The Apple 2023 Fall iPhone Event Live Blog (Starts at 10am PT/17:00 UTC)by Ryan Smith & Gavin Bonshor on September 12, 2023 11:00 AM EST
It's that time of the year again - Apple's fall iPhone event, where the Cupertino company to unveil its newest generation family of iPhones. This year's theme is "Wonderlust," and will be the backdrop for the launch of iOS 17 as well as what should be the iPhone 15 series.
This year is widely expected to see Apple switch from their proprietary Lightning connector to the newer USB-C connector, in large part to comply with EU phone charger regulations. Besides the compatibility benefits that entails, the Lightning connector itself is coming up on 11 years old – fulfilling Apple's promise for 10 years of support and then-some. And while Lightning is the progenitor to the modern reversible connector, its lower overall pin count is limiting its functionality in some ways that the denser USB-C should help with.
Internally, it's all but assured that Apple will introduce a new generation processor in the form of the A17. Fab partner TSMC's production schedule has their first-generation 3nm node, N3B, well in to volume production at this point, so we're expecting to see our first shipping 3nm smartphone SoC. TSMC has never published generalized performance figures comparing N3B to N4 (used on the A16 SoC), so there's little basis for making specific performance estimates in advance. But as a full node improvement from the N5/N4 family, N3B should provide a perky punch, especially if Apple invests their gains in power consumption instead of performance.
Interestingly, Apple may be the only game in town for a while due to other chipmakers opting for the forthcoming N3E node due to costs – but that's a story for another time. Regardless, Apple's SoC silicon has a strong history of delivering industry leading performance and some unexpected innovations, and we expect the new chip to once again push the envelope in performance and efficiency, as Apple is wont to do.
The live blog will start along with the event at 10am PT / 17:00 UTC / 19:00 CEST.
12:55PM EDT - Thank you, as always, for joining us for this year's Apple iPhone event
12:55PM EDT - Apple's presentation should kick off here in a few minutes
12:57PM EDT - As with their last couple of events, Apple is doing hybrid events these days, with the press gathering in Cupertino. We're expecting this will be another recorded presentation, meaning lots of flashy transitions and a quick pace, but no live demos on the broadcast
12:57PM EDT - Joining me for this live blog is the always awesome Gavin Bonshor
12:58PM EDT - As noted in our introduction, this year is widely expected to be Apple's big transition from Lightning to USB-C
12:59PM EDT - I, for one, shall miss the Lightning connector. But it's had a good run. It'll be better for everyone in the long run to be on a common port standard
12:59PM EDT - And here we go
01:00PM EDT - Opening with a trailer
01:00PM EDT - Apparently the theme is birthdays?
01:01PM EDT - Lots of different people celebrating birthdays
01:02PM EDT - And now listing some various instances where Apple's i-device emergency tech (SOS, Apple Watch bio monitoring, etc) saved someone
01:03PM EDT - "This year they all celebrated a birthday they thought they never would have"
01:03PM EDT - And on to the actual presentation
01:04PM EDT - Starting with a sweeping view of the Apple Park campus
01:04PM EDT - Big announcements about two essential products: Apple Watch and iPhone
01:04PM EDT - But first, a Mac update!
01:04PM EDT - Recapping the latest Mac Studio and Mac Pro, completing the Apple Silicon transition
01:05PM EDT - Quoting Tom's Guide (congrats to a fellow Future brand)
01:05PM EDT - Also recapping the Apple Vision Pro headset announcement
01:06PM EDT - Apple is already getting developers engaged with the Vision Pro
01:06PM EDT - Vision Pro is on track to ship early next year
01:06PM EDT - Now on to today's news
01:07PM EDT - "If you left either one at home, I bet you'd go back and get it"
01:07PM EDT - Starting things with Apple Watch
01:07PM EDT - Today Apple is introducing the next generation of Apple Watch
01:08PM EDT - Rolling a quick trailer
01:08PM EDT - Now on to Apple Watch Series 9
01:08PM EDT - New features, and a new Apple Silicon SoC
01:08PM EDT - S9 SiP
01:09PM EDT - "Most powerful watch chip yet"
01:09PM EDT - 5.6B transistors
01:09PM EDT - 30% faster GPU
01:09PM EDT - 4 core neural engine; 2x as fast ML processing
01:09PM EDT - 18 hour battery life
01:09PM EDT - Siri requests are now being processed on device
01:10PM EDT - "Making them faster and more secure"
01:10PM EDT - So common requests should be faster
01:10PM EDT - Dictation should also be more accurate on S9 than S8
01:10PM EDT - Siri can now be queried about health data
01:11PM EDT - Series 9 has a second-gen Ultra Wideband chip
01:11PM EDT - So you can use the Watch to find iPhones or other wayward UWB-equipped devices
01:12PM EDT - The display on Watch Series 9 can now go to 2000 nits of brightness, and down to 1 nit
01:13PM EDT - "Today we're adding something really cool"
01:13PM EDT - Adding a new gesture that uses just your watch hand
01:13PM EDT - Introducing: Double Tap
01:13PM EDT - Tap your index finger and thumb together twice
01:14PM EDT - Double tapping does several different actions, depending on what's going on with the Watch
01:14PM EDT - Uses the gyroscope, heart sensor, and other sensors to determine if the user is intentionally making the gesture
01:14PM EDT - Now rolling a trailer of Double Tap in action
01:15PM EDT - (Sadly, I don't think they'll be putting a Zombieland shot in this one. Always double tap!)
