By an astonishing coincidence, Macworld’s sleuths have stumbled across the video rehearsal for yet another Apple keynote presentation. All that time spent sifting through the bins at Apple Park was well worth it.
So here it is: The entire minute-by-minute script for next Tuesday’s Wonderlust event. From the iPhone 15 to the Apple Watch Series 9, from the awkward jokes to the show-stopping demos, you can read about all the announcements here several days before they actually happen. If you want to be surprised, stop reading now and watch the event live at 10 a.m. PT on September 12.
(The last time we did this, some people didn’t realize it was fake until after the WWDC keynote. While we can’t vouch for the validity of the document we pilfered, we can vouch for the gullibility of the Internet.)
09:55: The pre-stream starts, which means we’re staring at a dynamic Apple logo screensaver image, accompanied by the latest pop tunes from the hit parade. These include “Well I Wonder” by The Smiths, “Little Wonder” by David Bowie, and several tracks by the Velvet Wonderground.
10:01: Actual video starts playing! An actor in casual wear is wandering/wondering around an American city enjoying his Apple products. Various logistical puzzles and social encounters are lubricated by the assistance of his phone, headphones, and smartwatch. The theme appears to be “Isn’t life great when you own expensive consumer electronics?”
10:03: The actor’s adventures end, and the video fades into Tim Cook standing in the green space in the middle of Apple Park. (Note that this is all pre-recorded, as expected. Even after a few years of these virtual events, the lack of audience whooping and cheering still strikes us as weird, like watching “Two And A Half Men” without the laugh track.) Cook wishes us a good morning, and says how lucky he is to work for Apple, “a company committed to leveraging technology innovations into positive life experiences through the synergy of magical products going forward.” He then reveals–bang, no messing–that this event will be about three product lines specifically: the iPhone, the AirPods, and the Apple Watch. Sure, Jan. I bet there won’t be One More Thing as well.
10:05: But before we get into the hardware, a few software updates. Cook says that since WWDC 2023, more people have taken part in Apple’s beta software program than ever before. He claims that Apple’s engineers were able to add numerous new features on the basis of user feedback. (Presumably, they spotted a few bugs, too, but he doesn’t draw attention to that.) Oh, and here’s the first announcement of the event: iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10 will all launch on Monday, September 18. That’s good news for iPad owners, who feared they might have to wait a bit longer, as happened last year. No word on macOS Sonoma’s release date.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
New Apple Watches
10:07: Cook is recounting the letters he’s received from grateful customers whose lives were saved by their Apple Watches. Following on from last year’s catalog of misfortunes, 2023’s letter writers report near-death experiences involving volcanoes, leopards, dynamite, hot-air balloons, serial killers, acid, venomous snakes, and the International Space Station. It’s a dangerous world out there.
10:09: Here comes Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, strolling confidently around a grassy corner of Apple Park like Tobey Maguire in “Spider-Man 3.” He says the Apple Watch “soars over other smartwatches like a beautiful golden eagle looking down at mice and voles” and assures us that big things are in the pipeline.
10:10: Whoosh! A brief CGI marketing video, and there’s our first sighting of the new Apple Watch. It looks… quite a lot like the old Apple Watch. And yep, there’s confirmation that it’s called the Apple Watch Series 9.
10:11: We’re getting into the details. Williams says the S9 processor in the Series 9 “is far more powerful than any smartwatch chip on the market right now, like a strong lion ruling over a kingdom of lesser creatures.” In practice that appears to mean a 20 percent boost in processing speed, and Williams says we can expect a substantial increase in everyday performance and battery life. Williams doesn’t acknowledge this, but the speed bump is especially noteworthy because the last three Apple Watch chips, despite being branded as the S6, S7, and S8, were all technically identical.
10:13: The Series 9 gets 5G connectivity! That’s a key breakthrough in Apple’s push to make its smartwatch an independent device. Williams adds that it also gets the Dual-Frequency GPS feature that debuted on the Apple Watch Ultra last year. That means it covers the L5 band as well as the standard L1 for sharper location tracking.
