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Apple Event 2023 recap: iPhone 15 series, Watch Ultra 2, USB-C change and more

Apple reveals the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, 15 Pro Max, Watch Series 9, Watch Ultra 2, SE 2, USB-C and more!

That's a wrap! Apple's Wonderlust 12 September event is done and dusted, with just shy of 90 minutes presentation revealing the iPhone 15 series and all-new Apple Watch devices (and, quietly, USB-C-toting AirPods Pro 2 too!).

There was a lot to take in: the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus with Dynamic Island design; the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max with new Titanium design; an all-new 5x zoom for the iPhone 15 Pro Max; plus a trio of watches in the Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, and entry-level Apple Watch SE 2 update. 

Here's a rundown of all the expanded coverage that the T3 team has concocted during the event, with links to each article below, or scroll beyond for the original live blog as it happened beat for beat:

iPhone 15 series

Apple Watch

Original live blog follows below:

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Mike Lowe portrait
Mike Lowe

I've been following Apple iPhone launches and reviewing the iPhone since the beginning – all the way back in 2007! In the 16 years since the iPhone has become a dominant force; Apple changed the face of the mobile market forever – and continues to innovate.

Colour me excited...

iPhone 15 smartphone

(Image credit: 4RMD)

As I was writing the intro to this Apple iPhone 15 live blog it got me thinking about iPhone's colour options. As you can see from the render above there's largely expected to be a red/pink finish, plus there's already been word of a refresh of the colour palette for the iPhone 15 series with wider options.

But then I couldn't stop staring at the Wonderlust teaser animation and its swirling of silvers and blues. It could just be me imagining it, but is Apple about to drop a more pearlescent finish with a new blue hue (try saying that 15 times in a row, eh)? I know the iPhone has offered a blue finish prior to now, but this is 2023, so it's time for a fresher shade of it...

The ultimate iPhone?

iPhone 15 dummies

(Image credit: YouTube/MacRumors)

Happy Apple Day! Tech Staff Writer Andy Sansom here, the iPhone Ultra of Staff Writers. What is an iPhone Ultra you ask? Well, earlier this year there was a genuine belief that there would be a mysterious fifth model that would go beyond even the Pro Max model. Dubbed the iPhone Ultra, it was supposedly the ultimate bells and whistles iPhone, but sorry to break your heart, we aren't expecting it later today.

It is instead believed that the iPhone Ultra will come with the iPhone 16 range, likely releasing about this time next year! So see you all then as well. Do stay tuned however because we have a hunch Apple has some interesting reveals in store for today. 

Made of tough stuff 

iPhone 15 pro alleged hands-on images

(Image credit: Ice Universe)

One of the most persistent rumours about the iPhone Pro models could change the look and feel of the phone forever. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are made from a stainless steel body, but the new phones are believed to be made of titanium. 

Titanium (atomic number 22) is both stronger and lighter than stainless steel, but also more expensive. We're hopeful that this means we could see either a significant weight reduction and/or the toughest iPhone ever. It may also however see the price go up a chunk. 

All action

Spigen iPhone 15 case showing action button

(Image credit: Spigen)

It looks like we've had our first new featue confirmation of the day... kind of. Case manufacturer Spigen has been a bit cheeky and seemingly revealed the brand-new 'action button' believed to replace the mute slider.

This button above the volume controls is suspected to be a bit of a mini-marvel capable of a host of different things. Muting is of course one of them iOS 17 source code has given us clues it could also be used for "Accessibility, Shortcuts, Silent Mode, Camera, Flashlight, Focus, Magnifier, Translate, and Voice Memos."

That's one busy button. 

Up periscope

iPhone 15 smartphone

(Image credit: 4RMD)

Another headline feature we expect to see is bound to bring a smile to the face of amateur photographers everywhere. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is rumoured to be getting a periscope lens camera. This will greatly improve the optical zoom capabilities of the camera, believed to be up to 6x magnification. Any camera enthusiast will tell you that optical zoom eats digital zoom for breakfast, so this would be a massive upgrade. 

