5 Things To Expect From Apple's iPhone 15 Event: Watch Series 9, New AirPods And More

The stage is set, invitations are out, and preparations are coming to fruition for what is arguably the most important product launch event for Apple in 2023. Christened "Wonderlust," the in-person event will kick off at Apple's HQ in Cupertino, California at 10 a.m local time on Tuesday, September 12, 2023.

It is no secret that the focus of this launch event will be the next generation of iPhones — likely branded the iPhone 15 series. Alongside the various iPhone models, Apple is also expected to showcase other products at the event that include the next generation of the Apple Watch, as well as a new generation of AirPods. Besides these hardware launches, Apple is also likely to use the event as an opportunity to showcase all the new capabilities and features enabled by the new versions of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and WatchOS 10.

While its September iPhone launches have always been crucial for Apple, the 2023 event holds special significance for multiple reasons, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

To start with, this event comes in the background of a global iPhone sales slump, and Apple is to use this event as a springboard for the success of the next-gen iPhones. With reports indicating that Apple has moved some part of its iPhone 15 production out of China to India, this would also be the first time that a latest iPhone model would come out of a factory outside of China. In the following sections, we discuss all the possible things that could happen at Apple's 2023 iPhone 15 launch event.

iPhone 15: Unchanged design, possible name change and better cameras

For the past few years, Apple has typically shipped four variants of the iPhone that target different audiences. The company's 2022 lineup included the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, the iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Things are likely to remain the same this time around, with most recent reports indicating that the new iPhones will be known as the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max. There were some reports discussing the possibility of Apple renaming the "Pro Max" variant as the iPhone 15 Ultra, but other reports have quashed the likelihood of that happening.

Apple seems in no mood to play around with the design language of the iPhone, and, indications are, the iPhone 15 lineup will look near-identical to older generation devices. There will, of course, be minor changes that may range from thinner bezels on all the devices and slightly bigger displays in the Pro and Pro Max models. There is also talk of Apple switching to a more durable Titanium body for the devices. This move could possibly make the devices better at resisting fingerprints — an issue that has plagued successive iPhone iterations ever since the iPhone X launched in 2017.

The 2023 update may also be the harbinger of good news for camera enthusiasts disappointed with the hardware on the lower end iPhone models. This time around, chances are, Apple will upgrade the old 12MP primary sensor on these phones to a bigger 48MP sensor.

Faster, newer chips reserved for Pro models, and the end of the Lightning Port

Apple is expected to continue with the trend of equipping only the premium models with the latest processors this time around, too. This effectively means that only the iPhone 15 Pro and the Pro Max models get the latest rumored A17 chip, while the lower priced models will use the A16 chips from last year. While unconfirmed, there also lies the possibility of the iPhone 15 and Plus models getting the dynamic island feature that was reserved for the Pro models on the 2022 models.

Another significant change with the 2023 iPhone models would be the fact that they will mark the end of the Lightning Port, the aging connectivity standard has been around since 2012. Interestingly, Apple had no intentions of voluntarily ditching the Lightning port. The sudden change of heart is a forced change under regulatory pressure from the European Union (EU), which has mandated the use of a common charging standard for smartphones and other devices starting 2024 and beyond.

There is also talk about the pro models of the iPhone 15 lineup losing the dedicated "mute" switch and getting an "action button" in its place. In its 2023 avatar, this action button can be configured to act as a shortcut to many functions that may range from turning on/off the flashlight, opening the camera app, or even starting a voice recording.

Finally, Apple is likely to offer the iPhone 15 lineup in a variety of new color variants

Apple Watch Series 9 to get performance upgrades, improved accuracy for various sensors

While the iPhone 15 lineup will hog the limelight at Apple's September 2023 event, Apple Watch fanboys will be looking forward to the company's refreshed watch lineup, likely called the Apple Watch Series 9. The 2023 Apple Watch lineup is not expected to look radically different from the existing products, and will mostly integrate incremental feature upgrades. This essentially means that the devices will continue to be offered in the same sizes as before, wth the standard variants coming in 41mm and 45mm options, and the top-end Apple Watch Ultra (2nd Gen) getting a 49mm case.

Internally, the major change is likely to come in the form of an upgraded processor — making it the first major upgrade since the Apple Watch Series 6 debuted in 2020. This new chip is rumored to be based on the A15 chip, first used on the iPhone 13 series and could bring several performance improvements. The new processor will also ensure better Find My capabilities thanks to an integrated U2 ultrawide-band chip. Alongwith the new chip, we also expect all Apple Watch Series 9 models to also get comprehensive updates that would ensure the devices are more accurate when it comes to tracking various data.

It is also rumored that Apple could integrate a more accurate heart rate sensor on the 2023 Apple Watch models. Apple is also likely to move away from leather straps for the next generation of Apple Watches as part of an environmental push.

What next for the Apple AirPods?

Given that it's been less than a year since Apple introduced the 2nd Gen AirPods Pro, we do not expect Apple to come up with new earbuds this time around. However, given that all iPhones will make the switch to USB-C with the iPhone 15 series, there is talk of Apple moving all of the AirPods accessories — which are based on the Lightning port — to the newer USB-C standard. This, essentially, would mean that the charging cases and the accessory ecosystem for products as recent as the 2nd Gen AirPods Pro could change to USB-C.

In addition to the changes to the accessory ecosystem, Apple is reportedly working on announcing a new software update for the AirPods ecosystem. This update is likely to bring several new software based features on the AirPods that include something known as "conversation awareness", which will essentially let them automatically lower the volume levels when it detects that the wearer is starting a conversation with a person. The updated software is also likely to bring an improved device switching process.

It is still unclear whether Apple has any plans to launch a successor to the AirPods Max this time around. Given that Apple's flagship over the ear headphones have been around for well over three years, it is in desperate need for an update. You can read more about the possibilities around the AirPods in our detailed article.