- Apple’s annual iPhone reveal event happened on Tuesday, and it was less thrilling than ever.
- Though Apple introduced new versions of a variety of products, the updates were all incremental.
- If you’re waiting on a new iPhone, maybe keep waiting.
On Tuesday, Apple introduced the iPhone 13, the newest version of its most popular product.
It’s a sleek rectangle of metal and glass that…is almost identical to last year’s device, the iPhone 12. The striking similarities to last year’s phone aren’t just visual: Functionally, the iPhone 13 is almost indiscernible from the iPhone 12.
It doesn’t have the rumored satellite calling function that would enable people to contact emergency services in life-threatening situations without phone service. And it didn’t remove the notch that houses the front-facing camera as hinted at by Apple-produced streaming series “Ted Lasso.”
Aside from a new chip inside, camera upgrades, and a new set of color options — and a higher price tag, of course — the iPhone 13 is virtually indistinguishable from the iPhone 12. It’s assuredly a more capable device than its predecessor, but not by much.
In fact, despite Apple announcing new versions of its iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, and Watch on Tuesday, the entire event was one of Apple’s most underwhelming fall presentations in years.
Every product update was, at best, minor — the biggest product evolution announced on Tuesday was to the iPad Mini, which is now more akin to a shrunken down iPad Air or a slightly larger iPhone than a standard iPad. Apple’s Watch now has a slightly larger, slightly tougher screen. The iPads got the same new chip that the iPhones got. And the iPhone update added more base storage to the least expensive model (128 GB rather than 64 GB) in addition the annual chip and camera upgrades.
It was, as tech YouTuber Marques “MKBHD” Brownlee put it in a reaction video, “a pretty small update overall.”
But that didn’t stop Apple from bringing the drama, of course.
The event started with sweeping shots of a woman playing violin on a sand dune, alone in a desert. The same effects were used to introduce each new product update: drone-powered cameras sweeping across skylines, eventually reaching, say, an empty theater or a cliff’s edge with a waiting Apple employee.
“They had tons of drone shots this year, and of course these amazing transitions, cinematography and lighting all through the roof. It looked incredible,” Brownlee said. “But then it’s all to announce a couple small updates to a few things, so it felt like it didn’t quite match.”
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