iPhone 13 Recap
As was very accurately predicted, the most anticipated event in Apple’s annual calendar happened on the 14th of September 2021. Apple’s events are always grandiose showcases with impeccable production. In true Apple fashion, they somehow managed to one-up what they did last year, with a lot of drone shots. It was quite cinematic – the amazing transitions, cinematography, lighting – everything was top-notch. It was quite the visual spectacle.
Twitter was part of the celebrations as well. For every tweet that included the trending #AppleEvent hashtag, the like button turned into a glowing Apple logo before quickly turning back into a heart when clicked. iPhone 13 was also trending, of course, and as Tim Cook walked on stage, the world awaited the reveal of the heavily leaked new iPhones. Were there any surprises? Read on to find out.
The iPhone 13 Line-up
A Closer look at iPhone 13 & 13 Mini
The non-pro iPhone 13 has a new look for the advanced dual-camera system with the lenses arranged diagonally instead of vertically as was the case for the iPhone 12. Every year, Apple makes a slight design change to make it easier to distinguish previous versions from the current releases, and re-arranging the camera array was their choice for this year.
Other than the camera module, the chassis (or the beautifully-formed aerospace-grade aluminum frame as it was described during the announcement) remains largely the same. This year’s colors were unveiled to be an all-new Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red.
A much-rumoured detail about the new iPhones was confirmed when the smaller notch was revealed. After years of having the large obtrusive notch at the top of the display, Apple finally did something about it. This is another differentiating factor from the iPhone 12. The reductions were possible because the true-depth camera system has been re-engineered to make it take up less room while taking up less space, thus the increased screen real estate.
Internally, the iPhone 13 has been completely re-architected to make room for new additions, and more importantly, a bigger battery! While Apple did not confirm the actual sizes of the batteries for this year’s standard iPhones 13, battery improvements are always welcome.
Apple claims that on iPhone 13 Mini most users will experience 1.5 more hours in their day than with iPhone 12 Mini. They also claim that the standard iPhone 13 lasts 2.5 hours longer than iPhone 12. Them branding it as ‘incredible all-day battery life is a bit of a stretch, however.
Size aside, the design is the same across the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, as was the case with last year’s iPhone 12 and 12 Mini. Both phones feature an improved, more advanced Super Retina, XDR display. The display is 28% brighter up, going up to 800 nits of peak brightness. This makes it even more suitable for use even when outside. This improved display delivers an immersive viewing experience with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG meaning that the content shot on and for these platforms and technologies will be viewed as intended.
Things are about to get a little technical now. Ready?
Apple’s lead in the smartphone SoC (System on a Chip) category just got a little wider with the A15 Bionic. Apple’s control over the entire iPhone makeup gives them the capability to incorporate innovations across the entire system. This, in turn, enables the delivery of improved performance and power efficiency. The A15 is built on 5nm architecture which enables the inclusion of nearly 15 billion transistors on the chip. The result? An absolutely smooth, optimized, and efficient experience when handling demanding workloads. The A15 houses a powerful new 6-core CPU with two high-performance and four high-efficiency cores for graphics-intensive tasks like advanced games. The A15 Bionic also features the latest 4-core GPU with the new 16-core Neural Engine to handle all the machine learning requirements. In addition to the performance improvements, iPhone 13 features a new Display Engine, a new video encoder, and decoder, and twice the system cache. All this is to make video playback as smooth as it has ever been
With the A15 Bionic also comes an improved camera system on iPhone 13. There’s an all-new 12mp wide camera with a larger 1.7 micron-pixels sensor that should capture more light with a wide f-1.6 aperture. Amazingly, Apple decided to bring the iPhone 12 Pro Max exclusive Sensor-Shift technology to all iPhones in this year’s line-up. Sensor-Shift introduced advanced Optical Image Stabilization for even better images, especially in low-light. Apple also included a new ultra-wide camera that is set to help “reveal more of the dark areas with less noise”.
A brand-new feature announced for iPhone 13 is Cinematic Mode. According to the details provided during its showcase, once the recording starts, Cinematic Mode will hold focus on the subject even when they’re moving. Additionally, focus transitions are said to happen automatically and in real-time, for example, from one subject to another. Cinematic Mode is said to anticipate when a subject is about to enter the frame and intelligently racks focus to them when they do. When a subject gazes away from the camera, iPhone 13 itself changes focus and then back. This is certainly one of the features that most people will want to test out for themselves when the phones are released. If it does what it says on the box, iPhone will almost be the default phone for millions of content creators, even more than it is already.
