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2023 Fall Event Recap – Everything Apple Just Announced

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Apple’s annual September event has just wrapped up, covering this year’s iPhone and Apple Watch upgrades. Six new flagship products were just announced by Tim Cook and co.

We’ve watched the keynote, devoured roughly 10,000 words of press releases, and plucked out the most important quotes from Apple’s executives.

We’ll dig into everything in more depth throughout the week, but for the moment, consider this your water cooler cheat sheet to the biggest talking points of Apple’s latest event.

A recap of every new product, in five minutes rather than 120. Let’s go.

iPhone 15 / 15 Plus

As we all expected, iPhone 15 has swapped out its decade-old Lightning port for a superior modern equivalent in USB-C. That’s great. It’s also added the delightful Dynamic Island cut-out in lieu of the notch. The edges are nicely contoured, the Super Retina XDR Display is twice as bright as last year, and the glass chassis is embedded with five lovely new colors.

But the most exciting change is to the camera system. This year’s iPhone 15 and 15 Plus inherit the excellent 48-megapixel camera from last year’s Pro models, adding incredible detail and a virtual “third camera” with its 2x telephoto mode. But there are also big improvements to Portrait photography, thanks in part to the powerful A16 Bionic chip. Portrait mode now activates automatically, detects pets, and you can properly control focus and depth after the fact. Neat.

“iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus represent a huge leap forward with exciting camera innovations that inspire creativity, the intuitive Dynamic Island, and features like Roadside Assistance via satellite that make a real difference in users’ lives,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing. “We’re also pushing the power of computational photography to new levels this year with a 48MP Main camera featuring a new 24MP default for super-high-resolution photos, a new 2x Telephoto option, and next-generation portraits.”

Pre-orders begin Friday, September 15, with availability beginning Friday, September 22.

iPhone 15 Pro / 15 Pro Max

The high end models had even more of a boost this year, with a new material, a new button, and a new camera system. It’s the lightest Pro model ever thanks to aerospace-grade titanium, and you can see Apple has really leaned into the golden sand-like texture of titanium in its marketing shots this year. Both models replaced the Mute switch with a customizable Action button you can program to do more or less anything, and the USB-C connector here offers even faster transfer speeds than the standard models.

Once again, it’s arguably the cameras that are the most exciting upgrade. It’s still a three-camera setup, including a more advanced 48MP Main camera alongside Wide and Telephoto. But Apple claims that it effectively offers seven virtual lenses, with a series of popular focal lengths available in the Camera app for different shooting styles. Those who opt for the bigger Pro Max version will even get a 5x Telephoto lens (instead of 3x) and improved image stabilization, thanks to a clever system of mirrors approaching the sensor. Anyone with an eye on Apple Vision Pro will be pleased to know that these new Pro models can shoot “spatial videos” for 3D playback on the upcoming headset.

Oh, and the new A17 Pro chip looks pretty incredible too, with Capcom showing off the latest Resident Evil games running flawlessly on an iPhone 15 Pro.

“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.”

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be available in four stunning new finishes, including black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, and natural titanium. Pre-orders begin Friday, September 15, with availability beginning Friday, September 22.

Apple Watch Series 9

This feels very much like an iterative upgrade, but there are still a few important changes to address. Chief of those is a new double tap gesture, which can be used to operate an Apple Watch one-handed. Pinching thumb and forefinger together can be used to magically answer calls, dismiss timers, pause music, and so on.

Another small but significant improvement is that Siri requests are now processed on the watch itself, not a nearby iPhone. That will do wonders for the speed of replies, and it boosts the accuracy of dictation too. Apple says you can now access Health data through Siri. As ever, there are power and display improvements too, though battery life remains the same as ever (around 18 hours).

There are also new watch bands from Hermes and Nike, some of which have new watch faces to match.

Finally, the Apple Watch Series 9 is Apple’s first completely carbon-neutral product, a feat it aims to continue across the board over the coming years.

“Apple Watch is an indispensable companion that helps millions of people with their health, fitness, communications, and safety,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “We’re introducing our best Apple Watch lineup, with incredible new capabilities and technological advancements, including a new double tap gesture, brighter display, on-device Siri, as well as our first-ever carbon neutral products. Whether users are upgrading from earlier models or buying their first, there’s never been a more compelling time to experience Apple Watch.”

The new Apple Watch lineup can be ordered today, with availability beginning Friday, September 22.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

This is an essential but slightly underwhelming upgrade. Apple Watch Ultra made such a splash last year, and remains the biggest and best model you can get. But most of the changes for Ultra 2 simply mirror the additions made to Series 9: double-tap, on-device Siri, and even the exact same S9 chip as the cheaper model.

In fairness, there are improvements elsewhere, but nothing major. An expanded altitude range here, advanced water capabilities there, a new watch face that fits more info than ever on screen. It’s a great product, but there’s little else to report about it.

“This year we’ve made our most rugged and capable Apple Watch even better,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Apple Watch Ultra 2 is our most advanced Apple Watch, with great performance and feature updates. It’s perfect for anyone who wants our biggest, brightest display, longest battery life, and best GPS of any Apple Watch, all in a stunning design.”

Apple Watch Ultra 2 can be ordered today, with availability beginning Friday, September 22.

Anything else?

A large chunk of the event was dedicated to Apple’s continued environmental efforts. Its plan is to be carbon neutral across the entire business by the year 2030, and the company has made some pretty huge strides already. You can read more about that here.

Software Releases

Apple also quietly announced that all its new software updates – including iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, and macOS Sonoma – will be released to the public very soon: Monday, September 18th.

Keep an eye on Settings > General > Software Update for the new release – or turn on news alerts from our Tips & Tricks app to be notified as soon as it goes live. Apple’s automatic updates often take several days to kick in, so we might be your best shot at a day-one download!