iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max have faster processors, better screens, and new double and triple camera systems
This article titled “iPhone 11: Apple launches new Pro smartphones with better cameras” was written by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 10th September 2019 19.04 UTC
Apple has launched its latest iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max featuring new cameras, improved screens, faster processors and longer battery life.
The new iPhones feature similar designs and screen sizes with slim bezels and the Face ID notch at the top, which was first introduced in 2017 with the iPhone X. A variety of new colours will also be available, with a new matt finish on the back of the iPhone 11 Pro.
iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max
The iPhone Pro will be available in two sizes, with either a 5.8-inch (147mm) or 6.5-inch (165mm) screen. The improved Super Retina XDR OLED displays have a higher resolution, are brighter and have better colour, but are more efficient on battery.
The big new addition for this year’s iPhone is a square lump on the back, which contains a triple camera system for the iPhone 11 Pro. The three 12-megapixel cameras work together in a similar way to the dual-camera system of the previous iPhones, combining an ultra-wide angle, a main and a telephoto camera for zooming from 0.5x to 2x, similar to rivals’ products.
Apple said it paired all three cameras for colour and exposure in the factory, pushing the iPhone as a film-making system for both shooting and editing video.
The new cameras also offer better low-light performance with a new night mode – a current pain point for consumers – as seen in rival phones. Apple says the phones also produce better all-round, more detailed images using advanced computational photography, and that its new HDR system allows superior lighting.
Apple also upgraded the TrueDepth selfie camera to 12 megapixels, enabling wider photos and shooting up to 4K at 60 frames per second. The selfie camera can also now shoot slow-motion video.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said: “For those that want something that truly pushes the limits, this is the iPhone 11 Pro. The most powerful and advanced iPhones we’ve ever produced in a stunning new design.”
The 6.1-inch iPhone 11 – the direct replacement for the iPhone XR – gains a dual-camera version of Apple’s new system, supplanting the single camera from last year and adding a 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera to the traditional 12-megapixel camera.
The new cheaper iPhone can also capture video from both cameras at up to 4K at 60 frames per second. Apple claimed it shoots the highest quality video in a smartphone, apart from the iPhone 11 Pro.
The iPhone 11 has the same 6.1-inch LCD as the iPhone XR, and the same aluminium and glass build, but now with tougher glass.
All the new iPhones also have the new, faster A13 Bionic chip, which Apple says is both the fastest CPU and GPU in a smartphone ever.
Apple said the battery on the iPhone 11 was capable of lasting one hour longer than the iPhone XR, which was already the longest-lasting iPhone in the firm’s history. It said the iPhone 11 Pro would last four hours longer than the iPhone XS, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max five hours longer than the iPhone XS Max.
Both iPhone 11 Pros also ship with a faster 18W charger in the box, something others have been doing for years.
Apple has also improved its Face ID facial recognition system, implemented the new wifi 6 standard and faster wireless charging.
One big missing feature for the iPhone is support for the latest 5G networks, which recently launched in the UK, US and elsewhere. While the availability of the new significantly faster mobile networks is limited at the moment, the rollout is expected to reach many major towns and cities by the end of 2019.
Samsung, OnePlus and other predominantly Chinese smartphone manufacturers all have at least one 5G model on sale, giving them a significant advantage in the new era of mobile connectivity.
Last year’s iPhone revision ditched the old-style design with home button for the iPhone X-like screen, adding the larger, but cheaper 6.1-inch iPhone XR and 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max at the top end. But from launch until the end of June, that range of iPhones sold 26% fewer handsets globally than the iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus the previous year, according to data from Canalys, with three straight quarters of shipment decline.
With a trade war between the US and China likely to affect Apple’s growth in the Chinese market, and potentially increasing the cost of the iPhone elsewhere thanks to tariffs, the next few years may prove difficult. Apple will be banking on the top-end appeal of its most expensive iPhone 11 Pro to continue where the iPhone XS Max left off, while the cheaper iPhone 11 appeals to a wider market by competing more directly on price with the likes of Samsung.
The iPhone 11 will cost $699 in the US (£729 in the UK), $50 less than the iPhone XR from last year. The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max will cost from $999 (£1,049 in the UK) and $1,099 (£1,149 in the UK), and will ship on 20 September.
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