So yeah: it’s September, so it was inevitable that Apple would open the doors to the Steve Jobs Theatre and unveil some new hardware. Tuesday’s event might have had twists and turns, but it was the new iPhones that were front and centre. Say goodbye to the X line-up, and get acquainted with the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the iPhone 11.
Tim Cook, in a patented normcore style – all navy sweater and slim dark jeans – also introduced the world to brand-new iPads, service line-ups, and an updated Apple Watch.
Here’s the breakdown.
The iPhone 11: All-In On the Camera
From the front, the iPhone 11 doesn’t look like a revolutionary makeover: here, depending on the model, you’ll find a familiar 5.8, 6.1 or 6.5-inch screen, and the notch that’s become synonymous with the brand. Turn the phones over, however, and you’ll find the hardware that might tempt you into an upgrade.
There were rumours that a third lens might find its way to the back of Apple’s flagship device – and in the new iPhone 11 Pro, the rumours were for real. We could go into focal lengths and focus pixels, but what you really need to know is this: the triple-lens set-up could be a bit of a game-changer. You’ll have the ability to do 2x zoom, and a 2x zoom-out, meaning there’s really no excuse for not getting the dream shot, right away.
In a few month’s time, the phone’s camera will gain a new feature: Deep Fusion. It uses machine learning to improve your shots. By the time you press the shutter button, nine images will have been taken, with the phone then taking the best of each frame, and spitting out an image that stitches together data from the lot of them. Translation? Better photos, zero-effort.
The iPhone 11 Pro also has the mind-blowing functionality of being able to record videos on two of its different lenses at the same-time – opening up a pile of possibilities for creators, journalists and documentarians.
On the entry-level iPhone 11, Apple has stuck with its dual camera system, upgrading to a new wide-lens camera, and a new ultra-wide lens camera.
New sensors across the range mean that you should be able to capture a heap more detail, and play with framing before you capture. A new software feature, Night Mode, will punch-up low-light images, hopefully banishing blurry, distorted evening shots forever.
The selfie camera has been upgraded to 12 megapixels, with an all-new wider lens – and the ablility to record slow-motion selfie videos. Apple’s dubbed them, uh, Slofies. Video features were heavily pushed, and the company claimed that it’s the highest-quality video available in any smartphone.
The iPhone has been begging for a camera upgrade for a generation, in the midst of strong offerings from competitors like the Google Pixel and Samsung’s Galaxy line-up. We’re excited to play around with it soon.
The Pro model comes in what Apple’s calling surgical-grade stainless steel. The Pro also boasts four hours more battery life than the iPhone XS, with the Pro Max getting another hour on top of that.
Apple Watch Series 5: Always On
Let’s cut to the chase: it has an always-on display, but with the same all-day, 18-hour battery life. The watch’s form factor hasn’t been given a dramatic facelift, but the display itself makes this a tempting upgrade. Not tempting enough? Maybe the new titanium model will be persuasive. (There’s also a built-in compass, if that floats your boat.)
It’s no secret that Apple likes to position its Watch as a health-first device. The brand opened its Watch update with a video, chronicling ways the device has helped users lose weight, get fit, and avoid potential medical emergencies. The new watch will be able to call emergency services anywhere in the world, even without an iPhone handy.
The company revealed that it’s using data from its watches to assist medical research. In collaboration with bodies like the World Health Organization and Harvard University, Apple is flexing its way into the health research space. It’s all opt-in – users can enroll using a new Apple Research app, which gives users complete control over what data is used, though the company says all data will be anonymous.
iPad: Evolution, Not Revolution
A new 10.2-inch iPad will replace Apple’s most popular tablet. And really, with the wildly useful iPadOS on the verge of dropping, there’s never been a better argument for using an iPad as your daily workhorse. The seventh generation iPad will ship at the end of September.
Software: Don’t Underestimate iOS 13
For months, in disperate corners of the internet, heavy-duty iPhone users have been testing and reacting to beta versions of Apple’s next mobile operating system, iOS 13. For many, the headliner is Dark Mode: an easy-on-the-eyes skin that takes the bright whites of emails, webpages and text messages, and douses them in inky blacks that Spotify users will instantly feel at home with. Most people will see it as a minor software tweak. Power users consider it a major, long-overdue drop.
Everything Else: Service, Please
The previously revealed Apple Arcade got a little update: it’s dropping September 19, with a monthly subscription at $4.99. Billed as the world’s first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and TV, developers including Konami, and Capcom took to the stage to reveal their launch games. All games on the Arcade platform will be exclusively available on Apple devices.
Apple TV+ shows will be available from November 1, for $4.99/month. Tuesday’s event revealed new trailers and sneak-peeks – the buzz is building for original series like The Morning Show, which stars Steve Carrell and Jennifer Aniston. Apple revealed See: a thriller series fronted by Jason Momoa.