If I had to write a brutally honest headline for yesterday’s Apple event, it would be: Apple announces an exciting new iPad mini (in addition to valuable updates for the Watch and iPhone).
Not that the iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 updates were uninteresting. Indeed, Apple has successfully sold me a new iPhone. Only the improvements in most cases of use were relatively modest if you compare them to the complete transformation of the iPad mini …
Let’s start with the iPhone 13. In my opinion, Apple has given people four potential reasons to upgrade:
- Better cameras and photos
- PRORES and movie features for videos
- ProMotion display
- Significantly better battery life
All of these things are worth it, and each of them might be enough to persuade different people to buy.
Better cameras and photos
Wide aperture cameras will offer a valuable improvement on the iPhone 12’s already brilliant low-light shooting capabilities, especially the Ultra Wide camera, which was a real weak point of last year’s model when it comes to night photography. Night mode for all three lenses is great. Macro photos will be very useful for some. Photographic styles are a really interesting addition.
PRORES and movie features for videos
ProRes support is fantastic for cameramen who want to occasionally use their iPhone as a B or C camera, as well as for those who use the iPhone as their only video camera. Cinematic Mode is interesting, although I personally keep judging this until I see it in action. Generally speaking, you only get shallow depth of field in iPhone videos when the subject is relatively close to the camera and the background is relatively far away. It was not clear from the presentation whether Apple introduced a portrait mode that is rumored to be or is not, where defocused areas are artificially created. If it is, and it works well, it will change the game. If it only allows you to optically select a focus point, then there are a few situations where this will make a big practical difference.
Unfortunately, this didn’t allow for an always loud way of working, but I’m sure the players will like the response. And artists, I guess, but does anyone really draw on an iPhone? If you do, let me know why in the comments!
Apple has introduced a 1.5 and 2.5 hour battery life improvement for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. Given that this is a common complaint for the iPhone, this is definitely an appealing upgrade for many.
On the other hand, rumors of satellite communications have not materialized, so it seems that the A15 chip could turn out to be basically identical to the A14.
The first two bullets were sold to me, so check out this space for a new diary when it arrives.
Apple Watch 7 Series
It has been strongly rumored that the Apple Watch S7 will have two major changes:
- Brand new design with a board that fits iPhone and iPad
- Much larger screen
As things turned out, he got the second, but not the first.
If we hadn’t had rumors of redesign, I think the bigger screen, faster charging and new colors would have come down pretty well. But compared to reports and depictions, many are left with “Is that it?” feeling.
There are three possible ways to explain the failed materialization of a panel design:
- The reports were simply wrong.
- The reports were accurate, but they were for S8, not S7.
- The reports were accurate, but something went wrong, so Apple had to resort to Plan B.
Personally, I am prone to foreign colleagues Seth Weintraub and Parker Ortolani in adopting the latter theory. First, although some sources were more sketchy than others, there were two reliable sources: Kuo and Bloomberg. Second, there are too many weird things about the S7 announcement:
In my opinion, all this indicates a scenario in which Apple planned to launch a completely new S7, but something went wrong. This could be the chip production capacity. Maybe it’s a design flaw discovered late in the process. Difficulties in production are possible. But, for whatever reason, Apple realized it wouldn’t be able to introduce the new Watch this year, and had a spare position for this 6.5 series.
I would expect a redesign that is rumored to be like the Apple Watch Series 8 next year, so I will last until then for that reason.
This is a decent upgrade to Apple’s initial iPad given that the price is unchanged. TrueTone is a nice feature I owned, and I was surprised to see that Apple included Center Stage in the budget model because it’s a relatively new and impressive feature.
But this was a “nice to have” upgrade, not exciting.
Then we come to what I consider a real standout from yesterday’s Apple event: a brand new iPad mini.
This isn’t just an updated version of the older compact iPad. It’s really closer to the scaled-down iPad Pro. Okay, it uses the Touch ID power button instead of Face ID, but it gets the latest A15 Bionic chip, 5G data on the mobile model, support for the Apple Pencil 2, USB-C, a much better rear camera — and, again, the Center Stage.
It really is a complete transformation of such a favorite device. The primary buyer of the old model in recent years has been the business sector. The portable and reliable device was popular in places like restaurants and warehouses. These customers may not be too impressed with the price increase to $ 499 and up.
But this redesign brings it back to what it was when it was launched: a super-cute consumer gadget.
I should say that I have always considered the iPad mini to be a big part of the lineup, and one whose value I can definitely see for some people, but I have never been tempted to buy it. I love my 12.9-inch iPad and would buy an even bigger one if I could.
As someone who was surprised to be converted to the iPhone 12 Pro Max (and who will buy the same iPhone 13 model), the iPad mini simply has no use case for me. If I want a device that is always with me, it will be my iPhone, whose screen is not to much smaller than the iPad mini. If I want a bigger screen, I’ll use my 12.9-inch iPad Pro or my Mac.
But the new iPad mini … I was really trying to come up with an excuse to buy it! Maybe one of my colleagues came up with one, but I will wait for him to tell that story …
Conclusion on my opinion of yesterday’s Apple event
That is my opinion. The iPhone 13 is a worthwhile upgrade for fans of iPhone photography and video, as well as for gamers and anyone who needs longer battery life. The larger screen of the Apple Watch 7 Series is very nice, but I would say it’s worth enduring for the redesigned 8 Series. The iPad 9 is nice. But the new iPad mini … that’s a real surprise!
What do you think? What impressed you the most, and what do you intend to buy? Let us know in the comments.
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