Over the last month, Apple have released their new cohort of iPhone 13s alongside their iOS update. You might be wondering, what exactly is different about this new operating system and these new devices?

This article gives you an easy-to-digest summary of the latest iOS and iPhone features, including:

iPhone 13

  • iPhone 13 mini (5.4 inches) – If you’re looking for a smaller iPhone, this is the one for you. Plus, it’s rumoured this will be the last mini iPhone to be released after disappointing sales of the iPhone 12 mini.
  • iPhone 13 (6.1 inches) – A standard sized iPhone with new advanced capabilities, but a cheaper option than the Pro version.
  • iPhone 13 Pro (6.1 inches) – A standard sized iPhone for those who are willing to spend a bit more for enhanced camera capabilities.
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max (6.7 inches) – A larger iPhone for those who prefer a bigger screen and enhanced camera capabilities.
  • iOS 15 – Apple’s new iOS operating system.

Note that none of the new iPhones are sold alongside power adapters, EarPods, or AirPods. These will all need to be bought separately.

Features of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini:

Design

Compared to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are slightly thicker and heavier. The Face ID notch is now also slightly smaller. However, they still have flat edges, an aerospace-grade aluminium enclosure, and a glass back, making them very similar in design to the iPhone 12s.

In drop tests, the iPhone 13 models showed no signs of improvement in durability compared to the iPhone 12 models. Although, this isn’t surprising given the similarity in design.

Colours

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini come in several different colours: pink, blue, midnight (black), starlight (silver/gold), and red.

Battery life

Battery life has improved significantly since the iPhone 12 due to bigger batteries and a more efficient A15 chip. The iPhone 13 mini gives you up to 1.5 hours more battery life than the iPhone 12 mini, and the iPhone 13 gives you up to 2.5 hours more battery life.

This means, the iPhone 13 mini’s battery lasts for up to 17 hours of video playback and 55 hours of audio playback. Whilst the iPhone 13 can withstand up to 19 hours of video playback and 75 hours of audio playback.

The new iPhones also support fast charging, enabling you to reach 50% charge in just 30 minutes using a 20W power adapter.

Camera

As with every new iPhone, the camera quality of the iPhone 13 has significantly improved. There’s a new dual-lens rear camera with 12 megapixel Wide and Ultra Wide cameras that enable improved low light performance.

The new iPhone 13s also have other photographic capabilities, including Cinematic Mode and Smart HDR 4. Cinematic Mode enables you to shift focus from one subject to another whilst blurring the background, like Portrait Mode but for video. Additionally, 4k video recording is supported at up to 60 fps. Smart HDR 4 can also recognise up to four people in a photo and optimises contrast, lighting, and skin tones for each one.

The new iPhones also have upgraded Photographic Styles, whereby filters can be applied to an image, muting colours, and boosting vividness without impacting skin tones. They come in Vibrant, Rich, Contrast, Warm and Cool options.

5G connectivity

5G connectivity is included for better quality video streaming, FaceTime calls, and gaming. However, note that the super-fast mmWave speeds are limited to selected major cities in the United States.

Storage

Storage space is available from 128GB – 512GB.

Water resistance

IP68 water and dust resistance is included to protect the phones from damage. The iPhone 13s can withstand being submerged into 6 metres of water for up to 30 minutes.

Features of the new iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro max:

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max include all the features of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini. They have very similar capabilities in terms of 5G connectivity, water and dust resistance, and design. The main difference between the standard and Pro models is that the Pro include even more advanced camera capabilities.

Colours

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max come in silver, gold, sierra blue (a pale blue), and graphite (grey-black).

Battery life

The battery life of the iPhone Pros has again improved. The iPhone 13 Pro gives you up to 1.5 hours more battery life than the iPhone 12 Pro, supporting up to 22 hours of video playback and up to 75 hours of audio playback. The iPhone 13 Pro Max gives you up to 2.5 hours more battery life than the iPhone Pro Max, supporting up to 28 hours of video playback and 95 hours of audio playback.

Camera

The main difference between the standard and Pro iPhone 13 models is the camera capabilities. This year, the camera setup is exactly the same for the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models.

Alongside the improved photographic capabilities and styles of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, the iPhone Pro models offer an upgraded triple-lens rear camera. The Wide lens lets in 2.2X more light and is the largest sensor in an iPhone yet. Whilst the Ultra Wide lens lets in 92% more light for even better low-light performance.

