After several months of rumors and industry speculation, Apple finally took the wraps off the iPhone 13 line-up at its California Streaming event. The iPhone 13 series comes in multiple flavors, but if you're looking for the most powerful iPhone you can buy, you may be interested in the iPhone 13 Pro models.
At first glance, the iPhone 13 Pro looks identical to the previous year's iPhone 12 Pro and seems underwhelming. However, Apple has made several changes under the hood that could tempt you to upgrade. Here, we'll look at some of our favorite features of the new iPhone 13 Pro.
1. Finally, a Smaller Notch
As we mentioned earlier the iPhone 13 Pro looks just like its predecessor, but the first thing you'll notice when you have it in your hand is that the notch is now smaller. Apple managed to reduce the overall size of the notch by 20% by moving the speaker grill to the edge of the top bezel and cramming the rest of the Face ID hardware closer together.
Since the introduction of the iPhone X back in 2017, the size of the notch has remained unchanged until now. While this isn't nearly as great as the hole-punch design that many Android flagships have, we certainly appreciate some improvement rather than none. You'll certainly notice the increased display area when you upgrade from an older iPhone model with a notch.
2. 120Hz ProMotion Display
This is a feature that Apple fans have waited patiently for since almost every Android flagship started sporting high refresh-rate screens in the last year or two. You can say Apple has finally caught up to the competition, and it's the best implementation of a high refresh-rate display you'll find. Here's why:
The new ProMotion display uses LTPO technology to dynamically adjust the refresh rate from as low as 10Hz when watching static content to as high as 120Hz while scrolling or viewing fast-paced content. The iPhone 13 Pro's display tracks the speed of your finger as you scroll to accelerate or decelerate the refresh rate whenever necessary and preserve as much battery life as possible.
3. Apple A15 Bionic Chip
This doesn't come as a surprise, does it? Apple releases a new chip for its smartphones every year, and this year is no different in that regard. The A14 Bionic chip was already so powerful that the competition is still playing catch-up. The new A15 Bionic chip further extends this lead by delivering 50% faster performance than competing offerings from Qualcomm.
The A15 chip is a 6-core system-on-a-chip, with two high-performance and four high-efficiency cores. But the CPU performance is just one side of the story. In terms of graphics, the iPhone 13 Pro models have a 5-core GPU to deliver 50% better graphics performance than the leading competition that powers Android flagships. All in all, it's the most powerful smartphone chip to date.
4. 8GB of RAM
Apple didn't mention anything about the RAM at its launch event, but the iPhone 13 Pro models have more RAM than their predecessors. The iPhone 12 Pro models had 6GB of RAM, but this extra 2GB will ensure the iPhone 13 Pro is a multitasking powerhouse. So, if you're a power user who runs several apps in the background during your usage, you won't face any slowdowns with this flagship, at least not for the foreseeable future.
It's great to see Apple catch up with the Android competition in the RAM department. Of course, many Android flagships these days pack 12GB of RAM, but you need to understand that it's a completely different playing field on iOS since Apple does a much better job of memory management.
5. Improved Camera
Besides the display, the camera department is where the iPhone 13 Pro models get the biggest upgrades. This time, all three cameras support Night mode for extreme detail in dim lighting conditions. The telephoto camera is now 77mm with support for 3x optical zoom. The ultra-wide camera now has an aperture of f/1.8 that delivers up to 92% improvement in low-light situations. The standard wide camera now has a larger f/1.5 aperture with up to 2.2x improvement in low light.
The new ultra-wide camera on the iPhone 13 Pro opens the door to macro photography. Until now, you needed a special lens to take these kinds of shots. With the iPhone 13 Pro's camera, you can magnify subjects within a distance of about 2cm, without any additional accessories. Unlike past iPhones, you'll find no differences in camera hardware between the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max models. And don't forget Apple's computational photography that improves each year.
6. Bigger Battery and Better Battery Life
Since the iPhone 13 Pro models feature a screen with twice the refresh rate of the iPhone 12 Pro, a bigger battery is more of a necessity than a luxury. But the biggest surprise here is that Apple managed to improve the battery life despite the all-new, brighter ProMotion display and increased processing power.
The iPhone 13 Pro can last roughly 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 Pro, whereas the bigger iPhone 13 Pro Max can last approximately 2.5 hours longer than its predecessor. In addition to the bigger battery under the hood, you can thank the LTPO display technology, which dynamically adjusts the refresh rate, and the A15 chip's efficiency for these power consumption benefits.
7. Cinematic Mode for Bokeh Effect in Videos
Think of the new Cinematic mode as Portrait mode for videos. This feature is a game-changer if you regularly use your iPhone to shoot videos. Your iPhone 13 Pro can focus on the subjects even when they're moving, and rack the focus to new subjects automatically in real-time.
The best part? You don't even have to do anything other than pressing the record button. Those who prefer manual control can use tap to focus or double-tap to lock the focus on a subject. Apple uses computational algorithms to make this possible, but note that Cinematic mode is limited to 1080p at 30FPS.
The iPhone 13 Pro Is Full of Incremental Upgrades
If you own an iPhone 12 Pro already, the new iPhone is an incremental upgrade and worth skipping, unless you really want that 120Hz display. You're basically paying full price for an iPhone that looks just the same, but does certain things better and faster.
However, if you own an older iPhone model, the iPhone 13 Pro is a tempting upgrade due to all the reasons we've listed above and the changes Apple introduced last year. You'll certainly benefit from the improved battery life, camera upgrades, high refresh-rate screen, and an overall snappier iPhone.