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Apple’s September Wonderlust event: Apple store goes down ahead of iPhone 15 announcement

Apple CEO Tim Cook. This year’s autumn launch is on the theme of ’Wonderlust’  (Apple / AFP via Getty Images)
Apple CEO Tim Cook. This year’s autumn launch is on the theme of ’Wonderlust’ (Apple / AFP via Getty Images)

Apple has taken its online store offline in preparation for the iPhone 15’s arrival this evening.

The tech giant is set to unveil the new smartphone at a gala event that will kick off at 6pm in the UK.

Two new Apple Watch models could also be on the bill, alongside the smartphone family, with a pair of AirPods earphones serving as a support act. Here’s what you can expect at the event and how you can watch along live.

Why is the Apple store down?

You can’t currently buy anything from Apple’s online store as the company gets busy stocking new products (Apple)
You can’t currently buy anything from Apple’s online store as the company gets busy stocking new products (Apple)

Ahead of tonight’s reveal, Apple is continuing its tradition of taking down its store ahead of a major product launch. The company usually does this in order to update the website with product listings for its latest devices, which are usually available to pre-order after they are announced.

At the time of writing, you can’t purchase anything from the Apple store website, although you can still view information about Apple’s services and access the support section.

When is the iPhone 15 launch event?

With the exception of the pandemic-era iPhone 12, over the past decade every numbered iPhone has arrived in September. So it was no surprise when Apple confirmed a date of Tuesday ,September 12 for the iPhone 15 launch event.

Usually, Apple’s invitations offer a hint as to the theme of each event. For September’s, the tag is “Wonderlust”.

Wanderlust, the word Apple riffs off here, is “an eager desire or fondness for wandering or travelling”, according to the OED. So we’re talking about an eager desire for “wonder”. That doesn’t tell us a whole lot.

What will the iPhone 15 cost?

Apple has not teased any pricing information for the iPhone 15 family but multiple reports indicate the higher-end Pro and Pro Max models are likely to become more expensive.

A Bloomberg report from July suggests Apple is considering a Pro series price increase of $100, which is likely to equate to a jump of up to £100 in the UK. This would mean £1,199 entry-level pricing for the iPhone 15 Pro, £1,299 for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

There is much less chatter about a price increase for the standard iPhone 15 phones, which means we may be looking at £849 for the iPhone 15, £949 for the iPhone 15 Plus. This makes the iPhone 15 evenly matched with the Samsung Galaxy S23’s original price.

How to watch the iPhone 15 launch event

The event kicks off at 10am in California, which is a not-antisocial 6pm in the UK. As usual, you can watch it on the Apple website, YouTube, and on Apple TV.

What to expect at the iPhone 15 launch event

Apple’s new flagship iPhone 15 will be the star of the show on September 12. But it will be flanked by an array of new products, including Apple Watches and a new AirPods Pro charging case.

Here are the main announcements we’re expecting.

The standard iPhone 15 could inherit features from last year’s Apple 14 Pro Max (pictured) (Apple)
The standard iPhone 15 could inherit features from last year’s Apple 14 Pro Max (pictured) (Apple)

iPhone 15: What to expect

This year’s new iPhone range should feature four models, with 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch displays, and both the regular and large sizes will be available in standard and pricer Pro versions.

Some of the features from the 2022 iPhone 14 Pro will probably be passed down to the new iPhone 15. They include an improved 48-megapixel camera and the A16 chip.

Meanwhile, Apple is expected to reserve the best improvements for the top-of-the-range iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

The pricier models will take things further with a potential periscope camera for vastly improved long-range photography. They will also pack a snappy new Apple A17 Bionic chip made using cutting-edge manufacturing tech. A leaked benchmark result suggests the iPhone 15 Pro will be 20 to 30 per cent more powerful in general terms, up to 37 per cent more powerful for gaming.

Pro model iPhone 15s are also rumoured to use titanium sidewalls, instead of the stainless steel seen in today’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. This will reduce the weight of the phones, by up to an estimated 19g.

Notably, all four iPhones will finally make the jump to USB-C, thanks to an EU law change that mandates the adoption of USB-C in phones sold in the EU by the end of 2024. To save you forking out for a new cable, Apple may even throw one in that matches the colour of the iPhone you purchase.

iOS 17

iOS 17 is already available to preview for developers and beta testers (Apple)
iOS 17 is already available to preview for developers and beta testers (Apple)

A new iPhone also means a sparkling new software update to go with it. This year’s IOS 17 features new contact posters, live voicemail transcripts, FaceTime audio and video messages, and improved autocorrect that can recognise swear words.

As in the past, the new software will be available for older iPhone models as well but it won’t be coming to the iPhone X and older devices.

Apple Watch Series 9

Although Apple is said to be saving its biggest-ever Apple Watch upgrade for next year, the latest model could also get a significant enhancement in one key area.

The Apple Watch Series 9 is tipped to come with a new processor, one with a far greater increase in performance than any seen in recent years. In fact, the new chip is reportedly based on the same one seen in the iPhone 13 from 2021, although it may not be quite as fast as its smartphone equivalent.

Apple’s new WatchOS 10 will let you scroll through widgets using the Apple Watch’s spinning crown (Apple)
Apple’s new WatchOS 10 will let you scroll through widgets using the Apple Watch’s spinning crown (Apple)

But it’s still expected to deliver a jump in performance from the Watch processor Apple has used for several years. Ultimately, you can expect better power consumption, which means you may not have to charge the Watch Series 9 quite as frequently.

That, coupled with an upcoming software refresh, could result in a new Apple Watch that feels a leap forward from previous models.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

A new iteration of the pricier Apple Watch Ultra is almost certainly going to make an appearance at the September event. The new model is rumoured to come with refined improvements including a slightly larger 2.1-inch screen, up from 1.9 inches, all the better for showing off Apple’s new WatchOS 10 software.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 may also pack a faster processor and 3D-printed titanium parts. The last of those features is more of a cost-saving exercise for Apple rather than a big upgrade for buyers. Again, the best enhancements may not appear till next year, including sharper microLED displays, a blood-pressure monitor, and new magnetic buckle-style straps.

AirPods Pro case with USB-C

AirPods could fall in line with the new iPhone 15 by introducing a USB-C port (Apple)
AirPods could fall in line with the new iPhone 15 by introducing a USB-C port (Apple)

The old USB-C switcheroo could also come to the AirPods Pro in the form of a new charging case for Apple’s wireless earbuds. While it sounds like the most superfluous product in this year’s lineup, it could come in handy if you keep breaking your Lightning cable — especially seeing as USB-C is a far more common connecting standard, so you should have plenty of the cables lying around the house.