01:15PM EDT - It will be available next month
01:16PM EDT - Series 9 will be available in a new pink case, along with Apple's usually bevvy of other options
01:16PM EDT - Now to a segment about environmentalism
01:17PM EDT - Mother nature?
01:18PM EDT - Removing all plastic from their packaging by the end of next year
01:19PM EDT - Apple is reducing the amount of air shipping they use, in favor of sea shipping
01:21PM EDT - Aiming to get to a "net zero" climate impact on all Apple devices by 2030
01:21PM EDT - And now a bit more on environmental initiatives
01:22PM EDT - Using recycled aluminum their watch cases. As well as recycled cobalt in the battery
01:23PM EDT - 82% recycled yarn in the sports loop band
01:23PM EDT - All Apple Watch manufacturing is now powered by clean electricity
01:24PM EDT - New, smaller box for the Watch. Apple can ship 25% more Watches per pallet
01:25PM EDT - Net carbon impact of the Watch Series 9 with an aluminum case and sports loop is 0
01:25PM EDT - And Apple will be putting a new logo on their boxes to advertise that fact
01:25PM EDT - Apple will no longer offer leather in any new product, including watch bands. Starting today
01:26PM EDT - Meanwhile, they're introducing a new material called FineWoven
01:27PM EDT - New Nike watch bands, as well
01:27PM EDT - Also with more recycled materials
01:27PM EDT - And that's the Apple Watch Series 9
01:27PM EDT - Double tap, on-device Siri, and the S9 SiP
01:27PM EDT - Now on to the Apple Watch Ultra
01:28PM EDT - Introducing Apple Watch Ultra 2
01:29PM EDT - Ultra 2 also gets the S9 SiP and other major features of the Series 9 Watch
01:29PM EDT - Max brightness of 3000 nits for the Ultra 2 display
01:30PM EDT - And night mode can use the ambient light sensor to activate in the dark
01:31PM EDT - "We can't wait to see where you take Ultra 2"
01:31PM EDT - Ultra 2's battery life is up to 36 hours in normal mode, 72 hours in low power mode
01:32PM EDT - Ultra 2 is also carbon neutral when used with specific watch bands
01:32PM EDT - And that's the Ultra 2
01:32PM EDT - Apple Watch SE is also carbon neutral with the right band
01:33PM EDT - Series 9 starts at $399, and Ultra 2 starts at $799
01:33PM EDT - Pre-orders starting today. Available on September 22nd
01:34PM EDT - Now on to iPhone
01:34PM EDT - (aka the moneymaker)
01:34PM EDT - Now rolling a trailer for the next iPhone
01:35PM EDT - iPhone 15 "is absolutely incredible"
01:35PM EDT - The notch is out, in favor of the dynamic island from the iPhone Pro series
01:36PM EDT - Super Retina XDR display based on OLED technology
01:36PM EDT - Peak HDR brightness is now 1600 nits
01:36PM EDT - Oh, and peak outdoor brightness is even higher, 2000 nits
01:37PM EDT - 6.1-inches for iPhone 15, and 6.7-inches for iPhone 15 Plus
01:37PM EDT - (But where's the Mini?)
