There was a lot to process during Apple's "California Streaming" event on Tuesday. So here's everything you need to know about what was released — and what we think were the best and worst releases of the day.
Apple announced the ninth generation of the 10.2-inch iPad, which features a few new notable upgrades over previous generations.
The base iPad now features a True Tone display, an A13 Bionic processor, and an upgraded Ultra Wide front-facing camera capable of utilizing Apple's Center Stage feature.
The A13 Bionic processor makes the new iPad 20% faster than the eighth-generation iPad.
The iPad wasn't the only Apple tablet that saw significant upgrades on Tuesday's event, either. The iPad mini also saw substantial upgrades over the previous version.
The sixth-generation iPad mini features a Liquid Retina Display with a resolution of 2,266 by 1,488. The new iPad mini fits into the same compact footprint as the previous model. The display also includes True Tone, Wide Color, and offers up to 500 nits of brightness.
Like 2020's iPad Air, the iPad mini now boasts Touch ID within its lock button. However, by moving the Touch ID away from the front, the iPad mini has gained an edge-to-edge display, similar to the iPad Pro and iPad Air.
This is the first iPad mini to support the second-generation Apple Pencil. Like other iPads, users will magnetically connect their Apple Pencil to the side of the iPad to charge and pair it with their device.
For the cameras, the back features a 12-megapixel sensor with Focus Pixels and an f/1.8 aperture, as well as True Tone flash. In addition, a new Image Signal Processor enables Smart HDR improvements, with the camera also capable of recording 4K video.
Also new to the iPad mini is the USB-C port, allowing users to connect various devices, including storage media, tools, and adapters. Cellular models now support 5G, as well.
The iPad mini is available to preorder now, in pink, starlight, purple, and space gray, and can be purchased in 64GB and 256GB storage capacities.
The starting price is $499 for 64GB with Wi-Fi, while the Wi-Fi + Cellular models will start from $649.
Apple Watch Series 7
The event also brought the announcement of the new Apple Watch Series 7, available in 41mm and 45mm sizes and boasting an Always-On Retina display.
The new Retina display is 20% larger than the Apple Watch Series 6's display. It's also 40 percent thinner than the previous generation.
The case and display have been redesigned, now featuring softer edges. In addition, the display refracts light at the edge, creating a subtle wraparound effect. Thanks to the redesign, 50% more text can be seen on screen than the Apple Watch Series 6.
An on-screen keyboard is also new to Apple Watch, allowing users to tap or swipe to send messages.
As anticipated, Apple has created two new Apple Watch faces. The Contour and Modular Duo faces have been explicitly designed to make use of the extra screen space.
Apple Watch Series 7 has increased durability, including improved water resistance and crack-resistant front crystal. In addition, Apple says that the new display is over 50% thicker than in Apple Watch Series 6, adding strength but reportedly not compromising screen clarity.
The new Apple Watch has also been designed with cyclists in mind. It automatically detects when users begin riding and prompts them to start a workout. Additionally, Fall Detection can now recognize when a user takes a fall while riding a bike.
Charging is up to 33% faster than before, taking roughly 45 minutes to reach 80%. Eight minutes of charging will allow users up to 8 hours of sleep tracking use.
The Apple Watch Series 7 is available in five colors — Midnight, Starlight, Green, Blue, and (PRODUCT)Red. The stainless steel version will be available in silver, graphite, and gold, plus there will be a space black titanium model. The Apple Watch Series 7 starts at $399 for the non-cellular model.
Additionally, Apple also released several new Apple Watch bands alongside the announcement of the Apple Watch Series 7. There is a new Nike-branded Sport Loop that boasts the iconic Nike swish, as well as expanded colorways for nearly every one of Apple's existing bands.
iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini
While the iPhone 13 name is applied to this generation's smartphone lineup, it also names the basic iPhone 13 model.
The base iPhone 13 is Apple's "for everyone" phone— it combines the newest features at a moderate price point. It boasts a 6.1 Super Retina XDR display that is 28% brighter than its predecessor, allowing for a peak brightness of around 1,200 nits and outdoor brightness of 800 nits.
