These days nothing is hidden about what Apple is planning. What used to be like a script out of an Agatha Christie novel, today is as pedantic and predictable as the next Michael Bay movie. And like the average Michael Bay movie, Tim Cook took the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino to announce its new iPhones, christened the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max along with the Apple Watch Series 5, the seventh generation iPad and the pricing and details of Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. Let’s take a deep dive into all things Apple announced.
iPhone 11 is the new iPhone XR successor
- The new iPhone 11 is essentially a rebranded successor to the highly successful iPhone XR. It has the same colourful design and adds two new colours like green and purple and now has a dual-camera system on the back with a square camera bump integrating the new camera system.
- The dual-camera system includes a new 12-megapixel sensor which has an f/1.8 aperture and a wide-angle lens that has an f/2.4 aperture and a 120-degree field of view. There is also a night mode that fires automatically and the camera interface has been adapted for the wide-angle camera. On balance, this should be a radical improvement on the imaging front as now the portrait mode gets two lenses for stereoscopic depth which adds object detection.
- Apple is touting the video capabilities of the new iPhones as game-changing and showed off videos that were shot on the phones. Users will be able to even switch lenses on the fly giving more cinematic footage. Like previous iPhone XS models, it shoots at 4K at 60FPS, but it has new cinematic stabilisation.
- The 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display remains the same, which means it is an IPS panel with an HD+ resolution. This isn’t the sharpest screen around but it supports HDR 10 and Dolby Vision and generally, it was the best LCD screen on a smartphone with minimal bezels. The addition of spatial audio will make watching movies and TV shows on services like Netflix and Apple TV+ even more immersive.
- Apple’s A-line of processors have proven to already be the fastest mobile processors around. Apple pushes the envelope with the new A13 bionic which is now 20% faster for both the GPU and the CPU while being more frugal in terms of power consumption. The neural engine is also faster especially for on-device computational photography and it comes with machine learning accelerators for the first time. Long story short, the iPhone will remain the fastest phone on the planet unless Google comes out with something surprising.
- The price this year is lower than last year. The iPhone 11 starts at Rs 64,900 for the 64GB model as compared to Rs 76,900 for the iPhone XR last year. This also makes it a cheaper phone than the base model of the Galaxy Note 10. It makes this very good value, especially because iPhone’s are known to last much longer than Android phones and now Apple has differentiating services like Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade which just cost Rs 99 per month in India.
Weaknesses of the iPhone get addressed with the iPhone 11 Pro
Apart from having all the new features of the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, gets features and updates that make it feel like a cutting edge phone device. This includes substantial updates to the camera, battery life and even the design.
- Apple claims that it is using the strongest ever cover glass on the iPhone 11 Pro alongside a new matte finish and souped-up IP68 water resistance. This makes the iPhone 11 Pro the most durable iPhone ever, especially the lack of the matte finish makes it less susceptible to slips. And yes, that camera bump looks way more tasteful than all the leaked renders.
- In addition t0 the A13 Bionic processor, there is a new U1 chip on the iPhone 11 Pro which makes this phone spatially aware. For instance, iOS 13.1 will make AirDrop faster when directed towards an iPhone user.
- The display has been upgraded and now Apple calls it the Super Retina XDR indicating the high contrast ratio of 2 million to 1 and 1200 nits of brightness apart from its ultra-sharp OLED resolution.
- Triple cameras make a debut on the iPhone 11 Pro — all three are a new generation of 12-megapixel sensors which include a wide-angle, telephoto and ultra-wide-angle sensors. The wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle are the same ones as the iPhone 11. Users can also now take portrait mode photos from either the telephoto camera or the wide-angle one and there is also the new smart HDR 2.0 processing at play.
- Apple is also working on a new fusion system that uses machine learning to create sharp detailed photos. Apple has also tuned the cameras that there is no colour shift in the three lenses which will make switching seamless. Third-party apps like Filmic Pro will also have the ability to shoot footage from two different lenses at the same time which is great for film-making and journalism.
- Face ID on all the iPhones including the standard iPhone 11 is now faster thanks to a new sensor on the selfie camera which also enables unlock off-axis while the phone is laying flat. This is enabled by a wider angle camera for selfies. It also enables slow motion and 4K video for selfies.
- Battery life on the iPhone 11 Pro models has been greatly improved. 4 hours more than the iPhone XS and 5 hours more than the iPhone XS Max. Apple is also finally shipping an 18W fast charging brick with the Pro iPhone models. This is there in addition to wireless charging.
For people waiting for these phones in India, all eyes are now centred on Septemeber 27 when all the phones will land. The iPhone 11 starts at Rs 64,900, while the iPhone 11 Pro will start at the Rs 99,900 price point with the big boy iPhone 11 Pro Max scaling to Rs 109,900.