Apple introduces iPhone 15 with USB-C, Apple Watch with ‘double-tap’

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Apple has announced its first smartphones with USB-C ports, more than 10 years after introducing its proprietary Lightning connector, as it unveiled the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro at an event in California overnight.

The phones, which were introduced alongside the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, now use the same charging cable that can power iPads, Macs, Android phones and many other devices. Apple said it was also bringing the connector to its wired earbuds and AirPods Pro, and will let iPhones charge certain accessories when connected.

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro have been announced at an event in California.Credit: Tim Biggs

The move comes after new European laws introduced last year that would force Apple and others to adapt the standard charging technology for all smartphones by 2024.

At the event at Apple Park’s Steve Jobs theatre in Cupertino, Apple said the standard iPhone 15 and larger iPhone 15 Max will feature the thinner screen borders and “dynamic island” display notch, as well as the A16 Bionic chip, introduced in last year’s Pro devices.

The phones also have better voice isolation for phone calls and a new 48MP main camera, allowing for sharper shots and a clearer 2x zoom, alongside the returning ultra-wide camera.

The iPhone 15 line will be available from September 22, starting at $1500 and $1650 respectively in Australia, an increase from last year’s devices.

The new iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models feature a titanium finish and rounder corners, while the standard mute switch has been replaced by a new button which can be programmed for a range of functions.

The Pros feature a new A17 Pro chip with significantly expanded graphics, which will allow console video games like Resident Evil Village and Assassin’s Creed Mirage to run natively on the device. It also has faster USB-C speeds and the Pro Max has a new 5x zoom camera that can simulate a range of lens sizes, and create spatial video for playback on Apple’s upcoming Vision headset.

The Pro phones will also be available on September 22, for $1850 and $2200, which is a more significant price jump. Last year’s iPhone 14 Pro launched at $1900.

Apple also introduced the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, which work with a new gesture the company calls “double tap”, where users can bump their thumb and forefinger together twice to activate an app’s main button. Some examples Apple gave were answering or ending calls, or starting workouts. The watches have much brighter displays, up to 2000 nits on Series 9 and 3000 nits on Ultra 2, and an ability to find nearby (new) iPhones with much greater precision.

The new watches’ system-on-a-chip processes machine learning tasks twice as fast as the Series 8, according to Apple, meaning many simple Siri requests are now processed on the device rather than needing to go to the cloud. Later this year Siri will also gain the ability to access health data on-device, meaning users can ask about their data, or add new details with their voice.

The Series 9 will be sold in Australia starting at $650, with the Ultra 2 starting at $1400.

Apple also announced that the watches were its first carbon-neutral products, and that it would no longer use leather on any of its products as part of its environmental commitments, introducing a new textile for its watch bands and phone cases it calls FineWoven.

More to come.

The author travelled to California as a guest of Apple.

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