5 surprises we hope to see at Apple’s iPhone 15 Wonderlust event
All the news, rumors, and tips you missed last week.
By David Price, Editor, MacworldSEP 4, 2023 3:30 am PDT
Welcome to our weekly Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a Monday morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.
It’s official: Apple’s next event will take place on September 12. The invitations have gone out, and the artwork and tagline (“Wonderlust”) scoured for clues to the imminent announcements. Put on your seatbelts everyone—we’re about to take a trip to Hypeville.
While the iPhone 15 itself is all but guaranteed to appear at the event—the only time Apple pushed the iPhone launch to October was in 2020, but there were special reasons for that strategy that don’t apply now—the rest of the line-up remains something of a mystery. Here are the five long-shot announcements that are top of my optimistic wish list.
Apple Watch Ultra Series 2: The original Ultra was an exciting launch when it appeared in fall 2022, giving the Apple Watch range its first shake-up in years. It felt like something genuinely new, appealing to hikers and extreme sports enthusiasts who had never previously been included in the target audience and giving Garmin and its ilk a serious scare.
However, the consistent pattern with Apple products–and one that prospective Vision Pro customers should bear in mind–is that the second generation is the one to go for. And while I liked the first Ultra, there’s definitely room for improvement: battery life remains well below what most rugged smartwatches offer, the Action button triggers by accident too often (yet is awkward to activate while wearing gloves), and the first-party bands are terrible. All of this could be fixed in a second-gen release, just as happened with the superb Apple Watch Series 2.
But where’s the surprise? What I’d really love to see would be the promised magnetic band-attachment system that we’re told will arrive next year for the Apple Watch X. Given the importance of having different bands for hiking, diving, and so on, and the value of squeezing a larger battery inside its chassis, the Ultra would benefit hugely from getting that upgrade a year early.
AirPods Max 2: Another first-gen Apple product that needs the healing caress of a second-gen rethink, not to mention a complete accessories overhaul, the AirPods Max are also rather old in the tooth (they launched back in December 2020) and have been rather left behind technologically: they cannot play Apple Music’s Lossless Audio. They’re not expected to make an appearance at the September event, but they should. Minus the Smart Case, hopefully.
New AirTags: The last of our imperfect first-gen products, the AirTags managed one of the key achievements for an Apple device–they became a cultural icon and watercooler discussion point–but were met with more serious critical reservations than the original iPhone and AirPods. Namely, Apple couldn’t seem to decide how to walk the tightrope between beating thieves and respecting privacy, turning the AirTags into popular shorthand for tech-enabled stalking.
Privacy is a messy business, and I don’t envy the engineers trying to come up with ways to make this work. But I want to hear a recognition from Apple that there is a problem to work on, and it would be a lovely surprise if the company chose this month to reveal the solution.
Seventh-gen iPad mini: Poor old iPad mini, so often left out when the other iPads are getting attention. The current mini came out in September 2021, before the Air’s 2022 refresh, while the iPad Pros and the standard iPad were updated in October 2022. The mini is due.
Given that the sixth-gen iPad mini was a relatively major redesign, including the loss of the Home button and a switch to USB-C, we ordinarily wouldn’t expect anything too radical this time around. But come on, it’s been two years. We deserve a folding iPad mini.
iPhone 15 mini: This is 100 percent not going to happen. But I really miss the iPhone mini form factor—cute little thing.
And with that, we’re done for this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Threads, or Twitter for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Monday, and stay Appley.