Four new models of the iPhone 13 were announced at Apple’s autumn event this year, alongside a new iPad, iPad mini, and a new Apple Watch.
With each new event the Cupertino tech giant always manages to blend the right amount of hype and intrigue with innovation and technological advancement, and this year was no different.
Among the latest announcements at this year's event were a new large iPad, an iPad mini, a new Apple Watch, as well as, not one, not two, not three, but four new iPhone 13 options to choose from.
While it's clear that the release of the latest iPhone was the star of the show this year, in this article we'll also take a brief look at what other major developments came up at Apple's annual media event.
However, before we get into the details, Apple also announced a brand new OS for iPhone users. Here’s a brief overview for iPhone customers of what to expect when you update your phone.
What’s new with iOS 15?
Even if you haven’t yet upgraded to one of Apple’s newest devices, you might have upgraded your phone with its newest software update, iOS 15.
The latest software release is designed to go hand in hand with Apple’s latest batch of new and improved products, with plenty of changes to both layout, design and efficiency.
One of the biggest updates announced with iOS 15 is spatial audio, which provides surround sound and 3D audio to those wearing earphones and headphones. So, in theory, similar to what you might experience in a cinema.
There are also significant enhancements to FaceTime with portrait mode, as well as users being able to multi-task and watch video at the same time as being on a call. That’s of course if you want to do that.
Some of the other key updates include changes to notification settings, with Focus helping you to reduce distractions by filtering out notifications based on what you’re currently doing.
Also worth a mention are the new privacy control settings in Siri, Mail, and other native apps which provide more transparency and give users more control over their data.
So, let’s take a look at the newest phones announced at this year’s event.
What iPhones are available?
The iPhone 13 is the latest iteration of the popular handset announced by Apple at this year’s event, with four options available to choose from. These include:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
The iPhone 13 will be the new basic offering, while the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will replace the iPhone 12 equivalents.
Each version of the new iPhone 13 is slightly different to the next, mainly in terms of ascending price and improved tech specs.
While there isn’t too much of a difference between the Pro and Pro Max versions, subtle advancements have been made, particularly to the cameras.
However, if you’re considering switching it up and upgrading, just read on to find out what’s new.
Look and feel
Little changes have been made to the overall look of the iPhone 13 and it remains, by and large, the same as its predecessor.
iPhone 13 still has the same aluminium flat edge design which makes it easier to hold and lends to the phone a nicer aesthetic quality. The 13 also still sports its drop-resistant Ceramic Shield front and its hardened glass back.
There’s also no change to the display sizes of 5.4” with the mini, 6.1” with the regular 13 and Pro, and 6.7” for the Pro Max.
The new versions still carry an IP68 rating, similar to the 12, so can be submerged in water to a maximum depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes - surfing anyone?
The 13 and mini come in the colours red, white (Starlight), black (Midnight), blue, and pink, while the Pro and Pro Max are available in graphite, gold, gilver, and the new sierra blue.
If you’re buying the new iPhone, particularly the Pro or Pro Max, it should really only be for the camera, because if you’re a standard mobile customer you’ll notice very little difference elsewhere.
Powered by the new A15 Bionic chip (touted by Apple to be 50% faster than the competition) the camera updates this year are quite subtle but do well to reestablish the iPhone as the king of cameras. This is especially true for the layperson, who doesn’t necessarily need the zoom capability of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, or the extensive software of the Google Pixel 5.
What Apple’s camera does well is provide clarity and colour for those looking to simply point and shoot. That being said, there have been significant upgrades, especially where the more expensive versions are considered.
In any case, all four of the new iPhones still have a 12-megapixel front-facing camera, as well as two rear-facing 12-megapixel cameras, one to be used as a wide-angle lens, the other as an ultra-wide lens.
Similar to the more elite models of the 12, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max will also both have a third 12-megapixel rear-facing camera to be used as a telephoto lens for extra zoom.
The difference between the newer and older models however is its increased optical zoom range from 4x on the 12 Pro Max to 6x on the 13 Pro Max, as well as improvements to the digital zoom range which is now 15x on the most expensive model.
The optical zoom range is considerably lower on the standard 13 however at 2x, versus 6x on the Pro devices.
The development of the camera doesn’t end there though, among the new features available include:
- Cinematic Mode (all 13 models) - One of the most anticipated features of the new 13 camera which allows users to change the focus on a particular subject when shooting video. This can also be done later in editing which is truly unique and helpful for those planning on using the iPhone for videography. Front facing camera also supports cinematic mode.
- Macro Mode - On the more expensive models the ultra wide cameras allow the ability to shoot subjects close up and with more detail. This isn’t new to the market but will give iPhone users something new to play with.
- ProRes Video Mode - For those willing to shell out for the Pro or Pro Max, with these models you can shoot video with ProRes, a format commonly used by professional video editors that allows for preservation of colour quality.
Now, here’s a closer look at each new iPhone 13 model to see what’s different.
iPhone 13 - From €929 to buy outright
- New & improved camera set-up as mentioned above
- New A15 chip which Apple says is faster and more energy-efficient than competitors
- 2.5 hours more battery than the iPhone 12 according to Apple, due to the more efficient A15 chip
It’s only been a year since Apple launched the iPhone 12 so it’s probably not much of a surprise then that there aren’t too many differences between the newer and older models, especially considering the size, weight, design and display are all pretty much the same.
As a result, if you already have the 12, or even any version of the 11, we wouldn’t recommend you rush out and buy this version. But if you're due an upgrade, are a fan of the Apple ecosystem, and take lots of quality pictures and videos then maybe it's worth considering.