01:37PM EDT - Apple is using color infused glass to color the phone body now
01:38PM EDT - Ceramic shield protection as well
01:38PM EDT - And, going with the environmental theme from earlier, Apple is using 75% recycled aluminum for the body
01:38PM EDT - As well as recycled cobalt in the battery
01:39PM EDT - The main camera for iPhone 15 is 48MP
01:39PM EDT - f/1.6, 26mm focal length
01:39PM EDT - Quad pixel sensor
01:40PM EDT - And of course, Apple's major use of computational photography
01:40PM EDT - Resulting in a 24MPixel photo
01:41PM EDT - New 2x telephoto option. 12MP photos
01:41PM EDT - "Next-generation portraits"
01:42PM EDT - Recapping features like zero shutter lag and bokeh
01:42PM EDT - Adding focus and depth control using the depth map captured for the photo
01:43PM EDT - Night mode photography is improved as well
01:43PM EDT - Updated Smart HDR functionality as well
01:44PM EDT - And that's the iPhone 15's camera
01:44PM EDT - Now on to performance
01:44PM EDT - The SoC for the iPhone 15 is the A16. Which was intro'ed last year for the iPhone 14 Pro
01:45PM EDT - 16 core neural engine, 5 core GPU, 6 core CPU (2 high perf, 4 high efficiency)
01:45PM EDT - "Still has all-day battery life"
01:45PM EDT - And the plus has an even bigger battery for more
01:45PM EDT - So Apple is officially cascading A-series SoCs down their product lineup now
01:46PM EDT - Now talking about connectivity
01:46PM EDT - Ultra Wideband is getting even better this year with the second-gen UWB chip. iPhone 15 can reach out to other UWB gen 2 chips from up to 3x away
01:47PM EDT - Quickly demoing UWB for FindMy
01:47PM EDT - Phone call audio quality is being improved
01:47PM EDT - Improved machine learning model to better filter out background noise
01:47PM EDT - With a total isolation mode if you need it
01:48PM EDT - Emergency SOS via satellite is back as well
01:48PM EDT - Now avaialble in 14 countries in 3 continents, and being expanded to even more
01:48PM EDT - Introducing Roadside Assistance via Satellite
01:49PM EDT - Now you can use sat comms to request roadside assistance
01:49PM EDT - Launching in the US with AAA (covered with a AAA membership)
01:49PM EDT - Sat comms are free for two years with iPhone 15, the same promise made with the iPhone 14
01:49PM EDT - (Still nothing about what happens after those two years)
01:50PM EDT - Lightning is officially out. USB-C is in
01:50PM EDT - Apple has replaced the Lightning port with USB-C on the iPhone
01:50PM EDT - This also means EarPods, AirPods, etc, are moving to USB-C
01:51PM EDT - And if wireless is your thing, MagSafe wireless charging
01:51PM EDT - And that's iPhone 15
01:52PM EDT - (It's good, but it needs to not upstage the iPhone Pro)
01:52PM EDT - Now rolling another iPhone 15 trailer
01:52PM EDT - "A huge leap forward"
01:53PM EDT - Starting at $799 for iPhone 15, and $899 for iPhone 15 Plus
01:53PM EDT - Base storage remains 128GB (or about $10 in NAND)
01:53PM EDT - Tim: "And we're not done yet"
01:54PM EDT - Now on to the iPhone Pro lineup
01:54PM EDT - Now rolling an intro trailer for the iPhone 15 Pro
01:54PM EDT - "The most pro iPhone we've ever created"
01:55PM EDT - "Powered by our most advanced Apple Silicon yet"
01:55PM EDT - And a new titanium body
01:55PM EDT - "Lightest pro models ever"
01:56PM EDT - Apple has reduced the iPhone Pro dimensions without reducing the display size
01:56PM EDT - 6.1-inch for Pro and 6.7-inch for Pro Max
01:57PM EDT - New body uses "grade 5" titanium
01:57PM EDT - Same alloy used for the Mars rover (presumably Opportunity)
01:57PM EDT - Titanium on the outside, aluminum on the inside
01:58PM EDT - Apple is no stranger to titanium. They've used it as far back as the first PowerPC G4 PowerBook in the early 2000s
01:58PM EDT - New internal chassis architecture to make the phone more repairable, and making the back glass easier to replace
01:59PM EDT - The iPhone 15 Pro has replaced the silencer switch with a button
01:59PM EDT - Copying the action button concept from the Apple Watch
02:00PM EDT - Super Retina XDR display. ProMotion support, extreme dynamic range, etc
02:00PM EDT - New StandBy feature using the always-on display of the pro
02:01PM EDT - So you can use your phone as a nightstand clock
02:01PM EDT - Apple A17 Pro SoC
02:01PM EDT - (Interesting that they're using the Pro moniker for the SoC now. Does that imply a non-pro SoC down the line?)
