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Apple set to roll out the iPhone 15. Here's what to expect.

Apple on September 12 is set to unveil the iPhone 15. The latest iPhone model is rumored to come with a USB-C charging port and double the optical zoom of the iPhone14. It may also include a considerable price hike, according to analysts.  

The company's annual product launch in Cupertino, California, which is also expected to include new Apple Watches, Airpods and other gear, will give Apple loyalists a first look at the latest-generation iPhone. Here's what to expect.

Higher zoom, new charging port

The iPhone 15 will feature a "noticeably faster" A17 bionic chip, enhanced battery life, improved camera technology and titanium edges, among other upgrades, Wedbush analysts said in the report. 

For many consumers, however, the biggest draw may be the iPhone 15 Pro Max's periscope telephoto lens, which the firm said "significantly boosts the [phone's] optical zoom capability." The lens offers a 5x-6x optical zoom — up to double that of the iPhone 14 Pro.

The iPhone 15 is also likely to feature a USB-C charging port, the same port built into Android smartphone models, Olivier Blanchard, a research director at tech research firm The Futurum Group, told CBS MoneyWatch. A transition to the USB-C port from its current Lightening connector would be a significant leap for the company, which has been one of the main holdouts in adopting the sockets. 

Apple is likely to switch to the USB-C port for the iPhone
Above illustration: An iPhone 14 Pro with a Lightning cable (left) and a USB-C cable (right). Apple will most likely replace its in-house Lightning connector with USB-C next Tuesday after the European Union decided that phone manufacturers must use the USB-C standard by the end of 2024.  Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images

New rules set by the European Union last year state that "By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port." The purpose of the mandate is to eliminate waste. 

"Disposed of and unused chargers account for about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually in the EU," according  to the European Parliament.

While some tech analysts have speculated that Apple will introduce a customized version of the port for use with Apple-certified USB-C cables only, that rumor has been dismissed by most experts who argue that such a move would defeat the purpose of the EU mandate. 

More likely, the phone's charging speeds and fast-charge features may differ from its Pro and non-Pro models as part of Apple's push to distinguish its premium products from its regular products, Le Xuan Chiew, an analyst at research firm Canalys, said in a note Monday.

What will it cost?

The pricing for iPhone 15 models could be roughly $100 higher than those of Apple's previous smartphone lines. 

That would be the first time in years that Apple has raised its iPhone prices in the U.S., analysts at Wedbush Securities said in a report on Thursday. If so, a standard 6.1-inch iPhone 15 with 128 gigabytes of storage could start at $899, while the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus could start at $999. 

However, consumers could pay less for the iPhone 15 by taking advantage of "massive" discounts from major U.S. phone carriers in the coming months, according to the investment firm.

Should I upgrade?

It can be tough to determine when it's time to retire your old smartphone and switch to the latest iPhone. Much of that decision could depend on what type of handset you currently use.

If you have a relatively new iPhone, such as an iPhone 12 or later model, you might be better off staying with your existing device, especially if Apple hikes its prices, Blanchard said. 

"I'm not hearing about any amazing new features," he added. "We're not going to see anything super crazy interesting or different, unfortunately."

But if you have a much older model smartphone, the iPhone 15 — with its new chip, improved camera features and USB-C port — could be a big step up. 

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