iPhone 13: Improved Features but Same Product
September 20, 2021
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by Stephen Kanyi

Last Tuesday’s Apple event saw the launch of the new iPhone 13 series, the Apple Watch Series 7 and a new iPad and iPad mini.

Broadly, the event was emblematic of the direction Apple has taken under Tim Cook’s reign, stick to what’s working and make it better. Quite a different philosophy for a company that has many times been called “The Most Innovative Company” in the world.

That said, Tim Cook did give us improved gadgets. And for all the criticism they get these days, Apple still makes really good smartphones, arguably the best in the market.

So, without further ado, presenting:

iPhone 13 Series

Tim Cook gave us two new iPhone pairs: the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro. Now my use of the word ‘new’ here is a little generous as some of you will agree. iPhone 13 phones don’t appear to be radically different from their predecessors if some memes from the furthest corners of the internet are to be believed.

To be fair though, this is not an Apple-only problem, even rival smartphone makers Samsung and Xiaomi are also taking the conservative path. True, original innovation is not easy.

So, what’s new?


For the new series, Apple went all-in on improving display. Both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have refresh rates that go as low as 10 Hz and all the way up to 120 Hz, one of the highest in the world. Moreover, the variation in refresh rates is meant to match on-screen content for correct pacing.

The display sizes do however remain the same; 6.1” for the iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7” for Pro Max.

The new Series also boasts a 20% smaller notch on the screen. This means just a little more space on the top screen and maybe we could actually get to see the battery percentage for the first time. Now whether that is good, bad or even important at all is for you to decide. For Apple though, this is a key selling point and Tim was keen on explaining that during the presentation.


Improvements in camera power are one of the most predictable aspects of any smartphone launch. Camera specs and hence performance keep getting better every year. For Apple though, better doesn’t just mean minor improvements, they always go the extra mile.

Every single camera on every iPhone 13 model has been upgraded

The main camera has a sensor with a pixel size of 1.9µm and a brighter aperture of f/1.5. For context, the 12 Pro Max had 1.7µm pixels and an f/1.6 lens. This means that iPhone 13 cameras can capture 2.2x more light when in low light.

The telephoto camera has a 77mm f/2.8 lens that gives it 3x optical magnification over the main cam.

For the ultrawide camera, a 6-element f/1.8 one gives it the ability to autofocus – allows this camera to function as a macro camera with the ability to come as close as 2cm to an object.

On the video side, Apple did introduce the ‘cinematic mode’ utilizing AI and machine learning to create impressive features like focusing before a subject is about to enter into the frame.

Now it is no secret that Apple is the best phone for video recording, it has been since iPhone 4 series. Although, whether it can really be used to shoot movies is another matter altogether.

Apple did however back up their claims with a pretty decent video showing the power of their cameras in ‘cinematic’ mode.

Couple this with powerful greater image processing, a powerful new processor, longer battery life and storage there is simply no beating the new iPhone 13 Pro series when it comes to video shooting.

A15 Processor

Talking about processors, Apples new A15 Bionic is perhaps one of the most anticipated aspects of the new phone.

Weeks before the event, there were worries that the global chip shortage may somehow affect the A15 Bionic launch along with the iPhone 13 Series. Tim Cook however cooled our fears by announcing their release and their power.

According to the presentation, the A15 is going to give the iPhone 13 50% better GPU performance and 30% faster CPU than the competition. The keyword here is ‘competition’. Tim intentionally compared the new chip’s performance to the competition and not to its predecessor, the A14.

 As it stands it’s not possible to know exactly how fast the processor is compared to the previous generation but early reports are positive.

MacRumors reported a score of 10608 for the A15 Bionic in that device, roughly 15% higher than the score for the A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12 for the graphics side.

For CPU performance there is a roughly 10% increase in single-core performance and an 18% increase in multi-core performance compared to the A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12 lineup.

The battery life has also been improved, this is down to a more efficient chipset, a bigger battery, a more efficient screen and other iOS optimizations. The 13 Pro Max is said to be able to last 2.5 hours longer than its predecessor the 12 Pro Max.

Also noteworthy is the storage which has got a massive upgrade. The least storage is now 128GB bringing an end to all those annoying 64GB memory phones. Storage capacity rises to a massive 1 TB, the first of its kind.

We cannot fail to mention the colours which vary from Graphite, Silver, Gold and an all-new Sierra Blue, my personal favourite.

The first units will be available on September 24. Starting at $1000 for the iPhone 13 Pro and $1,100 for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, there is no better device that presents more value at that price.

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