Apple unveils upgrades to iPhone, Apple Watch and iPads

Technology

Apple revealed details on its latest iPhone, Apple Watch and iPads at a virtual livestream event called California Streaming. Here’s what you need to know about the biggest announcements.

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iPhone 13

For starters, yes, the new iPhone is the iPhone 13. There are four models in all: iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, then the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max.

They are all basically the same sizes as before, but the camera lenses might be a bit bigger due to some improvements. Also, cases from the iPhone 12 might not fit perfectly on these new models.

They come in pink, blue, midnight, starlight and red.

The iPhone 13 and Mini have dual cameras – a wide and ultra wide-angle lens. They also have the fast new A15 Bionic chip, which helps improve battery life a lot. You’ll get up to 2 and half more useage vs iPhone 12.

When it comes to iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, there are bigger improvements to the cameras. These phones have 3 lenses and they are all improved. A wide, 3x telephoto and an ultrawide lens.

The Pros come with a new screen that has a higher refresh rate than before, which means scrolling through things like social media will look smoother and less jumpy. Apple calls this 120Hz adaptive refresh rate ProMotion. All the adjustments are done automatically.

The cameras on the Pros have bigger sensors so they capture more light for better low light pictures. They also have the fast new A15 Bionic but it’s even a bit better than the one in the standard models since it has a faster GPU, or the part that processes graphics.

Battery life is also improved here. Prices start at $699 for the iPhone 13 Mini, $799 for the iPhone 13, $999 for the iPhone 13 Pro and $1099 for the Pro Max. The nice thing here is that Apple has finally doubled the base storage to 128 gigabytes with no price increase over last year’s models. Also, there is a 1 terabyte storage option on the Pro models.

One final note: last year, Apple forced users to choose between the Pro and Pro Max because the Pro Max had a slightly better camera array. That’s not the case this year. The Pro and Pro Max have identical cameras setups, so you just need to decide which size is right for you.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch 7 is the latest in the series and this time around Apple is improving the screen and durability. The screen is a bit larger even though the overall size of the watch stays the same. Also, the screen supposedly won’t crack as easily – not sure if that includes scratches, though.

The 7 Series is also dust resistant for the first time, which should help if you find yourself in the desert a lot.

Battery life on the Series 7 isn’t improved, although charging time is. Apple says charging happens 33% faster than before.

Two new features coming to Apple Watches in WatchOS 8 are helpful for bikers. The watch can now recognize bike workouts automatically (we’re talking outside bikes, not stationary bikes) and can detect when you fall off a bike and call for help.

Apple Watch Series 7 starts at $399. Cellular will add some extra to that. They’re also going to continue to sell the SE at $279 and the Series 3 at $199, but I wouldn’t recommend getting the Series 3 as it’s a bit old at this point.

Conclusion

This wasn’t Apple’s most exciting product announcement, but we got a lot of incremental updates to the most popular products without big price increases.

Unless you’re a pro photographer, power user or upgrade like clockwork every year on some sort of installment plan, you can stick with what you have. Otherwise, the battery life and cameras improvements are a really nice touch for 2021.

The new iPhones go on pre-order September 17 and are available September 24. Apple Watch 7 arrives “this fall.”

Listen to the Rich on Tech podcast for answers to your tech questions.

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