Another keynote event has passed, and this time Apple revealed its latest generation of the iPhone smartphone, aptly named the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. The phones were unveiled by the Apple team today and showcased three models, four cameras, a familiar, controversial design and a collection of enhancements and features, all of which — while nothing particularly radical in nature — will prove their worth as the phones release later this month.
Along with the latest phone, Apple also revealed new hardware in its other peripheral areas. An update was announced to the Apple Watch, which is now up to its 6th generation/5th series. The new smartwatch is upgraded with minimal details, but a particular one has finally seen the light of day and draws the Apple Watch even closer to true timepiece territory. Software updates and a new iPad made this event one of the most well-rounded events in keynote history.
Here is a rundown of the best highlights and announcements that happened throughout the day.
Apple TV+: 1 Year Free
Apple skipped its usual statistics introduction and went straight into an App Store update, starting with the Apple TV+. A trailer for Jason Momoa’s brand new thriller See previewed, along with some analytics about how the pre-announcements of Apple TV+ have fared. While these news bits were not too impressive for the audience, the cheers came when the pricing arrived and Tim Cook announced that new purchases of Apple hardware would include Apple TV+ for free.
Pricing for Apple TV+ is already one that is garnering particular buzz — $4.99 USD a month for family use — but once Cook stated new purchases of an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or Apple TV would bundle the subscription for a full year, the crowd reacted genuinely. Apple TV+ begins on November 1.
Apple iPad: 10.2” “Base Model” with Pro Features
Apple’s tablet was announced shortly after, with the new generation now coming at a bigger 10.2” size — one that is closer to the iPad Pro’s 11” starter size. Along with the size bump, power users will appreciate the inclusion of “Pro” features like more seamless multitasking, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard compatibility, I/O upgrades, game peripheral pairing and more. Even the iPad’s pricing received notable fanfare, starting at $329 USD for the base model 32GB.
The new iPad delivers on September 30.
Apple Watch Series 5: Titanium Finishes
Before the event, the Apple Watch was rumored to be updated, but not much was revealed beforehand with the wearable. Now detailed as the “Series 5,” the smartwatch comes in a flagship ceramic case, which was discontinued a few years back, as well as in a very handsome titanium finish. The metal — which is resilient to elements, lightweight and naturally strong — arrives in its “natural” tone of silver, while a black titanium will also release. The latter is much more low-key and hides the metal well, while the former is much flashier and noticeable. Time will tell — no pun intended — how these two finishes will patina.
Apple Watch Series 5: “Always On” Feature
Along with the cases, the Apple Watch S5 finally receives a much requested update since the original model — the watch now has the ability to be “always on,” that is the watch face will remain visible no matter how the watch is positioned.
Gone are the days when you wish you could just peek at your watch while on a first date, or awkwardly twisting your wrist mid-push-up to catch your change in heart rate. The secret is that the hardware pushes the watch’s refresh rate down from 60Hz to 1Hz. This minimizes battery power while still allowing the user to stay connected to the information on the screen — albeit refreshing only one second at a time. Apple clarifies that currently its own apps utilize the enhancement, with third party apps instead blurring in the background and a time showing in the foreground.
Apple iPhone 11: Six Vibrant Colors
The show-stoppers arrived in the form of the new Apple iPhones, naturally. The first announcement was the iPhone 11, which would replace the current “budget model” iPhone XR. The keynote proudly displayed the phone’s vibrant array of finishes which include: green, purple, yellow, white, black and (Product) RED. While the latter four were stunning in themselves, the crowd absolutely loved the two new “Easter” shades of green and purple.
The green comes in a very mint-like shade that gives off a playful tone, while the purple is much more charming with a slight shade of grey within its 100% recycled aluminum. Whichever palette you choose, the color will surely turn heads come September 20, that is if you don’t cover it with a case of course.
Apple iPhone 11: Ultra-Wide Lens, “Slofies”
The current XR and the XS phones are set apart with the number of lenses they both have, and the same is applied for the new models. The iPhone 11 adopts three camera lenses, the new one being its ultra-wide angle. The new lens is positioned vertically below the standard wide, but captures subjects within a highly-impressive 13mm equivalent focal length. With iOS 13’s new software upgrades, the new angle will allow for seamless integration with the iPhone’s camera app, along with the phone’s video capabilities as well. The front facing camera on the 11 also receives upgrades — TrueDepth Portrait mode, 4K video, and slow-motion selfies i.e. “Slofies,” which of course received chuckles from the audience.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max: Four Camera System
But the announcement of the day was of course reserved for the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. The designation caused its fair share of raised eyebrows — presumably from professional photographers — as we eventually realized the “Pro” is referring to the pro usability, particularly with the camera system.
The three cameras positioned on the back can seamlessly switch from the phone’s standard 26mm “wide” lens, to a telephoto 2x 52mm “telephoto” to the updated “ultra-wide” focal length at 13mm. The photos taken with the demo models proved that the lens is fantastic — lines remain sharp and straight, with no visible curvature commonly found in fish-eye lenses. The lens remains relatively fast at f/2.4 but for low-light photos — not using the new Night Mode, that is — it’s better to keep with the standard wide lens which is brighter at f/1.8. Outdoor daytime landscape photos however will look epic with the new ultra-wide.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max: Midnight Green
One more thing — Midnight Green. The new Pro models come in a brilliant new shade that is reminiscent of automotive greens — in direct light the green comes off Emerald-like while other angles almost shine grey. The new shade also highlights the phone’s new matte glass back, contrasted well alongside the polished stainless steel band wrapping around the phone. The other three model colors — black, white and gold, remain handsome, however the Midnight Green is the crowd pleaser, hands down.
What did you think of the event? Anything must-have? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to check out the newly revealed Apple 5th Avenue store, now slated to open on September 20.