The telephoto lens also features 3X optical zoom, up from 2.5X in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. There is also a LiDAR Scanner, which is not available on the iPhone 13 and 13 mini models.

There are also some Pro-only photographic capabilities, due to the triple-lens camera system. These include macro photography and videography for close-up macro shots, Night Mode portraits that require the LiDAR Scanner, and ProRes video recording that lets users record ProRes videos in 4k at up to 30 frames per second (note that ProRes video is launching later this year).

Storage

Storage space is available from 128GB – 1TB.

How much do the new iPhones cost?

  • iPhone 13 mini – from £679
  • iPhone 13 – from £779
  • iPhone 13 Pro – from £949
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max – from £1,040

Reviews

The iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max have all earned Editor’s Choice awards, with some describing them as “battery life beasts”. Experts also praise the smaller “notch” used for Face ID and exceptional camera quality. In fact, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max currently has the best camera system of any smartphone on the market.

However, some experts argue that Apple should have adapted their designs for the iPhone 13s in line with the pandemic. With most people wearing masks when on the move, Apple could have brought back Touch ID as an alternative to Face ID. Whilst others note that the increased thickness and weight of the phones could be problematic for users.

However, ultimately, the general consensus for the iPhone 13s is positive, especially with regards to camera quality and battery life.

battery life - iPhone 13

iOS 15: What’s new?

Alongside the release of the new iPhone 13s, Apple have also updated the iOS operating system. Although, this update is not deemed as dramatic as previous iOS updates, with lots of minor new features rather than a complete overhaul.

Note that, as cyber security experts, we always recommend updating your device to the latest version of your operating system to keep your data protected.

Here are some of the new features of iOS 15:

Internet browsing

Safari has been redesigned. The search bar now appears at the bottom of the screen, enabling easier browsing with one hand. There is also a compact tab bar at the bottom of the screen, so you can swipe between tabs more easily. You can also save tabs to refer to later and web extensions are possible for the first time.

Focus

The new Focus feature reduces distractions to help you focus better when at work, school, or generally when you want to reduce screen time. It enables you to block incoming notifications during periods of Focus time, your status will be displayed to others in iMessage so they’ll know you haven’t received their message yet.

iOS will suggest Focus times for different occasions, e.g., when you’re at work or just before bedtime, but users are also encouraged to create custom Focus times. Once you’ve set a Focus time, this will automatically be applied to your other Apple devices.

New notifications

Notifications have been redesigned, adding contact photos for people and larger icons for apps. To reduce distractions, a notification summary collects notifications together for delivery at an appropriate time and arranges notifications in priority order.

FaceTime

Spatial audio makes people’s voices sound like they’re coming from the direction in which they’re positioned on the screen on group FaceTime calls. Voice isolation also blocks out background noise so you can hear the speaker more clearly. You can now also blur your background using Portrait Mode during a FaceTime call. Grid view allows you to display up to six people at a time during group FaceTime calls, highlighting the speaker. Lastly, you can generate shareable links to schedule a FaceTime (similar to a Zoom link); these are also compatible with Android and Windows devices.

Maps

Apple Maps has been updated to display a 3D view of trees, buildings, landmarks, etc., although this is currently only available in selected US cities. New driving features also highlight traffic or road incidents, as well as enabling you to plan the route for a journey in the future.

Wallet

The new home key feature enables you to unlock a supported lock to enter your home (like a digital key). This is also available for participating hotels, office spaces, and cars. Remote keyless car features also allow you to beep your horn, preheat your car, and open your boot. Note that these features are only available in conjunction with supported vehicles.

Live text

Live text is a new feature that uses on-device intelligence to recognise text in a photo. This makes it easy to copy and paste, look up, and translate text in Photos, Screenshots and on Safari. This also works for phone numbers, emails, dates, street addresses etc.

Photos

Photo Memories have been redesigned, now featuring a new interactive interface, animated cards, animation and tradition styles, and multiple image collages. Apple Music subscribers can also add music to their Memories, with personalised song suggestions based on your music library and what’s in your photos and videos. Visual Look Up also recognises art, landmarks, plants, flowers, books, and animal breeds in your photos so you can discover more about them.

We hope this article has given you a good insight into Apple’s new technology and will help inform you when making your next Apple purchase.

At Netstar, we’re part of the Apple Consultants Network, meaning our team are fully trained on how to support Apple devices. If you’re a Netstar client and have any questions regarding your Apple products, please get in touch today.