However, if you’re not dedicated to purchasing Apple, you should definitely consider branching out with the OnePlus 9 Pro which is still retailing for cheaper than the standard iPhone 13 and has a much more powerful camera.
iPhone 13 mini - €829
- New & improved camera set-up as mentioned above
- Improved display with 1200 nits of brightness
- Portrait lighting with six new effects (across all new models)
- 1.5 hours more battery than the iPhone 12 mini, according to Apple
It’s clever how Apple markets its tech in that many may not consider purchasing the ‘mini’ because it’s, well, smaller than any of the newer versions. While that is true, it’s screen is still much bigger than say the iPhone 7 (4.7” v. 5.4”) and still has all of the main technical specs that the 13, Pro, and Pro Max boast, especially when it comes to camera quality.
For anyone considering upgrading from an iPhone 7, the iPhone mini is perfect, especially where price is concerned.
iPhone 13 Pro - €1,179 to €1,759 to buy outright
- New 6‑core CPU
- New & improved camera specs
- 1TB capacity now available, alongside 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB
- Four different colours to standard iPhone 13, including new Sierra Blue
There are very little differences between the iPhone 13 Pro models, apart from perhaps the screen size, which some people may prefer in the Pro Max.
However, both the Pro and Pro Max have the same 5-core GPU over the 4-core in the iPhone 13 and mini, so if you want the higher display specs than in the standard models there’s no need necessarily to shell out for the most expensive option as the Pro has it all.
iPhone 13 Pro Max - €1,279 to €1,859 to buy outright
- New & improved camera specs
- 1TB capacity now available
- ProMotion available on Pro and Pro Max which provides an adaptive refresh rate and smoother viewing experience
- 2.5 hours more battery a day than the 12 Pro Max according to Apple
- OLED display panel max brightness of 1,000 nits outdoors, 25% higher than the 12 Pro Max
If money is no object by all means, go with the Pro Max. We certainly would.
Chances are though if you’re not using this phone for shooting video regularly, you’re only an amateur photographer, or don’t need a bigger display then there’s no reason why you couldn’t save some money and choose the Pro instead as both phones have the same chip, cameras, and technology inside.
As we mentioned earlier however, the One Plus 9 Pro is still a great alternative, is €360 less, and has a 48 megapixel main camera, four times that of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. If you’re dedicated to the Apple ecosystem we understand though, but there are far cheaper and ‘better’ options still available elsewhere.
Here's a brief look at what else Apple announced at its prestigious autumn even this year.
- 12 megapixel front-facing camera
- New A13 Bionic chip
- Smart keyboard and Apple pencil support
- True tone display
There aren’t many new features with this year’s standard iPad apart from the new A13 chipset and true tone display. However, the stand out feature has to be the new and improved 12 megapixel front-facing camera, upgraded from 2020’s 1.2 megapixels. This will be a big difference for standard tablet users who use their device a lot for video calls.
For €399, the standard iPad still has more than enough for the average tablet user who doesn’t need the cutting edge performance of say the iPad Pro.
- Smaller 8.3” screen
- Touch ID in power button
- New A15 chipset - same as iPhone 13 Pro
When Apple said iPad mini they didn’t lie, not only making the screen smaller but also adapting the technology so as not to sacrifice any of the innovative elements you’d expect from an Apple device. For example, its touch ID sensor has been placed in the power button. It also has the same chipset as the new iPhone 13 so is as responsive.
The new iPad mini also has a few distinct advantages over say the standard iPad in that it’s far more portable and makes it more convenient for those who travel, and it’s compatible with the Apple 2nd generation pencil too which the standard iPad is not.
The new mini display isn’t quite as good as the Pro however, but if you’ve been using the iPad Air up until now you shouldn’t really mind too much.
Apple Watch Series 7
- Bigger display, 20% more screen area than series 6
- Always-On Retina display
- Updated charging with fast-charging USB‑C cable
- No release date given as of yet, later in autumn
Simply put the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch on the market, and boy do Apple know it. The launch of the Series 7 introduces some much welcomed features such as faster charging and increased durability, and paired with the ability to monitor your blood oxygen and take an ECG, is there anything it can’t do?
Apple hasn’t announced an official release date and price as of yet however, so Apple Watch fans will have to wait with baited breath until such a time, pardon the pun.
The big takeaway from this year's event, as has been the case every autumn, is the iPhones.
If you use an iPhone you probably like the ecosystem and are reluctant to change despite better value hardware being available elsewhere. So you probably came this far to get validation on your decision to buy a shiny new piece of glass from them. The good news is that the new cameras are even greater and the battery life is even better than before.
However, if you're an Android person there is nothing here that's going to make you jump ship.
Apple has two products that are the best in class in our opinion - that is the Apple Watch and the iPad Pro. It’s just a shame they are almost prohibitively expensive.
Choosing a phone plan
If you’re thinking about purchasing the new iPhone 13, you might be looking at various mobile phone plans available too.
Cost is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors to consider when choosing a phone plan, but there are other things to keep in mind too, such as data allowance. Here are 10 important factors to consider when making your choice.
Since the iPhone 13 supports 5G, you may be curious about what mobile providers offer 5G services currently. Check out this blog where we outline what 5G plans are on offer from Irish providers.
If you prefer to buy your phone outright, you may be interested in a SIM-only plan. To review the best SIM-only plans on the market, check out this blog post. Alternatively, you can listen to this episode of our bonkers.ie podcast series, where we discuss the best SIM-only deals on the market.
Don’t forget that you can use our free comparison tool today to compare mobile phone, broadband and TV deals in your local area to find a deal that best suits your needs.
Get in touch
What do you think of Apple’s new products? Would you consider upgrading to the new iPhone 13? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!