New iPad Mini, iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, More From Apple’s Sept. 2021 Event
by Jeff MacArthur on September 14, 2021
Apple just completed their announcements for their September 14, 2021, event and we’re here to get you up to speed. So, in order of what I think is coolest, here are the essentials of what Tim and his crew shared.
Lara loves her iPad Mini but it’s been so long since it’s been substantially updated that she was almost giving up hope. Well, that ended today. The new iPad Mini has gotten a complete redesign that, on the outside, is largely inspired by the magnificent iPad Pro:
- new enclosure with an all-screen design (squeezing an 8.3″ liquid retina display into roughly the same sized body as the old iPad Mini with 7.9″ screen) with True Tone and wide colour
- new A15 Bionic chip (40% improved processor performance and double that for graphics)
- new stereo landscape speakers (à la iPad Pro, which has resulted in incredibly-improved sound)
- improved cameras, including 12MP ultra-wide on the front with Center Stage abilities (back camera is normal 12MP)
- USB-C port so you can attach it to a ton of accessories
- compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil (so magnetically attaches and charges, just like on the iPad Pro)
- Touch ID now lives in the top-of-device button (like the iPad Air)
- new compatible Smart Folio (in black, white, dark cherry, English lavender, and electric orange)
The iPad Mini is available in purple, pink, starlight, and space grey starting at $499 USD/$649 CAD for the wifi version (and, yes, there is a 5G cellular version) and it looks like it’s going to be an amazing addition to the lineup.
iPhone 13 (and iPhone 13 Mini)
While the new 5G iPhone 13 has an A15 bionic chip, a 20% narrower notch, better battery life, double the entry-level storage, and a new diagonal arrangement for its improved cameras (which include an optical image stabilizer!), there is only one feature that totally made my jaw drop: Cinematic Mode video recording.
If you’ve ever noticed the effect in professionally-shot videos and TV of the focus changing from one character (or object) within the same scene/framing, that’s called rack focus (or pulling focus) – and it’s now, incredibly, on the newest iPhones. This can work in an automatic way – focusing on a character’s face when they enter the frame, following them as they move through the scene, or shifting from one character to another (you can imagine how Center Stage shares some of this feature’s DNA) – or, thankfully, manually. My understanding is that you can even do this AFTER you’ve shot your video, which is an incredible boon for editors.
It’s available in pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and product red, with the 6.1″-screen iPhone 13 retailing for $799 USD/$1099 CAD and the 5.4″ iPhone 13 Mini for $699 USD/$949 CAD. PS: There are also some nice new MagSafe cases, including a leather wallet case that has Find My built into the wallet in the event it’s separated from your iPhone!
Apple Watch Series 7
The Series 7 has a nicely redesigned enclosure and screen, with a 20% larger display, thinner borders, and a softer all-around shape. Buttons and other interface items have also been redesigned, allowing for 50% more text onscreen than the Series 6 and including a full QWERTY keyboard (tap or slide, with predictive text) for the first time. It’s also more durable in a few ways, including a more crack-resistant front crystal and a new IP6X certification for resistance to dust, plus charges 33% faster than Series 6 (and includes a new fast-charging cable).
New Bike features have also been added, including workout reminders when riding, automatic pause/resume of biking workouts, bike fall detection, and better support for e-bikes.
As you might guess, there are new case finishes and lots of new band styles and colors to choose from. I’ll note that the even-bigger Series 7 is still compatible with all existing Apple Watch bands, which I’m sure is a relief to many. Apple Watch Series 7 starts at $399 USD (and the SE goes down to $279 and the Series 3 to $199 – CAD prices TBD, I guess).
In a related note (though out of order, Apple Fitness+ is expanding from 6 to 15 countries (including subtitling in 6 languages) and is adding a cool “Group Workouts with SharePlay” feature where users can work out with up to 32 people virtually (you see your own metrics and progress onscreen, but can also see and hear friends, as well as get notifications when they move ahead on the Burn Bar or closes their Activity ring). Fitness+ also has new Pilates, Guided Meditation (also available in audio for use with the Mindfulness app), and “Get Ready for Snow Season” workouts for the dedicated ski/snowboard bums out there.
iPhone 13 Pro
Like the iPhone 13, the Pro models have the A15 chip, a 20% shrunken notch, and improved battery life (up to 1.5 hours longer for 6.1″ Pro and 2.5 longer for the 6.7″ Pro Max). Most of the other improvements here (and, frankly, most of what I just mentioned) look like they’re aimed at upping the ante on video recording. This includes the awesome new Cinematic Mode, improved cameras, a better display (Super Retina XDR with ProMotion), and even a new 1TB storage option so you can keep all the 4K footage on your phone longer.
They’re available in graphite, gold, silver, and a new “sierra blue”, with the iPhone Pro starting at $999 USD and the iPhone Pro Max at $1099 USD.
The, Um, “Normal” iPad
There was also some upgrading for the “most popular” iPad, the, uh, iPad. An A13 Bionic chip, a 12MP ultra wide front camera with Center Stage, True Tone for the first time on this level of iPad, and doubling the entry level storage to 64 GB (thank god) are the key improvements. The new iPad will start at $329 USD/$429 CAD.
What got you the most excited? Anything you didn’t expect? Let us know on social!