People usually take things on face value, but when one judges Apple’s products one always needs to delve into the details. After all, the devil is in the details. The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models on expected lines look like boring upgrades to their predecessors, but if one looks at the details, then these phones are not only solid upgrades but also perhaps the best phones for creators. Let me explain why.
Cameras for creators
- Dual cameras have existed on the iPhone since 2016 while triple cameras have been an industry-wide trend for at least a year and a half. So the fact that the iPhone 11 gets a dual-camera stack and the “pro” model gets three cameras on the back is not earthshattering. The implementation matters. Apple’s cameras have been the favourites of creators for a long time and this year the twin cameras on the iPhone 11 add an ultra-wide lens into the mix which works as well as the main camera. And mind you, the main 12-megapixel camera takes in 40% more light than the already very impressive camera of the iPhone XS. These cameras can be seamlessly switched too with the help of the redesigned interface. The problem with multi-camera systems on phones has been the gulf between the performance of the cameras — Apple claims to have eliminated that. That’s why it was able to show off some incredible images and films made on the new iPhones.
- General performance critiques of the iPhone camera have been addressed head-on this year. This starts with a new generation of its smart HDR processing to the ability to have portrait mode work for objects on the iPhone 11 to have the ability to switch between the telephoto and wide-angle lens for portrait mode photos which will enhance the feature in low light. Low light performance has also been addressed with the addition of an automated night mode. How good is it, one can’t really say, but it should be close to Google’s solution knowing Apple’s prowess. There is also a new deep fusion mode that will come in as an update at a later date which will harness the on-device machine learning capabilities of the iPhone to give sharper and richer photos which will rival DSLRs in quality. Photos will be at a 24-megapixel resolution and they will be blur-free and highly detailed.
- Video cameras of the iPhones have been the industry standard for a while and Apple has doubled down on this advantage this year. There is cinematic stabilisation into the mix and extended dynamic range and all the cameras can be switched on the fly with no changes in colour gradation as Apple has tuned these cameras to death ensuring that film-makers dig them. Coupled with this is the new audio zoom capability which we have seen before on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 but one can expect it to be better on the iPhones considering their legendary audio capture abilities, we are getting a camera for video unlike any other. And for sure if you follow warpcore, a lot of our video content is made on iPhones, be rest assured the iPhone 11 will push things further.
Hardware for creators
- The reason that Apple is able to do all this crazy stuff on the iPhones is because of its impressive silicon which was already ahead of the Android competition on the iPhone XS. The A13 bionic takes things even further with an all-around 20% improvement in CPU and GPU performance while being more power-efficient, having a faster neural engine for image processing computation and for the first time having two machine learning accelerators. At the risk of sounding a little hyperbolic, I’d compare the stack on the iPhone to a miniature data centre than a smartphone chip.
- All of this on-device power is also meant for creative tasks that are achieved on-device, not through cloud parsing like Google does for Google Photos. So for instance, the Apple Photos app which takes a leaf out of Google Photos crunches everything on the iPhone itself. iOS 13 adds some cool editing tools which can edit video on the fly thanks to this horsepower embedded on the iPhone. Game developers can make really pretty graphically rich games that rival some older consoles for the iPhone without losing fidelity.
- Third-party app developers can make use of this hardware in unique ways. For example, Filmic pro uses the computational capabilities of the iPhone A13 processor in tandem with the new camera system to allow filmmakers to shoot from two perspectives using the different lenses at the same time which is unheard of on normal cameras and even smartphones. This new updated Filmic pro app will come to App Store later in the year. There will be numerous other examples.
- For the first time in years, Apple has also bumped the battery life on the iPhone which makes this a longer-lasting creative tool than just a phone. On the iPhone 11, you get 1 more hour over the already stellar iPhone XR while the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max benefit from 4 and 5 hours of more battery life thanks to the new Super Retina XDR display which is also 15% more power-efficient. Apple also finally adds the 18W fast charger in the package which is lightning to USB Type C based.
- Talking about the new Super Retina XDR display on the iPhone 11 Pro — Apple leverages its pedigree of making tools for creators making a screen that now has an industry-leading contrast ratio of 2 million to 1, with higher peak brightness levels of 1200 nits which should make this the best smartphone screen even in the extremest of environments.
- These new iPhones are also the most durable iPhones ever. Not only do they have a new type of cover-glass on the front and back which makes them very sturdy and there is even new IP68 water and dust resistance on all the iPhones. Apple is also using a new anodised stainless steel in the iPhone 11 Pro which makes it nicer to look and sturdier.
A platform for creators
- The iPhone has always been a platform for creators and as Tim Cook pointed out there are more than 30,000 photography focussed apps on App Store. Apps like LumaFusion are great for video editing, there is SynthOne which mimics modular synthesisers, there is Halide which has been one of the best iPhone camera apps for a while — the App Store has always been home to some of the best apps of all time apart from having stuff from all the big companies like Google and Microsoft.
- Legendary gaming companies like Konami and Capcom are releasing games on Apple Arcade which have been tuned for Apple’s hardware exclusively. This has happened because of the way iOS operates in tandem with its A line of processors.
- With machines learning accelerators and improvements in AR kit and the new cameras on the iPhones, these phones further elevate Apple’s lead as the world’s biggest AR platform. If you’re in for AR, then the new iPhones are no-brainers.