The best thing about a perisocpe lens is that you get all of the improved performance without a giant lens weighing the phone down. Sounds great right! 

What(ch) else?

Apple Watch Ultra running WatchOS 10

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

It may be all some of us can think about, but it's not only the iPhone 15 that we are expecting to see today. The Apple Watch Series 9 is rumoured to be revealed too, with big changes and improvements expected for WatchOS, particularly if you're a cyclist or keen hiker.

We are hopeful as well that Apple's latest wearable will include Apple's A15 chip to dramatically improve the battery life of the watch. There's also talk of AirPods news, although that may just be unveiling the move to USB-C that many expect. 

Vision Pro no show?

Apple Vision Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

This gentleman may be very happy to be wearing his Apple Vision Pro, but we don't expect there to be any significant news on Apple's headset today. Revealed at WWDC 2023, the Vision Pro is set to be released in 2024 while today is more about products launching imminently. 

That being said we can always cross our fingers for snippets of how development is going. There has been talk on how an iPhone 16 Ultra could be influenced by the Vision Pro, with a camera capable of taking 3D images

USB-C(razy)

Nothing (2) USB-C cable

(Image credit: Carl Pei)

Unless you've been living under a rock you'll probably know that it seems almost certain that the iPhone 15 will be the first to come with a USB-C port. This standardised charger is a big deal and will save those switching from Android hassle and money. It could however be a problem for iPhone loyalists.

The iPhone 15 is expected to come with a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box (probably not quite as cool as the Nothing cable above), but not a USB-C plug.  If you're firmly ensconced in the Apple ecosystem, you might not have many handy. It may be worth investing in one, as even if the iPhone 15 gets a wireless charging upgrade, it's probably not going to be as quick as plugging in.

Base model camera bump?

iPhone 14 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

While it's the iPhone 15 Pro Max that everyone expects to get the headline camera upgrade, the cheaper iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus might get the most significant. 

The talk is that the base models will swap their current 12MP sensors for a 48MP sensor provided by Sony with a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera added to boot. That's a serious jump in specs. If you've been put off by the price of the Pro phones,  it could be a good year to try one of the more affordable offerings.  

3 nm, what does it mean?

iPhone 15 mystery chips

(Image credit: Chargerlab)

We have seen word that the iPhone 15 Pro models could be the first phones to feature a 3nm (nanometer) processor, Apple's A17 Bionic chip. That sounds great, but what does it mean? 

Well in layman's terms, 3nm refers to the size of the transistors in the phone's chips. With smaller transistors, Apple can shove more into the phone and make it perform a lot better. It's expected that the jump to 3nm could bring 15% more speed with the same level of power consumption or up to 30% less power consumption without slowing the speed of the phone. That's a pretty hefty upgrade. 

All the action live

Tim Cook on stage during WWDC 2023

(Image credit: Apple)

Hi, it's news editor Rik Henderson here. I'm taking over for a while and, first up, would like to remind you that you'll be able to watch all of tonight's action right here on T3.

The show is being streamed live online and we have the video on our dedicated "how to watch" page. You will also be able to watch it on Apple's YouTube channel and through an Apple TV or plenty of other Apple devices.

There should be a crowd this year, much like WWDC 2023, so expect plenty of hollaring, whooping and a-cheering from the most enthusiastic members of the audience. Also remember that it starts at 10am PT (local time to Apple's HQ), which is 6pm BST UK time.

One rumoured iPhone 15 display rumour has the internet outraged

iPhone 14 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

It seems like one particular iPhone 15 rumour has rubbed many up the wrong way.

According to speculation, the standard iPhone 15 models will be sticking with the 60Hz refresh rate found on the existing iPhone 14 equivalents (and several other generations of Apple handsets).

That has irked the gamers out there, but our own Sam Cross isn't so bothered. As he points out, there are plenty of alternatives if you're looking for a handset to game on – phones with much higher refresh rates than is being quoted here.

