Another fall Apple event is in the books, and despite a few minor surprises — no AirPods 3 and no post-show “Donda” performance by Kanye West! — what we saw didn’t stray too far from pre-event expectations. A redesigned iPad Mini, a new iPhone 13 lineup (with smaller notch!), and larger Apple Watch Series 7 were all among the new-and-improved devices Apple trotted out, while the aforementioned much-rumoured AirPods and updated MacBooks were missing from the event. Perhaps another product launch is in the cards this fall?
But let’s not waste any more of your time up here. Here’s everything Apple announced at its “California Streaming” event.
Redesigned iPad and iPad Mini
First up was a slight upgrade for the base-model iPad, which sports a faster A13 Bionic processor than last year’s model and improved cameras for all the video calls we’re still dealing with these days.
The new cheap iPad now offers 20% faster CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance than last year’s 8th-gen model, and Apple is quick to point out that it now clocks in at three times faster than its best-selling rival, the Chromebook. The iPad is also getting some new software features, including Centre Stage, which uses the device’s new 12-MP front-facing camera to deliver improved image quality for selfies and video calls, and an expanded 64GB of base storage, up from 32GB. Available in both silver and space grey, the new iPad is available for pre-order today starting at $499 — the same starting price of the previous model.
Next up was the iPad Mini, which, unlike its larger cousin, actually got some long-overdue attention in the design department. The updated Mini now more closely resembles the iPad Air, with flat-edged sides, a new power button with a built-in fingerprint scanner for Touch ID, and note-taking support for Apple Pencil. The Mini also now boasts a new USB-C port on the bottom, which allows for faster recharge, and a display capable of up to 500 nits peak brightness with Apple’s True Tone white balance added in. The Mini’s wifi-only model with 64GB of storage starts at $749, but that jumps up to $979 if you opt for the model with built-in 5G/LTE.
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7 is, as expected, bigger and beefier than its predecessors, offering the option to size up to 41mm or 45mm (up from 40mm and 44mm, respectively). The bezels have been slimmed down by about 1.7 mm, which means about 20% more screen area than what the Series 6 had previously offered.
A new S7 chip inside means the watch will be faster, and while battery life remains unchanged from 18 hours, Apple has improved the watch’s charging capabilities. The company claims you can get up to eight hours of battery life after charging for just eight minutes. With watchOS 8 , you’ll get key features like fall detection for cyclists and a more accurate calorie burn algorithm. Fitness+ also got a couple of cool new features, including new mindfulness modes, Pilates workouts, winter workout prep and a SharePlay option, which will allow up to 32 people to join a workout in the app at once.
The Series 7 starts at $US399. (The Series 3 is also still on sale but you really, really should not buy the oldest Apple Watch around.)
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.
iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini
Finally, the moment everyone’s been waiting for, because let’s face it, you didn’t come here to read about the Fitness+ updates. Wednesday morning’s event was all about that sweet, sweet iPhone news, and Apple delivered, offering up key details about the newly unveiled iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max.
First up were the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, which now boast a notch that’s been slimmed down by about 20%. Although the respective 6.1 inch and 5.4-inch screens are the same size as its predecessor, the 13s have a brighter-than-ever display, reaching peak brightness of 1,200 nits.
The most impressive update to the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini are the cameras, by a long shot: The improved dual lenses, which are now arranged diagonally, feature a 12-MP main and 12-MP ultra-wide camera. Perhaps the coolest feature is the newly-added Cinematic Mode, which lets you shoot Portrait Mode-style footage that auto adjusts on the fly when you’re switching between a subject that’s up close and something farther afield.
Both phones also claim to have improved battery life, with the 13 Mini getting an additional 1.5 hours of battery life over the 12 Mini and the standard-sized iPhone 13 claiming an additional 2.5 hours over the iPhone 12. Running on Apple’s latest A15 Bionic processor, these phones are also 50% faster than the competition (Android flagships running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, presumably), with two high-performance and four efficiency cores.
The Mini, which starts at $1,199 for 128GB of storage, and the iPhone 13, which starts at $1,349, are both available for preorder on Sept. 17 and go on sale officially on Sept. 24. They come in five colours: pink, blue, Midnight, Starlight, and red.
iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
While the iPhone 13 Pro clocks in at 6.1 inches, the same size as the iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes in at a whopping 6.7 inches. Both have improved screens that allow for a silky smooth 120Hz refresh rate, and, like the standard models, promise to be more powerful than the competition with the A15 Bionic processor. The Pros have a 5-core GPU (up from a 4-core in the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini) that promises to be deliver up to 50% faster graphics than the competition.
Once again, the real standout feature for the Pro models are the cameras, which are arranged as a trio, offer support for Night Mode in all lenses, and enable shooting in ProRes for higher-quality shooting and editing (the third lens is a revamped 77mm telephoto shooter with 3x optical zoom). The Pro models also offer a new macrophotography feature for incredible closeups.
Unlike the standard and the Mini, the Pro line is available in four colours: Silver, a gorgeous new Sierra Blue, graphite, and gold. The 13 Pro starts at $1,699 and the 13 Pro Max starts at $1,849. In addition to 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options, a 1TB Pro version is also available for the first time.
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