10:14: We’re now seeing lush photography of the Series 9, which is available in a new pink color. As nice as this is, it suggests there aren’t any more substantive upgrades to talk about. To be fair we expected this year to be a minor refresh, ahead of the more groundbreaking Apple Watch X launch in 2024.
10:15: Whoosh! Another CGI video, this time showing what looks like… yes, it’s the Apple Watch Ultra Series 2.
10:17: Williams is getting enthusiastic about the upgrades on the new Ultra. It gets a microLED display, which means a brighter and sharper picture and should also lower power consumption. And this will be, the executive adds, “even bigger than the original Ultra’s screen, towering over other watch screens like the noble gorilla of the forest.” To be more specific, it’s a 51mm display.
10:20: There are some design changes to the Ultra Series 2, although the overall look is largely the same. The chassis is lighter than that of its predecessor: it weighs just 58.3g, which means it’s dropped 3 grams. (It’s still heavier than all of the non-Ultra Apple Watches, of course.)
10:23: The new Ultra obviously gets the upgraded S9 chip and 5G. Not much to say here—the same Series 9 upgrades also apply to the Ultra Series 2.
10:25: The new Ultra also gets a new color option: a dark titanium finish that Apple calls “Galaxy Black,” and Williams describes as “the color of a raven’s dreams.” And with that, he’s striding off and this section appears to be over.
10:27: Tim Cook is back to sum up the new Apple Watches. He says pre-orders begin today, and that they will ship to customers and appear in stores starting from Friday, September 22. The Series 9 starts at $399/£409, while the Ultra Series 2 starts at $799/£829. Those are the same U.S. prices as the Series 8 and original Ultra respectively, but it’s interesting that the U.K. gets a price cut.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
10:30: Cook is talking about the AirPods range. He says AirPods “synergize simplicity and experience design with seamless technology innovation going forward.” And he is excited to tell us about the product’s next evolution.
10:31: Whoosh! Product video. Earbuds. They look rather like the 2nd-gen AirPods from 2019, except they’re in all kinds of colors: blue, yellow, and pink. This is a big step from Apple.
10:33: Ah, mystery solved. Cook says he’s proud to announce… the AirPods SE! And he welcomes AirPods senior engineer Mary-Ann Rau to the virtual stage to tell us more.
10:34: Rau says AirPods are the most popular and successful headphones in the world, but Apple wanted to go further. It wanted to put AirPods into the hands of everyone who appreciates great audio. And the company’s engineers have been working to bring “all the advantages of AirPods, at a low, low price. Ker-ching!”
10:36: AirPods Lite… sorry, AirPods SE have “the same design, the same audio quality, and the same features as our enormously popular 2nd-gen AirPods, with the addition of great new colors and a price tag you’ll love. Cashback!”
10:38: This all means that the AirPods SE do not get Spatial Audio or Adaptive EQ, like the 2021 AirPods. Nor do they get those headphones’ more sophisticated touch controls. You’ll just get double-tap to play, fast-forward, and so on. Plus Hey Siri, if that’s your thing. Nor, of course, do they get active noise cancellation like the AirPods Pro. All of which will be fine if the price is right.
10:40: No word on the price just yet. Rau is moving on to Apple’s over-ear headphones. She says AirPods Max “deliver market-leading audio in an elegant package, and have proved popular around the world. Bosh!” It’s worth saying that the reviews of AirPods Max were by no means universally positive, with particular criticism of the physical design, although the audio quality is indeed excellent.
10:42: Whoosh! Product video. We’re seeing over-ear headphones, but they look closer to the Beats aesthetic–particularly this year’s Beats Studio Pro–than the original AirPods Max. This points to a complete redesign. There’s a wide range of colors, but the first-gen Max models had plenty of color options. Then again… yes, a definite sighting of the new AirPods Max in pink. That’s new.
10:45: Rau says she’s proud to announce… AirPods Max 2nd Generation. Snappy name.
