Apple has officially announced the high-end half of the iPhone 13 lineup: the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. They have a faster A15 Bionic chip, three all-new cameras and an improved display with a ProMotion refresh rate up to 120 Hz with brightness up to 1000 nits. The iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1,099. Both can be ordered from Friday, shipping on September 24.
The Super Retina XDR displays on both models support variable refresh rates between 10 Hz and 120 Hz and are the same size as last year at 6.1 and 6.7 inches. They have slightly smaller notches that should provide more space in the iOS status bar. The phones will be available in four colors: graphite, gold, silver and a new light blue.
Apple says the phones have an all-new three-camera system. The wide camera should offer better low-light photography thanks to the larger sensor, while the ultra-wide camera should also see improvements thanks to the wider aperture. The phone’s telephoto camera now goes up to 3x zoom, allowing 6x optical zoom across the three cameras. All three cameras now have a night mode, and there’s a new macro mode for shooting subjects as close as 2cm. Sensor-shift optical image stabilization is included on both models.
As for the software, Apple has announced a new photographic style feature that resembles traditional camera filters with an extra dose of computational photography. On the video side, the cinematic focus feature announced for the iPhone 13 will also be available on the 13 Pro and Pro Max. The iPhone 13 Pro can also film at up to 4K/30fps in ProRes, a higher-quality video format that gives video editors more control when adjusting footage after it’s shot. However, the basic 128GB storage option will: top out at 1080p / 30fps. Apple says ProRes support will be available “in a future iOS 15 update”.
Internally, both devices use Apple’s new A15 Bionic chip, which offers the well-known CPU and GPU speed increases compared to last year. Apple also says the chip should be faster for machine learning tasks. Battery life has also been improved, with the 13 Pro lasting 1.5 hours longer than the 12 Pro and the 13 Pro Max lasting 2.5 hours longer than the 12 Pro Max on a charge. Storage options for the iPhone 13 Pro range from 128GB to 1TB, the most storage Apple has ever offered on a phone. The 5G performance has also been upgraded with support for more bands, which Apple says should provide better coverage.
This is the third year that Apple has split its flagship phone line into regular and “Pro” devices. However, last year many reviewers noted that there wasn’t much difference between the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12. Yes, the 12 Pro had an extra telephoto camera, lidar sensor and more RAM and basic storage, but it’s basic design, processor, 5G capabilities and OLED display were all similar, if not identical, to the regular iPhone 12.