5 surprises from Apple's Wonderlust event | Cult of Mac

5 surprises from Apple’s Wonderlust event


Surprises from Apple's Wonderlust event
Apple included some features in its new products we weren't expecting.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac
Wonderlust 2023

Although tipsters worked overtime spoiling the new Apple products, revealing most of the details of the iPhone 15 series and the new Apple Watch models, Tim Cook and Co. still managed to surprise us here and there during Tuesday’s “Wonderlust” event.

Fortunately, most of the surprises were good ones.

Here are three ways Apple gave us more than we expected, but two where the tipsters steered us wrong.

iPhone 15 and Apple Watch 9 leaks were surprisingly accurate

If you read Cult of Mac’s guides on what to expect from the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch written before the Wonderlust event, then you already knew about 95% of what was coming.

The fact that the iPhone 15 would get the Dynamic Island and a 48MP camera, that the iPhone 15 Pro Max would get a periscope camera, and that the 2023 Apple Watch models would be powered by a better chip all came out long before Apple said anything about them officially.

But that doesn’t mean we knew everything in advance.

1. New double tap gesture for Apple Watch

Apple definitely shocked us with an intriguing new way to control the Apple Watch — the double tap. Activated simply by tapping the thumb and index finger on the watch hand, the gesture gives users a way to perform common functions without touching the watch’s screen.

Coming in Apple Watch Series 9 and the second-gen Apple Watch Ultra, the new gesture looked a little like flashing a gang sign in Apple’s demo videos. But you can bet it won’t be long till you see the double tap happening all over the place.

In retrospect, perhaps it shouldn’t have been too surprising. The double tap gesture looks a lot like a method for interacting with the virtual screen of Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro headset. Plus, the double tap shares the same DNA as Assistive Touch hands-free controls that Apple rolled out in 2021. — Lewis Wallace

2. No black titanium Apple Watch Ultra

Perhaps the bitterest surprise was the fact that the often-rumored black titanium Apple Watch Ultra went completely AWOL at Tuesday’s event. Instead, Apple simply added the new S9 SiP, which offers better performance and enables the new double tap feature. A new Modular Ultra watch face, a few new band colors and a handful of sports-oriented upgrades likely did nothing to salve the pain of anybody hoping for a badass black version of Apple’s most rugged smartwatch. — Lewis Wallace

3. No one saw iPhone 15’s Roadside Assistance via satellite coming

iPhone 15 satellite services
iPhone 15’s Roadside Assistance via satellite wasn’t in any leaks.

Everyone knew iPhone 14 would come with Emergency SOS via satellite long before it arrived last year. But Roadside Assistance via satellite in iPhone 15 came as a complete surprise. The upcoming feature lets drivers stuck beside the road without cell service contact AAA to get help. It’s a nice addition to iOS handsets. — Ed Hardy

4. macOS Sonoma will launch early!

Apple traditionally introduces major new macOS versions well after iOS, watchOS, etc., get their updates. Mac users typically must wait until October or even later. Not this year.

Apple announced Tuesday that macOS Sonoma will come out September 26, just a few days after iPhone, iPad and other devices get their upgrades. — Ed Hardy

5. USB-C case for AirPods Pro 2 is surprisingly hard to buy

Although updates to AirPods Pro 2 were so minor they didn’t bump the device’s number, if you want the USB-C charging case that was announced during the Wonderlust event, you need to buy a whole new set of earbuds.

People assumed Apple would adopt a similar strategy as back in 2019. When Apple released AirPods 2, people had the option of buying the new wireless charging case for their original AirPods at $69, sold separately in the online store. This is not the case with AirPods Pro 2. To go USB-C, you need to buy a whole new pair at $249. — D. Griffin Jones


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