The Apple fairy godmother must be on annual leave, as fans wishing for a last minute iPhone surprise have lucked out.
Instead, Tuesday’s event at its Cupertino headquarters confirmed the rumours. This year we have three new iPhones with a few cool features, extra cameras and crazy colours.
Great? Of course (we’re still talking Apple). Game-changing? No. That magic must be on hold for next year.
As expected, all the devices have faster processors and the latest iOS software, but here’s what else you need to know.
This is the successor to Apple’s cheaper device, the iPhone XR. The 6.1-inch True Tone display is still Liquid Retina. As expected, the new phone has a dual camera system with new wide camera and new sensor. Features include 2x optical zoom out, 36 percent brighter flash and night mode. It also claims to have the highest ever quality video for a smartphone. The phone is water-resistant up to two metres for 30 minutes, and battery life should last an hour longer than the iPhone XR.
iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
The first phones that Apple has labelled ‘Pro’. Made of surgical grade steel, with optical PVD coating and matt textured finish and new colours such as Midnight Green.
The phone comes in two display sizes, 5.8-inches and 6.5-inches. With HDR 10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, Apple are calling the display Super Retina XDR.
Every phone has the A13 Bionic chip inside, so there are specific improvements in machine learning and power efficiency.
Battery life has been given a good bump, four hours longer for the 5.8-inch and five hours longer for the bigger 6.5-inch. The phones also come with fast charging – an 18W charger is included in the box.
For the square rear camera set-up there’s a new 12MP wide camera, 12MP telephoto camera and 12MP ultra-wide camera. This adds the telephoto lens, which the iPhone 11 doesn’t have.
Apple is also upgrading its camera software. It looks to be finally catching up with some Android devices by adding a dedicated Night mode to improve photography, which starts automatically when you’re shooting in the dark.
Deep Fusion is a new feature which is neural engine driven. It shoots nine images, analyses long and short images and optimises for detail and low noise.
Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, excitedly called it “computational mad photography science”.
Another feature, Filmic Pro, allows for front and rear camera filming at once and will be available from the App Store later this year.
Face ID has been improved so it works at greater angles.
“We think this is the most exciting iPhone we’ve made yet,” Schiller said. Apple will have to wait and see if fans agree.
About a third of the 900 million iPhone users worldwide are believed to be on upgrade mode so the company might be expecting good sales, but it faces a lot of competition from the likes of Android competitors such as Samsung and Huawei, who already have exceptionally strong devices with features similar to what Apple announced today.
There is also no sign yet of a 5G phone from Apple. Maybe next year?
The phones are expected to go on general sale on 20 September. Prices start from NZ$1949 and go up to NZ$2149.
The day wasn’t all about iPhones. We also heard about:
A new game subscription service for mobile, desktop and TV. With a subscription, people can download more than 100 games right from the Arcade store.
From NZ$8.99 a month.
A new seventh-generation iPad has been unveiled with a new larger, 10.2-inch retina display. It’s got the A10 fusion chip, which makes it super fast, and a Smart Connector. It also works with an older Apple Pencil which is handy.
Apple Watch Series 5 has been unveiled with features including a new ‘always on’ display and a built-in compass.
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