It’s the first iPhone to earn the coveted ‘Pro’ label. The iPhone 11 Pro and its inevitable phablet counterpart, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, are built for the Apple fan who wants to stay at the white-hot cutting edge of technology. They have the fastest processor and graphics processor ever used in a smartphone, a triple camera setup, an advanced new display and a long-lasting battery.
It could be argued that this 2019 update is all about the cameras, and other anticipated advances such as virtual and augmented reality features were absent. But on the other hand, maybe the new cameras are enough? They’re certainly streets ahead of even the high-end dual cameras found on the last generation of iPhones. So let’s take a look at Apple’s groundbreaking new iPhones.
New Colour Option
Like last year’s iPhone XS/XS Max, the new iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max come in silver, gold and space grey designs. But there’s a new finish in the fold. Not only do we get the same three colours as before, but there’s also a midnight green version. It has a distinctly Robin Hood vibe about it, or maybe British racing green.
A Retina Revolution?
There’s no surprise about the size of the displays. The regular iPhone 11 Pro is 5.8 inches, and the Max version 6.5 inches, just like the last few iPhone refreshes. But a few under-the-hood changes give the new screens a distinct edge. With 458 pixels per inch, they’re the highest resolution displays Apple has ever put in a phone.
The stats are impressive. True Tone display, haptic touch, OLED, two million to one contrast ratio, 15% more energy efficient, 1200 nits peak brightness – it goes on and on. But what does that mean for the phone in your pocket? In a nutshell, it means it looks amazing, just like you’d expect from Apple. They’ve even given it a new name. It’s not just a Retina display, it’s a Super Retina XDR display.
Those Cameras in Focus
With the wide and telephoto cameras, you can zoom in two times and zoom out two times, for a 4x optical zoom range. The three pictures here were taken from exactly the same spot.
1 – 12MP Wide Camera
26 mm f/1.8
Optical image stabilisation
100% Focus Pixels
2 – 12MP Telephoto Camera
52mm focal length
Optical image stabilisation
3 – 12MP Ultra Wide Camera
120° field of view
When using the iPhone in regular mode, the image now sits under the tools as well as in the picture area. This shows what you’d add by switching to the Ultra Wide camera, which you do with the scroll wheel as seen here.
Another new camera feature is Night Mode. This activates automatically activated when light is low enough for it to make a difference. According to Apple’s Senior Director, Product Marketing (iPhone) Kaiann Drance, “We determine the image fusion time and use adaptive bracketing based on what we see in preview. So, shorter frames if you have subject motion or longer frames if you have deep shadows, then we intelligently fuse images together, reducing motion and blur.”
This is one key area where Apple previously lagged behind its rivals such as Samsung, Google and Huawei, so it’s great to see the feature implemented in the iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max.
This one isn’t yet ready, but it should appear with a software update later this Autumn. Using the neural engine of the A13 Bionic chip, Deep Fusion shoots nine images in quick succession, and in one second, the neural engine analyses the fused combination of their long and short exposures and building the final image, pixel by pixel. The result is an incredible level of detail, and very low noise.
All the iPhone 11 models (Pro or otherwise) feature Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos, giving you the best pseudo-surround sound experience yet on a smartphone.
The Pro iPhones are powered by an A13 Bionic chip. A great deal of effort has been put into making this CPU the best yet, with special attention paid to Machine Learning and power efficiency. This chip is fast. Its 8.5 billion transistors are capable of over one trillion operations per second, and they’re tailored for low power. In fact, the iPhone 11 Pro’s battery lasts around four hours longer than the XS, with the Max version giving up to five hours more than the XS Max.
Fit to Drop
Like all iPhones, the 11 series underwent rigorous testing before it was deemed ready for release. Apple dropped it so you don’t have to, but if you’re anything like us, you probably will.
As is usual for an Apple keynote, we got to see a game running on the iPhone 11 Pro. It was called Pascal’s Wager, and was a Dark Souls-inspired action RPG. It ran smoothly and looked agreeably console-like, but its technical prowess didn’t seem especially next-gen. Maybe we’ll change our minds when it’s released later this Autumn; preorders open in October.
Both iPhone 11 Pro models hit the shelves on Friday, 20th September, 2019.