Apple's new iPhone: familiar design, faster chip

Photo: EPA

Apple is giving its iPhones a faster processor, with four new phones from Mini to Pro Max all set to head into the key Christman sales season with smoother performance in a very familiar design. The four iPhone 13 models, unveiled on Tuesday, maintain the sharp edges of their predecessors, while adding a number of incrementally better hardware improvements, news wires reported.

Apple is sticking to its notch cutout design on the screen, but has reduced the size of the area needed for cameras and sensors at the top of the screen by 20%. The iPhone 13 ($799) and iPhone 13 Mini ($699) join the Pro ($999) and Pro Max ($1,099) in a familiar look with no major changes to the camera arrays.

The Apple Pro and Pro Max bring the same trio of telephoto, ultra-wide angle and wide-angle lenses, but are promising better low-light photos and better stabilisation for video footage. Apple is also leaning into its advantage in video quality with the addition of a Cinematic mode, which allows amateur filmmakers to manually shift the focus between two subjects.

The Pro and Pro Max's ultrawide lens is set to bring macro photography, as on some high-end Android smartphones. This means you can hold your iPhone 2 cm away from objects to take photos of details hard to see with the human eye. At this distance, most other smartphone cameras won't be able to focus and just show a blurry image.

Apple is promising faster Siri responses, navigation load times and other tasks with a new A15 Bionic processor. Battery size and storage options is also growing on some options, and Apple says the combination of chip and bigger battery will allow 90 minutes more use time per charging cycle in the iPhone 13 Mini compared to the 12 Mini.

The two more expensive models are also the first to get smoother animations with a high refresh rate of 120 Hz in what Tim Cook described as "the most Pro iPhone ever." This feature, which allows for less jittery movements when swiping on screen, has been a standard in flagship and some mid-range Android phones for two years, but had yet to debut on the iPhone. The 13 and 13 Mini are available in three storage options 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB, while the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max add a massive 1 TB option on top.

The iPhone is by far the most important Apple product and at times has brought in up to two-thirds of the company's business. Recently, however, its share of sales fell below 50%, partly because Mac computers and iPad tablets also became much more popular in the pandemic. Apple is also launching new versions of the iPad and the smaller iPad mini.

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