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Apple’s Wonderlust Event Highlights

Written by: Daniel Carmo, Agile Software Engineer, TribalScale

Apple’s Wonderlust event promotional image


Apple’s event opened with a video, showing an array of their products with people being wished a happy birthday and being used to capture the moments of their parties. It then flashed to how the medical side of Apple Watch has helped people when detecting both low and high heart rate and this leading to the diagnosis of other conditions. It also told of people having falls from high heights using their watch for SOS and car accidents that used crash detection to help people get aid.


Shot from the Apple release, showing a man using his iPhone SOS to get aid
This emphasized how Apple’s products can help people detect potential health risks in their lives and help during traumatic events to get aid quickly. This led into the updates on the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, as well as the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max releases. Let’s take a look at what’s new for these devices this year!


Apple Watch Series 9

The new Apple Watch Series 9 comes with new features, improved chip for performance, and an amazing environmental milestone pushing toward their 2030 environment impact plans. This device improves its performance and capabilities with the new S9 SiP increasing performance and capabilities, detection of a new double tap gesture, brighter display, Siri on device processing, access and logging for Health data, more precise Find My features, and more.


Summary of the new Apple Watch Series 9

Performance—The new S9 SiP has 5.9 billion transistors with a 30% faster GPU. The new 4 core Neural engine allows for 2x the processing of its predecessor and has enabled Apple to allow for on-device Siri processing. Siri can now perform actions on-device instead of needing to go to the cloud, making Siri work much smoother and more efficiently on most basic tasks. For example “Siri start an outdoor walk” will be device side processed.

Brightness—The updated chip allows for a brightness of up to 2000 nits and a lowest brightness of 1nit. This will make the device much easier to see in bright settings as well as make it less distracting in low light settings.

Precise device locating—The S9 SiP includes an Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip to enable the Precise Finding for the iPhone 15 devices. The iPhone 15 comes with the same chip for Precise Finding as well. Precise Finding shows distance and direction approximations for your devices location and will provide visual, haptic, and auditory guidance as well. It also allows for detection of proximity to your Homepod which will then give you Homepod specific suggestions like music. 

Carbon footprint—This watch is the first featured item of Apple’s devices that achieves a net zero carbon emissions footprint. This means that the device is created in a fashion that produces zero carbon when you take into account recycling and steps taken to counteract any emissions produced during the creation and shipping processes. To achieve this, emissions from the three largest producers were reduced - materials, electricity, and transportation. The emissions that are remaining from the reduction in these producers are offset by carbon credits given through nature-based projects.

Double tap gesture—This new gesture is activated by tapping your index finger and thumb together twice. The gesture will correspond with the primary button that is currently available. For example if you are getting a call or trying to take a picture with your camera set up far away, you can double tap your index finger and thumb together to pick up the call or capture the image. This feature is enabled with the 4 Neural Cores on the device that perform complex analysis of the devices available metrics to determine the gesture occurred. 

Image of a person wearing the new apple watch series 9
Wrist bands—Along with this device, there are now new wrist bands available that are made from FineWoven materials. These replace the leather alternative of bands that were available before as Apple no longer uses leather in its products. 

This device will be available September 22nd starting at $399 USD for the Series 9 and the SE model starting at $299 USD, which delivers on a subset of the latest features. For more details on the Apple Watch Series 9, check out Apple’s news release (https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/09/apple-introduces-the-advanced-new-apple-watch-series-9/).


Apple Watch Ultra 2

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 contains the same functionality as the Series 9, being given the new S9 SiP to improve its performance. The Ultra has a new modular display that makes more use of its large display, using the outer edges to present additional real-time data to the user. The amount of complications available at a given time make it a great watch face for customizing metrics for sports, outdoor activities, and ocean and water activities.


Summary of the apple watch ultra 2


Brightness—The Apple Watch Ultra 2 also takes care of the same brightness perks of the Series 9 but with capabilities of going up to 3000 nits. This makes it even more compatible with outings that have large amounts of sunlight in order to still be able to read the screen.

Battery—The increased size of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 allows for a larger battery giving this device a battery life of up to 36 hours and 72 hours in low energy mode. This device will last during any of your extreme outdoor activities and daily life.

Diving—The new Ultra also enables better diving metrics for users. The device can be used for recreational dives up to 40 meters and now supports free diving. Paired with the Oceanic+ app, the Depths from the Apple watch are now logged into each session to allow you to see past dives for comparison. The precise GPS of the Apple Watch Ultra now associates that information with each dive so you can recall exactly where you dove last.

The Ultra watch is packed with features from the S9 SiP and adds its own unique and user-friendly set of features. This watch is set to release at $799 USD for all its unique capabilities. For more details on the Apple Watch Ultra 2, check out Apple’s news release (https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/09/apple-unveils-apple-watch-ultra-2/).


iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus

Summary of the apple iphone 15


Design—The iPhone 15 comes with an all new design including the use of durable, color-infused back glass, contoured edges, stronger ceramic front shield, and USB-C charging. All versions of iPhone now include the Dynamic Island, and come with an updated 48MP camera with 2x Telephoto. The devices come in a 6.1” and 6.7” display and a reduced bezel for the same size screen but smaller device size. The display is a Super Retina XDR making for crisp viewing and allows for up to 2000 nits, double the previous iPhone models.

