The New iPhone Could Be a Game Changer for Travelers

Here's how iPhone 15 and iOS 17's new features could come into play on your next trip.

rbkomar/Moment/Getty Images
rbkomar/Moment/Getty Images
rbkomar/Moment/Getty Images

Apple’s much-anticipated annual keynote just revealed the details on the latest iPhone model, and you know what that means. It is time to budget for a new dongle. This time, you’ll need to set aside around $30 for the lightning to USB-C converter. The new iPhone 15 models will feature a USB-C connector instead of the lightning port. Fortunately, this new charging port does come with some very useful upgrades, including charging speeds that are up to 20x faster.

That’s just one of the very many new features unveiled by Apple this week from the new iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone Pro, and iPhone Pro Max, but let’s hone in on the new offerings that will be most important for travelers. First off, for those thinking about updating their phone models, the new iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max seems to be designed with active (and clumsy) people in mind. The new titanium frame is the same used in spacecraft, so it’s more likely to withstand the mid-hike drops.

“This is the most pro lineup we have ever created, with a state-of-the-art titanium design, the best iPhone camera system yet that enables game-changing new workflows, and the A17 Pro chip, which ushers in a new chapter of performance and games never before seen on iPhone,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. “iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max represent the best of Apple design and industry-first innovations to help enrich the everyday experiences of our users, while enabling them to unleash their creativity.”

Here’s what else the new phones will feature:

An updated camera

The iPhone 15s will feature a 48MP Main camera, and a new 24MP super-high-resolution default. The iPhone 15 Pro will also offer a “3x Telephoto camera, and iPhone 15 Pro Max provides the longest optical zoom ever on iPhone: 5x at 120 mm,” according to Apple. There will also be an improved night mode “with sharper details and more vivid colors, now powered by the Photonic Engine, including Night mode portraits, enabled by the LiDAR scanner.”

Another exciting update will include new Smart HDR which will capture “subjects and the background with more true-to-life renderings of skin tones,” and those details will be viewable in the phone’s Photos app but will also be able to be seen in third-party apps. That means it will look as good as it does on your phone screen, everywhere else too.

On all iPhone 15s, you’ll be able to take portrait mode photos without switching to portrait mode.

More detailed Find My Friends directions

All iPhone 15 users will be able share their location and find each other, even in crowded places, with the new Precision Finding feature. “Precision Finding is built with the same privacy protections that users have come to trust in Find My,” Apple shared.

Courtesy of Apple
Courtesy of Apple
Courtesy of Apple

Global eSIM connectivity

The days of desperately seeking out coffee shop Wi-Fi so that you can load reservation details or directions will be a thing of the past. All new iPhone 15 models will have eSim capabilities with support from more than 295 carriers. This means you’ll be able to buy affordable roaming plans while traveling internationally, whether that’s from your carrier or through a prepaid eSIM.

More essential safety features

The entirety of the iPhone 15 lineup will include an expanded list of safety capabilities. In 14 countries, you’ll be able to use Emergency SOS via satellite, which will allow you to make emergency phone calls and share your location. Crash Detection will also be available, which can help you more easily contact emergency services if a automobile crash is sensed by the phone.

New iOS 17 features for everyone

A lot of new iOS features were already previewed earlier this year at WWDC23, including offline maps, and a journal feature. At this week’s keynote, a few more details were shared about the operating system.

A new update to Messages will allow users to automatically notify friends and family they have made it to their destination safely. This is perfect for letting your loved ones know you have arrived at your next stop on your trip, giving them peace of mind. You’ll also have Roadside Assistance via satellite on iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

An update to AirDrop will make it easier to share contact information with new friends you meet during your trip, photos taken during the group trip, and other content. NameDrop will allow two people to bring their iPhone devices together to share, instead of having to wait for the Bluetooth transfer.

Preorders for the new iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will start in 40 countries on September 15, and the general sale will begin on September 22. For everyone, iOS 17 will be available as a free software update on Monday, September 18. Some features, like the Journal, will be available later this fall.

Looking for more travel tips?

Whether you need help sneaking weed onto a plane, finding an airport where you can sign up for PreCheck without an appointment, or making sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to when your flight is canceled, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for up-to-date travel hacks and all the travel news you need to help you plan your next big adventure.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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