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Post: iPhone 15 & Apple Stock Catalysts



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Apple’s annual September iPhone launch is always big tech news, but this year’s event has extra significance. In 2023, the iPhone maker is struggling with soft demand for smartphones. And, to make matters worse, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that China is prohibiting central government officials from using iPhones due to security concerns.

Read on to learn about the iPhone updates Apple is likely to announce, and whether those updates will be exciting enough to boost Apple’s smartphone sales in the final months of the year.

What Is Apple’s September 2023 Event?

Apple’s September 2023 event, named Wonderlust according to the media invitation, should unveil a new iPhone model and other product updates.

Historically, Apple has dedicated its September event to iPhone and Apple Watch news. At last year’s “Far Out” event on September 7, 2022, for example, Apple announced the four versions of the iPhone 14 plus three Apple Watches and an updated AirPods Pro.

A separate Apple event in October should cover Mac and iPad updates.

What Is the Time And Date Of Apple’s 2023 Event?

Apple will host its 2023 event on Tuesday, September 12 at 1:00 p.m. ET or 10:00 a.m. PT. Wonderlust will stream live from Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California. You can watch the stream online at, on the Apple TV app or on Apple’s YouTube channel.

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What Is Apple Likely To Announce?

The headline announcement this year will be the iPhone 15 line-up, which should include:

  • 6.1-inch iPhone 15
  • 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus
  • 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro
  • 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max (possibly renamed to the Ultra)

MacRumors and other outlets expect that all four models will include the Dynamic Island, an updated 5G modem plus a USB-C port.

Dynamic Island

The Dynamic Island is an interactive notification system currently implemented on iPhones 14 Pro and Pro Max. The island replaces the “notch,” a cutout at the top of the iPhone screen that housed the front camera and Face ID sensors.

For all iPhone 15 models, that hardware will sit behind a pill-shaped area and a pinhole cutout. Apple added display pixels and software integration to create the Dynamic Island—recapturing formerly unused screen space.

On iPhone 14 Pro models, the Dynamic Island delivers low battery alerts, confirms Apple Pay transactions, unlocks the Apple Watch, shows connected AirPods and their battery life, displays privacy notifications when the camera or microphone is being used, allows Face ID phone unlocking and more.

Updated 5G Modem

Apple is working on its own 5G chip, but that development is apparently not ready for primetime. MacRumors reports that the iPhone 15 models will include the Qualcomm Snapdragon X70 chip. That upgrade should improve speeds, coverage, signal quality and power efficiency. iPhone 14 models have the prior-generation X65 chip.

Qualcomm did announce an X75 chip in February 2023. Qualcomm said the new modems would appear in devices in the latter half of this year. Unfortunately that puts the X75 a bit behind the iPhone 15 development schedule. For that reason, media and analysts believe the 15s will have the older X70 chips.

USB-C Port

In 2022, European Union lawmakers agreed on legislation requiring smartphones and other electronic devices to have USB-C charging ports by fall of 2023. Apple confirmed later in the year that iPhones would comply. That means replacing Apple’s proprietary Lightning port with the more standardized USB-C.

9to5Mac says the switch to USB-C could result in faster charging speeds for the iPhone 15s. The rumor is that the iPhone 15 Pro models will support 35W charging. Standard iPhone 14s charge at 20W, while iPhone 14 Pros charge at 27W. Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra charges at 45W.

Other Rumored iPhone Updates

Some media outlets have also leaked that the iPhone Pro Max will get a periscope lens that allows for up to 6x optical zoom. For context, the iPhone 14 Pro models currently have 3x optical zoom.

Bloomberg analyst Marc Guman, a historically reliable source for Apple product news, adds two more tidbits to the rumor mill. Guman says the iPhone 15 Pro models will have a titanium frame in lieu of stainless steel. That’ll add durability, lessen fingerprints and lighten the weight of the phone.

Guman also believes Apple will rebrand the Pro Max phones, calling them Ultra instead.

