Apple September Event 2019 … just don’t expect to be surprised!

When Apple begins announcing another of their livestream Events, especially one which expands the viewing possibilities, it’s not exactly hard to see why folks were expecting so much more than what Apple had to announce … but, things just don’t work out that way, do they.

What we did get out of this years “iPhone” September Event was, pretty much, the expected, with the only surprise being, ironically for Apple, prices on a lower margin.

All about the services

Apple reiterated the heck out of their services once again in this Event, and whilst it’s good we finally get a price for the services, we’re now more than ever just hoping they shut up about them. Apple’s TV+ service will be launching at an alright $4.99 per month (would be amazing if they had a back catalogue), though will also be free for 12 months for all new Apple products we’re about to talk about so you might as well give an episode or two a go, guess.

Probably the only Apple service that grabbed a moderate level of attention was Apple Arcade. Apple Arcade is unique in that it’s a Gaming subscription service that ties across Smartphone, Tablet, TV, and Computer, which is actually kinda cool. So, whether you’re on your Mac, lounging on Apple TV, to just being on your iPhone, you can play the same Games through the same service, nice! Apple Arcade will, like TV+, be $4.99 for a Family Subscription, which is kind of a decent price for what you’re getting, plus you can give them a go for free for 1 month.

All Apple Arcade launch titles will be exclusive to the service, which is pretty awesome, though we do hope there’s some way of keeping a particular Game if you don’t want to be Subscribing … plus, for the Dev time it will have taken, you just know they’ll reach Android and beyond eventually.

One thing we didn’t see in relation to Apple’s services which we’d of liked to have seen, would be an increase from the tiny 5GB of free iCloud, but what can you do.

iPad

New 7th Generation iPad

Moving on to hardware, we’ll start with this; this probably isn’t the iPad you were hoping to see, though, it’s a welcome update, let’s be fair. Whilst, visibly, on a page, or, likely Apple’s website, the new iPad looks identical to the affordable iPad it replaces, Apple have made some fair improvements, first of which being a moderate increase to 10.2 inch on the display. Performance is powered by Apple’s A10 Fusion processor.

The new iPad (7th generation) now supports the Smart Connector, so naturally supports the Smart Keyboard, though you will need to use the specified one as this is a new size, so unlike the old budget iPad you can’t use the older iPad Pro 9.7 ones. What’s pretty incredible about the new iPad is that it retains the same price as the previous, the same $329 … unless you live in the UK where it’s gone up a bit to £349, and will be available to order now.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 5

If their was one, almost surprise, at the Event it was this, the Apple Watch Series 5. Not a surprise in terms of what it gains, but it’s fair to say it’s appearance at this Event was very contradicted in rumours. At the end of the day, however, the Series 5 Apple Watch, we’d regard more an almost Series 4S, dare we say.

Always on and Compass

If we were to put the Apple Watch Series 5 in to a phrase, that would be it, Always on and Compass, why? Because them the changes. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve been patiently waiting on Apple to bring an Always-on Display to the Apple Watch line and it’s great that it’s here now, with the same Series 4 Battery life, but lacking any silicon upgrade at all, does grant this to be something, we’d almost of preferred to wait for.

What is pretty interesting is how they maintain the Battery life using an LTPO Display, or low-temperature polycrystalline oxide backbone technology, which can smartly determine what refresh rate between 1 and 60Hz is required.

Finally, as we mentioned, the Apple Watch Series 5 has a compass, which can be used to get better Maps directions, use in the Compass app on the Watch or through a complication.

One pretty nice feature of the Series 5 Cellular, is that regardless of where you are, whether near an iPhone or not, you will be able to make an Emergency call anywhere in the world!

All in on materials, plus Apple Watch Studio

Apple Watch Series 5 real reason for being is naturally materials, those are what will make you buy it, and Apple knows this. You can of course get Series 5 in the usual Aluminium, Stainless Steel finishes, but now Titanium finishes in Grey and Silver are here, as well as the return to Ceramic white.

Apple Watch Series 5 will launch at the same prices as Series 4 it replaces and launches September 20th, though the Series 3 is now just $199 / £199 which for the performance and water resistance that thing brings, despite a generation or half older is what caught our attention!

This is pretty awesome, though exclusive to Apple Online Store or Apple Retail Stores, is Apple Watch Studio. Apple traditionally sell quite a few configurations of Apple Watch, however if you wanted a Black band you’d have to get a Space Grey finish, or perhaps you wanted the other way around, regardless you weren’t as in control as you could possibly be … until now.