The iPhone 13 boasts a new A15 Bionic chipset under the hood, which Apple says is up to 50% faster than the leading rival chips and offers up to 30% better graphical performance.
Apple has upgraded the cameras in the iPhone 13, as well. The diagonally-positioned rear camera module includes new Wide and Ultra Wide cameras, boasting a larger image sensor. In addition, the iPhone 13's camera sensors receive up to 50% more light, allowing for better low-light performance. The Ultra Wide sensor features the same sensor-shift technology as the iPhone 12 Pro.
The iPhone 13 has gained a couple of new shooting modes for both photography and video modes. A new "Photographic Styles" feature lets photographers create Machine Learning-powered "filters" that are intelligently applied to images.
A new "Cinematic Mode" automatically focuses on a subject, even while moving, and automatically shifts focus as people enter the frame. The iPhone 13 is the first iPhone to allow users to select focus points in editing as it remembers depth information in recorded video.
Like the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 supports 5G networks. Apple has also upgraded the antennas and radio components on the iPhone 13, allowing for expanded band support. The Cupertino tech giant is also working with more than 200 carriers in 60 countries and regions to add 5G support by the end of 2021.
The iPhone 13 is available in five colors — pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and (PRODUCT)Red. In addition, customers can configure it with three different storage sizes — 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storages at $799 for the $128GB model.
Like the last generation, there is also a diminutive iPhone 13 mini. It shares the same technical specs as the iPhone 13 but comes in a smaller 5.4-inch package. Pricing starts at $699 for a 128GB model.
On Friday, September 17, Apple will open preorders with orders starting to ship out on September 24.
iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max
As anticipated, there are two new higher-end iPhone Pro models. Like previous years, they've followed the iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max naming convention.
The resolutions of the screens are 2,532 by 1,170 for the Pro, 2,778 by 1,284 for the Pro Max, the same as seen in the iPhone 12 Pro range. The pixel densities are the same at 460ppi and 458ppi, respectively, as well as the 2 million to 1 contrast ratio, True Tone support, Wide color (P3), and Haptic Touch.
Like the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Pro-lineup iPhone 13 Pro models also feature DSLR-style Sensor Shift, where the sensor moves, but the lens does not, enabling the image to stay sharper and longer exposures. It also boasts LiDAR.
Unlike last year's iPhones, the iPhone 13 Pro's triple-camera setup boasts bigger lenses than previous versions. This year, the 12-megapixel sensors are larger, enabling more light to be captured for improved low-light shots.
The Telephoto lens now has a 77mm focal length and a 3x optical zoom, while the Wide has an f/1.5 aperture and up to 2.2x improvement in low-light photography. In addition, the all-new Ultra Wide camera has an f/1.8 aperture, offers a 92% improvement in low-light shots, as well as a six-element lens and autofocus.
The high-end smartphones also include the LiDAR Scanner, which allows the iPhone to generate a 3D map of the surrounding area. It also provides improved Portrait Mode imagery and boosts the effectiveness of autofocus in low-light situations.
Those looking to purchase the iPhone 13 Pro will be able to preorder on September 17, with shipments expected to start the following Friday.
Users will be able to purchase the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max in Graphite, Gold, Silver, and an all-new Sierra Blue. It's available in storage capacities of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB, and 1TB. iPhone 13 Pro prices start at $999, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1,099.
As AppleInsider covered the "California Streaming" event on Tuesday, each staffer found something different to love — or perhaps dislike — in Apple's newest offerings.
Just in case you haven't read the last five times I've said it, nor heard me say it, I am a Mac-first worker. My 2018 MacBook Pro serves me well, in parallel with a few other pieces of hardware in the house.
I'm planning on keeping my powder dry, and wait for whatever the M1X or whatever Apple calls it will bring.
That said, we are buying an iPad mini. Also as I've discussed in several venues, my wife had a stroke in 2015, and she relies heavily on iOS to access the internet. She'd previously used large-screen iPhones, but the "Max" lineup price versus the premium for "plus" increase a few years ago made that prohibitive.
