Assorted iPhone 15 phones (banner)

Apple Wonderlust Event recap: iPhone 15 price, Apple Watch 9 and other announcements

Published Sep 15, 2023 - Apple's highly anticipated Wonderlust event in Cupertino unfolded last Tuesday (Sept 12th), bringing with it some buzzworthy updates and some otherwise underwhelming announcements. The event introduced Apple's newest additions to their lineup with the iPhone 15, Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra and highlighted some of Apple's key initiatives to reach carbon zero by 2030. Check out our key takeaways and honest thoughts below.

2023 Apple Event: biggest announcements

  • The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus get a chipset upgrade, new Dynamic Island and color-infused glass

  • The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max come equipped with a powerfulA17 Pro Chip, and new titanium parts to make them lighter and sturdier

  • Apple introduces a new ‘double tap’ gesture on the Watch Series 9

  • USB-C charging finally gets a debut on an iPhone

  • The Apple Watch Ultra 2 goes carbon-neutral

  • Apple showcases their efforts to improve sustainability and reach carbon zero by 2030

You can watch the entire 1.5 hour event here:

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus

First things first: we have to start with the much anticipated iPhone 15 lineup. The Apple iPhone 15 has pretty much adopted the same features as the iPhone 14 Pro: the A16 Bionic chipset, Dynamic Island cutout and 48MP camera. The addition of the USB-C port seems to be the only new feature that you wouldn't find on earlier models. 

Apple announced that the iPhone 15 marks a significant milestone as the world's first smartphone to feature colors ‘imbued throughout a singular, resilient, color-infused glass’. What this basically means is that Apple is the first to have multiple colors embedded throughout a single piece of glass. 

The vibrant range of colors for the iPhone 15 is no doubt enticing, especially with the introduction of pink following this year’s Barbie craze. All phones in this range come with a matte finish. 

iPhone 15 Colors

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be available in 5 colors: pink, yellow, blue, black and green.

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus Pricing*

iPhone Model

128 GB

256 GB

512 GB

iPhone 15 (6.1-inch)

$799

$899

$1,099

iPhone 15 Plus (6.7-inch)

$899

$999

$1,199

*Prices on Apple's website as of Sept 2023 - subject to change

What's new on the iPhone 15?

  1. Color-infused glass for the back

  2. Pink (!) as a new color option

  3. A16 Bionic chipset, USB-C connectivity, Dynamic Island to replace the old notch front display, a 48MP camera, and a brighter camera

  4. Enhanced Portrait mode, Night mode, and Smart HDR

iPhone 15 Color lineup

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max

Now, if you’re asking us where it’s at, we’ll say that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are the real reasons to be excited. The iPhone 15 Pro’s lineup looks sleek with the introduction of titanium, which makes it lighter and more sturdy than ever before. The stronger frame enabled Apple to use thinner bezels for a more streamlined look. You can also look forward to a powerful camera setup with the 15 Pro. Not only is the camera 48MP, but it also comes with a telephoto lens. All phones in this range come with a textured matte finish.

iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max colors

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will be available in 4 colors: black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, and raw titanium.

iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max Pricing*

Model

128 GB

256 GB

512 GB

1 TB

iPhone 15 Pro (6.1-inch)

$999

$1,099

$1,299

$1,499

iPhone 15 Pro Max (6.7-inch)

-

$1,199

$1,399

$1,599

*Prices on Apple's website as of Sept 2023 - subject to change

What's new on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max?

  1. Aerospace-grade titanium

  2. A17 Pro chipset, USB-C connectivity, a 48MP camera, a larger main sensor, and a brighter camera.

  3. Enhanced Portrait mode, Night mode, and Smart HDR

  4. The iPhone 15 Pro Max introduces a fresh telephoto lens equipped with a tetra-prism design, enabling an impressive 5x optical zoom and 3x optical zoom

  5. The mute switch is replaced with a customizable action button

iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max Color Lineup

Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9 has a few updates too, albeit nothing too groundbreaking. The Double Tap feature is definitely making waves everywhere, though we’ve got mixed feelings about it.

Apple Watch Series 9 colors

The Apple Watch Series 9 will be available in starlight, midnight, silver, PRODUCT(RED), and pink colors.

Apple Watch Series 9 Pricing*

Features

Apple Watch Series 9

41-millimeter, GPS-Only

$399

41-millimeter, GPS + Cellular

$499

45-millimeter, GPS-Only

$429

45-millimeter, GPS + Cellular

$529

*Price on Apple's website as of Sep 2023 - subject to change

What's new with the Apple Watch Series 9?

  1. New pink color option

  2. S9 SiP chip and on-device Siri 

  3. Brighter display 

  4. U2 ultrawide-band chip for precision-finding

  5. Double tap gesture (tap index finger and thumb twice) to pick up calls, control playback, and more

  6. First carbon-neutral product released by Apple (goodbye leather bands, hello “FineWoven”)

Apple Watch Ultra 2

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 expands upon the original Ultra's capabilities and is now a certified carbon-neutral product.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 pricing

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 will cost $799* with the LTE-capable configuration available.

*Price on Apple's website as of Sep 2023 - subject to change

What's new with the Apple Watch Ultra 2?

