At the “California Streaming” event on September 14, Apple announced the new iPhone 13 series, Apple Watch Series 7 and two new iPads. There aren’t many major design changes to the new iPhones but minor tweaks, like a smaller notch, the new A15 Bionic chipset with an improved neural engine, and new camera features to name a few. But the Apple Watch Series 7 and iPad mini get interesting upgrades, such as new design, bigger display and improved hardware. Here are all the announcements from the Apple Event along with our analysis.
Apple is ramping up its original programming with CEO Tim Cook announcing new seasons of popular Apple TV+ shows such as Ted Lasso and Morning Show. The announcement comes at a time when the one-year free subscription announced last year is about to expire for many users. With such engaging TV shows and movies on the platform, users are likely to move from a free to paid subscription, adding to Apple’s revenues in the coming months.
With the Apple Watch, Apple has been heavily focusing on the fitness side of things. The Fitness+ service makes for a perfect companion, bringing intelligent workout recommendation videos that users can stream on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Apple is now expanding the service to 15 new countries, including Brazil, UAE, Malaysia, Italy and Indonesia. But that’s not the only announcement. Apple has added new features such as Group Workouts with SharePlay to keep you motivated and work out with your family and friends.
The iPhone 13 series will be powered by the new 5nm A15 Bionic SoC. Apple says that the new CPU is 50% faster than the competition while the GPU is 30% faster. With double system cache over the previous generation, the A15 Bionic SoC brings a new video encoder and decoder, a new ISP for improved photography and videography.
This is the first time Apple will be shipping two variants of the A15 Bionic SoC for the new iPhones. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini will get the four-core GPU variant, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro will get a five-core GPU, given its cameras need higher processing for new features. The A15 Bionic improves on AI performance with 15.8TOPS, compared to 11TOPS on the A14 Bionic. But this is still less compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ that features 32TOPS AI performance.
The latest iPhone 13 series still has four models — iPhone 13, iPhone mini, iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max. Among the many upgrades that the iPhone 13 brings, one of the biggest ones is in the base storage, which now starts at 128GB, while the maximum storage goes up to 1TB. Despite the global chip shortages and other challenges in procuring components, the new iPhones still start at $699.
Besides the smaller notch, the rear camera arrangement has also been changed on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini. They are now diagonally placed to make more room for Apple’s new sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS). The resolution of dual cameras remains the same – 12MP wide (f/1.6) paired with 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4), but the new sensors can capture more light to offer a better experience in low light. There are two big improvements to the cameras. The first one is the cinematic mode for videos, which allows for shallow depth of field while keeping the subject in focus. You can refocus later while editing the videos.
The other big change is where you now get the ability to record 4K 60fps videos in Dolby Vision HDR, compared to a cap of 30fps in the iPhone 12 series. Apple has also introduced new photographic styles that let you boost or mute skin tones between rich contrast, vibrant, warm and cool.
Moving to the iPhone 13 Pro models, big improvements come to display, camera and processing compared to iPhone 12 Pro. Starting with the display, Apple has introduced a new Pro Motion panel with a 120Hz refresh rate to offer a smooth experience, whether you are scrolling through the UI or a webpage, watching videos, or gaming. It is an LTPO panel, meaning it can dynamically adjust the refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz depending on the on-screen content. This helps in saving battery life as the display will not constantly run at 120Hz.
As mentioned above, the new iPhone 13 Pro models come with a five-core GPU. It makes sense as the Pro models have more heavy lifting to do, be it in terms of display or camera processing. Moving to cameras, there are some big changes compared to the iPhone 12 Pro models. While the resolution is still the same at 12MP for all three cameras, the sensors do bring some upgrades.
The primary 12MP sensor now has an f/1.5 aperture as opposed to f/1.6 on the iPhone 12 Pro. The 12MP ultrawide sensor also gets a wider f/1.8 aperture, as opposed to f/2.4 on the iPhone 12 Pro, to improve low-light photography. Lastly, the 12MP telephoto lens now has an f/2.8 aperture with a focal length equivalent to 77mm which enables 3X optical zoom (and 6X optical zoom range across three cameras). Just like the iPhone 13 and mini, the sensor-shift OIS is there in the Pro models as well. One other feature making its way to the iPhone for the first time is the ability to click macro photos, and videos too. The ultrawide lens doubles as a macro lens, and lets you go as close as 2 cm to the subject. In comparison, most Android phones with the macro lens only let you click photos from 4 cm away.
Another feature worth mentioning is the ability to record broadcast-ready ProRes videos (4K at 30fps) and edit them in Final Cut Pro. This feature will not be available at launch but will be rolled out later this year. Other features such as cinematic video mode and photography styles are also available on the iPhone 13 Pro models.
The new Apple Watch Series 7 brings a 20% larger display over the Series 6, and Apple claims it is also 70% brighter. The big display means it can cram 50% more text compared to the previous generation. This also makes it possible to have a full-size QWERTY keyboard with gesture input support.
Despite bigger displays, the case size just increases by 1 mm compared to the previous generation. The new models are available in 41 mm and 45 mm. Apple also highlights that the screen is crack-resistant, and the watch now also supports IPX6 rating for dust resistance, in addition to 50M water resistance. Another improvement comes in the form of USB Type-C charging, which is now 33% faster than Series 6. Apple claims that even eight minutes of charging can offer eight hours of sleep tracking.
In terms of fitness features, the Apple Watch Series 7 can now track your outdoor cycling. It can prompt when cycling is detected, and automatically pause when you stop and resume when you continue. Moreover, fall detection is now supported in workouts too, including outdoor cycling. New users get a free three-month trial of Apple Fitness+ in supported countries. Talking about the pricing, the Apple Watch Series 7 starts at $399 and will be available this fall.
Lastly, Apple has also refreshed its iPad and iPad mini models. Starting with the iPad (9th gen), you now get an upgraded A13 Bionic SoC, compared to the A12 Bionic on its predecessor. The second improvement comes in the form of 64GB base storage, compared to 32GB on the previous model. The third big improvement comes in the form of a 12MP ultrawide front camera with center stage feature with active subject tracking, a massive upgrade over the 1.2MP camera on the 8th gen iPad.
But the biggest improvement Apple has given this year is to the iPad mini. It comes with a new design that is in sync with the iPad Pro models, offering thinner bezels and a slightly bigger 8.3-inch screen compared to the 7.9-inch one on the 5th gen iPad mini. The next big upgrade comes in the form of ultra-fast 5G connectivity (Sub-6GHz) and a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer.
Moving on, the new iPad mini also comes with an upgraded 12MP rear camera with an LED flash, and a 12MP front camera with the center stage feature. For security, there is a Touch ID sensor enabling biometric authentication. And lastly, the new iPad mini also comes with support for Apple Pencil (2nd gen) to jot down quick ideas, draw sketches, and more. The Pencil magnetically attaches to the side of the iPad mini, making it easily accessible.
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