Apple on September 14 unveiled a slew of new products, including its new iPhone 13 series, refreshed iPad lineup, and Apple Watch Series 7. Compared to many product launches over the years, the 2021 event saw Apple focus less on big bang announcements. Contrary to expectations, there were no announcements of satellite-connection capability allowing phone calls in areas without network coverage.
While the iPhone 12 saw the addition of a Super Retina XDR OLED as well as a high refresh rate screen, the announcements on September 14 were more incremental in nature—with improvements focussed on better displays, cameras and design (with mildly better battery life across the board).
The new iPhone line-up features a “super Retina, XDR display”, which Apple says is 28 per cent brighter. The highlight is the new A15 Bionic chip, which Apple said would be much faster than previous chips. A new 16-core Neural engine can handle 15.8 trillion operations per second—the chip overall claims a new display engine, video encoders and decoders, two new high-performance cores and four new high-efficiency cores.
The iPhone 13 resembles previous iterations, retaining the notch that has been a staple of the iPhone line-up since the iPhone X. it comes in pink, blue, midnight, starlight and product red colours. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini smartphones come with a dual-camera system and start at $699 (51,473) for the iPhone 13 Mini and $799 (Rs 58,837) for the iPhone 13. For durability, the phones come with ceramic front glass and IP68 water resistance.
Apple says the cameras boast larger sensors that capture more light. Sensor shift optical image stabilisation, seen in the iPhone 12 Max, now comes to the iPhone 13 line-up, allowing easier low light photography as the sensor moves to compensate for shake.
The iPhone 13 touts a new “cinematic mode” that allows rack focus—allowing the focus to shift between the subject and the background. A smoother transition of focus is what distinguishes this from simply switching autofocus points, which the iPhone 13 does automatically. It can also predict when the subject is about to enter the frame. Cinematic mode shoots in Dolby Focus HDR.
The iPhone 13 series support 5G. Apple says the 13 Mini will have an hour and a half more battery life than the iPhone 12 Mini, while the iPhone 13 will achieve 2.5 hours more than the iPhone 12.
Apple touted many recycled materials, saying upcycled plastic water bottles were used for the antenna lines.
The flagship model, the iPhone 13 Pro, comes in 6.1” and 6.7” packages. It boasts three back cameras. Graphite, gold, silver and sierra blue are the colour options. The front TrueDepth camera is 20 per cent smaller while the back cameras—an ultra-wide with autofocus (that allows for macro photography at distances as close as 2cm), wide and 77mm telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, all backed by Apple’s largest camera sensor yet. All cameras come with Night Mode.
The iPhone 13 Pro will sell for $999 while the iPhone 13 Pro Max will go for $1099.
The A15 Bionic Pro packs two new high-performance cores and Apple claims is accompanied by the most powerful graphics processors of any phone yet. The new OLED Super Retina XDR display supports up to a 1000 nits peak outdoor brightness and supports a “ProMotion” variable refresh rate of between 10-120Hz. Apple says the refresh rate will vary depending on battery life.
A new iPad packing a more powerful A13 Bionic chip claimed to be 20 per cent faster in every aspect (CPU, GPU and Neural Engine) and which Apple claims will be three times faster than the best-selling Chromebook.
In a bid to improve the video-conferencing capabilities of the iPad, the front camera has been improved, with a 13MP ultra-wide camera, and brings the “Centre Stage” software mode from the iPad Pro that shifts the camera frame when the user moves around.
iPadOS 15 will be introduced in this iPad, adding widgets for apps multi-window display and TrueTone display.
The new iPad starts at $329 (Rs 24,227.76) for the 64GB version.
The iPad Mini also got an upgrade, with 5G support, a 40 per cent jump in CPU performance and an 80 per cent jump in GPU performance, Apple said. It also comes with a USB-C port, new colours, design and a Liquid Retina high-refresh-rate display, raising the display size to 8.3”. The front and back cameras have also been upgraded. In addition, a new “Translate” app promises to translate conversations in real-time.
The new iPad Mini starts at $499.
Apple introduced its Series 7 Apple Watch. The screen area has been increased by 20 per cent with small 1.7mm borders and the Watch now comes with IP6 certification. The Series 7 starts at $399 (Rs 29,380).