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Rumor: Apple tested a faster chip for Watch 9; Ultra gets a new dark gray color

The Apple Watch Ultra

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reiterated previous reporting that the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 will see only 'minor' upgrades this year. On the other hand, Apple may increase prices, especially for the higher-end iPhone 15 Pro models.

Apple's 2023 Watch portfolio is expected to include three tiers of models, all powered by the new S9 chip. At the top, Apple will likely introduce a second-generation Ultra model, building on the rugged 49mm Ultra that first launched in 2022. In the middle will be the Series 9 models in 41mm and 45mm sizes.

The new S9 chip will be the first major upgrade since the S6 chip debuted in 2020 to power the Watch 6. It will reportedly deliver noticeable speed improvements across the watches, including faster app launches and smoother animations.

He also claimed that Apple tested a new dark gray titanium color for the Ultra last year that could emerge in 2023 to boost sales.

Regarding availability, Gurman reiterates that there will likely be no new Apple Watch SE this year, keeping it on a two-year cycle.

iPhone 15 price may hike

For the iPhone 15, Gurman stated consumers should prepare for "minor price increases across the lineup internationally, as well as in the US." Previously, we reported that iPhone 15 Pro Max could see a price jump of up to $100 over the current iPhone 14 Pro Max's $1099 starting price.

Also, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is said to have a new titanium chassis design and upgraded camera system with a periscope lens, differentiating it further from the lower-end iPhone 15 models. The increased production costs of these premium features could justify the price increase.

The iPhone 15 lineup, consisting of the 6.1-inch iPhone 15, the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus, the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro, and the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max, is expected to be announced in September. However, it is said that supplies of the Pro models could face constraints at launch. Analyst Wamsi Mohan believes the sales could be delayed until the fourth quarter, which runs from October to December.

While he cautions that the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 upgrades will be iterative, Apple still expects strong customer demand in 2023. Apple aims to boost revenue even if unit sales remain flat year-over-year by increasing prices and differentiation between Pro and non-Pro iPhones.

Source: Bloomberg

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