September Apple Event—iPhone 15 and Watch Series 9

As Apple does every September, yesterday Apple announced their annual updates to iPhone and Apple Watch. When looking at the details of the new phone they can often be underwhelming because Apple compares their new product to the prior year’s model, but Apple doesn’t really expect people to upgrade every year. Most people are coming from a 3 to 5-year-old phone, and at that point, the updates really do add up. If you’re coming from an older iPhone the places you are going to notice the most difference are in speed, battery life, camera quality, more reliable Face ID, and you’ll be gaining life-saving features like crash detection, Satellite SOS, and Roadside Assistance via Satellite.

For the full hour-and-a-half announcement, watch the video below. For advice on specifically what to buy in an iPhone 15, read my recommendations.

We have already started to see the deals from the carriers on upgrades this year, and AT&T this time around has deals that blow their competition away. If you are an AT&T customer with iPhone 13 or later, upgrading to iPhone 15 may be free after trade-in and credits. You can get this deal from AT&T or direct from Apple.

If you are interested in upgrading or seeing what offers are available, I recommend using the Apple Store app on your iPhone or iPad. You can set up your purchase options now for easier checkout this Friday. If you are interested in upgrading I recommend doing so in the next week or so. Most of these really good launch deals are only available for a week or two. It doesn’t matter if they sell out, as long as you get the order in.

iPhone 15

From $799
Preorders begin Friday September 15
Deliveries begin Friday September 22

The updated iPhone 15 has several changes from last year’s model. Just like iPhone 14, it is available in the standard size or the “Plus” size for an extra $100. The base model has 128 GB of storage, but 256 GB is available for an additional $100, or 512 GB is available for an additional $300.

  • Switched from Lightning to USB-C plug, just like MacBook, Android, and PC laptops
  • Dynamic Island just like iPhone 14 Pro last year
  • The screen is twice as bright
  • A contoured edge makes the phone easier to hold
  • The camera has a huge upgrade to a 48 megapixel main camera for better clarity and low-light detail, and images are captured in 24 megapixel by default
  • Portrait mode is automatically captured so you can adjust later
  • New Roadside Assistance via Satellite can contact AAA when you don’t have cellular service (extra fee if you are not a AAA member, will be retroactively added to iPhone 14)
  • A new U2 chip has three times the range of U1, allowing you to locate your nearby friends by direction
  • You can charge an Apple Watch or AirPods Pro from your iPhone using a USB-C cable (or presumably use a MagSafe charger to charge your iPhone while simultaneously using your iPhone to charge your accessory using a cable)

iPhone 15 Pro

From $999
Preorders begin Friday September 15
Deliveries begin Friday September 22

iPhone 15 Pro includes everything from iPhone 15 as well as the following. It’s available in the same sizes as last year, with the Max model adding $200, though that also includes an increase from 128 GB to 256 GB of storage.

  • The new titanium body allows the iPhone to be slightly smaller while maintaining the same screen size and it’s significantly lighter and more durable.
  • The back glass more easily replaced if broken compared to iPhone 14 Pro
  • Action Button is customizable for things such as Shortcuts, camera, voice recording. It replaces the mute switch, though it’s default function is to mute.
  • AV1 decoder for streaming the latest, most efficient video format
  • USB-C speeds up to 20 gbps
  • Larger main sensor with better clarity and better low light detail, 48mp HEIF
  • Pro Max now has 5x optical zoom with more advanced stabilization
  • Can record directly to an external drive
  • Can record up to 4K 60fps
  • Supports ACES color workflow standard
  • Can capture spatial video for 3D playback on Vision Pro (update coming later this year)
  • WiFi 6E, Thread

Apple Watch

Series 9 from $399
Ultra 2 from $799
SE from $249

Orders began yesterday
Deliveries begin September 22

Apple introduced three new Apple Watch models yesterday at each of their product levels. As before, the standard “Series” model is for most people. The Ultra is for athletes. And the SE is for people who are price-conscientious or it is a great Apple Watch for children (as long as you choose the cellular option)

There are several upgrades for all models:

  • New S9 processor is faster and has better battery life
  • Siri requests now processed on-device
  • 25% more accurate dictation.
  • Ping your iPhone, with distance and direction using U2 chip. Precision Finding for iPhone
  • Screen is twice as bright
  • “double-tap” your fingers to activate the “primary button” in whatever app you are using. For example, to pause music, to answer a call, or to end a call.
  • All Apple Watches are Apple’s first carbon-neutral products


  • iOS 17 will be available September 18, likely 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern
  • macOS 14 Sonoma will be available September 26, likely 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern
  • Starting today no new Apple product will use leather. Even their Hermes bands (though Hermes will sell some leather bands directly). They are switching instead to Fine Woven, which is made largely of recycled materials.
  • Roadside assistance via Satellite is being added to iPhone 14 models
  • Newly sold AirPods Pro 2 (I like to think of it as AirPods Pro 2.5) come with a USB-C case. It appears that these updated AirPods Pro 2 will be the only ones compatible with Apple Vision Pro.
  • Apple added new iCloud storage levels at 6 TB ($29.99/month) and 12 TB ($59.99/month), available soon
  • Apple Vision Pro to ship “early 2014”
  • Apple introduced a new Lightning to USB-C adapter, which will allow you to use the new iPhone 15 with devices that have a built-in Lightning plug (such as a Square reader or a car with a non-replaceable cable).
  • Apple discontinued their MagSafe Battery Pack, which was my recommended battery for iPhone. I will update my guide soon. Rumor is that Apple is working on a complete redesign that allows for stacking of batteries.