Apple is hoping to trigger a big new iPhone upgrade cycle with the iPhone 13 — tricked out with an option for up to 1 terabyte of on-board storage on the high end of the line, and multiple enhanced camera features.
The tech giant officially took the wraps off the iPhone 13, about which rumors have proliferated for months, at its California Streaming virtual event Tuesday. It also announced next-generation iPad and iPad mini tablets, the Apple Watch Series 7, and updates to Apple Fitness Plus.
The baseline iPhone 13 provides 28% brighter displays, faster graphics performance, upgraded 5G carrier support, and better battery life of up to 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, according to Apple. The smartphone is available in four models: the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 ($799 and up), 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini ($699 and up), 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro ($999 and up) and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max ($1,099 and up).
The 1-terabyte storage option is available only on the Pro models (available with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB), while the standard iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini double the starting storage option to 128GB versus the 12 (as well as 256GB and 512GB capacities).
All iPhone 13 models will be available to order this Friday, and are set to ship starting Sept. 24. In addition, Apple announced that iOS 15 will be available as a free software update Monday, Sept. 20, but initially without the SharePlay co-viewing feature (coming in a later update).
Among new camera features, the new iPhone 13 includes Cinematic mode, which can shift focus between near- and far-range subjects to automatically create depth effects “so anyone can capture cinema-style moments, even if they aren’t a professional filmmaker,” Apple says. Cinematic mode records video in Dolby Vision HDR format.
The Pro models, meanwhile, include three rear-facing cameras with a new lens design; later this year, they will support the ProRes codec in 4K at 30 frames per second. The high-end phones also include an all-new Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion, featuring an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz. The dual-camera iPhone 13 and 13 mini include a new Wide camera with bigger pixels and sensor-shift optical image stabilization (which was introduced with the iPhone 12 Pro Max) to improve image capture in low-light conditions.
To showcase the video features of iPhone 13 Max, Apple commissioned a short film from director Kathryn Bigelow and cinematographer Greig Fraser that was shot on the new phones. The phone “will change the language of cinema in a very positive way,” Fraser says in a clip Apple played during the event (watch at this link).
“These are the best iPhones we’ve ever created,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the event, continuing his typical habit of using superlatives for the company’s new products.
For the June 2021 quarter, iPhone sales hit $39.57 billion, up 50% year over year, topping Wall Street expectations. On the earnings call, CFO Luca Maestri told analysts the company expects overall revenue growth to be in the double digits for the September quarter but lower than the blockbuster June period in part because of greater supply constraints for iPhone and iPad.
Cook kicked off Apple’s California Streaming event with a plug for Apple TV Plus and the slate of new shows coming to the subscription service. He called out Season 2 of “The Morning Show,” premiering Sept. 17, as well as Apple’s 35 Emmy nominations (including 20 for “Ted Lasso”).
Here’s the sizzle reel previewing the Apple TV Plus fall 2021 show lineup that Cook introduced:
Apple announced iPhone 13 and the other new products a day after it issued an emergency security update for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac to patch a vulnerability to so-called “zero-click” spyware identified by researchers as developed by Israel’s NSO Group.