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  • Cheryl Tan

Apple Announces iPhone 13 Series With Better Cameras, iPad 9th-Gen, iPad Mini & Apple Watch Series 7

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

What an announcement from Apple, am I right? The company has announced a bunch of new products, including a shock announcement for iPad, but let's take a look at the iPhone 13 series first.

iPhone 13 Pro & Pro Max. Credit: Apple

Even though there were reports that Apple was considering ditching the mini model due to lacklustre sales for the iPhone 12 Mini, we're definitely happy to know that there will be four models for the iPhone 13: the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Apple has managed to reduce the size of the notch on the front of the phone by 20%, and honestly, that's the one change on the front of the phone that you'll be able to see right off the bat.

For the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13, the screen can get up to 800 nits of max outdoor brightness, which is a 28% increase, and up to 1,200 nits of peak brightness for HDR content. The display is a custom Apple OLED display that supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG.

The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have Super Retina XDR displays with 1,000 nits peak outdoor brightness, 1,200 nits of peak HDR brightness and ProMotion adaptive refresh rate, which means we get up to 120Hz refresh rate for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max for silky smooth content when you're scrolling or playing games. The phone will track how quickly your finger moves to automatically change the refresh rate, which is very nice.

There are no changes to the size of the displays though, so the iPhone 13 Mini comes with a 5.4-inch display, while the iPhone 13 display comes in at 6.1-inch and the displays on the Pro and Pro Max models measure 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch respectively.

Credit: Apple

On the back, you'll notice that the camera placement for the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 has changed to a diagonal set-up for the two cameras. Cameras have been improved as well, with a 12MP f1.6 wide lens that has the same sensor-shift stabilisation tech that was previously reserved for the iPhone 12 Pro Max model and allows 47% more light in for even brighter shots in low-light situations. The other lens is a 12MP f2.4 ultrawide, which also is supposed to capture images with more detail and less noise in low-light environments.

There's a new Cinematic mode that Apple is introducing that allows for rack focusing. Paired in tandem with the ability to shoot in Dolby Vision HDR, this could mean there's a much bigger draw for mobile videographers to get the new iPhone 13 thanks to the greater freedom for creative shots. Focus transitions happen automatically in real-time, with the phone anticipating when the subject enters the frame or looks away, but of course, users can tap to shift focus manually and focus can be changed during and after capture.

Credit: Apple

The cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have also been upgraded, of course. All three rear cameras are new, with a 77mm telephoto lens that supports 3x optical zoom, an ultrawide f1.8 lens with 92% improvement in low light and a f1.5 wide lens with 2.2x improvement in low light. All three lenses support night mode and there's also a new macro mode that can be used with the ultrawide lens, which we're definitely happy about.

Video is also a big update here, with Dolby Vision HDR support as well as the new Cinematic mode mentioned earlier coming to the Pro models. The ProRes video codec is also coming to the Pro models, although it'll only be available in a future software update.

There are plenty of improvements inside the phones though, with a new 5nm A15 Bionic chip coming to all four models, which has a 6-core CPU comprising of two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, with Apple claiming 50% faster performance than the competition. There's also a 4-core GPU in the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 that Apple says is 30% faster compared to the "competition", although there's also no word on which phones that could be. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models get a 5-core GPU that's 50% faster. The 16-core Neural Engine is also capable of up to 15.8 trillion operations per second, enabling faster machine learning computations in native and third-party apps and features.

Apple doesn't typically announce the capacity of the batteries used in its products, but Apple has announced the battery is bigger. The iPhone 13 Mini will last 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 Mini , while the iPhone 13 will last 2.5 hours longer than iPhone 12. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max also get bigger batteries, with 1.5 hours and 2.5 hours of extra battery compared to the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max respectively.

As for durability and water resistance, Ceramic Shield makes a return for the front screen for all models, and they all have IP68 dust and water resistance.

Credit: Apple

We get five colours for the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13: Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight and (PRODUCT)RED. Prices for the iPhone 13 Mini starts from US$699 or S$ 1,149 and iPhone 13 from US$799 or S$1,299, with storage options starting from 128GB of storage all the way to 512GB. Pre-orders start 17 September with availability from 24 September onwards.

Coming in four colours, Sierra Blue, Graphite, Gold and Silver, the iPhone 13 Pro retails from US$999 or S$1,649, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts from US$1,099 or S$1,799, with storage starting from 128GB and going up to a whopping 1TB of storage. The phone will be available from 24 September, with preorders starting on 17 September.

iPad (9th Generation) Credit: Apple

We didn't expect an iPad announcement at this event, but well, we got the new iPad and iPad Mini. Inside is the A13 Bionic chip that offers 20% faster performance for the CPU, GPU and Neural Engine, with 6x faster speeds than the best selling Android tablet, which Apple isn't naming either. There's an upgraded Image Signal Processor, with Apple claiming better selfies and better photos in low light, with a new 12MP ultrawide front camera that supports Centre Stage. I'm a big fan of this feature, so I'm definitely happy to see it coming to other iPads. The new iPad also has Touch ID, along with an 8MP rear camera.

