Apple Watch Series 9 & iPhone 15 – Major Updates & More!

Apple Watch Series 9 & iPhone 15 – Major Updates & More!

Let’s start with some major Apple news, particularly concerning the Apple Watch. We don’t have specific details about the Apple Watch Series 9 chip, which was rumored to be a brand new chip for the first time since the Series 6 chip in 2020.

In our previous Apple Watch article, we theorized that it could be based on a smaller five-nanometer manufacturing process from the current seven nanometers. This is because the iPhone is said to be switching to three nanometers this year, and when the iPhone switched to five in 2020, that was also when the Apple Watch switched to seven. So the Apple Watch has always been one generation behind.

However, Mark Gurman has now stated that not only will the Apple Watch Series 9 chip be based on a five-nanometer process, but that it will also be based on the Apple A15 chip. The A15 chip was Apple’s 2nd Gen 5 nanometer process chip and it used TSMC’s N5P, rather than the N5 that the five-nanometer A14 used. This resulted in even more optimization that further improved the power efficiency. What this means for the Apple Watch is that we could see a significant battery life improvement.

Just as an idea, if we compare the iPhone 11 Pro to the 13 Pro, even though Apple kept almost the same battery size, the 13 Pro had a four-hour longer battery for video playback and a 10-hour longer battery for audio playback.

This was simply thanks to the A15 chip being manufactured on TSMC’s second-gen 5 nanometer and 5P mode, as opposed to the older five-nanometer chip inside the iPhone 11 Pro. The best part is that we could see these major battery life gains in not just the Series 9 but the second-gen Apple Watch Ultra 2, as this would also feature the new S9 chip.

Apple Watch Ultra

The second piece of Apple Watch news is about watchOS 10 widgets. WatchOS 10 has been rumored to be the Apple Watch’s biggest software update since the very first Apple Watch. Aside from a redesigned home screen with folders, we didn’t really have any news as to what the other changes might be.

Well, now we do. According to our government, Apple will be introducing on-screen widgets to the Apple Watch, which will apparently be a central part of the Apple Watch’s interface with watchOS 10.

On paper, this sounds pretty cool, but in reality, I’m not sure how I feel about it. The Apple Watch has a really small display, and this is why Apple designs the complications to work kind of like widgets in iOS, as in they show you plenty of info at a glance. Adding the iOS-style widgets to watchOS would simply take up way too much screen space for something that wouldn’t necessarily offer you more info than the complications.

However, if Apple adds widgets not to the watch faces but to the app screen instead, this could work. You’d still have your regular watch faces just like now, but then instead of the messy ocean of apps, you would simply have this scrollable grid with widgets as well as the potential folders that we saw in the previous leak.

This could allow you to have multiple app pages and customize them however you like. That would indeed be something that I would definitely prefer over the current layout.

The third piece of Apple Watch updates is that more and more developers are closing down their Apple Watch apps. Not that long ago, we lost Twitter for the Apple Watch. We also lost Instagram, Slack, and even Uber.

Now it seems like we are losing Facebook Messenger as well. This isbad as unlike wear OS, where you can respond to notifications directly from them, on the Apple Watch, if you want to respond to let’s say a messenger message, you can only do so via the app.

Same with Uber, where before you could simply use it to call an Uber from your watch, but now you just get the notification from your iPhone and you cannot do anything with that.

I’m not really sure why developers keep removing their apps from the Apple Watch, but if I could take a guess, I’d probably say it has something to do with maybe an extremely low user base.

Most people simply use their Apple Watches for health tracking and notifications, and you don’t really need any third-party apps for those. Who knows, maybe this new widget system would make developers want to make apps again.

iPhone Updates

Next up, we have some iPhone updates. Display analyst Ross Young claims that Apple will be increasing the screen size with the 2024 iPhone 16s to 6.3 inches from 6.1 on the 16 Pro and to 6.9 inches from 6.7 on the iPhone 16 Pro Max.

I am quite happy that the iPhone 16 Pro is getting bigger as this will allow for more internal space. Space that, according to main Chico, would be used to bring the Periscope module to the iPhone 16 Pro as well, rather than just the Pro Max. But on the other hand, I do believe that the 6.9 inch iPhone 16 Pro Max would be just way too big.

I always found the 12 Pro Max, 13 Pro Max, and 14 Pro Max to be very uncomfortable to use due to how wide they were and how sharp the edges also were. Even though the edges are getting smoother with the 15s, I don’t think that would be enough to make the 6.9 inch display usable the following year. But hey, it does seem like the display size increase is happening. In fact, Ninjago seems to agree with Russian on this.

Next up, DigiTimes claims that Apple will be adding micro LED displays onto the iPhone. This will only happen after the Apple Watch Ultra adopts micro LED, which is only rumored to be in 2025. So yeah, 2026 and later is when we’ll likely see this happening.

To be honest, I wouldn’t even call this a rumor. It’s just the obvious next step after OLED, and it’s just a matter of time until this technology matures enough to come to the iPhone. The main advantage here would just be the brightness. Micro LED would be able to go significantly brighter to numbers like 5000 to 10,000 nits and even higher, making the iPhone’s display just as visible outdoors as it is indoors.

Apple’s Headset

Some quick updates on the headset. June seems to be when we’ll see it fully unveiled, not just in terms of the software but also in terms of the hardware. The XR OS name has now been trademarked and visible in official documents, so the WWDC launch is getting closer and closer.

Apple ARVR

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple employees who have already tried the headset were blown away by the results and said that it offers great levels of performance and immersion that far exceed the capabilities of the competition like the Meta Quest Pro.

Of course, with a starting price of three thousand dollars, you would definitely expect it to surpass all of its competitors. But we’ll see. I’m really excited to try it out, but at the same time, I do feel like if the price is going to be three grand indeed, obviously not a lot of people would buy it.

Speaking of apps, according to Mark Gurman, the headset will be able to run iPad OS apps and it could even run Final Cut Pro and Logic in the future, the iPadOS version of them.

Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for iPad

In case you missed it, last week Apple released Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for the iPad, which is a pretty big deal as they have both been requested by users for a couple of years now. They both seem very capable, with Final Cut even supporting third-party plugins and most of the features of the MacOS version. The only catch is that they don’t quite get every feature.

You don’t get advanced color grading and object tracking alongside others, and they both require a monthly subscription.

Even though that’s quite controversial, I do think that it is for the best. Final Cut Pro for the Mac costs $300 as a one-time purchase. Now, when was the last time you spent $300 on an iOS app? Right, probably never.

So for iOS and iPadOS in this case, you need a more affordable entry, which is what that five-dollar monthly subscription is for. At the end of the day, these versions of the apps are perfect for beginners and those who want to get a video project done without having to spend hundreds.

So, these were all the big Apple updates. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for Apple and its products.