Apple has launched a new series of iPhones that included a new titanium shell, a faster chip and improved video game playing abilities.
The biggest surprise with the iPhone 15 that will come out Sept. 22: It did not raise prices, reflecting the global smartphone slump.
iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus feature a gorgeous new and durable design, the Dynamic Island, a powerful 48MP Main camera, and A16 Bionic.
The event at Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters comes amid lingering economic uncertainty, especially in China, Apple’s third-largest market where it faces challenges from expanded restrictions on using its iPhones in government offices and the first new flagship phone in several years from Huawei Technologies (HWT.UL).
Huawei raised its second-half shipment target for the new Mate 60 series smartphone, which has satellite capability, by 20%, the country’s official Securities Times reported on Tuesday shortly before the Apple event.
Apple did not deliver any blockbuster surprises, and shares closed down 1.7% after event.
Apple embedding Machine Learning
While Apple avoids the terms artificial intelligence, or AI, the technology was the driver of several new features.
An Apple executive said the company used machine learning to detect a person in the frame, allowing users to turn a picture into a portrait immediately or later in the Photos app.
Apple also showed off new watches, including a Series 9 Watch with a feature called “double tap” where users tap thumb and finger together twice, without touching the watch, in order to perform tasks like answering a phone call.
It uses machine learning to detect tiny changes in blood flow when the user taps their fingers together, freeing up the other hand for other tasks like walking a dog or holding a cup of coffee, said Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.
iPhone 15 launch
Both the Pro and other iPhone 15 models will have a brighter display and a 48-megapixel camera as well as 100% recycled cobalt in their batteries.
New iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are displayed during the ‘Wonderlust’ event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.
Apple said the iPhone 15’s satellite connectivity can now be used to summon roadside assistance. It is rolling out the feature out with the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the United States.
Apple said that USB-C charging cables are coming to both its iPhone 15 and the charging case of its AirPods Pro devices. The move reflects requirements from European regulators to use USB-C and allows the use of the same charging cables already used for iPads and Macs.
“I was expecting Apple to try and spin the all USB-C decision in certain way but they didn’t they were very matter of fact in the way they talked about it,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies. She said the shift “brought some differentiation to the iPhone Pro, because there’s faster throughput for data transfer. That is going to be valuable for people” who use the device for professional photography, Milanesi said.
Apple also said the iPhone 15 Pro can capture what it calls “spatial videos” by using two of the device’s cameras to capture a three-dimensional video. Those videos will be viewable on Apple’s Vision Pro headset that is due out early next year, marketing chief Greg Joswiak said.
iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be available in five stunning new colors: black, blue, green, yellow, and pink.
The Pro’s use of titanium makes it lighter and stronger than previous models of other metals.
Bob O’Donnell, head of TECHnalysis Research said the steady prices were a surprise.
“I think both Apple and the carriers recognize that with consumers feeling pressure on their budget and the lack of dramatic changes it’s getting harder to convince people to upgrade. Keeping prices stable should help with that,” he said.
The iPhone 15 costs $799, the iPhone 15 Plus starts at $899 and the Pro series starts at $999. The Pro Max starts at $1,199, the same prices as last year for the same levels of storage. Last year, Apple offered a $1,099 iPhone Pro Max model with less memory.
Meet iPhone 15 Pro & Pro Max! Powered by A17 Pro, which ushers in a new era of Apple Silicon, these products unlock new performance capabilities, amazing photography, next-level gaming, and more. And with an all-new titanium design, they’re our lightest weight Pro models yet! pic.twitter.com/kZxWCPj0Vl
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 12, 2023
Apple still relies on iPhone for more than half of its sales, but the global smartphone market has slumped from shipping 294.5 million total phones to 268 million in the second quarter. Apple’s shipments declined the least of any major smartphone maker, dropping from 46.5 million phones to 45.3 million, according to data from Counterpoint Research.
A beautiful and durable design with an advanced display
Available in 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display sizes,1 iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus feature the Dynamic Island, an innovative way to interact with important alerts and Live Activities.
The elegant experience fluidly expands and adapts so users can see the next direction in Maps; easily control music; and, with third-party app integrations, get real-time updates on food delivery, ride sharing, sports scores, travel plans, and more.
The Super Retina XDR display is great for watching content, streaming Apple Fitness+ workouts, and playing games. Peak HDR brightness now reaches up to 1600 nits so HDR photos and videos look better than ever. And when it is sunny, peak outdoor brightness reaches up to 2000 nits — twice as bright as the previous generation.
iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus introduce a new contoured edge and durable, color-infused back glass.
A powerful camera to capture every moment in super-high resolution
The advanced camera system on iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus helps users capture everyday moments and cherished memories. A 48MP Main camera shoots sharp photos and videos while capturing fine details, with a quad-pixel sensor and 100 percent Focus Pixels for fast autofocus.
At Apple, we believe that climate change is one of the world’s most urgent priorities and we are deeply committed to doing our part. Today we had a special guest—a real force of nature—stop by to check on our progress. pic.twitter.com/neLSEqPmGu
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 12, 2023
Using the power of computational photography, the Main camera gives users a new 24MP super-high-resolution default, offering incredible image quality at a practical file size ideal for storing and sharing.
By intelligently integrating hardware and software, an additional 2x Telephoto option gives users three optical-quality zoom levels — 0.5x, 1x, 2x — for the first time on an iPhone dual-camera system.
A new 48MP Main camera takes stunning photos with incredible image quality and details.
Next-generation portraits on iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus feature sharper detail, more vivid colors, and improved low-light performance. For the first time, users can take portraits without having to switch to Portrait mode.
When there’s a person, dog, or cat in the frame, or when a user taps to focus, iPhone automatically captures depth information, so users can turn photos into stunning portraits later in the Photos app on iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
For greater creative control, users can also adjust the focus point after the photo has been taken. Shooting at night gets better with improvements to Night mode, including sharper details and more vivid colors. When lighting is bright or uneven, new Smart HDR captures subjects and the background with more true-to-life renderings of skin tones, while ensuring photos have brighter highlights, richer midtones, and deeper shadows when viewed in the Photos app.
This advanced HDR rendering is also available to third-party apps, so images can look even better when shared online. These improvements benefit the 48MP Main camera, Ultra Wide camera, and TrueDepth front camera.
New watch out
The outdoor sports-focused Apple Watch Ultra 2 has new features for cycling and diving and what Apple said is the brightest screen it has ever made. The Series 9 will start at $399 and the Ultra 2 watch will start at $799 and be available Sept. 22.
Apple will no longer use leather in any of its products, said Lisa Jackson, the company’s environmental chief. The company is replacing some of those products with a textile called “FineWoven” that it says feel like suede.
Apple made its effort to become carbon neutral by 2030 a focus of the event, including launches of lower-carbon watches.