Just days after news surfaced that the Chinese government was instituting bans on the use of foreign-made phones by employees, the maker of the country’s most popular high-end smartphone, Apple, unveiled a slate of new products on Tuesday, including the latest iteration of its marquee product, the iPhone.

Apple stock prices dropped sharply following reports last week that China issued orders to central government workers to stop using Apple iPhones and other foreign-made phones at work and to not bring the devices to their offices. Chinese government staffers were given the instructions by their superiors in workplace chat groups or meetings in recent weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal. China is one of Apple’s biggest consumer markets and sales in the country represent almost 20% of Apple’s overall revenue.

Apple’s market value lost around $200 billion on news of the government ban.

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But on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook and a group of company executives took turns touting the latest upgrades to the company’s popular computers and devices, including the new iPhone 15 and the Apple Watch Series 9, in a prerecorded presentation.

Mirroring an approach embraced for the last several generations of iPhone releases, the newest versions come in the form of two base models, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, and two deluxe models, the iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max. The base 15 and 15 Pro both have 6.1-inch screens, while the Plus and Pro Max feature Apple’s jumbo 6.7-inch screen.

Will the iPhone 15 have USB-C?

While most of the changes in the newest iPhones are more incremental than not, the biggest revamp is Apple’s decision to finally shelve its proprietary lightning connection for charging and data connectivity, one that’s been featured on iPhones for over a decade, for the widely used USB-C plug.

Apple had some outside impetus for making the pivot after a 2022 decision by European Union regulators that required all makers of mobile phones, and a slew of other electronic devices, to configure their products with USB-C charging ports by late 2024 for sale to EU-based customers.

“Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe,” said the European Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba in a press statement following the 2022 decision. “European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics.” 

Apple customers may experience some of their own frustrations as they seek out the appropriate, and pricey, dongles to adapt their old lightning-equipped headphones and other peripherals to work with the new iPhones (though other Apple devices, including the company’s laptops, were switched to USB-C several years ago).

What new features are on the iPhone 15?

Other iPhone 15 features include:

  • The new iPhone 15 models now come with Apple’s A16 chipset, previously only available in the iPhone 14 Pro line, while the iPhone 15 Pros get the new and improved A17, a chipset that includes bigger and faster processing capabilities and stingy power use, according to Apple.
  • iPhone 15 base models now come with a 48 megapixel main camera, while the 15 Pro Max also includes a periscoping zoom lens.
  • Apple touted new “color infused” glass panels on the backs of its iPhone 15 and 15 Plus models, while the Pros come encased in a Grade 5 titanium case. The edges of all new iPhone 15 models also have a more contoured, rounded finish.
  • The satellite-powered SOS alert system that was featured on the iPhone 14, allowing users to make an emergency call even outside of cell service, has been expanded for the iPhone 15, which Apple says will also allow connections to be made via satellite for emergency roadside assistance.
  • The Apple Watch Series 9 is equipped with a new processing chip Apple calls its “most powerful yet”. The most notable new feature of the Apple Watch is the ability for wearers to control functions on the watch by simply tapping their thumb and index finger together.

How much will the iPhone 15 cost?

Starting prices for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are $799 and $899, respectively. The iPhone 15 Pro starts at $999, while the cost of a 15 Pro Max begins at $1,199. Starting price for the Apple Watch Series 9 is $399.