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September 2021 Event Recap – 4 iPhones, 2 iPad, 1 Watch

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Everything you need to know from Apple’s big ‘California Streaming’ event

Apple’s yearly September event has just wrapped up, and there’s a lot to dissect: four brand spanking new iPhones, two new iPads, and a new Apple Watch.

You can rewatch the live stream if you want to see exactly how the keynote went down. But who wants to watch a feature-length video of Tim Cook talking about customer satisfaction targets when we’ve got all the important facts right here in a five-minute read?

(To be fair there were some really cool visuals in the keynote. But it’s still long.)

We’ll be digging into all the juicy details in more depth throughout the week, but for the moment, consider this your water cooler cheat sheet to the biggest talking points of Apple’s latest event.

iPhone 13 Pro

At first glance, the latest edition of Apple’s biggest and best iPhone looks the same as it ever did. But Apple says it’s “more pro than ever before,” with a slick new display, longer battery life, new camera capabilities, and more…

• ProMotion Super XDR Display with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz and up to 1,000 nits of brightness.

• A15 Bionic chip with a 5-core GPU, delivering up to 50% faster graphics performance than iPhone 12 Pro.

• All-new camera system that improves on all three lenses (Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide).

• Macro photography for close-ups is also available for stunning close-up images.

• Cinematic Mode gives full control over shifting focus in video clips.

• The TrueDepth camera “notch” is now 20% smaller.

• Enhanced battery life adding up to 2.5 hours extra use per day.

• Available in four colors: graphite, gold, silver, and new sierra blue.

• Support for ProRes video recording and editing (coming later this year).

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple’s Greg Joswiak, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, says:

“iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max make up our most pro iPhone lineup ever with the biggest advancement for our camera system, the best battery life ever in an iPhone, and the fastest performance of any smartphone, setting a new standard for iPhone and enabling incredible experiences never before possible. The new pro camera system offers even more pro photography capabilities like improved telephoto zoom, macro photography, Photographic Styles, Cinematic mode, as well as ProRes and Dolby Vision video. The Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion is our best display ever; it intelligently responds to the content on your screen, offers fantastic graphics performance, and is perfect for any viewing experience.”

Pre-orders for the iPhone begin this Friday, with shipping set for September 24. Prices for the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro start from $999, while the 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at the higher price of $1,099.

In the UK, those prices equate to £949 and £1049 – and the conversion rates are similar for everything else released today.

iPhone 13

These mid-range flagships are increasingly capable, with features previously exclusive to the Pro models now available here. Despite rumors of poor sales, the iPhone mini line lives on another year too. Here’s what’s new…

• A15 Bionic offers the fastest CPU in any smartphone – up to 50% faster than leading competitors.

• Advanced dual-camera system: gathers 47% more light and less noise, with the sensor-shift stabilization technology from last year’s Pro models.

• Cinematic Mode for video that shoots in Dolby Vision HDR and allows for dynamic focus shifts between subjects.

• The TrueDepth camera “notch” is now 20% smaller.

• Enhanced battery life adding up to 1.5 hours extra use per day.

• 28% brighter display Super Retina XDR with 1,200 nits peak brightness.

• Five new colors are also available: pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and red.

Cinematic mode on iPhone 13

Apple’s Greg Joswiak says:

“Our customers rely on iPhone every day, which is why we’ve made iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini more powerful, more capable, and more fun to use. Both phones have beautiful designs, industry-leading performance, and advanced camera systems with impressive computational photography features, all with incredible durability, water resistance, and a big jump in battery life to ensure customers can depend on their iPhone when they need it. All of this, tightly integrated with iOS 15 and with privacy built-in, make iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini an unbeatable choice.”

Pre-orders for the iPhone start this Friday, with shipping set for September 24. Prices will start from $699 for the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini and $799 for the 6.1-inch iPhone 13.

Meanwhile, some older iPhones remain in the lineup at a cut price: iPhone 12 now starts from $599, iPhone 11 from $499, and iPhone SE from $399.

The new iPad

A new version of Apple’s cheapest and popular iPad was unveiled. It might look the same, keeping the iconic home button, but Apple’s 10.2-inch tablet offers a bunch of new features that pack a punch. Here’s what you need to know…

• All-new front-facing camera that offers 12MP ultra-wide with 122º field of view and Center Stage – perfect for video-calling.