10:46: Lots more images of the new AirPods Max. They’re very different, which says a lot about Apple’s faith in that “elegant package.”
10:47: Rau says the new AirPods Max feature “the very latest in audiophile technology. Awooga!” This means they now support… Adaptive Transparency, Conversation Boost, and Apple Music’s Lossless Audio format; they also get the newer Adaptive Audio, Personalized Volume, and Conversation Awareness features announced at WWDC 2023. And they get the newer H2 chip you’ll find in the newer AirPods instead of the H1. That’s a lot, but it’s all a question of catching up with another Apple product that costs less than half as much. By the time we see the third-gen AirPods Max, they will presumably have fallen massively behind once again.
10:51: Cook is back to sum up. He says pre-orders of the AirPods SE begin today, and they will appear in stores from Friday, September 22. They will cost $99/£99–it’s genuinely impressive that Apple got under a hundred, and I’d suspect these will sell well. The AirPods Max will go on sale in October and cost $499/£499. And we’re done with AirPods! What’s next?
10:53: Cook is talking about the historic impact of the iPhone. He says it “changed the very essence of the human experience, marking the innovative synergy of design simplicity going forward. But today, simplicity becomes even more innovative going forward!”
10:54: Cut to black. And whoosh: another product video. A sprinkling of stars, a looming shape… it’s…
10:55: The iPhone 15. Tagline: “Apple’s goodest iPhone yet.”
10:56: And here to talk about the improvements in this year’s iPhone, product sub-marketing vice-manager Harry Harriman.
10:57: Harriman is talking about the Dynamic Island, which he describes as “the greatest human invention since the air fryer.” He says Apple wanted to make sure that more people could access this groundbreaking feature of the iPhone 14 Pro, which is why the iPhone 15 gets the Dynamic Island.
10:59: It’s maybe worth noting that Apple in recent years has very much not been interested in making sure as many people as possible can access its best features. It has pursued a deliberate policy of confining the best features to the premium products only, in order to push customers into upgrading.
11:00: One hour in! And Harriman is talking about the mute switch. This has been replaced with a solid-state Action button. Because it’s not a mechanical moving part it should be less likely to go wrong; the old mechanical Home button was notorious for jamming up or refusing to work after a few years, and things improved with the launch of the capacitive Home button on the iPhone 7. On the other hand, how often do you have problems with your mute button?
11:02: That’s a fair point. Harriman points out that solid-state buttons are easier to customize: not just their function, but their haptic feedback, the speed or duration of double or long presses, and so on.
11:04: We’re looking at more photos of the iPhone 15. There are some smart new color finishes: green and pink. And the yellow finish has been brightened up, so it’s now a bit jollier.
11:06: The changes aren’t just cosmetic: The standard iPhone has had a redesign, albeit quite a minor one. The screen is slightly larger (6.2 inches and 6.8 inches respectively for the 15 and 15 Plus) but the body of the phone remains the same size thanks to smaller bezels. The back corners of the chassis are now more rounded, for presumably a smoother feel in the hand (when uncased). Overall it looks largely the same, just slightly nicer.
11:08: The cameras are mostly the same but the iPhone 15 is getting the 48MP lens that the iPhone 14 Pro got last year. No mention of ProRAW but Apple says the new camera takes photos with “incredible clarity and precise details.”
11:09: There will not be any leather accessories for the iPhone 15! That was expected, but it’s still a big call. Harriman says Apple takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and that starting today, the Apple Store will not sell any products or accessories containing leather. There will be a leather-free alternative which he claims “feels exactly the same.”
11:11: Tim Cook is back to sum up the iPhone 15. Pre-orders open today, and it will appear in stores on September 22, the same as the new Apple Watches and the AirPods SE. The iPhone 15 starts at $749/£799, while the 15 Plus starts at $849/£899: both get a price cut from the 14-series.
iPhone 15 Pro
11:13: Cook is now talking about the iPhone 14 Pro, which he says “was more popular than any previous premium smartphone Apple has made.” Probably because you gave the standard iPhone 14 a year-old processor.