You can now literally go on Apple’s website, or in Store, select your size obviously, but then pick literally the Watch materials, then any Strap for that material you just selected, so you can literally now buy exactly the Apple Watch configuration you wanted in the first place, which is pretty nice.

iPhone

Just as rumoured, the new iPhone models will have what appear to be very garish Cameras on the back, though in real world scenarios, in a completely unsurprising turns of events, they don’t look as bad, but they are what they are. One thing they do allow is a lot of benefits for your photography, which we’ll get to, as we have a look at the new iPhone 11 and, yes, the iPhone 11 Pro and the dreadful sounding iPhone 11 Pro Max.

iPhone 11

Here it is, this is the iPhone 11, or as it should be known the second generation iPhone XR. Despite this, however, whilst minor, Apple have made some decent improvements to what was the iPhone XR, granted mostly in the Camera department. The iPhone XR was Apple’s best selling Smartphone over the last year, so they were always going to build upon it, and build upon it they have, we just wish they’d done a bit more with the design.

Colours have made a slight shift on the iPhone 11, whilst retaining the Product RED, Black and White, there’s now a new variant of Yellow, Green and a light Purple colour finish to choose from, all with a glossy glass back with a matte finish around the Camera.

Speaking of that Camera, whilst Apple is sticking to a 12MP for the sensor, for the first time Apple now have an Ultra Wide Camera, which is actually pretty awesome and, a definite about time from us. Whilst LG seemed to be the only brand who cared about Ultra Wide Cameras, it’s took this long for more to adopt it and Apple have finally joined the field. One thing Apple have done, which, aside from LG, other manufacturers don’t, is tune each Camera the same, though Apple take this a step further by tuning them on the fly and live. The reason this is so important is that you can seamlessly switch between Cameras without losing any of the white balance, shifting or anything, it’ll just look optically 0.5x zoomed out.

One thing which hasn’t changed on the iPhone 11, from the XR, is the Display, it’s literally the same 6.1 inch “Liquid Retina” LCD panel from the XR, which isn’t bad as it was a decent Display, but we would have liked a little extra put in to it. In fact, if you don’t look behind the iPhone 11, it is actually exactly the same as the iPhone XR it subtly replaces, including, unfortunate say some, the Lightning connector which remains.

The iPhone 11 is powered by the new Apple A13 Processor, which it’s fair to say is one of the worst marketed processors ever in Apple’s history … and that’s including the mediocre Core i3 in the latest Mac mini, which tells us the A13 is not going to be the powerhouse you usually expect from Apple. It’s “the fastest”, and all that, than anything else today, but it’s fair to say, the competition will eventually eclipse and exceed. However, the area the A13 has chosen to boost on is power efficiency, which means less heat so more constant load time as well as an extra 1 hour of battery expected versus the already killer battery life of the iPhone XR.

Another big feature of iPhone 11 is Night Mode. Just like the Google Pixel Night Sight feature, Apple’s Night Mode allows even the darkest shots to be lit using software processing, however there’s a few things Apple does ahead of Google. Just like with Portrait mode, Apple’s Night Mode works in real-time which is pretty incredible when you think about it, whereas on the Pixel devices you’ve to take and wait until you see the end result. Apple also chooses a more natural look for their Night Mode shots, whereas Google opts for the more daylight viewing experience, Apple makes it look like still night, just slightly more visible.

Other minor tidbits

  • Spacial audio with Dolby Atmos
  • Camera – Dual 12MP, secondary Camera with Ultra Wide, a first for iPhone
  • Portrait for pets
  • Portrait Lighting affect
  • Video 4K 60fps on both rear lenses, and 4K 30fps on front Camera
  • Front Camera now 12MP and more wider
  • Slo-mo support on both back Cameras and now front Camera … we’re not saying that word
  • A13 Bionic

One thing pretty incredible is that Apple reduced the cost of the iPhone 11 versus the iPhone XR last year by $49, which, sure isn’t a lot, it’s still less than a New phone was last month for so much more, and we can’t argue with that, that is still for a 64GB configuration, but a 128GB and 256GB option is also available.

In the UK, the iPhone 11 starts at £729 (64GB) and rises £40 to £779 (128GB) and then an extra £100 tops out at £879 (256GB)

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

Well, the rumours got this one right as well, this is the iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Outside of being a dreadful name, especially the Max, these are the true successors to the iPhone XS and XS Max and support the materials, display and more to back it up, but do they back the Pro? Well, we’ll get to that.

