Last Tuesday’s Apple event capped off a meaningful week for the tech world giant. After dodging being labeled a monopoly in its legal battle with Epic Games and having a federal judge utterly eviscerate the app store’s anti-steering mechanisms, the company entered Tuesday ready to chat about a new iPhone. And that it did, right after issuing an emergency software patch for all Apple devices aimed at protecting against spyware that could be installed without any form of user input.
While real life waited patiently outside of the confines of Apple’s “California Streaming” themed event, the company detailed some interesting, iterative developments for its new slate of devices and services. And we’ve got you covered with all of the highlights.
The company met expectations by breaking its pattern of “S” phone releases by announcing the full-fledged iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 ($829) and iPhone 13 Mini ($729) bear little aesthetic difference from the iPhone 12, with the most distinct change being the 20% reduction in the Face ID notch.
Internally, however, there are some sizable changes. Both devices, as well as the Pro versions, feature the new A15 Bionic processor, which Apple says improves performance speeds and battery life. They also provide space for larger batteries and an improved camera array that greatly improves low-light photography. Both devices are available for preorder ahead of their Spet. 24 release.
This year’s Pro version packs in all of the regular iPhone 13’s changes with some high-end additions, most notably increased storage capacity. The iPhone 13 Pro ($999) and iPhone 13 Pro Max ($1,099) are the first phones to feature 1TB internal storage, though that’ll cost you (the base level Pro and Pro Max feature 128GB).
The Pro’s coolest upgrade is introducing ProMotion variable refresh rates to its Super Retina display. Apple claims the device automatically adjusts its refresh rate based on how it is being used, even down to recognizing when you’re scrolling through web sites. The change could be huge for the mobile game development world. Both the Pro and Pro Max are available for preorder ahead of a Sept. 24 release.
While much of the focus regarding the new devices’ photography ability was on improved low-light images and macro photography, an intriguing addition to their video capability came in the introduction of Cinematic Mode.
Somewhat similar to a Portrait Mode for video, Cinematic Mode allows users to shift camera focus between foreground and background subjects, creating a rack focus effect similar to movie cameras. Users can manually shift focus between subjects or let Apple’s tool automatically do so, responding to when subjects look away from the camera.
Apple’s original tablet enters its ninth generation this year, and, much like the iPhone 13, much of the changes to the standard iPad ($329) are internal. Now running off the A13 Bionic processor, users will see improved speeds. Apple also announced increased storage for the base model, upping it to 64GB.
The iPad’s smaller sibling, the iPad Mini ($649), received a more drastic redesign. The new iPad Mini features a larger 8.3-inch display, USB-C port and significant bumps in processing power from the A15 Bionic chip. Like the iPad, the Mini’s front camera supports the company’s Center Stage video call tool. It also moves Touch ID to a button, freeing up more screen real estate. Both are available for preorder ahead of a Sept. 24 release.
Leaks suggested big changes would be coming to the new Apple Watch, but the leaks were wrong—at least for this year. The Series 7 ($399) features small design changes, including a slightly larger screen that is sand and dust resistant. It also allows for a full keyboard on the device, complete with swipe-typing. Like other new devices, battery life is the largest change, with Apple claiming the Series 7 can run up to 18 hours on a single full charge. The Apple Watch Series 7 will be available later this fall.
Apple’s fitness programs got some welcomed additions to go along with the health and fitness focus of the Apple Watch. Pilates and guided meditations are coming to the workout subscription service, which will be available in 15 new countries. The new Group Workouts feature lets users exercise with up to 32 friends virtually (for motivation and competitive purposes). Users can launch into Group Workouts from iMessage or FaceTime, meaning your workout friends are only one text message away. Expect these new features later this year.
Brian Bell is a queer freelance writer covering tech, pro wrestling, esports, games, comics and TV. Find and follow him on Twitter @WonderboyOTM.