Welcome to CNET’s coverage of Apple’s big iPhone event. We covered the event live, with details on the breaking news as well as offering in depth analysis and perspective you can only get here.
And that’s it
11:31 a.m. PT
Apple closes with another tour through California landmarks. Like in its previous videos, it includes production health and safety info, including daily health screenings, face coverings “worn by everyone.”
So when can you get it?
11:18 a.m. PT
The iPhone 13 Pro will keep its $999 starting price, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max will start at $1099.
They start preorders Sept 17 and launch Sept. 24
iPhone 13 Pro as a video camera
11:12 a.m. PT
Apple pushed hard on the idea of using the iPhone 13 Pro as a professional-level video camera. It hired Oscar-winning film director Kathryn Bigelow to try it out, showing how well it handles low-light imagery.
iPhone 13 Pro camera upgrades
11:09 a.m. PT
Apple’s updates for its wide and ultrawide allow for better low light performance, Apple says, and can also do macro photography — shooting a subject as close as 2 centimeters away.
Apple says it’s also made improvements to the software that recognizes people’s skin tones, and you can now apply tone and warmth filters that the camera will remember.
iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max
11:05 a.m. PT
Apple says it’s the “most pro design,” which is probably the most Apple thing I’ve heard the company say in a while.
It comes in four colors: silver, graphite, gold and “Sierra blue.”
The iPhone 13 Pro has a bigger battery, Apple added. And it includes a better GPU than the iPhone 13.
Apple said it’s announcing a new “Super Retina XDR display” which has 1000 nits of peak outdoor brightness, 25% higher than last year. And it can change framerate on the fly, increasing framerate to 120Hz when you need, but ramping it down when you don’t. In its demo, Apple showed it going down to 10Hz.
Better battery life
10:58 a.m. PT
Apple says that despite the faster chip, 5G, better cameras and other features, the iPhone 13 has longer battery life than its predecessor. One way it does this is by shifting to LTE “when 5G speeds aren’t needed,” Apple said. And the company’s A15 Bionic chip is more efficient, Apple said.
Apple is also getting its device to rely on the internet less. Many Siri requests for example will stay on the device, a first in the 10 years since the voice assistant was first introduced.
Apple said it’s keeping prices the same this year. iPhone 13 Mini starts at $699, with double the starting capacity to 128GB. (You can also get a 512GB version now, which used to only be available on the Pro models.)
A new automatic focus
10:52 a.m. PT
Apple said Cinematic Mode follows where the subject of a video looks, changing focus when they look away, and again when they look back.
Apple said you can also choose where to focus by tapping on the screen, or even holding down to lock focus on a subject. It’s all shot in Dolby Vision HDR, Apple says, which is fancy talk for high end video formats.
Camera upgrades and Cinematic Mode
10:50 a.m. PT
Apple says its back cameras have gotten serious upgrades with the iPhone 13. The 12 megapixel camera can take in 47% more light, Apple says, with an F1.6 aperture.
The ultrawide camera has an F 2.4 aperture.
When it comes to video, Apple says it’s adding “cinematic mode,” which will allow phones to have professional-level “rack focus” where you can slide between focus subjects gracefully in a video. Apple of course created a demo “movie” to show it off.
iPhones get new A15 Bionic chip
10:45 a.m. PT
“Frankly, the competition is still playing catchup to our chips,” Apple says. This year, the iPhone 13 gets A15 Bionic.
It has a 6-core CPU, with 2 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores. Apple says it’s up to 50% faster than the leading competition. It also has a 4-core GPU, Apple says. It has 30% faster graphics than the competition.
iPhone 13 is here
10:40 a.m. PT
The new device has two rear lenses, arranged diagonally. It also comes in pink now, along with blue, “midnight,” “starlight,” and product red.
The antennas are made with recycled plastic water bottles, Apple says. And they have a sensor notch that’s 20% smaller.
Apple Fitness Plus gets into group workouts
10:36 a.m. PT
Apple’s always had hidden features to compete with friends in its motion and activity app, and now Apple’s adding group workouts too. In this case, you can start a workout with (or against) your friends from an iMessage chat conversation.