Camera—The camera is a 48MP camera to shoot sharp videos and pictures. There is a new 24MP super-high resolution main camera. The camera also uses hardware and software to provide a 2x Telephoto option that gives users 3 different zoom capabilities at 0.5x, 1x, and 2x. This camera is the first to offer this feature.


Portrait images—They have also been improved, capturing a more detailed image even at low lighting. The captured image also allows you to choose to make a photo that was not originally a portrait. After taking a photo, you can focus on a particular face in the photo and shift focus to that person, blurring the rest of the image. If there are multiple people in the image that could be focused on for a portrait image you can also switch between each person's face to change the zoom. This functionality is the Focus and Depth control of the camera.

Summary of apple iphone 15 camera

Performance—The iPhone 15 uses the A16 Bionic chip with 16 core Neural Engine, 5 core GPU, 6 core CPU (2 high performance cores, and 4 high efficiency cores). The 2 high performance cores consume 20% less energy for improved battery life. The 5 Core GPU has 50% more memory bandwidth making it perform better during gameplay and video streaming.

Emergency SOS—The services have been expanded to include Spain and Switzerland later this month, having already connected 14 countries and regions on three continents, this expands the coverage of this safety feature. Alongside adding these countries, Emergency SOS will now include Roadside Assistance via satellite. Working much like the Emergency SOS, in low connectivity zones, it will allow you to reach out to Roadside Assistance with the use of satellites, helping you locate and point at the nearest satellite to make your connection with Roadside Assistance. 

Connectivity—With the use of Precise Finding and the Find My friends, a friend of yours can share their location and while you are in close proximity the device will point you in the direction of your friend's device. This feature uses the new second generation Ultra Wideband chip to more accurately locate items, and now people, that you need to find. 

Voice Isolation—If you’ve ever been in a crowded or noisy place and find that the person that you are on the phone with is having trouble hearing you, then the new Voice Isolation feature of the iPhone 15 will come in handy for you. When activated, it will isolate the person's voice that is talking on the phone and block out the background noise, making you sound more clear to whoever you are talking with.

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus come packed with some great enhancements over the previous versions. The iPhone 15 will start at $799 USD and the iPhone 15 Plus starts at $899 USD. Preorders start this Friday for the device and will start shipping on Sept 22nd. For more details on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, check out Apple’s news release (https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/09/apple-debuts-iphone-15-and-iphone-15-plus/).


iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Summary of the apple iphone pro


Design—The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max come with all the features and improvements the iPhone 15 comes with and its own unique and great improvements. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max use a Titanium shell making them more durable and lighter than previous versions of the iPhone. With a Ceramic shielded front display it may be the toughest iPhone yet. 

Performance—The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will come with the new A17 Pro chip, which is the first 3-nanometer chip. This chip contains 19 billion transistors, 6 Core CPU with 2 performance cores that are 10% faster than the A16, and 4 efficient cores with 3x performance per watt vs other cores. The chip has 16 Core Neural Engine with the capability to handle 35 trillion operations per second and provide improvements to the on-device processing for Siri, image capture, and more. With the new addition of the USB-C port replacing the lighting port the chip also includes a USB controller in it.

Gaming—Gaming on the iPhone Pro Max now gets a boost with the latest chip. They showcased many high end games running on the iPhone such as The Division, Resident Evil 4, and the Village. The new chip includes a new shading architecture for Apple with a 6 Core GPU that is 20% faster than the A16. There are also improvements to Energy Efficiency with new mesh shading and a Hardware Accelerated Ray Tracing. The Ray Tracing is now 4x faster than just software Ray Tracing with the addition of the hardware accelerated Ray tracing.

Camera—The camera sees an enhancement on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max including the same 48MP main camera and the 24MP super-high resolution main camera as the iPhone 15. This phone camera has an additional Telephoto zoom of 3x over the 2x of the iPhone 15 base model and has the farthest optical zoom of any past iPhones at 5x zoom or 120mm. The optical stabilization of the camera has also seen an improvement making it capable of taking these higher zoom pictures with less blur. The new A17 Chip with it’s dedicated ProRes processing allows for 4k video at 60fps now over the 30fps of past.

Example of the powerful camera on the new apple iphone pro max
Video—To go along with the new Apple Vision Pro, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max can do spatial videos. Later on this year, when the Apple Vision Pro is available, iPhone 15 Pro users will be able to playback their videos on the Apple Vision Pro in high depth from the iPhone 15 Pro camera.

The iPhone 15 Pro will start at $999 USD and the iPhone Pro Max will start at $1199 USD. Preorders start this Friday for the device and will start shipping on Sept 22nd. For more details on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, check out Apple’s news release (https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/09/apple-unveils-iphone-15-pro-and-iphone-15-pro-max/).


Profile picture of daniel carmo


Daniel is a Senior Agile Software Engineer with experience on a variety of platforms in both development and design. He also enjoys collaborative projects with clients, leading developer projects, and mentoring junior and intermediate developers on everything from code quality to programming knowledge. When he’s not coding, his hobbies include baking, running agility with his dog, raising chickens, and gaming.

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