After months of feverish speculation, Apple finally revealed its upcoming handsets — the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro — at the company's annual fall press event. With rumors flying around since as early as 2018 about the secretive devices, the keynote blew the expectations of some analysts while tempering those of others. All in all, the reaction has been decidedly mixed.
That's not to say that these new phones are lackluster — far from it. The new handsets, however, come at a time in Apple's development cycle where upgrades are mostly in the guts rather than the exterior. So as similar as the phones may be to last year's models, there's more going on under the hood than meets the eye.
But just how much has changed in the past year for iPhone exactly? If you're thinking about making the switch to the latest offerings from Apple's mobile designers, here's what you need to know about new features, new software and how the hardware stacks up against the previous reigning champions of the smartphone world.
Meet the iPhone 11 and its dual-camera arsenal
Rather than keep its phones unified under the same banner this time around, Apple clearly demarcated its phones as the "regular" iPhone 11 and "iPhone 11 Pro" respectively. Each phone, while being superficially similar, boasts some key differences under the hood.
Apple's newest mainline phone, the iPhone 11, features a dual-lens, wide-angle camera that performs better than ever in low light settings. It uses machine learning technology to fill in details or touch up mistakes that would otherwise show up on lesser cameras.
Most notably, the new camera features a brand new wide-angle lens that allows users to zoom out beyond the ordinary restrictions of what the iPhone's camera could previously handle. In addition, the phone boasts an upgraded, all-day battery life and a range of brand new color finishes for users to choose from.
The iPhone 11 also includes an upgraded chipset and battery, making it one of the fastest and longest-lasting iPhone models released by the company. It's available for pre-order on Friday, Sept. 13, and will ship on Sept. 20. It retails for $699 and comes in a host of new colors, including a brilliant lavender for the first time ever.
Want to ride in style? Enter the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max
Also announced by Apple was the highly anticipated"iPhone 11 Pro" series, which includes exclusive features and even more powerful internal technology. The deluxe model, available in the same two sizes as last year's XS, comes in exclusive colors like Midnight Green and features a stainless steel enclosure.
Unlike the base model iPhone 11, the Pro models offer a triple-lens camera that uses brand new artificial intelligence software to processes images. The program combines multiple exposures and resolutions together to bring textures and details to light like never before.
Unlike rumors to the contrary, the iPhone 11 Pro keeps its lightning connector. It does, however, include a "fast charger" and adapter to help it refuel even faster than it could previously.
The iPhone 11 Pro is available for pre-order on Friday, Sept. 13, and will ship on Sept. 20. It retails starting at $999 for the basic 11 Pro, and the 11 Pro Max starts at $1,099.
What's changed in one year?
Interestingly, the design cues for the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro haven't changed one bit from the previous year's models. In fact, you could even argue it bears a striking resemblance to iPhone X, XR, and XS series that released from 2017 onward.
This isn't unexpected, as Apple revealed it would be operating on three-year "supercycles" for phone design, but it's still not as exciting as many had hoped in the months prior to the keynote.
Even still, something is new about the design even if it's hard to see: The phones have actually been engineered with stronger metals and glass in order to be more resistant to liquids and impacts.
This factor can actually make all the difference for those of us who happen to be on the clumsy side with our phones and can save us a trip to the Apple Store for a dreaded screen repair appointment.
If you're not a photographer or power user, however, these updates might not be exactly what you were looking for in the latest and greatest Apple smartphone. Maybe 2020 will be the year that Apple finally introduces a bold new body style similar to the iPad Pro, and perhaps even drops lightning for USB type C as many were hoping. We'll just have to wait and see.
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