As expected, it was Apple’s new iPhone lineup that grabbed the headlines. California streaming event, with the company showcasing its two standard iPhone models for the first time – the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 and the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini.
Apple’s vice president of iPhone product marketing Kaiann Drance took the lead, highlighting the new look of the iPhone 13, which builds on the design of last year’s iPhone 12 models with some interesting improvements.
First off, as we’ve seen in renderings over the past few months, the dual camera system now has the lenses arranged diagonally instead of vertically. Drance didn’t say if there were any technical reasons for the change, but at the very least, it’s a good way to differentiate the new iPhone from last year’s model.
Five new colors and a smaller notch
Apple is also launching the two new iPhone 13 models in five new colors – one less than recent rumors had suggested.
While we’ll actually see the expected pink iPhone, it looks like it’s effectively replacing last spring’s purple, rather than complementing it.
We’re also going to see the usual (PRODUCT) RED and a shade of blue, but it looks like âMidnightâ will be the new black, and Apple launched a brand new color this year that it calls âStarlightâ which is more of a off-white that appears to fall somewhere between silver and white.
Additionally, after years of reports that Apple was aiming for a smaller notch, it appears to have finally succeeded by bringing the True Depth camera components closer together. The result is a 20% reduction in notch size across the entire iPhone 13 lineup.
As usual, a new iPhone brings a new A-series SoC, and as Drance noted, as everyone continues to catch up with last year’s processors, Apple is boosting its performance even further.
Hope Giles, vice president of hardware technologies managing Apple’s engineering programs, took the virtual stage to highlight the company’s latest 5nm achievement, noting that this year it managed to pack 15 billion dollars. transistors.
The result is a six-core processor with two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, along with increased performance from the Machine Learning Accelerator that will propel things like text-to-speech into Siri and processing of instructions on the machine. device in Apple Maps. . Giles notes that it is 50% faster than the main competitor’s SoCs.
The A15 also has a quad-core GPU that delivers 30% faster graphics performance compared to competing smartphones, and a 16-core neural engine that can handle 5.8 trillion operations per second, which which results in even more advanced computer photography features.
It’s fair to say that in recent years it’s been the camera that has seen the most improvements every year, and the iPhone 13 is no exception.
The main Wide Camera was upgraded to the 1.7 micron sensor type that was only found on the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max last year, which allowed for capture 47% more light. This means less noise in photos, brighter results, and shorter capture times for night mode photos. This is supported by a wider f / 1.6 aperture and a 26mm 7-element lens.
While the ultra-wide camera retains the same five-element lens as before, it has an f / 2.4 aperture and now has a faster, custom-designed sensor.
Perhaps the most exciting feature coming to the iPhone 13 this year is a new Cinematic Video Mode, which allows for creative use of focus to create much more artistic videos.
As Apple’s human interface designer Johnnie Manzari explains, Cinematic Mode uses a filmmaker technique known as ârack focus,â where cinematographers switch between foreground and the background in the same scene.
For example, the camera might first focus on a subject that is looking at the screen, with the background slightly more out of focus, and then move as the character turns their head to focus on the background.
While it’s already possible to do this a bit manually, the power of the iPhone 13’s A15 chip will now handle it automatically using the same kind of depth mapping technology that supports live photos. portrait mode – and all of this will do it automatically using the machine. learning.
Cinematic mode will anticipate when a subject is about to enter the frame and intelligently focus when it does. It will also be able to determine when someone is looking away from the camera, automatically changing the focus to bring up the background. It will even maintain focus on a subject as it moves around the scene.
To do this, Manzari says Apple designers and engineers studied the art of cinematography, examining various directorial techniques and hundreds of hours of existing footage to train the computational algorithms to make it all work.
Of course, it will also be possible to adjust the focus manually. Simply tap a subject to focus, then tap a second time to lock focus on the subject and follow its movements in the scene.
Best of all, just like Portrait mode photography, all of this depth mapping information is stored with the video. This means that even if you make a mistake or want to tweak things, you can choose to adjust the focus later in post-production, which isn’t even possible in traditional cinematography.
Surprisingly, Apple has managed to make significant improvements to iPhone battery life again this year, even with a brighter screen and more powerful photography features.
Much of this is because the A15 chip is significantly more power efficient than its predecessor, but the iPhone 13 also packs a slightly larger battery. The result is that the iPhone 13 mini will run 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 mini, and the iPhone 13 can run up to 2.5 hours longer than its predecessor.
While the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have the same base Super Retina XDR OLED display technology as last year, Apple managed to increase the brightness by 28%. That puts it on par with the iPhone 12 Pro, with 800 nits of brightness for normal content and 1,200 nits of maximum brightness for HDR photos and videos. The screen is also now more energy efficient.
Apple has also improved the 5G capabilities of the iPhone 13, with custom-designed antennas and radio components that support more 5G frequency bands, meaning the iPhone 13 will support 5G in more days. ‘places. Specifically, Drance notes that the iPhone 13 will be able to offer 5G to more than 200 carriers in 50 different countries and regions.
Prices, capacities and availability
Both iPhone 13 models are priced in line with their iPhone 12 counterparts, with the iPhone 13 mini starting at $ 699 and the iPhone 13 starting at $ 799.
However, not only do this year’s iPhones offer nice upgrades at these prices, but Apple has once again doubled the storage for these two models across the board. That means $ 699 will now get you a 128GB iPhone 13 mini, for the same price as last year’s 64GB model, and there’s a 512GB version on the top of the line as well, which replaces the 256 GB iPhone 12 models.
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini will both be available for pre-order starting this Friday, and are expected to start hitting stores – and in people’s hands – by Friday, September 24.