  1. S9 SiP chip and on-device Siri 

  2. Display as bright as 3,000 nits

  3. Supports wider elevation range

  4. U2 ultrawide-band chip for precision-finding

  5. Double tap gesture (tap index finger and thumb twice) to pick up calls, control playback, and more

  6. Certified carbon-neutral product

Editor’s takeaways

As expected, Apple’s announcements focused mostly on its smartphones and watches though we’re genuinely excited about some of the new updates. While some might actually be useful (like being able to use the ‘double tap’ gesture, instead of punching your nose on your watch screen), there were also some updates that were long overdue, such as the transition to the USB-C port and replacing the mute button with an action button.

Improving the iPhone's design

The transition from lighting to USB-C port is a great way of future proofing the iPhone – you can now transfer large files faster and charge quickly, on top of using the cable to charge your other devices. Plus, they’re also affordable and easily available everywhere. All in all, we know we’re not the only ones grateful that Apple is willing to adapt its tech infrastructure to universal standards. 

The move to replace the mute switch with an innovative Action button allows users to personalize it as a shortcut for various apps. This switch, which has had a single function on the side of the iPhone since its debut in 2007, will change the iPhone user experience, and hopefully for the better.

Also, if there's anything to be excited about on the new iPhone design, we think it's Apple's choice of having an aerospace-grade titanium design for a lighter, powerful and durable phone. The other additions, while nice to have, are honestly a few years past its time.

Apple's sustainability efforts

Apple mentioned its efforts towards sustainability with its recent move towards using recycled materials and eliminating the use of leather, with the team’s aim to make Apple entirely carbon-neutral by 2030. Not only that, but you can also expect 100 percent recycled aluminum substructures and Ceramic Shield on the front and tough back glass to enhance durability for the 15 Pro models.

We love to hear about Apple's commitment towards sustainability, but at the end of the day they were picking the stats that made them look the best. Let's not overlook the fact that manufacturing new phones in the first place has the largest environmental impact than anything else that Apple is doing. Back Market's own, Clare and Dylan, sums this up well:

The iPhone 15: a gaming phone?!

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are equipped with the A17 Pro, which is the first-ever 3-nanometer chip in the industry. The chip boasts a revamped CPU, a powerful 6-core GPU for immersive graphics, and an exceptionally fast Neural Engine. With hardware-accelerated ray tracing, you can expect exciting possibilities for gaming and augmented reality experiences. Heck, you can even play the new Resident Evil Village on it at a stable 30FPS. This opens up doors for these models to become powerful gaming phones, but we'll have to wait to see if it can actually stack up against Android phones that are more notorious for enhanced gaming.

More or less the same Apple Watch

There doesn't seem to be much new going on for Apple's newest Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, but they were really excited to introduce the Double Tap feature. Available on the Apple Watch Series 9, the feature allows users to snooze alarms, answer calls, control music, and more just by tapping their thumb and index finger twice. We might see a few more people pinching the air in public now, but I don't personally see it as a 'game-changing' feature as Apple is trying to spin it. On top of that, many users are saying that this is a setting that’s already configurable on current Apple Watches under AssistiveTouch. The feature isn’t currently available, but will be in October with an upcoming system update.

The introduction of the 2nd-generation Ultra Wideband Chip (UWB2), applicable for all iPhone 15 phones, the Apple Watch Series 9, and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 means that finding your lost Apple items just got a lot easier. Locate misplaced devices up to three times farther away than you used to be able to in the past. The best part? You can even locate friends in crowded spaces too. Granted that all your friends have upgraded to the newest Apple Watch chipset as well.

Easier Apple repairs?

But how does Apple fare in terms of repairing all these snazzy new products? It’s no secret that the products have historically been hard to repair (ensuring that Apple gets your business for an entirely new replacement).

It’s been stated that the iPhone 15 Pro series will be a lot easier to fix since the aluminum frame helps with thermal dissipation and allows the back glass to be easily replaced. That said, we do wonder about the repairability and sustainability of its older models in the long run.

Same old Apple pricing

The price points of the products have managed to remain mostly similar to its previous lineup, with the iPhone 15 base model starting at $799 and moving the iPhone 14 down to $699. However, while we can admit that these are some cool updates, we do feel like it’s generally not worth it to upgrade from the iPhone 14 or other newer models (eg. an iPhone 12 series and above). Think about it: If you’re getting an iPhone 15, you’re probably getting the equivalent of an iPhone 14 Pro’s chip. The 15 Pro is more or less a thinner bezel iPhone 14 with a better camera and the Dynamic Island, but there’s really not much else. 

It’s also worth pointing out that although the transition to a USB-C port is nice, many users don’t necessarily use wires to charge and prefer to opt for wireless charging instead. And though the new camera is powerful, the previous iPhone 14 model boasts a powerful 48MP camera as well, albeit without the telephoto lens capability.

If your phone is an iPhone 11 or older, then spending on a newer iPhone model would make a lot more sense because of upgraded features and software update longevity. But you can find much better pricing on iPhone 13 and 14 models rather than buy the newest 15 starting at $799 with minimal upgrades. 

One of the best ways to save money is to buy older refurbished models, which will be great for your wallet and the planet. You may not get the latest bells and whistles, but with such minimal changes to the latest lineup, it’s very much worth every dollar to get a slightly older model for so much less. Check out a few of the more recent iPhone models from Back Market: