Apple’s next iPhone range is just days away.
September 13 update below. This post was first published on September 10, 2023. This post has now been updated to reflect what’s taken place and what’s changed.
The iPhone 15 series is so nearly with us you can almost hear it rustling in its recyclable packaging. There are lots of events to check in with between now and the moment the iPhones go on sale.
Here’s the fully detailed, completely updated guide to what’s happening when—down to the minute.
So, the keynote has passed. There were some surprises. For instance, though pre-orders for the iPhone will begin on Friday as expected, you can already pre-order Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. The new AirPods Pro second generation will go on sale on September 22 with pre-orders already open, and the wired equivalent, EarPods with USB-C are also on pre-order since Tuesday.
As mentioned above, AirPods Pro second generation go on sale on September 22, not today as had been rumored.
Friday, September 15 (updated)
Pre-orders begin for all the new products. The exact time has now been announced, and it’s 5 a.m. Pacific, that is, 8 a.m. Eastern and 1 p.m. U.K.
Despite persistent rumors that the iPhone 15 Pro Max would be delayed. it’s due for September 22 as well, though I think it’s possible that it may be in short supply, so prompt pre-ordering is suggested to avoid delays.
Apple will release the new software for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Watch, that is, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, tvOS 17 and watchOS 10. It’s going to be a busy week for Apple, so I think Monday is more likely than Tuesday but the final decision may not have been made yet.
Note that unlike last year when iPadOS came later, this year it seems likely they will all come together.
Initial reviews of iPhone and Apple Watch will appear. Phone reviews will be one day, Watch the next. Note that Apple could push the reviews to Wednesday and Thursday, but I think it’s unlikely.
Apple’s 2023 range of iPhones and Watches will go on sale. Oh, at last.
September 11 update. As we creep towards Tuesday’s big day, more details are leaking out. One of the most interesting affects the release date schedule and concerns when Apple will start selling stuff instore. As you’ll have seen above, the predicted AirPods Pro second-generation, updated with a case that allows charging from USB-C instead of Lightning, could go on sale on Wednesday, September 13.
Some coverage has speculated that the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 could go on sale at the same time but, I’m going to stick my neck out here: that’s nonsense. Apple will want to build sales through pre-orders over a week from Friday, September 15, for a start.
But Mark Gurman from Bloomberg has posted on X some details about what’s happening.
Gurman points out that there’s an “uncharacteristic” event planned for retail stores with managers, to take place after the keynote. This indicates there are changes coming overnight to the Apple Stores. I’m sure AirPods Pro will be one of the changes, but a big shift of emphasis from Lightning to USB-C accessories seems a shoo-in, too. For instance, it’s likely that the MagSafe battery pack for the iPhone will also move to a USB-C connector, and fast, though it’s likely the Lightning version will continue for a while, too.
After all, when the first USB-C iPhones are launched, the legacy models will still be on sale, and they won’t be switching to USB-C. So, Lightning cables and other accessories will be sold in Apple Stores for years to come, as they’ll be needed for the iPhone SE, iPhone 13, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, which be part of the range for a long time to come.
September 12 update.
We’re almost there. Something I didn’t put in the timetable was the time-honored event which has just happened: Apple takes down its website in the run-up to a major event like a keynote. At this second, it’s being updated to show what’s about to be announced, with prices, pictures, pre-order details, videos of the new delights and so on. As soon as it’s ready, that is when the keynote is finished in a short while, it will spring back into glorious life with everything new—and everything that’s being retired, from the iPhone 12 to certain accessories, will have quietly vanished as though they never existed.
In other last-minute (last-second) news, there have been further corroborations that the name iPhone 15 Ultra will not be heard from anyone’s lips, and the next big iPhone is the iPhone 15 Pro Max. There are more suggestions that the blockbuster periscope zoom lens promised for this year is indeed for the iPhone 15 Pro Max only.
As well as his other recent claims, Gurman also pointed out that there is “Low/no stock of Watch Ultras, watch bands, leather cases, MagSafe wallets, iPhone 12, 13 minis, Pro phones.”
Even so, I’m not expecting stocks of new iPhone cases to go on sale until the iPhones do—it just doesn’t make sense. But if the move away from leather cases happens, as I expect, there could be new cases for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models. It’s just possible that new Watch bands could launch on Wednesday, as these will fit current Watches as well as new ones in all likelihood. Exactly when things go on sale will be revealed at the keynote.
This immediacy is exciting, and reminds me of the day when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPod shuffle, saying you could order it immediately and “I think we have some stock in the San Francisco store today.” They did.
Of course, the keynote is far from the end of the story, as the timetable above shows. Check back on Forbes for more details as they emerge.
Apple’s next iPhone range is just days away.