The relatively inexpensive iPhone XR was the most popular smartphone the world over in the past year and Apple's 2019 update to the model doesn't reinvent the wheel so much as jack it up and add some killer new features.
Like the XR, the iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch screen, but new features include fresh new colorways including violet, red, green, yellow, black, violet and red.
The biggest design changes are in the rear camera. While the iPhone XR had a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, the 11 has two cameras in addition to an extra 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera—and it supports 2-fold optical zoom.
The new camera interface provides a truly immersive experience as well, allowing users to see out-of-frame details of images snapped with the ultra-wide camera.
The Verge describes some other new features—and they could end up making the iPhone 11 the go-to for even professional photographers:
The camera is clearly a big deal here for Apple, and the company is adding multiscale tone mapping that deals with highlights differently depending on where they are. There’s also a new high-key mono portrait effect, and portrait mode itself will now work on pets.
Perhaps the biggest addition is Night mode, to better compete with Google’s Pixel devices and Samsung’s latest Note 10 and S10 handsets. Night mode uses adaptive bracketing to improve shots taken at night.
The front-facing camera got some love as well: it sports 12-megapixel ability and a TrueDepth wide-angle camera that easily rotates to capture whatever angle you need. Slo-mo and 4K are now part of the package too, providing opportunities for what Apple has dubbed "slofies"—slow-motion selfies.
These are features for Apple's most basic, bottom-line phone. The iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max have even more killer features.
One welcome improvement is the increased battery life across all new iPhone 11 models. Thrillist breaks it down here:
Let’s start with battery improvements in the most affordable release: the iPhone 11. This 6.1in-phone will have one more hour of battery than last year’s iPhone XR, which had 90 more minutes of battery life per day than the iPhone 8 Plus, which had -- well, you get it. It’s better and it starts at $699.
The iPhone 11 Pro, the second release announced today, has four more hours of battery life than last year's iPhone XS. I’m not going to do the whole chain thing again, but you can refer to this article for the difference between the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR. The iPhone 11 Pro sports a 5.8in display and starts at $999.
And, last but best, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has five more hours of battery lifethan last year's iPhone XS Max. This giant, 6.5in-phone is Apple's biggest, priciest, and most advanced, so it should come with a big battery life boost. Apple also announced that both iPhone 11 Pro models include a fast-charging 18-watt power adapter in the box. Life has never been so good.
Apple's own press release gives further indication as to exactly how tricked out these new upper-end models truly are:
iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max set a new standard in video, with the highest quality video ever in a smartphone. Each camera in the triple-camera system records brilliant 4K video with extended dynamic range and cinematic video stabilization.
With a wider field of view and large focal plane, the Ultra Wide camera is great for shooting action videos. Users can easily zoom between each of the three cameras, while Audio Zoom matches the audio to the video framing for more dynamic sound.
With iOS 13, powerful video editing tools are accessible to everyone with the ability to rotate, crop, increase exposure and apply filters to videos instantly. These adjustments are easy to apply and review at a glance, so even a novice can create professional quality video projects.
The movie camera industry might be nearing its end. From Apple, some other Pro and Pro Max features:
- The new Apple-designed U1 chip uses Ultra Wideband technology, the first ever in a smartphone, for spatial awareness. With iOS 13.1 coming on September 30, AirDrop gets even better with directionally aware suggestions.
- Face ID, the most secure facial authentication in a smartphone, gets up to 30 percent faster and easier to use with improved performance at varying distances and support for more angles.
- Spatial audio provides an immersive surround sound experience and Dolby Atmos delivers powerful, moving audio to iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
- Gigabit-class LTE up to 1.6Gbps and Wi-Fi 6 allow for even faster download speeds and Dual SIM with eSIM.
The big differences between the 11, Pro, and Pro Max? Screens. The 11 has a perfectly good LCD screen, but the Pro and Pro Max have OLED, providing much more contrast—the whites are intensely white, the blacks are closer to Vantablack.
Additionally, the 11 just has two camera lenses and both flavors of Pro have three.
Prices are still high, though relatively reasonable for Apple: The iPhone 11 is $699 and up. The iPhone 11 Pro begins at $999 and the 11 Pro Max's least expensive version is $1099. The most costly by far will be the iPhone 11 Pro Max with 512 GB—that'll put you out $1449.
Pre-orders begin Friday Sept. 13th at 5 am PT/8 am ET, and phones begin shipping September 20.