He'd rather see other features implemented that will improve the day-to-day functionality of the iPhone, instead. I suspect he'll be happy with the launch tonight then.

New AirPods Pro coming too?

AirPods Pro 2

(Image credit: Amazon)

As well as the iPhone 15 family and possible new Apple Watch models, it's claimed that Apple will announce a new version of its AirPods Pro ANC earbuds during the event.

However, don't expect anything radically new about them.

That's because the refresh is likely only going to bring one main, new feature: USB-C charging.

At least that means that, if you've recently bought a pair of AirPods Pro 2, you won't be any hurry to upgrade (not least because they also support wireless charging, anyway). And, if you're in the market for new in-ears, you might also find the existing model cheaper post event. A win-win, really.

Sugar, we're going down...

A screenshot of the Apple Store which is down ahead of the Wonderlust launch event

(Image credit: Apple)

Afternoon folks! T3's resident News Writer, Sam Cross, here to take you through the build up to the event. And we've just had a big bit of news roll in...

If you're trying to buy anything from the Apple Store right now, you might recognise the page above. That screenshot is taken from their UK site at the time of writing.

Don't panic, either – if this is your first rodeo, this is completely normal. Apple always blocks off their store a few hours before, to give them time to update it with all the new goodies we'll get a look at this evening. What are you most excited for?

Something is cooking in Cali

A photo of the sunrise over Apple Park on the morning of the Wonderlust launch event

(Image credit: Tim Cook)

It's just gone 7am in California, and the sun is currently rising on the many members of the tech industry heading to Apple Park today. Of course, at 7am, I'm sure most of them are just grabbing an early coffee or a spot of breakfast.

Not Tim Cook, though, who shared this sumptuous image of the sunrise over Apple Park on Twitter a short while ago. Cook accompanied the image with the words, "It’s almost Time! See ya soon!"

Shot on the new iPhone 15? Perhaps. That's rumoured to come with a new 48MP camera, so it's possibly an early tease of that technology.

Whatever it was taken on, I hope he was wearing a harness up there...

Apple Watch Ultra 2 coming?

Apple Watch Ultra workout mode

(Image credit: Future)

One grey area surrounding the event at the moment is whether or not we'll see the Apple Watch Ultra 2. Rumours have gone back and forth on that one, with the original Apple Watch Ultra only hitting the market last year.

However, T3's Active Editor, Matt Kollat, believes we just might see the Ultra 2 today. Why is he so confident? Well, he spotted a price reduction on the current model on Amazon.

Could that be a sign that Apple is clearing out some old stock to make way for the new stuff? It's certainly a plausible take, though it is – of course – something we won't know for sure before this evening.

If an Apple Watch Ultra 2 is on the cards, what would you like to see added?

Thin is in for the iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15 Pro renders

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

The new iPhone 15 range isn't just marking the next generation of iPhone technology, either. Some reports have suggested that the Pro Max variant could be a record breaker.

That's thanks to some super-slim 1.5mm bezels. If that proves true, the Pro Max would have the slimmest bezels on any phone yet.

While it's not likely to make any real functional difference, it does look absolutely stunning in renders. The screen-to-body ratio is just phenomenal, with an almost endless appearance.

It's one of the rumours I desperately hope proves true.

Hell for (faux) leather

Apple leather iPhone case

(Image credit: Apple)

While new products coming in always mean we have to say goodbye to some others, there's one in particular which I'm really sad to see go.

Rumours have suggested that Apple will make a move away from using real leather in their products this time out – including the iconic iPhone case. And while I totally understand why they're making the move, I'm a little dubious about what they'll replace it with.

It might go further, too. Other leaks have suggested that the Apple Watch partnership with luxury fashion house, Hermès, could end, too. They supply leather bands for the smartwatch range, which might be axed as part of the switch.

Apple event

(Image credit: Future)

Good afternoon everyone in the UK, and good morning to those lucky attendees poised to attend the Apple event in person today in Cupertino, California. It's