By Mark Gurman
Apple Inc. has set Sept. 12 as the date for its biggest product-upgrade event of the year, when it’s set to unveil the iPhone 15 line and next-generation smartwatches.
The company announced the plans on its website and via email under the tagline “Wonderlust.” The presentation will be streamed online at 10 a.m. Pacific, with an accompanying event at Apple’s Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Bloomberg News previously reported that Apple was planning to introduce the new products on that day.
Apple is under more pressure than usual with this iPhone launch. Its sales have slid for three straight quarters as the company contends with shaky demand for smartphones and other devices. The new products should help restore growth this holiday season — Apple’s biggest sales period of the year. Together, the iPhone and Apple Watch bring in the majority of the tech giant’s revenue.
The highlight of the event will be the iPhone 15 lineup, which will include two entry-level models and two high-end models. The lower-end devices, likely to be called the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, will get some capabilities of last year’s Pro models — the A16 chip, Dynamic Island interface and a 48-megapixel rear camera — but retain the current design.
More significant changes are coming to the higher-end models, including a redesigned frame that uses titanium instead of stainless steel, far thinner borders around the screen and an A17 processor that uses the more advanced 3-nanometer production method. The titanium also will make the phones a bit lighter. And there’s a new customizable button that will replace the longstanding mute switch — a feature that’s been on the iPhone since the product first debuted in 2007.
The highest-end new iPhone, which sports a 6.7-inch screen, will also add a new camera with deeper optical zoom. That means the camera can focus more closely on far-away objects using the physical lens itself, rather than software, making for higher-quality shots. And all four new iPhones will shift to a USB-C charging port to comply with new European Union regulations. This will mark the first iPhone connector switch since 2012.
Apple typically makes new iPhones available for preorder on the Friday after their unveiling and begins delivering them to customers and stores one week later. The company also is planning to increase pricing on some of its higher-end models this year, Bloomberg News has reported.
To match the new iPhones, Apple will introduce updated AirPods at the event that include a USB-C charging port.
On the Apple Watch front, the company will unveil the Series 9 lineup and a second-generation version of the high-end Ultra, which debuted for the first time last year.
The new models will have faster chips — marking the first performance boost for Apple’s smartwatch in three years — but other changes will be minor. New case colors are expected to be one of the company’s selling points. For instance, Apple has tested a version of the Ultra in black.