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Apple’s California Streaming event was quite different from its recent streams for product launches. Apart from a few surprises and the event is being quite divergent from what the leaks have suggested in the recent past, the bigger change was the scenery as Apple’s production crew traversed through California itself to bring you a broad stroke of the part of the world that Apple calls home and draws inspiration for its world-changing gadgetry. By far, the most important product announcement was that of the iPhone 13 models — a product that has been the engine of Apple’s growth. But the iPhone 13 isn’t the big splashy redesign that many hoped — it is a measured refinement of the idea Apple has pursued in the last couple of years. It looks the same, but from the inside, it is also quite the leap forward on expected lines.
So it goes without saying, it would be rather unwise to invest in the iPhone 13 series if you have already taken the plunge in 2020 or earlier in the year. The reasons are quite straightforward —
1. The camera system on the iPhone 12 is still the best in the business if you see it from a holistic viewpoint. It captures the best portrait shots, its night mode is amazing and the ultra-wide camera takes excellent shots on most days. Then the video capabilities are impressive too with pretty much the best video capture in the industry. The iPhone 13 will be better of course but not in such a way that you’re missing something.
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2. The bigger deal is the A14 Bionic chip and the fact for the first time Apple didn’t bother to compare its successor the A15 Bionic to it, but rather resorted to marketing trickery — and compared it to the competition. It said it was 50 percent faster than the competition on the CPU side and 30 percent faster on the graphics side with the pro models getting an extra GPU making them 50 percent faster. But this also tells you a story that this isn’t as bigger of a performance or headroom leap as previous iPhones.
3. It looks the same — but the new models are heavier and thicker with them having bigger sensors so the camera bump size also goes up. The only visual element that is on the side of the iPhone 13 is the fact the notch is smaller (finally after 5 years) and the standard camera array is slightly different. There are new colours too including some nice ones.
4. To the untrained eye these screens will likely look the same. Sure, they are brighter and more vibrant and on the pro models, there is the 120Hz display thing as well, but for most people and the way iOS 15 is optimised these will be differences only the die-hard fanatic, geek or filmmaker would understand.
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But even if this hasn’t you convinced, here are some legitimate reasons to upgrade to the new iPhone 13 series:
1. The most obvious one is if you happen to use anything older than an iPhone 12. This phone will start looking like a massive update in every possible way. Massive leap in camera, design, display, battery life - the whole nine yards - for more or less the same price and if you go for Apple’s trade-in offer this will look even better.
2. The cameras are the biggest areas of improvement. The new sensors are massive on the "Pro" models — they promise more light gathering ability than the current 12 Pro Max with an f/1.5 aperture, 1.9-micron sub-pixel size which means these phones have the stupendous low light capability and will have supremely shallow depth even naturally. Then there are the ultra-wide cameras which support the night mode and can enable 13mm macro photography and generally can take in 92 per cent more light. The 77mm telephoto lens now gets better 3x optical zoom capabilities and is also more light-sensitive. Optically these are better cameras. Even on the standard models, we are talking a big game — f/1.7 lenses and 1.7-micron sub-pixels and the sensor-shift stabilisation system that was only on the Pro Max in 2020. Generally, Apple has now made all cameras depending on the model you choose, really impressive.
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3. When one talks camera software, the biggest leap comes in the form of video with the new cinematic mode that enables a rack camera effect — something that’s used by cinematographers for shallow depth of field on subjects. This can be controlled manually and be changed in post thanks to the addition of "ProRes" which is there in the pro models. This is a massive leap in terms of video and now truly some creators can expect DSLR like quality from the iPhone camera, at least something that looks close enough. But all of this was made possible by the new A15 Bionic processor that now gets a 5-core GPU on the “pro” models. It gets more than 15 billion transistors and can do 15.8 trillion operations per second for machine learning tasks which makes it the most hardcore mobile chip for crunching AI on a phone.
4. The battery life improvements are truly a big deal on the iPhone 13 series. Apple made massive improvements with the battery life on the iPhone 11 series and then maintained it with the iPhone 12, but now on the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 Pro, it is talking an improvement of 1.5 hours of life. On the bigger models — the standard iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max it talks a bigger 2.5-hour battery life game which will amount to around 25 percent for most people. If battery life is an issue for you, these improvements will be god sent and particularly on the Pro Max, it will likely be one of the best phones in the world in terms of battery life.
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