The 6 biggest announcements we expect at Apple’s iPhone 15 event

Invite for Apple's September 2023 event.

Apple’s fall event will be taking place on September 12, 2023. It’s one of the most anticipated tech events of the year, and we’re expecting to see the unveiling of the iPhone 15 lineup, plus new Apple Watches to go along with the phones.

But what exactly are we expecting? Well, we’re going to break it all down for you right here.

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus

iPhone 15 color family includes: Black, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Pink.
TheAppleHub /

The main star of the event will be the iPhone 15, of course, as well as its larger sibling, the iPhone 15 Plus. For those who are hoping for the return of a mini iPhone, you’re out of luck this year.

The regular iPhone 15 will have a 6.1-inch OLED display, while the Plus version will be 6.7-inches. But don’t expect a 120Hz ProMotion display, as the refresh rate on the standard iPhone 15 models looks to remain at 60Hz — just like it is for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.

A render of the iPhone 15 from 9to5Mac showing off the dynamic island, bigger display.
iPhone 15 render 9to5Mac

On the inside, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will have the A16 Bionic chip that was originally launched with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Apple will be switching over to USB-C from Lightning for charging, and the Dynamic Island, previously exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, will be coming to the entire iPhone 15 lineup — including the base models. This might open up more possibilities of being utilized by third-party apps.

In terms of aesthetics, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will look very similar to their predecessors. The color lineup looks to include black, green, blue, yellow, and pink. This could be the first time that Apple does not release a basic white color, and the colors appear to be a more muted, pastel shade. It also appears that the standard iPhone 15 models won’t be getting the rumored Action button (that’s likely a Pro exclusive), so they will still have a mute toggle.

Pricing should remain around the same, with the iPhone 15 starting at $799 and the iPhone 15 Plus starting at $899.

iPhone 15 Pro

Renders of iPhone 15 Pro in Space Black, Silver, Titan Gray, and Dark Blue colors.
iPhone 15 Pro renders TheAppleHub /

The iPhone 15 Pro will be the model that most people will want, as it will have better hardware and features than the standard iPhone 15 models. Here’s the lowdown.

The iPhone 15 Pro will feature a 6.1-inch OLED display with a dynamic 120Hz ProMotion display. The bezels may be thinner than before, so while the display size is the same as its predecessors, the physical size of the phone may be a smidge smaller — as indicated by an iPhone 15 Pro case we received from Totallee.

Design-wise, the iPhone 15 Pro looks very much like the iPhone 14 Pro before it, but with a few differences. The frame could be titanium instead of stainless steel, which would make the phone a bit more lightweight, but more durable. However, the titanium finish means the color lineup is a bit drab, as it looks like we’ll be getting Space Black, Silver, Titan Gray, and Dark Blue. Gold has been eliminated from the color lineup due to the titanium material, to the dismay of many fans.

iPhone 15 Pro render showing USB-C

Again, the iPhone 15 Pro should also replace the Lightning port with USB-C, which will be standard across the entire lineup. The iPhone 15 Pro will also get rid of the classic mute switch and put an Action button in its place, which would work similarly to the Apple Watch Ultra.

Apple will pack in an A17 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 15 Pro, and there may also be an increase in RAM, going from 6GB to 8GB. For camera hardware, while the iPhone 15 Pro camera will certainly have improvements, the big upgrades may only show up in the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max/Ultra with the rumored periscope lens.

The price for the iPhone 15 Pro may be a little higher this year, possibly starting at $1,100 or $1,200 for the base model. If the price does go up, it’s reported that the base storage amount will also increase from 128GB to 256GB.

iPhone 15 Ultra

Mockup of Titan Gray iPhone 15 Pro by 9to5Mac.

Apple could be making a change to the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year by renaming it the iPhone 15 Ultra.

Like the regular iPhone 15 Pro, the iPhone 15 Ultra would have a titanium frame, with the possible colors of Space Black, Silver, Titan Gray, and Dark Blue. It will also eliminate Lightning for USB-C, like the rest of the lineup. We should also have an Action button in place of a mute switch on the iPhone 15 Ultra, just like with the iPhone 15 Pro.

With the iPhone 15 Ultra, we’ll have a 6.7-inch OLED ProMotion display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Rumors have suggested that this will have the thinnest bezels yet, providing much more screen than any previous model.

Titan Gray iPhone 15 Pro render.
iPhone 15 Pro render 9to5Mac

The biggest difference between the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra will be with the camera. It’s been talked about for months, but Apple will be adding a periscope lens camera to the iPhone 15 Pro — but only with the Pro Max/Ultra version. This would allow for an optical zoom of around 6x, or even 10x.

Unfortunately, the iPhone 15 Ultra may well be on its way to being the most expensive iPhone ever. With a possible price increase for the Pro model, that means the iPhone 15 Ultra could start at around $1,300. For a max storage model (at least 1TB), that could mean almost $2,000! In the smartphone market, that kind of money is mostly reserved for foldables (like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5), so it would be a bold move by Apple to have such an expensive iPhone.

Apple Watch Series 9

An Apple Watch Series 8 with the screen on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Along with new iPhones, we can certainly expect a new Apple Watch. This year, that means the Apple Watch Series 9. Based on everything we’ve seen so far, the Apple Watch Series 9 looks to be a pretty iterative upgrade this year.

The biggest change would be the chip inside, which would be a new S9 chip that is based on the A15 Bionic from the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. This new chip would bring significantly improved performance and efficiency. Basically, the new chip would provide better app launch speeds and possibly better battery life.

We could see a new pink color alongside the current lineup of Midnight, Starlight, Silver, and Product Red aluminum finishes. For stainless steel, it will remain the usual Gold, Silver, and Graphite colors.

As far as price is concerned, the Apple Watch Series 9 should be on par with the current Apple Watch Series 8, which starts at $399.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Mockup of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 with a dark titanium finish.
ShrimpApplePro / Twitter

In a surprising twist, there may actually be an Apple Watch Ultra 2, even though some of us think that it’s such a good product that it doesn’t need an annual upgrade.

With an Apple Watch Ultra 2, we can expect a processor upgrade to the same S9 chip as the Series 9. This would also give the Apple Watch Ultra 2 a significant boost in performance and battery life, although it was already pretty amazing in both departments.

The other big thing we’re expecting with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is a new color option: black titanium. This would be alongside the natural titanium finish that it originally launched with last year.

We don’t expect a price increase for the Apple Watch Ultra 2, so it should be $799 again, like the first generation. However, it could be possible that Apple makes the dark titanium option slightly more.

AirPods Pro with USB-C

Apple AirPods Pro 2 next to first-gen AirPods Pro.
First-gen Apple AirPods Pro (left) and second-gen AirPods Pro Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Though this rumor seems to only have popped up in recent weeks, Apple may be releasing a slightly updated version of the AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case.

This would make sense since the rest of the iPhone lineup is making the big switch to USB-C this year. However, it’s not certain if the regular AirPods are also getting this change or if it’s just the Pros.

But don’t expect major new hardware changes with the AirPods Pro themselves. According to a report from Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, it looks like the only change is really just with the charging case switching over to USB-C from Lightning.

Software-wise, there will be some changes coming to AirPods in iOS 17, which will be available once the iPhone 15 lineup is out. One such change is a new hearing test feature, which can help detect if there are any possible hearing issues with the user.

AirPods Pro with USB-C charging should remain the same price as the current version, which is $249. Those who already have the AirPods Pro 2 might be able to purchase one separately if Apple decides to sell just the USB-C charging case.

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