Apple has unveiled three new iPhone models at its annual product showcase, including its first ever “Pro” handsets.
The US tech giant positioned the traditionally-named iPhone 11 as a successor to its cheaper XR model from last year, and also showed off two more premium options to replace the XS and XS Max.
Enhanced camera features were pitched as the main selling point for the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, with both models boasting a triple-lens system on the rear to capture more detailed photos.
Apple showed off wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, all 12 megapixel, which the company said made the two Pro smartphones the best it had ever made for photographers.
But the big boost to the camera – and a premium OLED display as opposed to an LCD – comes at a higher cost.
While the standard iPhone 11 will start at £729, which is slightly cheaper than the XR when it launched in 2018, the Pro models will cost the same as the existing XS and XS Max – starting at £1,049 and £1,149.
Like the XR, the iPhone 11 has a 6.1in LCD display, compared to 5.8in and 6.5in OLEDs on the Pro and Pro Max.
The iPhone 11 also only has two lenses on its rear camera, but otherwise offers much the same experience as its more expensive siblings, with all three to hit store shelves on 20 September.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the new line-up was “jam-packed” with new features – but they were mostly modest tweaks and changes, with no mention of support for 5G connectivity or the return of a fingerprint reader.
The iPhone portion of the presentation at the Steve Jobs Theatre – which also hosted developments on the iPad, Apple Watch and upcoming subscription services – was tellingly focused on the camera improvements.
Fans ready for an upgrade will have been pleased to hear of better battery life and a faster A13 Bionic chip across all three devices, but rumours are already pointing towards a bigger step forward in 2020.
Leaks have suggested that 5G, which is already being offered in parts of the UK, and other high-end spec bumps are being saved for next year.
The 2020 models will likely be the first iPhones built from the ground-up since the departure of British designer Jony Ive, who was a fixture of keynotes at the Apple campus in California until he left back in June.
Apple opened its latest event by detailing its upcoming subscription services, which analysts have suggested are an effort to make up for stalling smartphone sales.
The Netflix-style Apple TV+ was given a launch date of 1 November, when it will arrive in more than 100 countries including the UK, where it will cost £4.99 a month for a family plan.
Apple Arcade is another subscription service featuring more than 100 games for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV, which will also be priced £4.99 a month for families and launch on 19 September.
Eleven days later, Apple will release a new iPad – a replacement for its existing standard tablet, not the Pro version, which will be priced at £349.
The company said it had been designed to take “full advantage” of the highly anticipated iPadOS – a new operating system that will further bridge the gap between the tablet and traditional laptops.
Compatible iPads will get a new Files app for more Mac-like folder management, support for USB memory sticks, and the Safari browser will be able to display fully-fledged desktop versions of websites.
The update should be ready for release in time for the new iPad on 30 September, while the next major iPhone software refresh – iOS 13 – will hit alongside the iPhone 11 range.
Also unveiled was the Apple Watch Series 5, which has a new “always-on display” that no longer switches off when you lower your wrist, instead just dimming the brightness.
Apple has also included a built-in compass with the new wearable, which will work in tandem with the Maps app to help people navigate, and more premium models will be made of titanium instead of aluminium.
The new watch starts at £399, but prices escalate quickly depending on the casing and strap materials.
Despite the almost two hour-long presentation, Apple found no time to further address recent privacy and security concerns surrounding its products.
Apple has made a big privacy push this year – pitching itself as the tech giant you really can trust with your data, but recently made changes to its Siri voice assistant following claims by an ex-worker that they had “regularly” overheard confidential encounters.
The firm admitted it had fallen below its own standards, and also had to address research by Google that suggested hackers have been using malicious software to harvest photos and contacts from iPhones.
Apple will hope it still made a strong enough case for people to spend big on one of its shiny new handsets.
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