutout from fullscreen video, images, etc. Second, the cutout has space for larger, more interactive Dynamic Island integrations now it is no longer crowding the rest of the display.
Needless to say, this is just speculation on my part, but I can see why Unknownz21 is getting so excited about this phone and the potential it unlocks. Throw in the 6.3-inch iPhone 16 Pro, which is tipped to be large enough to fit the periscope zoom lens that will escape the iPhone 15 Pro, and there is a compelling case to hold off upgrading for another year.
More on Forbes