• A13 Bionic chip offering 20% faster performance in CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine, meaning Apple’s entry-level iPad is now faster than ever.

• True Tone technology offers a more comfortable viewing experience that color-matches the display to the environmental lighting.

• Apple is also doubling the iPad’s base storage to 64GB, meaning more room for apps and games.

The entry-level iPad with some accessories

Apple’s Greg Joswiak says:

“iPad has never been more essential for working, learning, and communicating, and we’re excited to bring one of the biggest updates ever to our most popular iPad. With the powerful A13 Bionic, more engaging video calls with Center Stage, and double the storage, the new iPad delivers advanced capabilities, versatility, and simplicity at an incredible value.”

Pre-orders for the new iPad start today, with shipping set for September 24. Wi-Fi models of iPad are available with a starting price of $329, and Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at $459. The new iPad starts with 64GB of storage – double the storage of the previous generation. A 256GB option is also available.

The new iPad mini

At long last, Apple’s smallest iPad is getting its biggest upgrade ever, including an all-new form factor and support for powerful accessories. What used to lag behind the other models is now an impressive proposition – essentially an iPad Air for those who prefer something smaller. Let’s take a look…

• An all-screen design with rounded corners and no Home button.

• This makes room for an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display in the same device footprint as the previous mini.

• Touch ID is now housed in the Power button.

• 40% jump in CPU performance, and 80% leap in GPU. The iPad mini’s Neural Engine is up 2x faster, improving experiences like real-time translation.

• Rear-facing camera with a 12MP sensor, focus pixels, and f/1.8 aperture.

• iPad mini also offers True Tone flash, enhanced ISP with Smart HDR, and records in 4K.

• Massively improved front-facing camera: 12MP ultra-wide lens with Center Stage.

• Support for the second-generation Apple Pencil and USB-C, which replaces the Lightning port.

• Support for 5G connectivity.

• Bold new colors: purple, pink, starlight, and space gray.

The new design and colors of iPad mini

Apple’s Greg Joswiak says:

“With its ultra-portable design and wide range of uses from everyday tasks to creative and enterprise applications, there’s nothing else like iPad mini. With a new all-screen Liquid Retina display, massive boost in performance, new advanced cameras on the front and back, Center Stage, USB-C, 5G, and support for Apple Pencil, the new iPad mini is a huge leap forward that can be held in the palm of your hand.”

Pre-orders for the new iPad mini start today, with shipping set for September 24. Wi-Fi models are available with a starting price of $499 and Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at $649.

Apple Watch S7

As anticipated, we also saw the launch of the seventh-generation Apple Watch. A larger display takes the headlines, and will have a knock-on effect across a range of Watch apps – but there’s no sign of an always-on display. Here are the key specs…

So what exactly is different in Apple Watch Series 7?

• New Retina display with 20% more screen space, completely re-engineered to reduce borders even further.

• Rounder edges with a screen that’s up to 70% brighter when not in use.

• The most durable Apple Watch thanks to stronger, more robust geometry and enhanced dust protection.

• Quicker charging – just 8 minutes of charging can power 8 hours of sleep tracking.

• New aluminum colors: midnight, starlight, green, blue, and red.

• Fitness+, which integrates metrics and tracking from Apple Watch, is adding pilates, meditation, and SharePlay-powered Group Workouts.

Apple Watch S7 (right) has a much larger display than previous iterations

Apple’s COO Jeff Wiliams says:

“Apple Watch Series 7 delivers significant improvements — from our largest and most advanced display, to enhanced durability and faster charging — making the world’s best smartwatch better than ever before. Powered by watchOS 8, Apple Watch brings useful new capabilities to help customers stay connected, track activity and workouts, and better understand their overall health and wellness.”

Prices for the Apple Watch S7 start at $399 for the GPS model and $499 for the cellular. It’ll be available later this fall, with no further specifics given.

The Series 4 has been dropped from the range, but the Series 3 remains at a new low price of $199. The Apple Watch SE is also available and is priced at $279.

Software Releases

Apple also quietly announced that iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 will be released to the public next week on Monday, September 20.

Keep an eye on Settings > General > Software Update for the new release, and keep an eye on our Tips & Tricks app for a big content update with all-new iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 tips coming soon!