Its pitch to try and make you buy them – which can cost comfortably more than $1,000 – boils down to two things: colours and camera.
Both of the changes are obvious as soon as you look at the phone. And while there are some alterations on the inside, the company spent most of its time during the launch event making them even more conspicuous.
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The most spectacular new colours are found in the iPhone 11. There are two new colours, green and purple, in addition to the existing white, black, yellow and red; the coral and blue that came with the iPhone XR it replaces are gone.
The iPhone 11 Pro’s colour changes are perhaps the most surprising. In addition to the green – which marks a significantly bold colour choice for the premium line, and a major departure from the traditional metals, white or black – the material has also changed, using a matte texture rather than the very glossy, shiny backs of the iPhone XS and XS Max.
Those changes might be superficial, however, when compared to the alterations to the camera. Those took up the majority of the introduction of both iPhones – and even if they didn’t, they would be hard to miss, given the introduction adds three bulbous new lenses to the back of the iPhone 11 Pro.
In addition to the one or two cameras that were found in the iPhone XR and XS, Apple has added a wide-angle lens, which allows people to zoom out to get twice as much into a photo than the existing models.
They also add new features to the front-facing cameras, too. They can see far more with their own wide-angle lenses, as well as a new slow motion video option for selfies.
Apple stressed that as well as the hardware, those phones include new software features that will allow the pictures to be even better.
The multiple cameras also give the ability to record from two at once, Apple said. Demonstrating the iPhone 11 Pro, it showed how people could make videos that filmed from both the wide and zoom lenses, for instance – or even record from the front and back cameras at once.
They include Night Mode, for instance, which Apple says vastly improves their performance in the dark. Such a tool has long been available in Google’s Pixel line, and Apple’s tool appears to use similar software tricks to brighten up photos and find details that would usually be hidden in the shadows.
Another software tool that was shown off was a new “Deep Fusion” feature. That takes a whole host of images whenever people use their phone – with some of those pictures taken even before the user presses the button – before picking out the best bits of each and using them for improved photos.
Apple also said it had improved the editing software for both photos and videos in the new phones. Those new tools should allow people to create professional-looking phoos easily, it suggested.
The company did give some time to other features, such as the new A13 Bionic chip that powers everything else in the phone. But even some of those were shown in service of the camera, and the new kinds of imaging capabilities they enable.