Apple held their fall 2021 event on Tuesday, September 14th. An exciting lineup of iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch updates were announced, as well as a key update related to iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
Apple’s September 2021 Special Event
iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS
Importantly, Apple confirmed that iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, and watchOS 8 will be released on September 20th, 2021. And as of today, September 14th, release candidates of all are now available for developers to download. This is a crucial time to test all apps and ensure they’ll continue working perfectly on the upcoming OS releases.
We previously covered the major announcements for the new OS releases in our day-one WWDC 2021 recap article.
Apple kicked off their device announcements with the newly-revamped 9th-generation iPad.
Now sporting Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, the new iPad will feature significantly enhanced performance in CPU-heavy, GPU-heavy, and machine learning-oriented tasks.
The new iPad also features updated front- and rear-facing cameras, and the inclusion of the Center Stage feature, which dynamically centers the camera view on subjects while video calling, makes it the perfect device for staying connected with friends, family, and colleagues around the world. And the updated True Tone display means everything will look vibrant and natural in all environments.
The entry-level iPad is available for preorders starting today, September 14th, and will be available in stores starting Friday, September 24th, with a starting price of $329.
The iPad mini will also be receiving a handful of updates this fall.
Most noticeably, the all-screen form factor previously available with the iPad Air and iPad Pro devices is now coming to the iPad mini. Like those models, the new iPad mini will feature Touch ID built into the top button of the device, leaving a clean and consistent bezel that runs across all edges of the screen.
And similarly to the new iPad, the iPad mini will receive performance boosts through the higher-grade A15 Bionic processor, as well as updated cameras and support for the Center Stage feature. 5G and USB-C will also ensure the iPad mini enjoys top-speed wired and wireless connectivity.
The upgraded iPad mini is also available for preorders starting today, September 14th, and will be available in stores starting Friday, September 24th, with a starting price of $499.
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch is also seeing a significant update with the Apple Watch Series 7.
Continuing with the trend towards combining larger screens with smaller borders, the Apple Watch Series 7 will feature a display that is 20% larger than the Series 6, while barely growing in case size (approximately 1mm). The new display also features a slight wraparound effect that allows it to more seamlessly blend in with the rest of the case, an effect which is accentuated by a new watch face specific to the Series 7. And the always-on display is now 70% brighter in wrist-down mode, making it easier to read it at a glance without making a complete wrist-raise gesture to check its display.
The larger screen on the Series 7 has also made it possible for Apple to introduce a new keyboard control for inputting text directly within watchOS apps. Users simply swipe across the tiny onscreen keyboard, and machine learning algorithms effortlessly translate those swipes into full written words.
And even with the updated display bringing a larger and brighter experience, the Series 7 Apple Watch promises to maintain the same 18-hour battery life as the Series 6, with no compromises. The Series 7 also brings enhanced charging speeds, up to 33% faster than the Series 6, allowing it to charge from 0% to 80% in just 45 minutes. Even just 8 minutes of charging time yields a full 8 hours of sleep tracking time.
No definite release date for the new Apple Watch Series 7 has been announced yet, but it will be available this fall. The entry-level Apple Watch Series 7 will be available starting at $399, and will also be available in a wide variety of additional case and band materials and designs.
On the iPhone front, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini were announced.
The iPhone 13 is getting a big bump to its camera system, including a new ultra-wide camera, optical image stabilization, and sensors that can capture up to 47% more light, which is especially crucial for capturing dark details in photos. The new Cinematic video shooting mode also allows the iPhone 13 to dynamically shift focus and depth-of-field between people and objects within a scene, similar to Portrait mode, but for video. Cinematic mode attempts to intelligently automatically manage focus for users, but can also be controlled manually and adjusted after shooting footage.
The Super Retina XDR display will ensure that those photos and videos, as well as all other visuals, look incredible on the iPhone 13. The A15 Bionic processor is also coming to the iPhone 13, giving it fantastic performance increases over previous generations. Enhanced 5G support also means cellular content will stream blazingly fast. And even though the iPhone 13 is getting more powerful, power usage also continues to improve, bringing an additional 2.5 hours of battery life to the iPhone 13 and 1.5 hours to the iPhone 13 mini versus their iPhone 12 equivalents.
Preorders for iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini begin Friday, September 17th, and both devices will be available in stores starting September 24th. The iPhone 13 will retail starting at $799, and the smaller iPhone 13 mini will start at $699.
iPhone 13 Pro
And at the top of the line, the upgraded iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max were also revealed.
Further improving the camera system, the iPhone 13 Pro now includes the ability to shoot macro photo and video shots of closeup objects. Night shots will also look better than ever through the combination of aperture and sensor updates, as well as leveraging the LiDAR sensor to assist in focusing on hard-to-see subjects. Telephoto, wide, and ultrawide options; improved optical zoom; and updated Portrait modes round out the other shooting modes available, ensuring the iPhone 13 Pro can capture beautiful shots of anything it sees.
The iPhone 13 Pro is also receiving a significant display update with the inclusion of an adaptive refresh display that goes all the way up to 120Hz, while also being able to adjust back down to 10Hz when appropriate. This ensures that the display will feel incredibly responsive where appropriate, while also being able to intelligently automatically adjust the refresh rate when speed isn’t needed to conserve battery.
The A15 Bionic processor, increased battery life, Cinematic video mode, improved 5G support, and other general feature updates on the iPhone 13 are also making their way to the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, making it a truly best-in-class experience in the new iPhone lineup.
Like the iPhone 13, preorders for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will begin Friday, September 17th, and both devices will be available in stores starting September 24th. The iPhone 13 Pro will retail starting at $999, and the larger iPhone 13 Pro Max will start at $1,099.