The Twitter leaks might have come loud and fast at us. However, there’s no taking away the excitement of watching Apple unveil its products in real time. Which, being in India yesterday, meant way more coffee than I’d have on a regular day. With thousands of consumers lining up to pre-order (starting tomorrow), here’s our take on which products and upgrades are truly worth getting excited about!

Fitness wearables

Last year’s debutante, aimed at outdoorsy consumers, was the Apple Watch Ultra. The new avatar Apple Watch Ultra 2 carries forward all the features of its predecessors and adds in a powerful new S9 SiP processor and the cool new double-tap gesture which I’ll elaborate on in a bit. The rugged smartwatch also has been built with Apple’s brightest display ever, on-device Siri access, and precision finding for iPhones.

The smartwatch runs the upgraded watchOS 10, which has redesigned apps, the new Smart Stack feature, and improved cycling experiences. There are also new compass waypoints and map capabilities to explore the outdoors. There’s no major upgrade to the battery life claim of 36 hours, which the company says can be amped up to 72 hours in Low Power Mode. This offering remains prohibitively expensive — and is priced the same as its predecessor when it was launched last year — at ₹ 89,900.

At ₹ 41,900, the Apple Watch Series 9 remains more affordable and packs in the cool new party trick that everyone would love to show off. The double-tap gesture! You only need to tap two fingers to play and pause music, control a timer, or snooze an alarm. The gesture can be used to answer and end a phone call, and even to take a photo with the Camera Remote on Apple Watch. Double tap will also open the Smart Stack from the watch face, and another double tap will scroll through widgets in the stack.

The system is driven by the same S9 SiP as the Ultra 2, and brings along system-wide improvements. The display is almost twice as bright as the Watch 8, according to the company. This decision was taken for better performance outdoors, under sunlight. While last year’s focus was on menstrual health, this time the light shines on mental health with the new OS10 that I’ve written about earlier. Apple claims that the Apple Watch Series 9 can go on for 18 hours on a single charge, but I for one will believe it only when I try it, especially as last year’s Watch 8’s battery life didn’t meet my expectations.

The best bet in case you’re looking for a price tag that doesn’t make one break the bank is the upgraded Apple Watch SE, starting at ₹ 29,900. It doesn’t have the fancier features of its more advanced siblings mentioned so far. However, it does offer activity tracking, high and low heart rate notifications, fall detection, crash detection, and runs on the new watchOS 10.

Upgraded AirPods Pro

The device name — AirPods Pro (2nd generation) — remaining unchanged is clue enough that there aren’t huge upgrades to this device. Though there’s a new MagSafe USB-C charging port, and the device is now dust resistant to some extent. With iOS 17, all AirPods Pro (2nd generation) now feature Adaptive Audio and Conversation Awareness. An interesting feature that sounds cool but has almost no relevance for Indian consumers at the moment, is that the AirPods Pro now supports lossless audio when used with Apple’s Vision Pro headset. The device is currently priced at ₹ 24,900.

Smartphones category

Although expected, it’s still exciting that the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus feature Dynamic Island — undoubtedly the best feature from last year’s launches. Both smartphones feature an upgraded new 48-MP main camera, and are powered by the new A16 Bionic chipset.

With the iPhone 15 — priced starting ₹ 79,900 you get the usual 6.1-inch display which now has a peak Peak HDR brightness of up to 1600 nits. Portrait mode and night photography are said to have been improved on both models, which run on iOS17 now. The iPhone 15 Plus — with a starting price of ₹ 89,900 - sports a bigger 6.7-inch screen and a USB‑C connector — which from hereon is going to be the go-to for iPhones as well as AirPods.

Levelling up

Bold and beautiful seems an apt description for the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which are now built of aerospace-grade titanium known for its elegance and durability. Apart from being hailed as the lightest iPhone Pro models ever, the smartphones also have another hardware shift. A new ‘Action’ button has replaced the toggle switch for ring/silent mode. It now offers customisable options such as turning the camera or flashlight on, activating voice memos, focus modes, and more.

Powered by the potent A17 Pro chip, both iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are designed for better gaming, voice recognition, and even auto-correction! Baking in camera capabilities such as an efficient 3x telephoto camera on the iPhone 15 Pro, the longest optical zoom ever on an iPhone — 5x at 120 mm — on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, indicates Apple’s push to market the smartphones for pro-level usage by photographers and moviemakers as well.

The prices for iPhone 15 Pro start at ₹ 1,34,900 and go up according to the storage capacity — which maxes out at 1TB. The 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max is the costliest offering this year with a starting price tag of ₹ 1,59,900.

While I’ll be writing a detailed review of some of the new launches in upcoming weeks, one thing’s for sure. Less is still more with Apple. It might not have the most groundbreaking features unveiled this year — apart from maybe the gestures on the watch — however, it has still managed to bring in meaningful additions to each of the iPhones. Like I said last year as well, good value for money or not, the people who seem to have had a taste of tech’s glistening forbidden fruit, are always left craving for more!