Apple says up to 32 people can participate and you’ll even know when friends are ahead of you in a bike class, for example.
Apple Fitness Plus adds meditation
10:35 a.m. PT
Since launching last year, Apple’s focused its $10 per month Fitness Plus service on getting you to sweat. But this year, it’s adding a meditation option, which will include all sorts of different calmness, kindness and gratitude meditations. Just like Apple’s other classes, it’ll be updated weekly on your phone and watch.
Apple Watch gets more durable
10:30 a.m. PT
Apple said its newest Apple Watches now have a “crack resistant front crystal,” with a “more robust geometry.”
It also has IP6X certification, which means it’s duster resistant.
Of course, it has a bunch of new colors, bands and even a new charger that’s faster.
Like the iPad, Apple says it’s 100% recycled aluminum.
The Apple Watch Series 7 will be $399. Apple will also keep selling the Apple Watch Series 3 for $199, last year’s Apple Watch SE for $279.
It has a larger display, with 20% more screen area than the Series 6 and 50% more than Series 3.
The dimensions of the watch have barely changed, Apple says. And it has “softer, more rounded corners” with a “wraparound” feel on the sides.
Apple says it redesigned buttons in the software to make them easier to tap as well, and it can fit 50% more text on screen than last year’s watch.
100% Recycled Aluminum
10:23 a.m. PT
Apple said the iPad Mini upgrade means that all the company’s iPads are now made from 100% recycled aluminum, as well as 100% recycled tin (for the solder). Apple says it uses 100% recycled rare earth elements in the enclosure magnets (not everywhere).
Apple finds landscape
10:19 a.m. PT
Apple’s iPads have always been portrait-oriented devices. The front-facing camera’s always been at the top of the portrait-oriented device. And its speakers have always been at the bottom.
With the iPad Mini, Apple’s moved the selfie camera to the top of the landscape orientation, and adding stereo speakers meant to be heard in landscape as well.
It’ll start at $499, more expensive than the $399 starting price for the previous generation
iPad Mini gets USB-C, 5G
10:18 a.m. PT
Last year, Apple introduced 5G superfast wireless to the iPhone. This year, it’s adding the technology to its iPads. First, with the iPad Mini, which Apple said can pull down 3.5 gigabits per second. It also gets USB like its iPad Pro big brothers.
iPad Mini gets a big upgrade
10:14 a.m. PT
Tim Cook announced the new iPad Mini, which ditches the home button, and has thinner borders. It also comes in an array of colors. Purple, Pink, “Starlight” and Space Gray.
Apple says it’s 8.3 inches, and offers true tone, anti reflective coating, and 500 nits of brightness.
It also has TouchID built into the power button, just like last year’s iPad Air.
The new iPad Mini has a 40% jump in CPU performance, and 80% “leap” in GPU, Apple says.
Cook starts by talking about how strong the iPad business has been growing, up 40% in the past year.
“Today, it gets even better,” he says.
The new iPad will include the A13 bionic chip, Apple says, which is 20% faster “in every aspect of the chip from the CPU and GPU to the neural engine.”
Apple’s Melody Kuna, a senior manager of iPad product design, says it’s up to 3x faster than the best selling Chromebook and up to 6x faster than the best selling Android tablet.
It’ll also include a better rear and front camera, she said.
Apple TV Plus
10:07 a.m. PT
Apple started by discussing his company’s $5 per month video service, Apple TV Plus, showing off a bunch of previews for hit shows like Ted Lasso and The Morning Show, as well as upcoming titles like Foundation, and a comedy series, The Problem With Jon Stewart. (Stewart joked they may need to add a comma to that title.)
10:04 a.m. PT
Tim Cook starts Apple’s event with a video montage of all the things he says Apple loves about California. All its landmarks, singing people, it’s definitely a fun place to start.
“California has always been a place for people with big ambitions and big dreams, a place where people are fueled with optimism to make things better, to make things that can change the world. It is such an important part of who we are at Apple, and inspires us in everything we create and do. We’re proud to call California our home.”
