Today, Apple executives took the stage in a virtual streaming event to announce the new flagship iPhone lineup. The iPhone 13 is official.
The iPhone 13’s body has a similar look to last year’s model, but the cameras in the base model are now arranged diagonally. 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. The device comes in 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch sizes.
The new phones also get a new SoC, the A15 Bionic. The six-core CPU has two performance cores and four low-power efficiency cores, and Apple says it 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 features a rack-focus effect and will allow the camera to smoothly change focus from a foreground object to a background object 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’s battery life 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 N288k ($699), while the iPhone 13 is N328k ($799). Both start at 128GB (an increase from last year) with 256GB and 512GB storage tiers.
That covers the base model, but Apple also announced updates to the big iPhone, the iPhone 13 Pro. Like in 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 120 Hz 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 60 Hz displays the iPhone has included previously. There’s also dynamic scaling of the display frame rate to save power when looking at a still image or video; the display can ratchet down to 10Hz. Just like last year, the Pro comes in at 6.1 inches and the Pro Max model is 6.7 inches.
The three rear cameras are all new, and Apple promises brighter and sharper pictures. The grab-bag of specs provided were a 77 mm 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, which is a widely used format for HD video in professional settings. You can record in ProRes, as the A15 Bionic has hardware acceleration, and then you can seamlessly edit everything in Final Cut Pro.
The battery of the iPhone 13 Pro lasts 1.5 hours longer than that of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s battery will last 2.5 hours longer than iPhone 12 Pro Max’s.
The iPhone 13 Pro is N411k ($999), and the 13 Pro Max is N452k ($1,099) . There’s a new 1TB storage option, which is a fourth tier after 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Every iPhone goes up for preorder this Friday, and the phones ship on September 24.