5 Things We Learned From Apple’s Wanderlust Event

Including the standout features from Apple Watch Series 9 and iPhone 15

The new iPhone 15 lineup, unveiled at the Apple Wanderlust event in September 2023
The new iPhone 15 lineup, including the now-requisite pink.

Apple will save your life.

That was the initial takeaway from Wanderlust, Apple’s latest tech launch event on Tuesday. 

The event kicked off with a short film that showcased different birthday parties from around the world — the kicker being that all of the people featured were celebrating another year because their lives had been saved thanks to Apple products (crash detection, low heart-rate alerts, etc.).

“Nothing’s more important than helping saving lives,” Apple CEO Tim Cook noted from the front of Apple Park. As a person with a Sept. 12 birthday and an increased perception of my own mortality, the presentation was admittedly…sorry [waves hand], there’s something in my eye.

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And then…well, they didn’t forget about it (satellite-enabled Roadside Assistance is coming to iPhones), but the tech giant spent most of the rest of the presentation focused on gesture controls, advanced chips and the company’s eco-conscious roadmap, including a slightly cringy scripted bit about Mother Nature (played by Octavia Spencer) judging the company’s world-saving efforts. There was also an awkward plug by Cook for Apple TV’s The Morning Show and the company’s immersive Vision Pro headset, which won’t be released until 2024.

Amongst the hyperbole, we heard about the new iPhone and Apple Watch models (we’re concentrating on the base models; you can find info on the titanium iPhone 15 Pro and ultra-rugged Apple Watch Ultra 2 here).

Here are five things we learned from Apple’s Wanderlust event.

The biggest announcement was a simple gesture

With the new Apple Watch Series 9 — soon available in pink (as is the new iPhone) because it’s a Barbie world and we’re just living in it — you can start, stop, pause and scroll via a simple double tap of your thumb and index finger. That’s not a double tap on the watch, but simply with your two digits together while wearing the device. Credit the new S9 chip, which also helps make processing everything faster (and allows Siri requests to be done on the device, not via the cloud).

Apple’s eco-conscious goals will be felt immediately by consumers

No more leather in products. An increased reliance on ocean shipping. The end of plastic in the company’s packaging by 2025. A new type of recycled soft fabric for watch bands called FineWoven. Apple’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 means the products and how you receive them may be affected. As well, the Series 9 is Apple’s first carbon-neutral certified product. 

The iPhone 15 is all about the camera

The iPhone 15 takes a lot of its advancements from the iPhone 14 Pro, including the phone’s Dynamic Island display, which offers up alerts and live activities (like Uber pickups) on the top of the home screen. But the real takeaway from the new smartphone is the camera, which offers a whopping 48MP front camera.

Yes, we’re getting USB-C

The iPhone joins nearly the rest of Apple’s tech portfolio in ditching the Lightning port for the ubiquitous USB-C. And you can even use your iPhone 15 to charge your Apple Watch or AirPods.

The pricing is pretty consistent with last year

The iPhone 15 will launch at $799, $899 and $1,099 (depending on memory), same as the iPhone 14. The 15 Plus starts at $899, like the 14 Plus. The Apple Watch Series 9 starts at $399. 

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