The iPhone 15 has a Goldilocks issue: Too big or too small. Maybe a case will make it just right

Fanboi numbers are well down – but Apple's queueing system, rather than apathy, is likely the cause

Quick look The iPhone 15 is predictably lovely – but the larger models may be too much to handle, and the smaller machines feel a little undersized.

The Register today popped into an Apple Store in Sydney, Australia, to sample the new smartphones within moments of their public release. Your correspondent has done this before – because when my kids were little, the school they attended sadistically scheduled a compulsory extra-curricular activity at 0730 on Fridays.

The one upside of that arrangement was the Apple Store in the mall near their school opened at 0800 on the day new iPhones went on sale. I'd therefore drop off the kids, then drop in to the Cupertino Cathedral to report on the extent of fanboi ardor for this year's model – taking advantage of Australia's time zone that means the iPhone goes out the door here a few hours before it appears in other nations.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Apple switches to USB-C for iPhone 15 lineup


I haven't visited that Apple Store for years, but decided to revive the practice today for the iPhone 15's debut.

In years past, literally hundreds of buyers queued out the doors of the inner-city Sydney mall I patronize. Today I arrived at 0755 and settled into 30th place in in the queue. As is usual on the day of an iPhone launch, Apple staff inside were being addressed by a colleague who seemed to be impressing upon them the significance of the occasion.

As I waited, other staffers approached me and asked if I had pre-booked a phone to purchase, and a time at which to pick it up. That pre-booking system is likely the reason for the historically short queue. It may not explain why queues outside an electronics shop in the same mall was just nine people deep, or the mere four people outside Vodafone's retail outlet. In years past more people attended both.

Back at the Apple store, staff approached to as about my intentions. After disclosing that I am a journalist, and that planned only to browse, I was advised that not purchasing an iPhone 15 today could mean I have to wait an unspecified length of time to do so as stock was in short supply. Others in the queue were told not all of the five colors Apple offers were on sale.

Unlike in previous years, Apple let me in to try the phones.

They're lovely. The new variety of glass Apple has cooked up for the machines' rears has a lovely soft texture. The tweaks to the devices' rims make them feel a little easier to grip. Screens are sharp and bright. They sprang to life and responded quickly to every touch. Video flowed and rippled without a hint of stutter.

Apple displayed the phones on little stands that appear to include wireless chargers, leaving their USB-C ports unfilled. That's a contrast with the other iPhones I observed around the store, which were plugged into Lightning cables. Make of that what you will.

I managed to squeeze off a few snaps and email them out – although the one I most hoped to share with readers didn't make it. That picture showed the iPhone 15 base model in my hand, against a background of Apple's blond wood tables.

That pic would have been nice to see for two reasons: the iPhone 15 disappearing into my meaty paw, and the unfaithful rendering of Apple's tables in a garish and utterly inaccurate yellow orange.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max also rendered the timber in similar hues in the image below, which I've also uploaded at full size here.

iPhone 15, Plus, and Pro

iPhone 15, Plus, and Pro ... Click to enlarge pics

Below is another shot that depicts the Apple Store I visited. I think the Pro Max does a fine job of capturing the space in this pic, and of picking out small details on the back wall.

Here's the same shot in native size.

iPhone Pro Max apple store perspective shot

iPhone Pro Max Apple Store perspective shot

I squeezed out a selfie, too – for which, apologies. But again, the Pro Max does a fine job picking out small details such as my slovenly Friday stubble and the pattern on another patron's shirt. The full-size snap is here.

iPhone Pro Max Selfie

iPhone Pro Max Selfie (click to enlarge, if you dare)

I'm currently using a 2019 vintage 6.4-inch midrange Android, and the iPhone 15 base model felt fast and shiny in comparison – but also a little small and in need of a case to make it easier to grip and more robust. Those for whom screen size matters may think the iPhone 15 is not great value compared to larger midrange 'Droids.

The iPhone 15 Plus and Pro Max, with their 6.7-inch screens, felt like a handful.

I came away impressed by all four models, but concerned Apple might have one phone that's too big and another that's a little too small. But they all ran just right – meaning that Apple will, as usual, have a hit on its hands.

If it can get enough of them into stores. ®

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