Today, Apple executives took the stage in a virtual streaming event to announce the new flagship iPhone lineup. The iPhone 13 is official.
The body has a similar look to last year, but the cameras in the base model are arranged diagonally now. This year Apple is cutting down on the size of the front display notch, which still features all the usual Face ID sensors, but is now 20% smaller.
The new display in the base model is branded “Super Retina XDR” and is 28 percent brighter, at 800 nits. It comes in 5.4 and 6.1 inches.
There’s also the new SoC, the A15 Bionic. There’s a six-core CPU with two performance cores and four low-power efficiency cores, which Apple says is “the fastest CPU in any smartphone, up to 50 percent faster than the leading competition.” The new four-core GPU is up to 30 percent faster than the competition, and the 16 core Neural Engine is capable of 15.8 trillion operations per second.
A new “cinematic” mode for video brings a rack focus effect to the camera, which will allow the camera to smoothly change focus from a foreground object to a background object, smoothly, during a video. You can tap the screen to lock focus on two different objects, and switch between them. Of course, a phone doesn’t have the lens to do this for real—it’s an AI effect, like a dual-object portrait mode.
Apple says the whole phone has been rearchitected to make room for “new technology” while also fitting a bigger battery. Apple wouldn’t give exact sizes, but it says the iPhone Mini is up 1.5 hours compared to last year, and the base-model iPhone is up 2.5 hours.
The iPhone 13 Mini starts at $699, while the iPhone 13 is $799. Both start at 128GB (an increase from last year) with 256GB and 512GB storage tiers.
The iPhone 13 Pro
That covers the base model, but there is also the big iPhone, the iPhone 13 Pro to talk about. Like the base model, the insides have been completely redesigned for a bigger battery and the A15 bionic. The Pro model upgrades the A15 to a five-core GPU, which Apple says is the fastest GPU in any smartphone.
For the first time in the iPhone lineup, the Pro models have a 120Hz display. High-end Android flagships and Apple’s own iPad Pro have offered this feature before, but the new display should feel and look more responsive than the 60Hz displays the iPhone has previously included. There’s also dynamic scaling of the display framerate to save power when looking at a still image or video: the display can ratchet down to 10Hz. Just like last year, the Pro is 6.1 inches and the Pro Max model is 6.7-inches.
The three rear cameras are all new, with Apple promising brighter and sharper pictures. The grab-bag of specs provided were a 77mm telephoto lens with a 3x optical zoom, an f/1.8 aperture ultra-wide lens with a “92 percent improvement in low light,” and a main lens with an f/1.5 aperture, 1.9μm pixel size, and “2.2x improvement in low light.” There’s a macro mode for close-up photos, and every camera has a night mode now, too.
The Pro series also supports Apple’s ProRes video format, which is a widely-used format for HD video in professional settings. You can record in ProRes, the A15 Bionic has hardware acceleration for ProRes, and then you can seamlessly edit everything in Final Cut Pro.
iPhone 13 Pro lasts 1.5 hours longer than iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 13 Pro Max will last 2.5 hours longer than iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The iPhone 13 Pro is $999, while the 13 Pro Max is $1099. There’s a new 1TB storage option, which is a fourth tier after 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Every iPhone goes up for pre-order this Friday, and the phone ships September 24. Apple didn’t mention the launch date for iOS 15 in its show today, but a website is up and dated for 9/20.