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Apple’s latest event included a ton of new products and features for iPhones, Apple Watches, and… whatever this thing was. Here’s the PopSci rundown of the latest and most interesting takeaways—yes, including the much anticipated USB-C port switch.
iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max
Apple is finally completing the USB-C transition with the new iPhone 15 line after over 10 years of Lightning cables (and all their associated dongles). During the company’s September 12 “Wonderlust” event, Apple confirmed the long-rumored shift, thus likely simplifying daily gadgetry for new iPhone purchasers while simultaneously inducing headaches (yet again) for owners of older generation products.
Apple first adopted some USB-C functionality via its 2015 MacBook, followed by the next year’s MacBook Pro upgrade. But apart from its laptops, the company has stayed quiet on plans to roll out similar changes for iPhones. That day has finally come, however, thanks in no small part to the European Union. Last year, EU legislators passed regulation ordering electronics manufacturers to adopt the USB-C charger as a universal port in the majority of their products by the end of 2024. Apple clearly is getting a headstart on the phaseout with its new iPhone 15 offerings.
iPhone 15 models are also getting a Dynamic Island bar at the top of screens boasting Super Retina XDR using OLED Super Retina tech with Dolby Vision support. Screens also include 2,000 nits of outdoor brightness across the 6.1- and 6.7-inch displays. Not much is changing within the smartphones’ actual physical designs, however, which come in pink, yellow, green, blue, and black with a textured matte back finish and ceramic shield screens.
[Related: The iPhone has a new (old) charging port—here are the best accessories.]
Meanwhile, Apple’s newest high-end iPhone models, 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, are powered by an A17 silicon chip, and encased in Grade 5 titanium (as seen on the Mars Perseverance rover) at the same sizes as 15 and 15 Plus. An Action Button is replacing the longstanding silence switch located on iPhone’s left side, and can be customized for a variety of actions including voice memo, live speech, shortcuts, photo and video. Being their most advanced models available, the 15 Pro and Pro Max are tailored more for professional videographers and photographers, thanks to souped-up multi-camera systems led by a 48 megapixel main camera.
The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are open for preorder on September 15, and will be available online and in-store on September 22 at a starting price of $799 and $899.
Apple Watch Series 9 also got its official announcement, and will rely on an S9 SiP (System in Package) featuring 5.6 billion transistors alongside a 30 percent faster GPU and two times’ faster neural engine. Siri requests will remain on device, reportedly allowing for faster and more secure interactions such as accessing users’ health data. Meanwhile, dictation is up to 25 percent more accurate, and WatchOS 10 (coming September 18) can employ Name Drop and more precise haptic and audible feedback while finding their iPhones. At 2000 nits, Series 9 boasts double the brightness as its predecessor model, while also being able to dim as low as 1 nit.
Series 9 is also rolling out a new hand gesture for users’ watch hands—a double tap using the thumb and index fingers to answer and end calls, start and stop timers, control music and AppleTV, silence alarms, as well as open Apple Watch while also scrolling through widgets. The new hand gesture will be available on Apple Watches next month. Series 9 will be available in aluminum, scarlet, silver, midnight, and Product Red, as well as premium gold, silver, and graphite aluminum cases.
Apple Watch Series Ultra 2, its new outdoor-oriented model, will make the most of the watchface, including automatic night mode. The smartwatch includes an expanded altitude resilience of -500 to 9,000 meters, and Bluetooth-enabled accessory capabilities for activities such as cycling. Even with the boosted performance, Series 2 Ultra still maintains a standard 36-hour battery life alongside a 72-hour timeframe in low power mode. The frame is made from 95 percent recycled titanium, and users can choose from an expanded line of trail, alpine, and diving watch bands.
Apple Watch Series 2 is open for preorder on September 15, and will be available online and in-store on September 22 at a starting price of $399. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available for preorder and in-store on the same dates for $799.