02:01PM EDT - "Changes throughout the entire chip"
02:01PM EDT - And a "breakthrough new GPU"
02:02PM EDT - Confirmed to be made on 3nm
02:02PM EDT - 19 billion transistors
02:02PM EDT - 6-core CPU
02:02PM EDT - Microarchitectural improvements
02:02PM EDT - 2 perf cores. 10% faster
02:02PM EDT - 4 efficiency cores are also faster. 3x perf-per-watt of competition
02:03PM EDT - 16 core neural engine. "Up to twice as fast" as before
02:03PM EDT - 35 TOPS of performance
02:03PM EDT - Dedicated video engines and display controller
02:03PM EDT - AV1 decode support!
02:04PM EDT - A17 Pro gets a new USB3 controller. So they're making full use of USB-C
02:04PM EDT - (A16 still only has a USB 2.x controller)
02:04PM EDT - Brand new Apple-designed shader architecture for the GPU
02:04PM EDT - 6 core GPU design. 20% faster peak performance
02:05PM EDT - Added mesh shading support
02:05PM EDT - Hardware accelerated ray tracing
02:05PM EDT - "Fastest RT performance in any smartphone"
02:05PM EDT - Coincidentally, 3DMark's ray tracing benchmark has become available for iOS as of earlier today
02:06PM EDT - 4x faster than software-based RT on A16
02:06PM EDT - Metal FX upscaling
02:07PM EDT - (Apple Arcade is the saving grace for smartphone gamining, given the industry's reliance on F2P games and microtransactions)
02:07PM EDT - Now rolling a trailer about gaming on the iPhone
02:08PM EDT - With various game developers speaking
02:08PM EDT - Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil Village running on the iPhone
02:09PM EDT - "The Division Resurgence" launching on the iPhone in 2024
02:09PM EDT - Apple has achieved what should be feature parity with the 9th gen game consoles
02:09PM EDT - Now on to the cameras
02:10PM EDT - "Equivalent of 7 camera lenses"
02:10PM EDT - iPhone 15 Pro features a 48MP main camera with an even bigger sensor
02:11PM EDT - Can shoot in 48MP HEIF-encoded images
02:11PM EDT - Can shoot higher res photos in 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm focal length
02:12PM EDT - 2x better low-light performance
02:13PM EDT - 3x telephoto camera
02:13PM EDT - 5x optical zoom at 120mm focal length. 12MP telephoto camera, 1.12 micron pxiel, f/2.8 aperture. 100% focus pixels
02:14PM EDT - "Tetra-prism" design to fit in a 120mm focal length lense system into a phone
02:14PM EDT - 10K microadjustments per second
02:15PM EDT - 12MP ultra wide camera. Improved anti-reflective coating. 13mm focal length
02:16PM EDT - Recapping USB 3 data rates from the USB-C port. Finally a way to get very large image files off of an iPhone Pro quickly over a wired connection
02:16PM EDT - ProRes recording can now do 4K60
02:16PM EDT - Log encoding (Hybrid-Log Gamma, I'd assume?)
02:17PM EDT - Spatial (3D) video support. Using the UW and main cameras together to record at once
02:17PM EDT - So that will be very useful for the Apple Vision Pro headset
02:18PM EDT - Spatial video capture will not be available at launch. It will be available later this year
02:18PM EDT - And that's iPhone 15 Pro
02:18PM EDT - Wi-Fi 6E mentioned. That's new
02:18PM EDT - iPhone 15 Pro, starting at $999. iPhone 15 Pro Max for $1199
02:19PM EDT - 128GB base storage for the Pro. 256GB base storage for the Pro Max
02:19PM EDT - Pre-orders starting today. Available September 22nd
02:19PM EDT - iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 remain as part of Apple's active product lineup as well
02:20PM EDT - So iPhone SE, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro (& Pro Max)
02:20PM EDT - Not mentioned and presumably discontinued: iPhone 14 Pro
02:20PM EDT - Now back to Tim who is recapping today's announcements
02:21PM EDT - And that's the new iPhone and Apple Watch products
02:22PM EDT - Thanks for joining us
02:22PM EDT - Now to see if Apple is publishing any further details on that new GPU...