11:14: How do you improve upon perfection? By focusing on the synergy of simplicity and the user experience, he says. Here to announce the iPhone 15 Pro is product vice-marketing sub-manager Steve Bytheway.
11:16: Whoosh: product video. We can see that the Pro models also get slimmed-down bezels, so the screens are presumably larger. It also looks like there’s a new gray color finish.
11:18: Bytheway says the new A17 Bionic processor is the fastest chip Apple has ever put in an iPhone. (Which seems obvious.) More impressively, he says it’s the industry’s first 3nm processor. It features more than 22 billion transistors; the A16 had just 16 billion. That means far more raw processing muscle, while power consumption should also be improved.
11:21: The iPhone 15 Pro’s storage options go all the way up to 2TB. Who needs that much space on a phone? Nobody. And 8GB of RAM as standard, up from 6GB on the 14 Pro. (That’s a first—Apple doesn’t usually talk about the RAM in iPhones.)
11:22: We’re looking at the design. The 15 Pro handsets are made of titanium instead of stainless steel, which means they’re lighter than last year’s phones while providing the same strength. You know what’s weird? The photos and videos keep avoiding the bottom edge of the phones. What is Apple hiding?
11:24: And of course, the Pro models get all the design upgrades on the 14 and 14 Plus. They get the solid-state Action button and the same slimmer bezels, which means screen sizes of 6.2 inches and 6.8 inches respectively. There’s been no mention of a rebranding of the top-end model, by the way; it still seems to be called the Pro Max rather than the Ultra.
11:26: Battery life is much improved, Bytheway claims. He says the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max last at least an hour longer than their equivalents from 2022. That will be at least partly down to the A17.
11:28: There’s a new color finish: “Titan Gray.” It looks quite dull, but maybe it’s more impressive when you see it in person.
11:29: Now the camera. The improvements to the wide (better sensor) and ultra-wide (48MP) are glossed over as an image of a distant building appears. Now it gets closer, even closer, and boom, we can see it now. Bytheway is describing the new periscope telephoto lens that has a 6X optical zoom and up to 30X digital zoom with “clarity as if you’re inches away.” It looks impressive but we were kind of hoping for 100X space zoom.
11:31: Bytheway is showing a video about the new camera, which seems very impressive. This will make a lot of iPhone buyers want the Pro Max.
11:33: And Cook is back to sum up. Again, pre-orders open today, and sales on September 22. The iPhone 15 Pro starts at $999/£1,099 (the same as the 14 Pro), while the 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199/£1,249 (which has gone up) though you’re getting 256GB of storage, which cost $100 previously.
11:34: We seem to be wrapping up.
One More Thing
11:35: The screen darkens, and then we’re back with Jeff Williams. He’s talking about Lightning, which he calls “the strongest and bravest and fastest and most secure proprietary connection standard in the world.” (We call it the little iPhone port that could.)
11:36: Sometimes, Williams says, you need to show courage. “The same courage as the noble stag being chased by cowardly bureaucrats trying to impose short-sighted regulations.”
11:37: Which is why, he says, we’re proud to announce a brand-new standard. It’s called “Apple Port.”
11:39: Apple Port is as fast and secure as USB-C, and has been carefully designed to be compatible with all USB-C products made by the “lesser and weaker companies sniffing around our revenue streams.”
11:40: Apple went so far as to make Apple Port look exactly the same as USB-C so that users won’t be confused.
11:41: But Apple Port adds a feature that USB-C does not offer: Apple Speed Control. Hmmm, what’s that?
11:42 Apple Speed Control ensures that genuine products sold by Apple itself or a registered reseller are running at optimal efficiency. “Your charging and data transfers will be as swift as a salmon,” Williams says. “Unless you are using a non-genuine product made by another company, in which case we will de-optimize its operations at no extra cost or inconvenience to you.”
11:44: All of this year’s iPhones and AirPods will feature Apple Port, and the company will be working to adapt all of its other products to the same standard.
11:47: And now we really are wrapping up. We hope you enjoyed the presentation.