For the past decade, Tim Cook’s greatest achievement as Apple CEO has been far more of the same. More iPhones, more iPhone accessories, more apps, and so much more money. While the Mac and iPad occasionally decay, the company comes back every year with new reasons to buy its biggest hits – and this year’s iPhone 13 event is a near-perfect case study of how far you can go with refinement.
As my colleague Jon Porter points out, the iPhone 13 is practically the iPhone 12S, an iterative, incremental update to last year’s phones, rather than something that feels brand new.
Almost everything got better
But what an update. What company wouldn’t dream of claiming to have improved the processing power AND the battery life AND the cameras AND the displays AND the storage AND the connectivity AND the design over the course of a year without changing the price bit?
In 2021, with the same $ 829 you would pay last year, you’ll now buy twice the storage space, a whopping 2.5 additional hours of battery life, more 5G bands, and an additional 175 nits of brightness over the iPhone 12, plus 47 percent read more Sensor and Sensor Shift Stabilization System, previously available exclusively in the iPhone 12 Pro Max from $ 1,099. A new cinematic video mode isn’t just for the pros, either (though sleek 120Hz screens, a new macro photography mode, and ProRes video will be) and while the company doesn’t offer any real numbers to back it up, Apple even claims so iPhone 13 Mini brings you the fastest processor available in any smartphone on the market.
The bento box for iPhone 12 and 12 Mini with upgrades. Notch in the lower left.
Plus, it can’t be said that the design hasn’t changed at all. The notch still exists, but it’s smaller! (I really like the blue of the iPhone 13 Pro, too.) The only compromise I can find this year – before our reviews – is that the iPhone 13 range is oh-so-thick and heavier. You can find our comparison tables here.
This year’s iteration is so compelling that I’m easily tempted to upgrade my perfectly good iPhone 12 Mini to get that better camera with sensor shift and an extra hour of battery life. (I probably won’t, as the announcement means the resale value of my existing phone has probably already gone down, but I’m concerned that Apple may still be discontinuing the Mini next year due to allegedly lackluster sales.) If I got an iPhone 11 or . would have? it used to be a breeze – I would definitely pre-order one on Friday.
And while it may feel criminal that the new $ 329 worth 10.2-inch iPad still uses a Lightning connector and a first-generation Apple Pencil, Apple is still giving out a decent upgrade there, without asking for more money – and doubles the basic memory from 32 GB to 64 GB the A10 Fusion chip for the A13 Bionic and hopefully finally a decent front camera (12 MP, vs. only 1.2 MP!) on his entry-level tablet computer .
The new iPad mini.
History is the 6th on the iPad Mini. But the upgrade incentives are still strong: It’s a crystal clear update from its predecessor with a larger and higher-resolution 8.3-inch screen despite its slightly smaller and lighter frame, with a Magnetic connector for docking a 2nd generation Apple Pencil. It has the A15 Bionic Chip from the new iPhone 13, but with the additional graphics core you will otherwise only be punished on the iPhone 13 Pro. The camera is bigger and faster at 12 MP and f / 1.8 (compared to 8 MP and f / 2.4), for the first time with 4K video and both Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support, which the 2019 model lacked. Just don’t look for a headphone jack.
Apple is coping with all of this during a pandemic and global chip shortage, and so far there has been only one single indication that Tim Cook’s giant manufacturing machine cannot keep up: the new Apple Watch Series 7 has been rumored to be delayed due to production issues, and though supposedly overcome, we don’t have a release date for the new watch other than “later this fall,” and Apple is cautious about the details.
The Apple Watch Series 7.
A leaked data sheet for the watch suggests it should ship with the new phones in September, but the fine print says even the specifications “are subject to change without notice,” and Apple didn’t respond to a request for one Comment on the documents.
The watch is why I say this year’s event is a near-perfect case study: it’s not so clear why anyone would buy the Series 7 over a discounted Series 6, despite the larger and supposedly more durable screen. With the same battery life and no reason to believe there was more processing power or functionality plus a late start, it could be the only insufficient iteration this year.