Apple on Tuesday is expected to unveil a new iPhone 15 lineup as questions about market access in China and competition hang over the world’s most valuable listed company. The iPhone made up over half of the Cupertino, California firm’s $394.3 billion sales last year. But the company faces a series of challenges with selling its flagship handset in China, including a ban on iPhone use by Chinese government employees and a growing sense of nationalism leading consumers to avoid foreign brands.
Several new iPhone features are expected to be introduced at the event, including Apple Watch and iOS operating system updates. Among the most eagerly anticipated changes is a switch to USB-C for charging. That move would help Apple comply with European Union rules requiring phones to use that connector, and it could also reduce the overall weight of the devices. In addition, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the Pro models will get a titanium casing rather than stainless steel, making them lighter.
Other rumors point to an improved Face ID security feature that will let users unlock their phones using facial recognition, a change from the Touch ID system that uses a fingerprint sensor. And there are also suggestions that the iPhone 15 will include a neural engine for augmented reality. That technology could give the device a more immersive virtual experience by overlaying information on top of live video.
Analysts say Apple will likely release four models this time — two standard iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro, plus a more prominent iPhone 15 Pro Max. They’ll keep the overall size of the handsets roughly the same but make minor performance improvements and add new color options. The bigger phone is also likely to feature a larger screen, although the exact dimensions of that display remain unclear.
The 13th of September, the launch event date, is notable for a couple of reasons. It’s the day after Labor Day and a week before the end of the 2023 fiscal quarter. That means the new iPhones will hit stores right as the holiday season kicks in, making it a crucial time for Apple to make an impression on consumers.
Despite the looming sales challenge, Apple will likely unveil its new iPhone lineup at the Steve Jobs Theater on Tuesday. The event will be streamed online for customers who need help to attend in person. It’s also likely to include a Q&A with Tim Cook and other Apple executives and a music performance by the band Imagine Dragons.