First, let’s check out the design. Like the iPhone 11, the 11 Pro devices look and feel the same as the XS series of devices on the front and sides, however with a more matte look at the back, which we’ll be honest we’re fairly divided on. The new Green iPhone 11 Pro is fairly … interesting looking, but the other three more iPhone tradition colours are available with the usual Space Grey, Silver and Gold.

What is Pro these days?

We won’t harp on about this too much, but it’s definitely an increasing question following the number of devices suddenly supporting the “Pro” prefix. The problem with this, naturally, is that the iPhone 11 Pro, and the larger iPhone 11 Pro Max, don’t hold anything to really back up those Pro claims.

When Apple announced the iPad Pro, they backed that up by originally supporting Keyboard natively in their cover, then Pencil, and most recently by drastically shrinking bezels. They also introduced what can only be described as the best feature of the iPad Pro, the “Pro-motion Display”, which runs at 120Hz, double that of any other device in Apple’s entire product lineup, including Mac and iPhone.

And it’s right there, we wish Apple would have at least pushed the boundaries further. We’ve already got Android phones from Razer and more, supporting 120Hz displays, with even Google’s Pixel 4 line of Smartphones expected to introduce a 90Hz OLED panel, all in all, it just leaves the “Pro” name on these devices seem a bit weak, and, above all else, lacking, in real delivery. These are not Pro iPhone models, these are the XS iterative update, whereas the regular iPhone 11 is the iterative successor to the iPhone XR.

Cameras

Whilst the majority of the Camera tech inside the iPhone 11 Pro isn’t that different to that found in the iPhone 11, the only real difference is that the iPhone 11 Pro, maintains the expected Camera with the iPhone, in that there’s now the 2X zoom Telephoto as well. The really awesome thing about the iPhone 11 Pro Cameras is that they’re all synchronised together, in that if you are capturing an image on one lens, you can seamlessly switch in and out in a practically optical fashion and have the same colours, lighting and focus, all set.

Video is improved as well, still at 60fps 4K max, but now that translates over to the Front facing Camera, which is now 12MP and supports the same … Slofies, as the iPhone 11 does, as it’s the same sensor.

Display and design, or should we say, colours

Whilst the size and resolution of the OLED Displays hasn’t changed compared to the iPhone XS, that’s not to say the Display has stayed the same, Apple have made some sizeable improvements here. Contrast ratio of the OLED Panel is now an insane 2,000,000:1, which further reiterates inky blacks on this panel, but it’s not just good at being black, it can show white brighter than ever with an up to 1,200 nits of brightness. For these reasons, Apple decided to be Apple, and are branding theses, Super Retina XDR Displays, which is about as good as the names get for theses models.

Colour wise, you’ve an interesting Green option added to the traditional, but as far as the front and sides are concerned everything is the same. The back naturally is flanked by the Triple Camera system, but also for a first in an iPhone for a while, a Matte back option across the board. Whereas the iPhone 11 is Glossy at the back with a Matte texture around the Camera, that’s reversed on the Pro models, with a Glossy texture surrounding the Cameras and a Matte finish at the back. This will naturally mean a few things, could mean scratches easier, but also will likely mean much easier grip and won’t be as big of a fingerprint magnet, like iPhone models have been since the iPhone 8 / X went to glass backs again.

Performance – A13

Just like the regular iPhone 11, the 11 Pro models are powered by Apple’s A13 Processor, which as we mentioned early is “faster” obviously, but with no sizeable comparatives we’re expecting this to be a minor improvement from last years A12, but Apple has focused on power efficiency which should mean higher load for longer, which is never a bad thing.

One difference from the iPhone 11 will be RAM, the regular iPhone 11 will likely still perform in GPU tasks better due to lower resolution, but has 4GB of RAM, 6GB of RAM is found on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, from what’s been penned.

Other minor tidbits

  • Spacial audio with Dolby Atmos
  • Camera – Triple 12MP, secondary Camera with Ultra Wide, third Camera with Telephoto, a first for iPhone
  • Portrait Lighting affect
  • Video 4K 60fps on all rear lenses, and 4K 30fps on front Camera
  • Front Camera now 12MP and more wider
  • Slo-mo support on both back Cameras and now front Camera … we’re not saying that word
  • A13 Bionic
  • Battery life, 4 hours more 11 Pro from XS, and 5 hours more from 11 Pro Max from XS Max

Pricing models and capacities unfortunately stayed exactly the same, despite the lack of 3D touch in even this iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max (great name, again), so you’ll be very familiar in the pricing of theses models.

Shipping September 20th; starting at £999 for 11 Pro, and £1199 for 11 Pro Max at that same measly 64GB

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