Apple unveils new 3nm chip in latest iPhones and S9 chip in Apple Watch

Apple introduced new silicon in its latest Apple Watch Series 9 and iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max phones  to power features like a new double tap gesture for the watch based on inputs from a range of sensors.

Apple’s designs for its own CPUs have been a dominant direction for the company in recent years.  CEO Tim Cook noted in Tuesday’s presentation that Apple’s new Mac Studio and Mac Pro, introduced in June, “completed the transition of the Mac to Apple Silicon.”  And Apple’s own silicon in its watch and smartphone line continues that trend.

The top new iPhones feature a 3nm processor called the A17 Pro, and a redesigned GPU that allows users to play some console game titles on a smartphone for the first time.

In Apple Watch Series 9, Apple calls its chip the S9 SiP with 5.6 billion transformers . Double tap allows a user to tap the index finger and thumb together twice  of their watch hand to control the primary button in an app to stop a timer or play and pause music or to take a photo with the Camera Remote function.

Double tap is enabled by a faster 4-core  Neural Engine in Apple Watch Series 9, which processes data from an accelerometer, gyroscope and optical heart sensor using a new ML algorithm, Apple said in a 73-minute streamed presentation.

The algorithm detects tiny wrist movements and changes in blood flow when the finger and thumb perform a double tap.  It will be available as a software update in October.  The Series 9 starts at $399 while the new rugged Ultra 2 starts at $799; both will be available Sept. 22.

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Apple's new iPhone Pro and Pro Max lineup (Apple)

The new iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max feature the A17 Pro chip, the industry’s first 3nm chip. It is up to 10 % faster and the Neural Engine is two times faster.  A new GPU is up to 20% faster, with a 6-core design to support hardware -accelerated ray tracing which Apple said will allow many popular games to move from consoles and PCs to the smartphone. Titles that Apple mentioned include Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 4, Death Stranding and Assassin’s Creed Mirage.

In addition to moving to USB-C connectors,  the iPhone Pro lineup support USB 3 for data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps, a 20x improvement.

Cameras on the Pro lineup total seven lenses, all enabled by the A17 Pro chip.  The 48 megapixel main camera can be used with another camera for recording spatial video for the Apple Vision Pro headset, which is due early next year.

The iPhone 15 Pro starts at $999, while the Pro Max starts at $1,199.  Both are available Sept. 29. Apple also introduced the new iPhone 15  and 15 Plus, starting at $799 and $899 respectively, also available Sept. 29.

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