Apple has announced that the iPhone 15 makes its long awaited switch to USB-C, while gaining much extended camera zoom for its most expensive Pro model.
The new line of smartphones for 2023 was unveiled on Tuesday by the chief executive, Tim Cook, alongside several new Apple Watches and AirPods Pro 2 earbuds with USB-C charging, all of which the firm hopes will tempt customers to switch or upgrade and buck its recent share price slide.
iPhone 15 and 15 Plus
The regular and plus-sized version of the iPhone 15 resemble the outgoing models with aluminium sides with new contoured edges, glass backs and fronts. The dual camera system has a significantly improved 48-megapixel main sensor similar to last year’s 14 Pro models, which provides a 2x optical zoom, too.
The new models will also have the smaller “dynamic island” cut out at the top of the screen that replaced the older-style notch in the 14 Pro last year. It houses the selfie camera and Face ID system in a more aesthetically pleasing and useful segment capable of showing alerts. They also have screens that are twice as bright at 2,000nits for better outdoor readability.
The USB-C port will enable charging and compatibility with adapters made for Macs, iPads, Android devices and PCs. It can also be used to directly charge AirPods or an Apple Watch from the handset. The phones will have the A16 chip that debuted in the Pros last year.
The iPhone 15 will cost £799 in the UK ($799 in the US, $1,499 in Australia) and the 15 Plus £899 ($899, A$1,649) in store on 22 September.
iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max
The high-end versions of the iPhone gain the most upgrades this year. The 15 Pros have smaller bezels around the screen, frosted back glass and new titanium sides that replace the stainless steel of previous models.
The titanium makes the iPhones more durable and lighter, while a reworked 100% recycled aluminium internal design will make it easier to repair, matching the regular iPhone 14 models from last year.
The mute switch that has been on every model since the first iPhone in 2007 has also been replaced. The new action button is still capable of muting the phone, but also performing other actions such as switching focus modes or launching the camera.
A new A17 Pro chip will boost performance, including a 20% faster GPU with ray tracing for games, while the USB-C port will have faster USB3 data speeds and connectivity.
Both Pro models have improved main and ultrawide cameras with better low-light performance and detail capture. But only the most expensive 15 Pro Max will gain a new 12MP telephoto camera featuring a 5x optical zoom to capture distant objects. The new camera uses a similar folded lens to that found in top Samsung and Google phones for the last couple of years, but with enhanced stabilisation.
The iPhone 15 Pro will cost £999 ($999, A$1,849) and the 15 Pro Max £1,199 ($1,199, A$2,199) in store on 22 September.
Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2
Apple’s main smartwatch is seeing one of its biggest upgrades in years, although only on the inside. The Series 9 will look very similar to the Series 6, 7 and 8 before it, but with new colour options. It also has greater amount of recycled materials, which the company says makes some versions carbon neutral in combination with offsets it purchases.
The new watches will have Apple’s first real processor upgrade since 2020 in the S9 chip, making the new watches faster and capable of processing common Siri requests locally. It also has a screen that’s twice as bright at 2,000nits for better outdoor reading, and a new hands-free gesture for answering calls, silencing alarms and other actions by double tapping your thumb and index finger.
Apple’s top smartwatch, the Ultra 2, also gets the faster S9 chip and new features, plus an even brighter 3,000nit screen for better outdoor readability. The case now uses 95% recycled titanium making it similarly carbon neutral.
The Apple Watch Series 9 will cost £399 ($399, A$649) and the Watch Ultra Series 2 £799 ($799, A$1,399) in store on 22 September.