Screen-wise, it's a 10.2-inch Retina display that supports True Tone for a more comfortable viewing experience, since the screen content will be automatically adjusted based on the colour temperature of the surroundings. Surprisingly, the new iPad only supports the 1st-gen Apple Pencil, which feels like a miss on Apple's part. The new iPad will ship with iPadOS 15, which means you get the new multitasking features, widget layouts, live text, focus mode and more. The Wi-Fi only iPad model starts at US$329 or S$499 for 64GB, with the Wi-Fi + Cellular models starting at US$459 or S$699. Orders open today, with general availability from 24 September onwards.

iPad Mini Credit: Apple

If you're looking for something more portable though, the iPad Mini receives a long-overdue update. It's completely redesigned, with flat edges and narrower bezels, coming in four colours: Purple, Pink, Starlight and Space Grey. You get a Liquid Retina display that's now 8.3-inches, with True Tone and the ability to go up to 500 nits of brightness. Touch ID is now integrated into the top power button and the enclosure is made out of 100% recycled aluminium, which is definitely in line with Apple's commitment to the environment.

As for performance increase though, the new iPad Mini has 40% faster CPU performance and 80% faster GPU performance compared to the previous iPad Mini thanks to the A15 Bionic chip. Apple has decided to ditch the Lightning port on the iPad Mini, with a new USB-C port that means faster data transfers. The company hasn't forgotten about data connectivity either, with 5G support and Wi-Fi 6 added in.

Coming to cameras, you get a 12MP f1.8 back camera with Focus Pixels and True Tone flash. There's a new Image Signal Processor in the A15 Bionic chip and Smart HDR, along with the ability to record in 4K. In front, you get the new 12MP ultrawide camera that supports Centre Stage. Audio-wise, the iPad Mini gets landscape stereo speakers, which means consuming content on the tablet will definitely be more enjoyable. There are also new Smart Folio covers, and the tablet has support for the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil, which is odd considering the new iPad is stuck with the 1st-gen Apple Pencil.

The new Wi-Fi iPad Mini models starts at US$499 or S$749, with Wi-Fi + LTE models starting at US$649 or S$979. Orders begin today with availability from 24 September.

Credit: Apple

That's not all Apple has announced though. The Apple Watch also gets a refresh with the new Apple Watch Series 7. It seems the leaks online about the Apple Watch getting flat edges are completely false, with the new watch coming with curved edges. The edges are softer and more rounded, which is funny because it's the complete opposite of the rumours.

The bezels are even thinner, at just 1.7mm, and the Apple Watch Series 7 will be coming in slightly bigger sizes, 41mm and 45mm instead of 40mm and 44mm.

Credit: Apple

The new screen is 20% larger than the Series 6 and is able to fit 50% more text, with a 70% brighter always-on display. There's also support for a full QWERTY keyboard with swipe support for easier text entry.

That being said, Apple has made the Watch Series 7 even more durable, with a crack-resistant front crystal and a new IP6X dust resistance. Water-resistance remains at WR50, which means you can still swim with the watch on.

Apple has managed to keep an 18-hour battery life even with the larger screen, which is a bit of a relief. The upgrade here comes in the form of 33% faster charging compared to the Watch Series 6, thanks to a new charging architecture. It takes just 45 minutes for the watch to charge from 0-80% with the included USB-C charging cable, and eight minutes of charge is enough for eight hours of sleep tracking. Again, Apple is keeping with their environmental programs with the 100% recycled aluminium case for the Apple Watch Series 7 along with 100% recycled rare earth elements in all magnets.

The Series 7 models will come with watchOS 8 installed, which brings Focus mode, Apple Wallet improvements and more.

There were rumours of blood glucose monitoring, blood pressure measurements, body temperature sensors and more, but it seems like Apple will most likely be saving those for next year's Apple Watch instead.

Credit: Apple

The watch will come in five colours for the aluminium finish (Midnight, Starlight, Green, a new Blue and (PRODUCT)RED), stainless steel and titanium. The new Apple Watch Series 7 starts at US$399, with availability later this fall. Singapore pricing has yet to be announced.

And that's pretty much it for the event. With rumours swirling about new Mac computers and AirPods, we might be getting another event sometime in October for those products.


Written by Cheryl Tan


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