So, she's keeping her iPhone XS Max, and adding an iPad mini to her vehicle fleet for a "purse-able" tool, instead of a new phone.
I started my Apple Watch health surveillance with an iPhone SE, then upgraded to a Series 6 when a family member decided that the Apple Watch life was not for them. I'm not expecting to go to the Apple Watch Series 7 — at least not until the steep sales start
I have two iPhones. One is a work line for this place, and the other is my "daily carry." In theory, this year is the "daily carry replacement year, but I'm not yet quite sold on the iPhone 13 Pro versus my iPhone 11 Pro. If I was more of a videographer, than maybe.
But, I'm not. And, the camera on my iPhone 11 Pro is pretty nice, still. Fortunately, I still have until Friday to decide if I want it early.
But, I suspect I'll take a discounted offering in February or March this time.
Honestly, I didn't find the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro models to be that compelling — at least, personally. Against my better judgment, I very recently purchased an iPhone 12 Pro as my daily driver. Looking at the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, I don't regret that decision at all.
In my opinion, this is certainly an "S" year for the iPhone. Among the features debuted, I found the cinematography advancements on the iPhone 13 Pro models the most interesting. Although I might not have much use for them personally, I hope they inspire a new indie filmmaking generation.
The same goes for the Apple Watch Series 7. The incremental upgrades are welcome, but aren't enough to make me want to trade in my Apple Watch Series 6 any time soon. I might purchase an Apple Watch Series 7 before they're discontinued, but only because I can't stand the idea of a squared-off watch on my wrist.
By far the most compelling device, and the one that I'm most likely to purchase, is the new iPad mini. I've been eyeing a small tablet to use as a dedicated, distraction-free writing station for some time. However, I feel like the iPad mini has enough features to be a mobile writing platform that can also double as a full-fledged tablet.
It felt as if Apple's event really launched only two iPhones, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, with a cursory nod to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. And a practically dismissive wave in the general direction of the iPhone 13 mini.
What made me happy, though, was how the Apple Watch Series 7 did not get the flattened-edge design we'd all been led to expect. You know if Apple did it, and if it does it next year, then it will look good, but everybody else's renders were ugly.
So when that smoothly curved Watch chassis appeared, and the tip of the second hand appeared to bend around it, I was sold.
I will upgrade from my Apple Watch Series 4 to Series 7. I'm actually not so sure about replacing my iPhone 12 Pro, but I suspect I will and especially if it's confirmed that the UK version will support mmWave 5G.
I believe the standout product, for me, is the iPad mini. While the iPhone 13 cameras are amazing, and the new Apple Watch design is sleek, it's the iPad mini with the most significant technological jump.
The form factor has always interested me. Until the iPad Air was revealed, I used the iPad mini 5 as a secondary computer. I loved how portable the design was while remaining distinctly bigger than the iPhone.
Now, with the flat sides, Apple Pencil 2 support, and all-screen display, I feel it is the perfect iPad-as-a-tablet computer. So I ordered one immediately to be a companion to my 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max will be my choice this year. I'm excited about the camera upgrades and Cinematic mode. However, while I was tempted to go for the smaller iPhone 13 Pro, I still prefer the biggest display and battery life overall.
The Apple Watch Series 7 is the first release I had to stop and consider if I truly wanted it. The upgrades are minimal and won't affect how I use the Watch.
However, the brighter display and faster charging make for a compelling enough upgrade. I had hoped for some new interesting health feature, but the tougher display glass will have to do.
The event flew by, and Apple seemed to cram every second with features. Unfortunately, we didn't get as many high-flying drone shots this year, so there was hardly any room to breathe. I'd personally prefer a slower pace and a two-hour event to a lightning-fast hour and a half.
I loved seeing the redesigned iPad mini officially announced. Since upgrading to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro from the 11-inch, I've missed having a smaller, more portable device. The new iPad mini was an instant buy and I plan to use it as an ebook reader and entertainment device.