No more pop & rock
9:57 a.m. PT
Apple used to have a playlist prepared for its events with hit songs from hit groups like Coldplay all the way to little-known musicians who’d suddenly find fame in background of Apple ads and events. But ever since Apple started streaming its events amid the pandemic, it’s switched to more artsy — what I’ll call corporate classical and pop music.
For what it’s worth, I checked on Apple-owned Shazam to see if maybe this was an artist I’d never heard of. Nope — Shazam hasn’t heard it either. At least it’s kinda catchy.
Our show has started
9:50 a.m. PT
Apple’s event is nearly ready to begin, and CNET’s live pre-show is running now at the top of this page. You can watch live as we discuss all the rumors and expected products. Also, get some insight into the minds of our great reviewers.
Apple put out a surprise update Monday that closes a security hole in a reported “zero-click” hack. This attack, which is tied to the Pegasus spyware reportedly used to spy on dissidents, world leaders and journalists, can be delivered through a text message. Supposedly, you can’t do anything to stop when it arrives — the hack goes into effect as soon as your phone receives the message. Apple’s update closes that hole.
It used to be that when new iPhones came out, people lined up around the block outside Apple Stores to be among the first to get their hands on the device. It would then typically be promptly sold out and nearly impossible to find for days or even weeks. Apple’s gotten better at managing demand, and so many people buy online now that the dramatic iPhone lines are largely a thing of the past. But what of supply?
In the pandemic, we’ve learned that our international supply chains are rather fragile, and our reliance on overseas manufacturing has led to shortages of all sorts of products, from cars to video game consoles to garlic. So far, indications are Apple’s been able to void these issues, in part thanks to its aggressive long-term planning. That doesn’t mean you’ll have easy access to an iPhone at launch, but it shouldn’t be as hard to find as, say, a PlayStation 5.
There are rumors the Apple Watch on the other hand may have limited supplies at launch. But that’s because of a non-pandemic problem. According to rumors, Apple struggled to get production going smooth in order to produce at high volume.
8:31 a.m. PT
Pretty much every virtual event Apple’s held so far has been set on its multibillion dollar “spaceship” headquarters in Cupertino, California. But this time Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted out a picture of a different location the company will be holding at least part of its event from: The desert.
It’s a good bet this may be a reference to the rumored satellite emergency call capabilities being built into the next iPhones. We’ll have to see.
What we know so far
The most dramatic change for the new iPhones, aside from better cameras that Apple always tends to offer, is said to be the capability to make calls and send texts in emergencies when there’s no cell coverage. Generally, though, they’re expected to still rely on 5G wireless technology for day-to-day connectivity.
The iPhone 13 comes a year after one of Apple’s most successful launches, with the 5G-powered iPhone 12. The device offered the first major revamp of the iPhone’s design since 2017, when Apple introduced its $1,000 iPhone X, with its new face-unlocking design and better screen technology. One survey conducted before the iPhone 12 announcement from Decluttr, a device recycler and reseller, found that a “staggering” 53% of respondents planned to buy the new iPhone, touching off what analysts call a “supercycle” of phone upgrades.
Apple did notch an increase in iPhone sales in the three months following the release of the iPhone 12. In January, the company said iPhone sales during the holidays jumped 17% from the previous year, helping to lead the company to its highest recorded revenue and profit ever.
“It is not far from any of our minds that this result caps off the most challenging year any of us can remember,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a call with investors after posting the company’s financial results. “It is an understatement to say that the challenges it posed to Apple as a business paled in comparison to the challenges it posed to Apple as a community of individuals, to employees, to their families, and to the communities we live in and love to call home.”
“These results show the central role that our products played in helping our users respond to these challenges,” Cook added.
Though Apple’s likely to offer a compelling upgrade to some customers, it’s happening at a time of turmoil both within and outside the tech industry. For the past year and a half, the pandemic has forced Apple, Microsoft, Sony and many other tech companies to hold events online.
The virus has upended billions of people’s lives around the world, forcing entire countries into quarantine in efforts to stop its spread. Those disruptions have also slowed manufacturing and shipping around the world, exacerbating parts shortages that have delayed production of new computers, cars and video game consoles.