On Friday, September 27, Google turns 21. Interestingly, it is its rival that is throwing a party. At precisely 6 p.m., sales of Apple’s latest three phones—iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max—begin in India.
So what do these phones bring to the table, and how are they different from last year’s line-up? For starters, the ‘cheapest’ iPhone 11 is cheaper than last year’s iPhone XR by ₹12,000. But there’s more to it.
Let’s start with the cameras. iPhone 11 gets a dual-camera setup for the first time; iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max, meanwhile, get a triple-camera setup, with ultra-wide, wide, and telephoto lenses. All three lenses can shoot 4K video with high-dynamic-range imaging support. The front camera can now capture slow-motion selfies.
Apple also claims that the batteries will last longer than the previous generation of phones: while a single charge on iPhone 11 will last an hour longer than iPhone XR, iPhone 11 Pro four hours more than iPhone Xs; and iPhone 11 Pro Max five hours more than iPhone Xs Max. The Pro phones are expected to come with an 18W wall adapter and a lightning to USB-C cable.
All three models will also come with ‘Spatial Audio’—a three-dimensional audio solution—a first for Apple phones. The Pro phones feature Super Retina XDR displays, which promise brighter and more true-to-life picture reproduction.
Besides all this, all phones receive two very significant upgrades: a new processor, and a new operating system. The A13 Bionic chip is a wonder: It contains 8.5 billion transistors and six CPU cores. The two high-performance cores are called Lightning, while the four efficient cores are called Thunder, thanks to which you can glide through several apps and experience superfast gaming experience with plenty of battery juice to finish the day.
The A13 Bionic contains also has an image processor, a graphic processor and an octa-core neural engine, not to mention an LTE modem. This is a pocket rocket and the heart of the phone.
The new operating system, iOS 13, introduces the Dark Mode, a longstanding demand of iPhone users. With this, one is easily able to flip modes. It also introduces Shortcuts, where you can customise routines, and the ability to sign in with one’s Apple ID instead of social media ones. The other big change has been the ability to edit videos with the Camera or Photo app. These are among a host of other improvements, which would be available on iOS 13, and has been rolled out for all phones from the iPhone 6s onwards.
Apple is also serious about services, and so has debuted its Apple Arcade gaming service on iOS 13. And Apple TV+, its video streaming service, will be available soon.
But will such upgrades entice customers to go out and buy the latest phones, especially the premium Pro range (the iPhone 11 Pro starts at ₹99,900 while the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at ₹1,09,900)? Apple would certainly hope so. The company seems to have taken the right step by pricing the iPhone 11 lower than what it priced last year’s device. And with a subscription plan of only ₹99 a month each for its services, it seems to have stolen a march over many established players in the space. Will the content justify the price? That is something only customers can answer.
In sum, Apple’s upgrades over last year’s devices are more significant than the upgrades last year. But will owners of two-year-old iPhones bite the bait? While one can’t answer that with certainty, customers do have a lot more choices these days than they had earlier. And at cheaper prices. Google will certainly hope that on its birthday, Apple doesn’t get away with all the cake.