Apple showed off an assortment of devices and software today during a media event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. The new devices are the ones that typically show up in the fall: phones and watches. For the most part, we saw what we were expecting, though a couple features stood out from the usual iterative updates. Here’s everything Apple announced.
The big news is the iPhone’s got a new hole. The iPhone now officially has a USB-C charging port. This change has been a long time coming, since a European Union ruling mandated that phones sold in the EU be sold with charging ports that use the ubiquitous standard. Finally, that day has come, though Apple did gloss over the change very briefly, pointing out that other devices like its MacBooks have already made the switch to USB-C.
There are two base models of iPhone: the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus. Both are powered by Apple’s A16 chipset. They get a second generation ultra-wideband chip that Apple says gives the phones better location tracking features—helpful for AirTags, Find My, and other location-based services. The phones also get a big camera boost, with the main rear camera getting bumped up to 48 megapixels. There are five new colors: black, blue, green, yellow, and pink.
There are two fancier models of iPhone, the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. They’ve got the same sized screens as their less expensive counterparts, yet they seem bigger because Apple has slimmed the bezel around the screens by a few millimeters. Apple has also changed up the materials, replacing the stainless steel body of the phone with titanium that’s been given a brushed finish. Apple says the new material makes the phones lighter and harder to smash. The Pro models get a beefed up processor—Apple’s A17 Pro chip—which the company says gets faster performance and better battery life. There’s also a change to the iPhones ring button on the side of the device. Now, the button can be used to launch apps like the camera or recorder. The Pro phones get a more refined (and boring) color palette, coming in black, white, blue, and “natural” titanium.
All iPhone models now have Apple’s dynamic island, which turns the front-facing camera pinhole on the screen into a responsive bubble that can display notifications. (The feature was introduced on the iPhone 14 Pro last year.) The iPhone 15 starts at $799 and the Plus is $899. The pricier phones start at $999 for the Pro and $1,199 for the Pro Max.
There are two new Apple Watches, the Series 9 and Ultra 2. The base model Series 9 got a new S9 chip and a new ultra wideband location-sniffing chip like the ones in the new iPhones.
The S9 chip enables a couple other interesting new features. One, Siri requests can now be processed on the device itself, which in theory means simple requests like making a note or checking the calendar don’t have to travel to the cloud and can be processed without a data connection. More notable is the new Double Tap gesture control. Tapping together the thumb and index finger of your watch hand twice in quick succession activates the primary button in an app, so you can double tap to end a call, silence an alarm, or start and stop a timer.
The Series 9 Watch has a display that gets twice as bright as the previous model (up to 2,000 nits) and also as dim as one nit. The Series 9 still gets a not-great 18 hours of battery life.
There’s also a new Ultra: the Apple Watch Ultra 2, which has a blinding 3,000 nit display. It gets all the same features as the Series 9 but has better battery life at 36 hours, or 72 hours in low power mode. Apple also spent a lot of time touting its environmental offsets, saying that a portion of Apple Watch sales will go to funding carbon offsets. The company also announced that it is eliminating leather watch bands in favor of new recycled materials. Apple debuted a new eco-friendly fabric called FineWoven that will show up in watch bands as well as in cases for iPhones and AirTags.
The Series 9 starts at $399. The Ultra starts at $799. Both can be ordered now and will be available September 22.
Apple introduced two new iCloud+ plans to help store all the gigantic 48-megapixel iPhone photos you’ll be taking. They’re pricey but come with a lot of storage, starting at $30 per month for 6 terabytes of space and $60 per month for 12 TB. Before today, the most expensive iCloud+ plan was 2 terabytes at $10 per month, so these plans are a huge upgrade.
Apple didn’t mention this during the live event itself, but the company sent out a press release at the event’s conclusion noting that the operating systems updates to its devices will be released Monday, September 18. This includes iOS 17 for iPhones, iPadOS 17 for the tablets, and WatchOS 10 for the wearables.
Like the iPhones 15, Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro will come with a USB-C charging case. That means it will charge with the same cable the iPhone uses, and even be able to be charged by a USB-C iPhone itself. The new AirPods Pro 2 gets some new features with iOS17, including better noise control settings and conversation awareness. The earbuds will also get lossless audio features when paired with Apple’s Vision Pro headset.