My Thoughts On What Was Announced During Today’s Apple Event

Every time Apple does one of their events, people ask me about what I think about what was announced. Thus I took a deep dive on everything that was announced so that you can make the best purchasing decision possible. So let’s have a look at what was announced:

iPad: Well, there’s not much to see here. On the surface this seems to be a decent upgrade. Apple did cut some corners with Bluetooth support as it “only” supports Bluetooth 4.2 in an era where Bluetooth 5.x is a thing. Ditto for the fact that it also comes with 802.11ac WiFi instead of 802.11ax WiFi as that is the new hotness. But other than that, it’s the same iPad that’s been around for a while now. Only faster. And the fact that it works with accessories that you may already have if you’re upgrading from an older iPad is a big plus. One thing that I will note is that you have a choice of 64GB and 256GB storage options. There’s nothing in the middle which is a bit of a #Fail as it forces you to spend more than you may want to if you need more storage.

iPad Mini: Apple didn’t cut corners here as it’s pretty up to date with USB-C, 802.11ax WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 and second generation Apple Pencil support. Though like the iPad above, you again only get 64GB and 256GB storage options. Other than that, this new iPad Mini seems pretty solid at first glance.

Apple Watch Series 7: This at first glance looks like Apple addressed a bunch of things that have been irritants for Apple Watch owners. It has IP6X dust resistance for the first time which to be frank Apple should have done years ago. It also has a screen that is more durables it offers better shatter resistance. That’s important as the ION-X glass isn’t that durable, and you have to spend a lot of money to get the Sapphire glass which is more durable. But it doesn’t seems to be any more scratch resistant which is a #Fail. Said screen is bigger now and it allows you to have a full keyboard which makes responding to text messages or emails something that is practical for the first time. It charges faster as they’ve moved to USB-C for the charging. But that via reading the fine print requires the Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter for it to work. Which is handy as it still has 18 hours of battery life which is another #Fail. Tech specs are not available so it makes it a bit hard to judge what changes were made under the hood. But I can say that there are no health sensors that have been added. Thus as it stands, I find no compelling reasons to upgrade if you have a Series 6. But if you have a Series 5 or earlier, you might have a reason to upgrade.

UPDATE: 9to5Mac has evidence that the internals of the Apple Watch Series 7 are basically the Series 6 internals. Another reason that the Series 7 is not a compelling upgrade.

iPhone 13/13 Mini: The big news is the battery life improvements. Apple now promises “all day battery life” with the Mini. That’s huge as the battery life on the iPhone 12 Mini wasn’t very good. Storage starts at 128GB and goes as high as 512GB. The display notch at the top of the screen is slightly smaller in width. Apple says about 20% smaller for those who care about the size of the notch. It’s faster as usual. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 camera system is better. The lenses now take in more light, with 46% more light gathering capability at a f/1.6 aperture on the main wide camera. Sensor shift optical image stabilization is now available for the first time on the entry-models. For video, Apple has added a rack focus effect that they call ‘Cinematic Mode’, somewhat similar to Portrait mode photos but for video. Cinematic Mode focuses on a subject and adjusts focus as they move around the frame. 5G support on iPhone has been expanded with upgraded radios in the iPhone 13. Apple will double 5G compatibility to more than 200 carries across 60 countries. This makes the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini the phone that most users should get.

iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max: The big news is that Apple finally has ProMotion display technology that can refresh from 10Hz to 120Hz. Thus Apple catches up to pretty much every Android phone. The cameras have of course improved:

  • 77mm telephoto camera with 3x optical camera
  • Ultra Wide camera with 92% boost in low light , f/1.8 aperture, auto-focus, 6-element lens
  • Wide camera: f/1.5 aperture, up to 2.2x improvement in low light
  • New macro photography features for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • Night mode available across all three lenses 
  • New camera filter options, “Photographic Styles” will be available on iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro features Cinematic Mode for video, which is basically the same thing as Portrait Mode but for video. Other features include focus tracking and the ability to adjust the focus after recording
  • Macro slow mo video recording on ultra wide camera
  • ProRes video coming to iPhone 13 Pro later this year

If you care about photography, this will be the iPhone to get. iPhone 13 Pro offers 1.5 hours longer battery life than iPhone 12 Pro, while iPhone 13 Pro Max offers 2.5 hours longer battery life than iPhone 12 Pro Max. And there’s a 1TB option. This may entice me to upgrade from my iPhone 12 Pro.

UPDATE: The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max with 128GB of storage do not work with ProRes video at 4K resolution. This is found on Apple’s tech specs page:

That makes the 128GB models a must pass if you’re interested in ProRes at 4K resolution.

Now, what did you not see in the presentation? Here’s a list:

  • The leather loop Apple Watch bands are dead.
  • There’s a new Apple Wallet for MagSafe that has FindMy functionality.
  • iPhone 13/13 Pro has Dual eSIM support for the first time.
  • AirTag accessories have been refreshed with new colors
  • There are new silicon and leather cases for the iPhone 13/13 Pro
  • An Apple Watch Magnetic Fast Charger to USB-C Cable with a max length of 1M is now available.
  • iPad Pro & Air also gain ‘English lavender’ smart folios

A replay of the entire event is now available below:

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