Updated Sep 12, 2023 - Technology

Apple debuts iPhone 15, updates watch line

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The new iPhone 15 Pro. Photo: Apple

Apple introduced its iPhone 15 line on Tuesday, featuring improved cameras and a more standard USB-C charging cable, among other enhancements. The company also updated its Apple Watch line at an event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Why it matters: Each year Apple aims to make the new iPhones compelling enough to convince a significant chunk of existing owners to upgrade, a task that has become harder as the years have gone on.

Details: Here's what Apple has announced so far:

iPhone 15

  • Apple's standard iPhone 15 model has an improved 48-megapixel main lens along with other camera improvements, a more rounded aluminum case and the secondary "dynamic island" display that had been only on the Pro versions in last year's lineup.
  • As expected, Apple is also switching from its proprietary Lightning port to a USB-C connection for charging.
  • An improved ultra-wideband chip makes it easier to find nearby people and objects, while the devices can now summon AAA roadside assistance via satellite when a user is outside of cellular coverage.
  • As has become standard, there is also a larger-screen Plus model of the iPhone 15, featuring a bigger display and larger battery. The iPhone 15 starts at $799, with the larger-screen model costing $100 more.

iPhone 15 Pro

  • Apple's higher-end iPhone 15 Pro line features improved cameras, a faster A17 Pro chip with better graphics processing and a new titanium casing which Apple says make this year's devices its lightest Pro models yet.
  • iPhone 15 Pro also has a customizable action button that can launch a favorite app or perform a custom shortcut, in addition to switching in and out of silent mode.
  • The iPhone 15 Pro comes with a 6.1-inch display, while the larger-screen iPhone 15 Pro Max packs a 6.7-inch display.
  • On the camera front, the iPhone 15 Pro line has a 48-megapixel main camera with a larger sensor than last year's model for better low-light performance. The iPhone 15 Pro gets a 3x optical zoom, while the Pro Max has a 5X zoom — Apple's largest zoom yet.
  • The Pro camera system can also use multiple lenses to take spatial videos for later playback on Apple's forthcoming Vision Pro mixed reality headset. That feature is coming later this year.
  • iPhone 15 Pro will start at $999 — the same price as last year — while the Pro Max starts at a hefty $1,199, though it does includes double the memory. Pre-orders for all the iPhone 15 models start Friday, with devices arriving in stores Sept. 22.

Apple Watch

  • Apple Watch Series 9, available Sept. 22 and starting at $399, features an updated Apple-designed S9 chip, brighter display and a new gesture that allows watch owners to take actions just by double tapping their thumb and pointer finger.
  • The rugged Apple Watch Ultra, which debuted last year, is also being updated. The $799 Apple Watch Ultra 2 includes the updated S9 chip, a brighter display and an automatically activating night mode while maintaining up to 36 hours of battery life under normal use.
  • As part of a series of new environmental efforts, Apple is ending its use of leather across its product line, including for watch bands and phone cases.

Go deeper: What to expect from Apple's iPhone 15 event on Tuesday

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