Leaks on Twitter can hit us loud and fast. However, that doesn’t take away from the excitement of watching Apple unveil its products in real time. Yesterday in India, that meant I drank a lot more coffee than usual. With thousands of consumers lining up to pre-order (starting tomorrow), here’s our take on which products and upgrades are really worth getting excited about!
The Apple Watch Ultra, which debuted last year, is aimed at outdoor consumers. The new Apple Watch Ultra 2 inherits all the features of its predecessor and adds a powerful new S9 SiP processor and a cool new double-tap gesture, which I will detail in a moment. This rugged smartwatch also features Apple’s brightest display ever, on-device Siri access, and iPhone’s pinpoint lookup capabilities.
The smartwatch runs updated watchOS 10, which features redesigned apps, new smart stack features, and an improved riding experience. There are also new compass waypoints and map features for exploring the great outdoors. Battery life is claimed at 36 hours, but without major upgrades, the company says it can be extended to 72 hours in low-power mode. The product remains prohibitively expensive, priced at the same Rs 89,900 as its predecessor when it was launched last year.
Priced at Rs 41,900, the Apple Watch Series 9 is still more affordable and comes with cool new party tricks that everyone will want to show off. Double tap gesture! You can play and pause music, control timers, or snooze alarms with just the tap of two fingers. The gesture can be used to answer and end phone calls and even take photos using the camera remote on the Apple Watch. A double click will also open the smart stack from the watch face, and a double click will scroll through the widgets in the stack.
The system is powered by the same S9 SiP as the Ultra 2 and brings system-wide improvements. The display is nearly twice as bright as the Watch 8, according to the company. This decision was made for better performance outdoors, in the sun. Last year the focus was on menstrual health, but this time the new OS10, which I have written about before, focuses on mental health. Apple claims the Apple Watch Series 9 can last up to 18 hours on a charge, but I won’t believe it until I try it for myself, especially since last year’s Watch 8 didn’t live up to my expectations.
If you’re looking for one with a price tag that won’t break the bank, your best bet is the upgraded Apple Watch SE, which starts at Rs 29,900. It doesn’t have the more advanced features of its more premium siblings mentioned so far. However, it does offer activity tracking, high and low heart rate notifications, fall detection, collision detection, and runs on the new watchOS 10.
Upgraded AirPods Pro
The name of the device – AirPods Pro (2nd generation) – remains the same, which is enough to indicate that there are no major upgrades to the device. There’s a new MagSafe USB-C charging port though, and the device now has a degree of dust resistance. In iOS 17, all AirPods Pro (2nd generation) now feature Adaptive Audio and Conversation Awareness. An interesting feature that sounds cool but has little relevance to Indian consumers right now is that AirPods Pro now support lossless audio when used with the Apple Vision Pro earphones. The device is currently priced at Rs 24,900.
While expected, it’s still exciting to see the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus feature Dynamic Island – easily the best feature released last year. Both smartphones feature a new and upgraded 48 MP main camera and are powered by the new A16 Bionic chipset.
The iPhone 15 starts at Rs 79,900 and you get the usual 6.1-inch display with peak HDR brightness now up to 1600 nits. Both models are said to have improved portrait mode and night photography, and currently run iOS 17. The iPhone 15 Plus starts at Rs 89,900 and comes with a larger 6.7-inch screen and USB-C connector, and from here on it will be the iPhone and AirPods of choice.
Bold and beautiful seems to be an apt description of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, which are now made from aerospace-grade titanium known for its elegance and durability. In addition to being touted as the lightest iPhone Pro model ever, the smartphone also undergoes another hardware transformation. A new Action button replaces the Ring/Silent mode toggle switch. It now offers customizable options like turning on the camera or flashlight, activating voice memos, focus mode, and more.
Both iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are powered by the powerful A17 Pro chip, designed for better gaming, speech recognition, and even autocorrect! Continuing improvements in camera features such as the efficient 3x telephoto camera on iPhone 15 Pro and the longest optical zoom ever in an iPhone (5x at 120mm) on iPhone 15 Pro Max show that Apple is pushing to push smartphones into Professional grade use. Also popular with photographers and filmmakers.
The iPhone 15 Pro price starts at Rs 1,34,900 and goes up depending on the storage capacity (up to 1TB). The 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max is the most expensive product this year, starting at Rs 1,59,900.
While I will be reviewing some of the new products in detail over the next few weeks, one thing is for sure. For Apple, less is more. It may not have the most groundbreaking feature introduced this year — aside from on-watch gestures — however, it still manages to bring meaningful additional functionality to every iPhone. As I said last year, those who seem to get a taste of technology’s shiny forbidden fruit will always be hungry for more, regardless of whether it’s value for money or not!