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Apple iPhone 13 series has a lot of upgrades and very few surprises

  • Apple announced its latest range of iPhones, iPad, and Apple Watch with minimal changes but features that take into consideration the new uses of these devices in the pandemic period

By Nandagopal Rajan, The Indian Express, September 15, 2021

It is called the iPhone 13 after all. Apple clearly is not bothered about jinxes despite all the reverses of the past week. At the Apple Event Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook ushered in a host of new devices ranging from a new iPad mini to the latest iPhone 13 series, full of upgrades but lacking any major surprises.

Some good news for India though: the iPhone 13 series is coming to the country in the first wave itself and at the same prices as last year despite the larger storage. This underlines Apple’s focus on what could be its next big growth market.

The few new features, especially in the iPad, seemed to play to Apple’s strengths with its homemade silicon by offering updates that make online education for children and work from home for adults an easier experience. The iPhone 13 will come in four versions as before with the same screen sizes and starting prices but more processing power, better cameras, and double the base storage on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini.

The new range is powered by the new and more powerful A15 Bionic processor with 5-nanometer tech and six-core CPU. This chip makes the phones faster and smarter, especially when working on machine learning and AI, but also lets Apple work on improvements to camera capabilities, clearly one of the biggest selling points of phones these days.

And it is clearly the camera features that Apple wants to highlight across the range. So the new iPhones will use computational photography to give a Cinematic Mode with algorithm-based automatic focus shift in video, and customised photo modes like in point-and-shoot cameras.

For the professionals who use Apple’s Pro models, there is the new ProRes video which offers industry-standard video quality and workflows on the iPhone itself. Apple is promising this ProRes Video as an update later this year, almost like a RAW video file in 4K resolution, something which is never before seen on a smartphone. Apple is also ushering in macro photography for the first time using the ultra-wide camera on the iPhone Pro series.

Apple iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max,

The iPhone 13 Pro models also feature a 5-core GPU for better graphics and a Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion that can go from 10Hz to 120Hz refresh rate when needed to showcase this capability. This is not new, as Android flagships from Samsung and others have been touting this for a couple of years, but Apple switching this on means the App ecosystem will finally adopt this as a standard while coding new products. So you will see smoother flows inside apps and better battery life in the phones.

But beyond this, there are very few headline features in the new iPhones. But this is not surprising as this is ideally a limited upgrade S year in the iPhone scheme of things, even though Apple has decided to go with iPhone 13 name instead.

Apple also showcased two new iPads, a 10.2-inch iPad powered by the A13 Bionic processor and an 8.3-inch iPad mini with the new A15 Bionic, both with the capability to use the Apple Pencil. Both the iPads now have better cameras with Centre Stage that keeps users in focus on video calls using Zoom and other such apps.

The iPad mini got what Apple CEO Tim Cook called “ its biggest upgrade ever” which meant a complete upgrade with a thinner design and 5G support. The smallest tablet from Apple has been waiting for this many years. The changes could make the iPad a strong contender as the device of choice for a lot of professionals given that it also comes with 5G capabilities now.

iPhone 13, Apple iPhone 13, iPhone 13 price in India, iPhone 13 sale in India, iPhone 13 features, iPhone 13 Pro, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 7

The Apple Watch Series 7 has a larger Retina display with slimmer borders and a wrap-around effect around the edges. The software has been upgraded to make use of these. However, as has been reported recently, the latest Apple Watch is delayed and is expected only later this year.

But there are no such delays in the iPhone and iPad lines ups and these are going to roll out this month itself. With its own chipsets, Apple seems to be managing the chip shortage a bit better than anticipated.

Interestingly, Apple has phased out the 64GB version of its iPhones completely this year suggesting that the new phones will need more storage thanks to the better cameras and video quality.

The above first appeared in The Indian Express,

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