It was interesting that we missed out on AirPods 3 and the Apple Watch Series 7 design will be similar to last year's model. Overall it was a strong event and I'm most looking forward to the Promotion display on iPhone 13 Pro and the new Cinematic mode for video.
I'm oddly finding it hard to get excited about Apple's product launches at Tuesday's event. Each year, we expect to see massive new features, and Apple presented its latest lineup as such, but realistically, it's more small steps than giant leaps.
A lot of the changes could be looked at as expected improvements. The iPhones are faster and with a lot more bells and whistles on the iPhone Pro side of things, and the Apple Watch is bigger and a bit better, but we're not seeing major alterations to already well-established formats.
The "big whoop" of the presentation was the ninth-generation iPad, which is a bit faster with a chip two generations behind the latest iPhone launches and has a new camera. However, it has the feel of being a maintenance release, potentially ahead of an overhauled version for the next one.
By Jove, does it need that overhaul.
What did impress was the changes made to the iPad mini, with a new design that borrows concepts from the iPad Air and uses the same A15 variant as the iPhone 13 Pro. This is the sort of change I want to see in the main iPad lineup, but we're still kept waiting.
Alas, it seems unlikely that I will be purchasing anything from Apple's latest product launches. Instead, I will probably stick with my iPhone XR until it either takes one plummet too many, or Apple brings out a new iPhone in 2022 with big changes. Likewise, there's not really enough change to warrant moving from the Apple Watch Series 4 just yet, while the aging 9.7-inch iPad Pro is more likely to be replaced by another iPad Pro.
This year, Apple made a big announcement, and there are an amazing selection of wonderful new devices, which I am not purchasing.
The iPad. Not "our Best iPad Ever." No, it's "the Most Popular iPad ever." That seems easily true, when it's the most affordable iPad, and the one Apple is most committed to, when they're on-again-off-again on the iPad Mini. Maybe that's changing, now that the iPad mini has been updated with USB-C and Apple Pencil 2 support.
I have an iPad Pro 4th generation. I don't need an iPad. Honestly, I'm not even compelled to get the iPad Pro M1 until I see what iPad OS 15 or 16 do that take advantage of it for my uses.
I had high hopes for Apple Watch Series 7, and if I didn't have an Apple Watch Series 6, I would buy it. I was hoping for a continuous glucose monitor. As it is, the Series 7 uses the same CPU as the Series 6. It gains a larger display, a keyboard, some watch faces, and durability, but I don't need one. The good news is, if you do purchase an Apple Watch Series 7, you get a new charging architecture that uses USB-C, charges enough for 8 hours of sleep-tracking in 8 minutes, and charges 33% faster than the Series 6 I wear.
Unbelievably, they're still selling the Apple Watch Series 3, and nobody should buy it. It's slow, it performs badly, and when software updates arrive for it, you have to reset and erase the whole watch in order to free up enough space for the update to install. It's not a good experience.
As far as the iPhone 13 and iPhone Pro go, Cinema mode was the moment that got me. In the first half of the introduction, it looked awful, switching too rapidly between focus in some shots. The moment that made me sit upright was when the director in the presentation said, 'and you can choose where to focus after the fact.' That's huge.
For me, there was a lot to love at this event. I know some are down on Apple for not including a massive speed boost in the new iPhones, but I felt iPhone 12 was already very fast, and with the additional GPU core on the pro models, I'll be thrilled with the performance.
The biggest surprise, though, was how polished Cinematic mode was. We assumed we'd be getting portrait mode for video, but Apple absolutely elevated the feature to something very usable for the everyday user.
Similarly, for Apple Watch, I love the new display. Faster charging is going to be one of the most significant benefits here, especially for sleep tracking.
My biggest disappointment is the lack of an always-on display for the pro iPhones. This rumor had me the most excited, and it was a bummer it didn't pan out. In the end, I'll end up picking up a new stainless steel Apple Watch Series 7 as well as a new iPhone. I'm still torn, though, on which model, between the larger display of the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the more compact size of the iPhone 13 Pro.