Pricing and Availability
It was great to see that even with the improvements it starts with and the fact that the starting capacity is now 128 GB (plus a new 512 GB option), iPhone 13 Mini still starts at just $699 and $799 for the standard iPhone 13. There are also opportunities to get up to $700 off in the US when you trade in a qualifying iPhone.
iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro comes in four ‘striking’ finishes that are different from the standard iPhone 13. There is Graphite, Gold, Silver, and an all-new Sierra Blue. Just as is the case with the standard iPhone 13, the Pros have a (20%) smaller notch. On the back is a familiar-looking triple camera system, with a stainless-steel trim that surrounds the Sapphire Crystal lenses of each of the cameras. The inside is said to be ‘completely redesigned to support the latest technology inclusions including an all-new camera system, a new display, and a bigger battery.
Better A15 Bionic
The Pros are also powered by the A15 Bionic which features the earlier-mentioned CPU, GPU, a faster Neural Engine, as well as a new ISP (Image Signal Processor) which is said to provide improved noise reduction and tone mapping. As an improvement on the standard iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, the Pro models’ A15 Bionic includes a new 5-core GPU for even better handling of graphic-intensive tasks.
The new Super Retina, XDR display is also present on the Pro models, with an improved peak brightness of 1000 nits, a 25% improvement on last year’s iPhones.
If there is one feature everyone wanted confirmation on, it was the inclusion of a high refresh rate display. The confirmation did come, but it was bittersweet: It is only on the Pro models. The highly anticipated ProMotion display is finally on iPhone, with the capability of refreshing from as low as 10 Hz to as high as 120 Hz. IOS is also completely optimized to take full advantage of this. When swiping between apps, or scrolling, the system adapts the frame rates to precisely match the speed of the user’s finger.
The iPhone 13 Pro camera system has a new 77 mm telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. There is also a new ultrawide-angle camera with autofocus and a larger f 1.8 aperture, providing up to a 92% improvement in low light. The third camera is a wide camera with a larger f-1.5 aperture and 1.9 micron-pixels for up to 2x improvement in low light. The ultrawide camera also has Macro Photography. Its design and autofocus system enables incredibly sharp focus and can magnify subjects with a minimum distance of 2 cm. Additionally, all the cameras, including the telephoto, have night mode.
Apple also announced a feature that lets you ‘personalize your iPhone camera’ dubbed Photographic Styles. The feature is said to bring your individual preferences right into the advanced image pipeline, applying local edits like a photo editor would, but in real-time as the photo is being rendered.
The iPhone 13 pro camera system also has some advanced video capabilities. The ultrawide camera enables Macro slo-mo videos which should look amazing. The 3x telephoto has improved zooming capabilities and offers a new focal length for video. Coupled with Cinematic mode, it uses machine learning and disparity to create a depth map that’s built into the video so that the depth effect can be changed, including the level of bokeh and where the focus is applied – even after capture.
ProRes is a feature that is set to come further down the line. With it, you can now record up to 4k at 30 fps right in the camera app thanks to the efficiency of the A15 Bionic, IOS 15, and a larger battery. iPhone 13 Pro is said to last more than 1.5 hours longer in your day than iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 13 Pro Max will apparently last more than 2.5 hours longer than iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Pricing and Availability
The iPhone 13pro still starts at $999 and the iPhone 13pro max still starts at $1099. The Pro models have a new 1 TB storage option. All four models of the iPhone13 line-up go up for Pre-order on the 17th of September and will all be available on September 24th.
Depending on your expectations, you were either disappointed because some of your expectations weren’t met or underwhelmed because you knew almost everything that was coming. The rumors of this year’s iPhones being referred to as the 12S might have been on to something because there’s no day and night difference between last year’s iPhones and the new ones. The notch is smaller, and ProMotion finally made it to Apple devices after making it to Android years ago, but at least it’s here. It is only for the Pro models though, which is set to anger a lot of people who were looking forward to buying the non-Pro versions.
Another drawback is that 4K recording is not available for the 128 GB storage options, but there may be a logical and technical explanation for that. Features like MagSafe and Ceramic shield are still present, and the iPhone is now capable of recording when your MagSafe wallet is disconnected from the phone, making it easier to track in case it is lost.
The physical changes may be indistinguishable to most users, but the changes under the hood are set to give an improved experience regardless. After all, it is an iPhone and people will buy it. If you will make sure you get the best protection for whichever model you get at Tech Armor.