If you work for an Apple Store, don't make holiday plans for next September: at least one UK Apple Store has already banned employees from taking any annual leave around the iPhone 15 launch. The ban runs from September 15 2023 and ends on October 7, and it's in addition to the usual Christmastime all-hands-on-deck policy.
Given that late September is when Apple launches its new iPhones and the weeks afterward are when they actually go on sale, someone at Apple is clearly expecting the iPhone 15 to be a smash hit.
Is Apple thinking different for the iPhone 15?
This appears to be a change in messaging rather than a change in policy. According to Macrumors, Apple normally implements a similar restriction around Apple events – but it doesn't usually do it this far in advance, or in the form of a memo. In previous years the holiday embargo has been communicated much later, and via an internal app.
It's unclear where the commandment has come from other than being from "above the store" level, so we don't know whether this is a wider policy or just one Apple manager being pro-active. But you don't really need to be a fortune teller to predict that Apple will launch the iPhone 15 in September 2023 or that a lot of people will buy it.
As to which one they'll be buying, that could be more interesting than ever: where previous iPhones have generally come in various sizes but with the same basic internals, there are big differences between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus and its Pro and Pro Max siblings. Those differences are expected to be even more pronounced with the iPhone 15, whose Pro Max may be called the iPhone 15 Ultra and made even more distinct from the standard and Pro iPhones.