Farewell Lightning cable. I will miss you when I inevitably get rid of all my cables, only to forget my MacBook wireless keyboard and trackpad still need you. Yes, the iPhone is going USB-C for 2023. That’s true across the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. And AirPods Pro.
Apple hasn’t changed the screen sizes of this year’s iPhones. The base iPhone 15 and the Pro have 6.1-inch displays, while the Plus and Pro Max have 6.7-inch screens. All the 2023 family now get the dynamic island display cutout that debuted on last year’s iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 15 hardware has an all-new design with rounded edges. Apple has introduced a new camera system to the iPhone 15, which includes a 48MP main camera, but the most impressive imaging upgrades are just for the Pro phones.
Touching on the most-specced out device, the Pro Max differentiates itself with some heady camera upgrades I’m very excited to try. You’ll get a 5x telephoto zoom lens with a 120mm focal length equivalent — a substantial jump from 3x zoom of the iPhone 15 Pro (and last year’s models). Apparently, this was achieved with tetraprisms.
On the side of the iPhone 15 Pro, there’s a new Action button that replaces the old Mute switch. This allows users to quickly access features like the camera, flashlight, Voice Memos and more. You can also configure it to activate your own shortcuts, with a new press-and-hold gesture, featuring haptic feedback and visual cues from the Dynamic Island, to ensure you know when a command goes through.
Both Pro phones will get a new A17 Pro chip, capable of ray tracing graphics, and Apple is teasing that AAA games, like Death Stranding, Resident Evil Village and Assassin’s Creed Mirage (more on that one below), will come to the iPhone 15, running natively.
We’ve got more highlights from the event below.
— Mat Smith
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The S9 chip and neural engine provide more power and longer battery life.
Apple revealed two new watches this year. The Series 9 features overall performance boosts and a new processor, the S9 chip, which promises 18-hour battery life. Apple has also added a gesture to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2: Double Tap. This lets you control various system functions by tapping your thumb and index finger together twice quickly. You can use Double Tap to answer or end calls, snooze alarms, play / pause music or start and stop timers.
The hardware might not be entirely game-changing, but the software is shaping up to offer a more usable interface than ever before, at least according to my time so far with the beta version. The premium Apple Watch Ultra 2 offers a brighter screen (3,000 nits!) and, according to Apple, will top out at 36 hours of battery life on one charge.
A throwback in the best of ways.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is blessedly billed as a return to the series’ leaner early days, when Ubisoft was restricted by PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 hardware. After a few hours of hands-on time across three sections of the new game, it feels like that’s the case. Mirage largely takes place in ninth-century Baghdad, a couple of centuries before the Holy Land setting of the original Assassin’s Creed, but around the same time as AC Valhalla (Mirage protagonist Basim made his first appearance in that game). Assassin’s Creed Mirage will arrive on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC on October 5.
If you bought an iPhone after 2018.
The latest iPhone software update will be available next week, on Monday, September 18. The public preview for iOS 17 has been available since June and has already shown off a number of design refinements, which Apple recapped during its keynote. Those include user-definable outgoing call screens, so you can pick what people see when you call them, and an option to send incoming calls to voicemail and read a transcription of them instead. Users will also be able to send quick voice or video messages if someone doesn’t pick up their FaceTime calls. You can see our in-depth iOS 17 preview right here.
The single PC cable dream lives on!
Up to three times the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4. Support for multiple 8K displays, as well as gaming monitors running at up to 540Hz. And 240 watts of charging power. These are key features of Thunderbolt 5, Intel’s latest stab at creating the ultimate PC cable. Great, so my iPhone USB-C cable is already going to be defunct in a year or two…