Apple has used its annual iPhone launch event to introduce the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, plus a new 10.2-inch iPad. This year camera upgrades take center stage, though the phones get speed and battery boosts too.
As with the 2018 iPhones, we’ve got three new handsets to pick from, but the labels have changed around a bit. The standard 6.1-inch iPhone 11, starting at US$699, is actually the direct successor to the iPhone XR (which Apple is keeping on sale, by the way).
Pick the cheapest 2019 iPhone and you get a dual-lens 12 MP + 12 MP rear camera, fitted with a new ultra-wide lens that effectively creates a 0.5x zoom for squeezing more in the frame. Six colors are on offer: black, white, purple, yellow, green and red.
The next step up comes with the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro (starting at $999) and the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max (starting at $1,099), which are the respective successors to the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. These phones come with an improved, higher resolution display, and a triple-lens rear camera, and Apple says you can expect 4-5 hours of extra battery life over their predecessors.
That extra lens around the back enables a 2x optical zoom (so no improvement from last year), as well as better photo and video quality. One neat trick Apple demoed was being able to record two 4K video streams at once, in apps that support the feature.
All three new iPhones come with a special Night Mode for getting better pictures in low light conditions, and all three feature Apple’s brand new A13 Bionic processor – the fastest CPU in a smartphone to date, according to Apple, though it didn’t quantify how much faster it is than the processor in last year’s models.
Pre-orders for the 2019 iPhones start on September 13 with shipping and in-store availability pegged for September 20.
All these phones are going to run the new iOS 13 software, which comes out of beta and will be made available to everyone in the coming days. This year a dark mode theme has been introduced, as well as new editing tools for photos and videos, and a host of other improvements and tweaks.
At the same time as iOS 13 arrives on iPhones, iPads are getting their own mobile operating system for the first time, in the form of iPadOS. It brings with it better support for app multitasking, primarily, making good use of that extra screen space.
Speaking of iPads, Apple showed off a brand new tablet alongside the new iPhones at today’s event, intended to replace the existing entry-level model. The screen has been extended to 10.2 inches (up from 9.7 inches), and it’s been tweaked to better support clip-on keyboards – though otherwise the design hasn’t been changed (Touch ID and those thicker bezels are still here). The price stays at $329.
Finally, Apple Arcade, the mobile games subscription service that was announced back in March, is now getting a full launch. For $5 a month (after a free trial), you get access to an exclusive, regularly updated library of hundreds of games, and it goes live inside the App Store from September 19.
As new iPhone launches go, we’ve seen more dramatic upgrades from Apple in the past. Aside from performance boosts, and reasonably impressive camera upgrades, there’s not all that much that’s new for 2019. Perhaps we can expect a bigger jump forward in design and function in 2020.