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iPhone 15 Is Enough to Return Apple to Growth
Apple, Spatial Computing
Apple’s fall hardware event featured the new iPhone 15 family and updates to Apple Watch at prices unchanged from a year ago. While most of these updates were incremental, they’re enough to attract the 400m iPhone owners with phones more than 4 years old, which should return Apple to revenue growth in the December quarter. Most impressive was the addition of spatial photo and video capability on iPhone 15 Pro models, which lays the foundation for Vision Pro demand, due out early next year.

Key Takeaways

The key selling point for iPhone 15 Pro is - once again - the camera. This year the camera improvement is seismic with the addition of spatial video.
iPhone 15 pricing remains unchanged, which is the right move to entice consumers to trade up to more expensive versions of the phone.
Once again AI was behind the scenes at the event, inside the new iPhone Pro models, and powering the Watch interface.
Other takeaways include new Apple Watch models, the iPhone 15 Pro titanium enclosures, and Jeff Williams' profile continues to rise.

Here Comes Spatial Video

Spatial video will change how people recollect memories. That’s a bold prediction and one that I feel confident in after demoing Vision Pro back in June. Spatial video was the feature that jumped out as something everyone will love.

The step up from current video to spatial video is as big as the step from still photos to video a hundred years ago.

This is the first killer feature on Vision Pro and it will change how people recollect memories. I believe that spatial video is so good, that it will drive sales of the pricey $3,500 Vision Pro.

I expect users to have their iPhones with them during the day, capturing memories with the iPhone Pro’s spatial cameras, just as they do today. But in the near future, iPhone users will be eager to share those memories with friends and family with a Vision Pro to experience those memories — a huge step up from sharing videos.

The marriage of the iPhone camera with Vision Pro is a great example of something only Apple can do: When consumers buy one Apple product, they come back to buy additional products. The product flywheel at Apple is alive and well.


iPhone 15 Pricing Remains Unchanged

iPhone pricing remained unchanged across the product family with a small tweak: The lowest capacity version of the Pro Max (128GB) is no longer available. As a result, the entry-level version of the Pro Max is now $1199.

We think that maintaining pricing is the right move. Apple has perfected the price-to-value curve since the iPhone launched in 2007 — a pricing lineup that encourages buyers to trade up. That dynamic remains intact. Additionally, if Apple had raised prices for the entire iPhone lineup, the company would risk upsetting demand given consumers are particularly price sensitive in this macroeconomic environment.


AI Working Behind The Scenes

Apple doesn’t like mentioning AI on conference calls or product events, which has led to speculation that the company is falling behind when it comes to capitalizing on the new paradigm.

The reality is Apple is aggressively pursuing AI.

Two examples of AI powering Apple products from the fall event include the new A17 Pro chips for iPhone and Apple Watch’s new “double tap” interface.

First, the iPhone 15 Pro models will include the new A17 Pro chip, which will better run AI on the device. As more applications that leverage AI emerge, phones will be tasked with powering them, a dynamic that will make phones with legacy chips feel sluggish. Chips are important when it comes to AI, and Apple is leading the way in building the hardware to enable those features.

Second, Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra have added a feature to answer a call by tapping your fingers together, a gesture Apple has dubbed the “double tap”. You can also play and pause music, snooze your phone alarm, and access other apps on the watch with gestures. Double tap recognition is an example of AI and ML in action.


Other Key Takeaways

The new Apple Watch Series 9 has an updated S9 processor. The biggest surprise was the addition of hand gestures to control Apple Watch, as discussed above.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has the same S9 processor along with a bigger, better, and brighter screen, better battery life, and water resistance in deeper water.

Design is important when it comes to watches, and one overlooked element of the Watch presentation was the focus on its elegance and new band options. Lastly, in terms of pricing, the Series 9 and Ultra 2 remain unchanged from Series 8.

The iPhone 15 Pro has all-new titanium enclosures. The benefit is a stronger, lighter enclosure with a new brushed finish. This is the “lust” part of the “Wonderlust” event invite. Overall, the titanium finish will be a selling point.

Apple’s COO, Jeff Williams, was the primary speaker at the event for the first 30 minutes, which focused on Apple Watch. What caught my attention is that he doesn’t run Apple Watch. Reading between the lines, Apple continues to give Williams air time to build his personal brand.

I find it reassuring to see such a clear and strong succession plan in place.


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