It’s September, and that only means one thing in Cupertino – new Apple products. In a live-streamed event, Apple unveiled a new iPad, a new iPad Mini, the Apple Watch Series 7, and the iPhone 13. So, will these new devices have you running for your wallet, or will you simply walk on by the next time you see an Apple Store? As always, the devil is in the details, so let’s dive a little deeper.
iPad (9th Generation)
It’s hard to believe that we now have nine versions of Apple’s popular tablet, but here we are. The entry-level iPad now comes with 64GB of onboard storage instead of 32GB and a 256GB model is available for those with greater storage needs. The new A13 processor, (borrowed from the iPhone 11 series), is said to be 20% faster than the 8th generation iPad, but I suspect that most people won’t notice the difference. A modern iPad is not a slow device in use.
However, something that will be noticeable are the cameras. The 9th-generation iPad has an 8MP camera on the back and a new 12MP camera on the front to help you host better video conferences. The front camera also takes advantage of Apple’s Center Stage technology, which uses machine learning to follow you around the room and make sure that your face is always in the frame.
The 10.2-inch screen is the same size as before but now includes a True Tone display to give you better color accuracy in a variety of lighting conditions. The 9th-generation iPad is priced at $329 ($299 for schools) and is available to purchase in stores on September 24, 2021.
iPad Mini (6th Generation)
The base iPad may not have changed much on the outside, but the iPad Mini definitely has. It comes in four new colors and sports a brand new design that is similar to what you will see on the iPad Pro or the iPad Air. The home button was removed so the screen could be pushed closer to the edge of the case and TouchID now lives in the power button. The overall dimensions are in fact very similar to the 5th-generation iPad Mini, but the screen size has now grown to 8.3-inches.
The new iPad Mini comes with an A15 Bionic chip, (the same processor as the new iPhone 13 range). It has new 12MP cameras (front and rear), a True Tone flash, and the ability to take advantage of Center Stage technology. The iPad Mini now charges with a USB-C port, is compatible with the second-generation Apple pencil, and is available with 5G connectivity. However, all these changes have pushed the price of Apple’s smallest iPad up to $499, and that seems like a lot of money to me.
Apple Watch Series 7
Are you wondering if it is time to upgrade your Apple Watch? Lots of people are! The new Series 7 is available in five colors, (midnight, starlight, red, blue, and my personal favorite, olive green). It has a larger, wrap-around screen that pushes the edges of the display out even further to make it 20% bigger than the Series 6, but the case itself is just 1mm larger than before and it is still fully compatible with the existing Apple Watch bands.
The larger screen size is also tougher than before with a crystal that is 50% thicker than the Series 6 for added strength and durability. It has even spawned a handful of new watch faces that appear to be designed exclusively for the Series 7, while the user interface has been tweaked with a new swipe keyboard and larger buttons and menu items.
However, the design aside, there are no new features to speak of in the Apple Watch Series 7. There are no new sensors or health features and the battery life looks to be similar to the Series 6. It does have faster charging, thanks in part to a new USB-C cable, and it maintains the same $399 starting price point. It will be available later in the Fall, (no date has been announced yet).
Then we have the iPhone 13. Its predecessor, the iPhone 12, sold in record numbers so Apple’s approach this year seemed to be, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It has a bigger battery and better cameras. For most people, that is all that really matters. It is available in five new colors, (pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and red) and the notch at the top of the screen has shrunk a little compared to previous FaceID phones.
The cameras capture more light for faster shutter speeds, while shorter night-mode captures, Photographic Styles (filters), and optical image stabilization ensure your pictures are the best they can be. However, the headline-grabbing feature on the new iPhone 13 is almost certainly the new Cinematic mode. It is basically Portrait mode for video, and it looks to be very effective in the right hands. You can even adjust the focus points in a video after you have shot it.
All of these great features are powered by the A15 Bionic chip which, as you might well expect, is the fastest chip that has ever been installed in a mobile device. The iPhone 13 Mini starts at $699 while the iPhone 13 starts at $799. They are available for pre-order on September 17, and in stores on September 24.
The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have all the same features you find on the iPhone 13, but with a 5-core GPU in the A15 processor, instead of the 4-core GPU in the base iPhone 13. It has a brighter screen than before and a ProMotion display that varies the refresh rate on your screen for smoother scrolling and better gameplay.
There is a new 3x telephoto lens, as well as improved lenses on the wide and ultrawide cameras. Night mode can now be used on all three lenses and a new macro mode is available to let you take photos as close as 2cm from your subject. ProRes video resolution is also coming later this year.
The iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999 while the Pro Max comes in at $1099, (the same prices as last year). They are available for pre-order on September 17, and in stores on September 24.