Apple held its annual fall event this week. Titled “Wonderlust,” the event served to officially launch the iPhone 15, as well as a few other mobile-related products.
As others have noted, smartphones, and iPhones specifically, are now pretty much a commodity item. Thus, Apple’s events aren’t as exciting as they were a decade ago, when smartphones were still fairly new and rapidly changing. (Remember when Windows and Blackberry were popular mobile OSes?)
Still, there were a few things of interest beyond the usual incremental updates, which I’ll discuss below. If you’d like to watch the whole keynote without spending over an hour doing so, The Verge made a condensed video of the event that’s 17 minutes long.
MacOS Sonoma, iOS 17, and iPadOS 17 launches
The newest versions of the major Apple operating systems will all launch within the next few weeks. iOS and iPadOS will launch on September 18, while the latest version of MacOS, Sonoma, launches September 26.
The iPhone 15 launches: Welcome to Dynamic Island
The newest iPhone model, the 15, was launched with a few major changes. One change is including the new Dynamic Island feature by default across the line, not just for the high-end Pro models like with last year‘s iPhone 14 line. (I’m sure everyone over a certain age has already used up the good “Fantasy Island”/“Gilligan’s Island” jokes.)
The 15 Pro and Pro Max models are also made of titanium, as well as feature thinner bezels.
The mute switch on the iPhone 15 has been replaced by the “Action Button,” with a system setting allowing one to customize the switch to do any number of functions other than set the phone to vibrate.
On the other end, the iPhone 13 is now the new low-end model, with the iPhone 12 officially dropped. However, plenty of new and refurbished models will likely be available in the near future at a discount, and they’ll receive support from Apple for at least the next several years.
The iPhone now has USB-C
However, the biggest news of the event marks one of the biggest changes in a decade for the iPhone: the iPhone 15 is now the first model to feature a USB-C port instead of the Lightning port.
While I’m sure Apple will spin this as some sort of progress, it’s actually because of the European Union passing a law stating all mobile devices must use USB-C by the end of 2024. The point of the law is to cut down on e-waste and make things easier for consumers by allowing them to reuse their same cables, etc. across brands.
As Apple was the main holdout until now, I assume it was easier for them to change the iPhone line globally rather than just make EU-specific models. The Verge has an article on the confusing history of Apple’s various ports (and port changes).
Image: Apple Store in Manhattan. Photo by Anthony Dean.