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Titanium cases are said to be lighter, more robust and more resistant

Photo: Apple Inc.

The hall is packed again. There is room for around 800 people in the Steve Jobs Theater, the largely underground magnificent building that Apple has built for events such as the annual iPhone event. None of the comfortable leather armchairs remain reoccupied. Tim Cook sets the bar very high right from the start. For example, Apple first shows a video with Apple Watch customers whose lives have been saved by the smartwatch's security features.

The Apple Watch Series 9 is powered by the new S9 chip. Its 5.6 billion transistors are supposed to make the smartwatch not only faster, but also more enduring. Apple promises 18 hours of battery life. Voice commands are now processed offline on the watch, the detour via the cloud is saved, which should significantly speed up the handling of Siri. This is intended to motivate users to trust Siri with more health information. In the future, it will be possible to ask the voice assistant for your own pulse or keep a medication diary.

New kind of gesture control

The latest generation of the smartwatch introduces new ways of interacting. Doubletap is Apple's name for a new way to control the watch using finger gestures from the hand on whose joint the watch hangs without touching the screen. For example, you can tap your thumb and index finger together to answer a call, stop an alarm clock, or end a call. A new ultra-wideband chip (UWB) is supposed to improve the ability to find a lost iPhone or transfer music to a HomePod.

The Series 9 will again be available in both aluminum and stainless steel and in different colors. The display has been significantly improved, is now always on and can shine brightly up to 2000 nits. In order not to disturb sleep, the display should be darkened to 1 nit if necessary.

More accurate localization possible

The new Ultra 2 also gets the new UWB chip as well as the S9 processor. Apple has taken the display up a notch and increased the brightness to 3000 nits. A new watch face is supposed to ensure that more information can be displayed on it than before. In addition, the innovations in the Apple Watch Ultra 2 seem to be primarily due to the new watchOS 10.

For environmental protection, the proportion of recycled material in the titanium housing has been increased to 95 percent. In combination with a matching bracelet, the UItra 2 should also be CO2-neutral.

The Apple Watch Series 9 is available from 449 euros and the Apple Watch SE from 279 euros, the Apple Watch Ultra costs 899 euros. They are scheduled to be delivered from 22 September.

iPhones finally get USB-C

For the iPhone 15, Apple has slightly changed the design. For example, even the smallest model, the so-called "Dynamic Island", now has an info bar at the top of the screen, which was previously reserved for the Pro models. The edges of the case are now gently rounded. iPhone 15 and 15 Plus get significantly brighter screens with 6.1 inches (approx. 15 cm) or 6.7 inches (approx. 17 cm), which are now up to 2000 nits bright. The manufacturer also advertises recycled materials. For example, the battery contains 100 percent recycled tungsten.

The photo quality is supposed to be improved by creating a 24-megapixel photo by combining two shots with different resolutions. As a pseudozoom, Apple uses the option of magnifying the middle 12 megapixels of the 48-megapixel sensor. Sony uses a similar technology in the Xperia 5 V.

Apple uses the A15 chip known from the iPhone 15 Pro as a drive for the iPhone 14 and 16 Plus. However, it will also be equipped with the new UWB chip, which is supposed to improve the range and accuracy of the location function. During phone calls, AI technology is supposed to help filter out disturbing background noise.

The switch from the Lightning socket to USB-C is presented as completely natural, because "many other Apple products" already use the standard connector. There will also be new EarPods and a new charging case for AirPods with USB-C. The requirements of the EU are not even mentioned by Apple.

New action button

The iPhone 15 Pro comes in the same sizes as the cheaper iPhone models, but now in a titanium case. The new material makes the phones lighter, more robust and more resistant to corrosion. In addition, it is supposed to improve heat dissipation, i.e. optimize cooling.

Apple replaces the previous mute switch with an action button that can be linked to different actions, for example to open an app or the voice recorder at the touch of a button.

The new A17 chip is reserved for the Pro models. 19 billion transistors are combined in six CPU cores, a neural engine, video decoders, a USB-C controller and, above all, a newly developed graphics unit. Of course, all this is supposed to increase performance and improve endurance. The graphics unit now supports hardware ray tracing, which allows for more realistic, faster graphics in games. In combination with the Neural Engine, the graphically demanding apps are supposed to accelerate substantially, turning the iPhone into a mobile game console. The Neural Engine will also take over speech recognition.

Spatial images for new computer glasses

When it comes to the camera system, Apple is sticking with a 48-megapixel main camera, which is supposed to avoid lens flare with a new coating, for example. The quality of recordings in night mode has been doubled, according to Apple, without explaining which metric is used for this information. In preparation for the Vision Pro computer glasses, the cameras of the iPhone 15 Pro models can be used to take spatial images that can be viewed three-dimensionally with the glasses in the future. Tim Cook held out the prospect of delivery of the new device class for the beginning of 2024.

The telephoto camera of the iPhone 15 Pro Max has been expanded to a fivex zoom with a larger chip and new lenses. This is made possible by a design rotated by 90 degrees, similar to the periscope lenses of other manufacturers.

Little has changed in terms of prices. The iPhone 15 is listed from 949 euros. The Pro model starts at 1,199 euros, 100 euros less than the previous model. The iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at 1,449 euros and will start shipping on September 22.

This article will be updated on an ongoing basis.