New Chips And OS For Apple Watch

Apple’s September event will also cover Apple Watch updates. Specifically, the company will introduce Series 9 plus a new Ultra watch. The biggest update expected is faster chips for upgraded performance on all new watch models. There may be new color options for the watch case as well.

Apple will also publicly release watchOS 10, the latest version of the Apple Watch operating system. WatchOS 10 has a widgetized interface, which automatically displays the most frequently accessed information at different times of the day.

Additionally, the updated OS has new features for health and fitness tracking. Cyclists and hikers, for example, will see new metrics and data. And, Mindfulness app users will have the ability to log moods for an improved view of their mental health trends.

China’s iPhone Ban

In early-September, media outlets reported that China had prohibited use of the iPhone in government offices. The rumors escalated quickly, with some sources speculating that the ban could extend to all China-owned businesses. AAPL stock dipped more than 7.5% as a result.

In an appearance on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives says the market is overreacting to the China news. He estimates at worst the ban affects 500,000 units, out of 45 million sold in China. Ives predicts year-over-year sales in China will actually increase despite the ban.

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Will The iPhone 15 Be An AAPL Stock Catalyst?

In the nine months ended July 1, 2023, Apple product sales were $231 billion, down from $245 billion in the prior-year period. That slowdown isn’t specific to Apple. Consumers in the U.S. and China are buying fewer smartphones across all brands.

A successful iPhone 15 launch will prop up those weaker sales. The question is, are the updates compelling enough to drive nervous consumers to upgrade in an uncertain economy?

Counterpoint analyst Hanish Bhatia believes the iPhone 15 launch will be an Apple stock catalyst. In an interview with Investor’s Business Daily, Bhatia said the iPhone’s position as a premium brand works in Apple’s favor. Demand in the higher end of the smartphone market has been more consistent vs. value brands.

Several media sources also predict a $100 to $200 price increase for the Pro and Pro Max (or Ultra). The increase should help Apple’s product revenue in the fourth quarter—to the extent early adopters absorb the higher price in exchange for the enhanced optical zoom and titanium case.

Ives believes customers will upgrade at the higher price tag. He says the iPhone 15 launch will push AAPL 20% higher.

What Else Should Apple Stock Investors Watch For?

Apple likely has more big announcements to watch, later this year and in 2024. At the top of the list is the M3-powered Mac. Mac, like the iPhone, has had softer sales, showing a 7% period-over-period decline in the third quarter. The M3 will be the latest version of Apple’s M-series silicon chip. It’s expected to be faster and more efficient than the M2.

Typically, Apple will launch a standard version of the chip and then follow with Pro, Max and Ultra versions. The higher-end chips will be used in the more expensive Macs. For example, Apple uses standard M1 and M2 chips in its base MacBook Pro and MacBook Airs. Upgraded Macbook Pro machines use Pro and Max chips, and Mac Studio and Mac Pro use Ultra chips.

Gurman predicts Apple will launch a 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini and MacBook Air with the standard M3 chip in October of this year. The more expensive Macs equipped with M3 Pro, Max and Ultra chips will likely launch in 2024.

Apple should also introduce some minor updates to the iPad in October. The bigger news is that analysts expect a more significant iPad update in 2024 that may include the M3 processor, larger screens, improved keyboard and OLED screen.

Bottom Line

In 2023, Apple is battling a weak smartphone environment and potentially damaging resistance from China. A successful iPhone launch in September would generate much-needed momentum for a stronger fourth quarter.

Key iPhone upgrades include the interactive Dynamic Island that replaces the notch, a faster 5G modem, USB-C charging port and a more powerful camera and titanium case on the Pro models. Several analysts predict that iPhone users will upgrade for those new features, even if the new phones cost more. That should result in improved sales for Apple—plus a higher stock price for shareholders.

Mispriced stocks are hiding in plain sight and present great investment opportunities for the remainder of 2023. Forbes’ top investment experts share 7 overlooked stocks in this exclusive report, 7 Best Stocks To Buy For The Second Half of 2023. Click here to download it now.

Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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