Today at its big fall iPhone event, Apple announced its latest lineup of pocket supercomputers, which includes not just the iPhone 11 but a new branding for its top-of-the-line handsets: iPhone Pro.
The iPhone 11 is available in a wide swath of colors, with a dual-camera setup sporting twin 12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide cameras. Then there’s Apple’s new A13 Bionic chip, which isn’t just faster and more powerful than what came before but also more energy-efficient; for end-users, that means the iPhone 11 battery will last an hour longer than that of previous models. The cherry on top is its $699 launch price — $50 cheaper than last year’s iPhone XR.
Apple also announced the replacements to last year’s XS and XS Max: the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. These sport 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED screens and start at $999 and $1,099, respectively. And while they boast all the upgrades found on the 11, like the new A13 Bionic chip, a few upgrades make them better all-around phones, too: four to five extra hours of battery life, along with a higher-res “Super Retina” XDR display comprised of OLED panels that are both brighter and more energy-efficient than their predecessors.
But it’s really the focus on high-quality photography and videography that justifies their premium price tags.
The iPhone 11 Pro’s camera cluster contains three cameras: a 12-megapixel wide lens, 12-megapixel telephoto lens and 12-megapixel ultrawide lens. Together, they promise four times optical zoom, meaning users can take wide images or zoom in without any change in quality (unlike digital zooms which pixelate the final result). After a software update later this fall, the iPhone 11 Pro will also bring some new low-light photography tricks with a feature called Deep Fusion; the phone takes nine images and stitches them together into one high-detail photo using neural network processing.
The iPhone Pros also sport some seriously impressive video shooting chops. All three lenses can shoot at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second. You’ll be able to switch between cameras while shooting video, while the phone itself primes the sensors that are not in uses and even focuses them for switching with a minimal amount of hitching. The Pro phones also have the ability to crop and edit for color temperature right on the phone. Meanwhile, third-party apps bring additional utility; Filmic, for example, gives users the ability to record simultaneously from the front and rear-facing cameras for the easy ability to shoot shot, reverse shot at the very same time.
It adds up to a suite of features that could allow owners to take photos and video that rival those taken by more dedicated devices, not just in image quality, but in the versatility of the approach. And that is what sets these new Pro phones apart from other phones which have good cameras but are still very limiting in what they can do well. The choice that you’re making when you decide between Apple’s various flagship phones is now clearer than ever, and as a result, easier to make.
The new phones are shipping September 20th and will be available for pre-order on Friday at 5 a.m. Pacific time.