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Monday, September 27, 2021

Apple’s iPhone 13 to hit shelves later this month

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Apple’s iPhone 13 will hit shelves later this month, with prices starting at $699 (£679 in the UK), the company announced at a press event on Tuesday.

A light update from last year’s iPhone 12, the new devices feature upgraded cameras and the company’s latest A15 chip, which it says is up to 50% faster than the competition.

The four new iPhones – the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max – all feature the new processor, which Apple said would help users “absolutely fly through demanding workloads smoothly and efficiently”.

All four phones also feature larger batteries, which the company says combined with the more power-efficient chip offers between 1.5 and 2.5 hours more use each day.

“iPhone 13 has a faster chip, faster 5G speeds, a brighter OLED display and the most advanced dual camera system ever in an iPhone, and with all these upgrades the iPhone 13 has a better battery life,” Apple’s vice-president Kaiann Drance said.

The upgraded cameras have enabled a reduction in the “notch” on the front of the devices, shrinking the black bar by 20%, and a new feature, Cinema Mode, for shooting video using the rear cameras. This effect allows amateur film-makers to shift focus between foreground and background on the fly.

The more expensive devices, the iPhones 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, also have a new 3x zoom telephoto lens, and an ultra-wide camera which enables macro photography for the first time, for shooting small objects from a distance of just 2cm.

While the most environmentally-friendly option is always to continue using an older device, Apple emphasised its green credentials for the new phones: the antenna bands use “upcycled plastic water bottles”, Drance said, a first for the industry, while all the rare earth metals used in the magnets internally are now from recycled materials.

All four iPhones will be available to pre-order from Friday, and ship from 24 September. The iPhone 13 mini starts at $699/£679, the iPhone 13 starts at $799/£779, the iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999/£949 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1099/£1049.

Alongside the phones, Apple announced an update to the Apple Watch and a new iPad mini.

The Apple Watch Series 7 will have a significant visual redesign, with a larger, tougher screen extending to the very edges of the device and gently curving round, Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, said.

He said it will also be “our most crack resistant screen ever” and that the watch will also charge up to 33% faster using a new USB-C charger.

However, significant production problems mean the company remains uncertain when users will be able to get the watch. The on-sale date was only given as “later this fall”, with a price starting at $399.

Apple also announced a redesign for the iPad mini, the first visual refresh the tablet has had since it was introduced. The new design resembles the mid-range iPad Air, with squared-off edges, an edge-to-edge screen, and a shifted TouchID sensor on the power button at the top of the screen.

Like the iPad Air, the new mini doesn’t have FaceID for unlocking the device, and has a USB-C port for charging and data rather than a lightning port as well as the requisite updates to the front and rear cameras. The new front camera allows the iPad to support Apple’s “Center Stage” feature, which automatically zooms in on the speaker in video calls. “We’re so excited about the new iPad mini,” said Apple’s Katie McDonald, a product marketing manager at the company. “This is by far the most powerful and versatile iPad mini ever.” It starts at $499/£479, and is available to order now with shipping next week.

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