New iPhones and watches announced on September 12

At Apple’s September 12, 2023, Apple Event, called “Wonderlust,” Apple announced, as expected, new iPhones and Apple Watches. There were no announcements of new HomePods, Apple TVs, or iPads, though there was a mention of the M2 Ultra-powered Mac Studio and the M2-powered 15″ MacBook Air and M2-Powered Mac Pro.

Not mentioned, but of note:

  • macOS 14, Sonoma, will be released on September 26. It will run on iMac 2019 and later, Mac Pro 2019 and later, iMac Pro 2017 and later, Mac Studio 2022 and later, MacBook Air 2018 and later, Mac mini 2018 and later, or MacBook Pro 2018 and later.
  • iOS 17 will be released on September 18. It will run on the iPhone SE (2nd gen.), iPhone Xr, iPhone Xs, and iPhone 11 and later.
  • iPadOS 17 will be released on September 18. It will run on iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad (6th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 11-inch (all), iPad Pro 10.5 inch (all), and iPad Pro 12.9 inch (2nd generation and later)
  • Apple watchOS 10 will be released on September 18. It will run on the Apple Watch Series 4 and later, the Apple Watch SE, and the Apple Watch Ultra (all)

Apple notes that not all features of the various operating systems will work on all devices.

Also not mentioned: Apple released some additional security updates on September 11:

  • ioS 15.7.9 and iPad 15.7.9. This unusual update to an older operating system is aimed at plugging a security issue.
  • macOS Monterey 12.6.9. This unusual update to an older operating system is also aimed at plugging a security issue.
  • macOS Big Sur 11.7.10. This really unusual update to an older operating system is aimed, again, at plugging a security issue.

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus

The new iPhone is newer, faster, more powerful, etc., with an imposing camera capable of taking 48-megapixel photos with the main camera. It also comes with a USB-C connector, in common with all currently offered Macs. This change was dictated by the European Union, which objected to Apple’s “proprietary” Lightning connector, saying it caused confusion. Of course, there are almost two billion devices in use that have a Lightning connector — but confusion about confusion aside, it is a nice improvement.

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

The new iPhone 15 Pro has everything the iPhone 15 has, but additionally is clad in a titanium case, making it lighter and thinner. But the real gem is the camera system, which includes a camera with a 5X optical zoom that, under the right conditions, can also function as a 10X optical zoom, allowing you to shoot subjects ranging from bugs (using macro mode) to elk grazing farther away than you might wish. The USB-C connector can also transfer information up to 20 times faster than the USB-C connector on the regular iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.

Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9 is newer, more powerful, etc., but it does have some impressive new features, including a more powerful neural processing engine that allows you to use many Siri commands and have them execute directly on the watch, without access to a cell signal or Wi-Fi. You can set a timer, ask for the time, ask the watch to trigger the camera on your phone, and many other things without Siri needing access to iCloud. There are also some new health metrics, making it an even more important healthcare monitor.

But existing watch owners may be most impressed with the ability to respond to many watch prompts with a “double tap” that does not require touching the watch. A double pinch with your watch hand can start a timer, tell your camera to take a photo, answer or hang up a call, and many other things. It also has some greatly improved tricks for using the watch to find your iPhone. Not that anyone has ever had that problem.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

If you like to scale mountains, dive under the ocean, or hike out in the trackless wilderness, the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a number of improvements, plus the pinch “double tap” of the Apple Watch Series 9. Alas, it is still the same size, which may be its biggest drawback.

We will talk about these at the SMUG meeting on September 19.

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