Tuesday, September 10, 2019

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro

Mark Gurman:

By naming this event “By innovation only,” Apple is really raising expectations for Tuesday, an event thus far expected to focus on iterative iPhone and Apple Watch updates. Internally, I’m told, attention has turned to more groundbreaking 2020 devices. Let’s see.

That seems to have been accurate.

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

iPhone 11 Pro introduces a transformative triple-camera system with all-new Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras, deeply integrated into iOS to create a pro-level camera experience designed for everyone.


A redesigned camera interface provides a more immersive experience that works together with the triple-camera system and all-screen display to let users see and capture the area outside of the frame. For the first time, users can easily record video without switching out of Photo mode with QuickTake by simply holding the shutter button to start recording.

What if you want to take burst photos? Hopefully, there’s a preference.

Tim Hardwick:

Apple’s new Night Mode (not to be confused with the new Dark Mode interface option in iOS 13) is Apple’s rejoinder to Google’s Night Sight, and from the little we’ve seen so far, the results do look at least on par with the Pixel.

When using the camera app on any of Apple’s 2019 iPhones, the new Night Mode feature comes on automatically when an indoor or outdoor scene is dark enough to warrant brightening, resulting in natural colors and reduced noise.

In short, new iPhone users should see an immediate improvement when shooting in low light environments, without having to adjust any exposure settings.

However, despite Apple’s boast that the year-old iPhone XR remains faster than the competition, Night Mode seems to be exclusive to iPhone 11, whereas Night Sight works on the Pixel 2 from 2017.

Ben Bajarin:

The new backs on iPhone 11/pro are actually more tacky and less slippery than XS. Quite nice feel in hand IMO.


Update (2019-09-11): Ben Thompson:

Gurman isn’t necessarily wrong about the highly iterative nature of the hardware announcements (although I think that an always-on Apple Watch is a big deal), but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is right about the innovation question.


In the second chart you can see how Apple in 2017 not only raised prices dramatically on its flagship models, but also on the mid-tier model relative to previous flagships. This was important because it was these mid-tier models that replaced previous flagships in Apple’s usual “sell the old flagship for a $100 less per year” approach. That meant that 2017’s price hike filtered through to 2018’s 1-year old model, which increased from $549 to $599.

That means that this year actually saw three price cuts[…]

Mark Gurman:

Nothing shown today really qualifies as meeting high “innovation only” expectations: Apple delivered the smallest Watch update ever, an iPad with a slightly bigger screen and nothing more, and iPhones with cameras equal to or less than many other devices. Apple needs a big 2020.

Jonathan Deutsch:

The new iPhone 11 Pros have gained a bit of weight.

• Two iPhone SEs equal one 11 Pro Max.
• The iPhone 11 Pro weighs 16g more than the 6 Plus!
• Speaking of, that iPhone 6 was damn light for its size
• Heck, you could carry NINE Watch Sports (series 0) for one 11 Pro Max

Update (2019-09-13): John Gruber:

Google beat Apple to the “night mode” game last year, but Apple’s implementation seems more natural to use. It just comes on automatically, when needed. (There is a way to turn it off, very much like turning off the camera flash.) On a Pixel, Night Sight is an entirely different mode, which I find a little weird. My guess has been that Google made Night Sight its own mode because Night Sight images, though often amazing, are also often quite unnatural. It’s so effective that it often makes nighttime scenes look like they were shot in daylight — like an old Hitchcock movie where they shot day-for-night. I hope Apple’s implementation results in more natural images — the goal should be to make it appear that the camera can see in dim lighting, not to make dark scenes look brightly lit.


Some folks will look at that list and say the iPhones 11 Pro aren’t really “pro”. I look at that list and say the regular iPhone 11 is almost just as “pro” at significantly lower prices. This is a very different dynamic between pro and non-pro models compared to MacBooks, Mac desktops, and iPads, where the pro models have very obvious performance differences.


In person, the most impressive thing about the new iPhones, to me, is the way that the entire back is made from a single piece of glass. The square section around the camera systems is milled from the same piece of glass as the rest of the back.

Ryan Jones:

As happens, I got curious and went too far… may I present to you: the complete history of iPhone’s camera bump.

Mitchel Broussard:

Below you’ll find tech specs for iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, with each difference bolded.

See also: iPhone 11 vs. iPhone XR.

Ryan Jones:

iPhone 11
+25% RAM, 3 → 4GB
+6% battery, 2942 → 3110 mAh

iPhone 11 Pro
+50% RAM, 4 → 6GB
+20% battery, 2658 → 3190 mAh

iPhone 11 Pro Max
+50% RAM, 4 → 6GB
+10% battery, 3174 → 3500 mAh

11 Comments RSS · Twitter

Gruber was on the money with his “Pro Max” vitamin supplement remark. Yikes.

Burst mode is still there, need to swipe left while keep pressing shutlle button

For a good part of 2016, I could spend $399 and get an iPhone with the current-gen chip, but in a smaller size and with older supporting components.

Now in 2019, I'd have to spend $449 for the base model iPhone from two years ago, but unlike 2016, that means the chip is now also two years old. Today's scenario already puts me two years down the path to Apple dropping support. More money for a device that likely won't be supported as long.

Magnus Branzén

I've got Night Sight working with works on the original Pixel from 2016 also.


4 more hours of Facebook

4 more hours of Twitter & shadowbanning

4 more hours of robocalls.

Nah. Sticking with my iPhone 8 plus acquired last year. If Apple stops making kit I want, may have to move to a more security centric platform like Librem.

Apple wants (us all) to pivot to consumption devices? Nope.

> that means the chip is now also two years old

OTOH, this probably matters much less today than it did a few years ago. As of right now, everything after the regular A10 chipset (i.e. after iPhone 7) is kinda in the same ballpark, I think.

The QuickTake behaviour was awailable in Nokia's Windows Phone Lumia handsets 5 years ago. Not a huge amount of innovation going on there.

Sören Nils Kuklau

Nothing shown today really qualifies as meeting high “innovation only” expectations

Seems like a petty complaint to me.

I remember when, in January 2002, the upcoming keynote was teased with “Beyond the rumor sites. Way beyond.”

And fairly or not, that didn’t really happen. What was introduced was the iMac G4, which had a very cool design. But the rumor sphere was hoping for an xMac, or a tablet (i.e., Newton successor), or something in a similar vein. Not a major upgrade to an existing product.

My point is that Apple PR likes superlatives; a lot of them. And so when they say “by innovation only”, it’s a (mediocre) pun, not a hint that something earth-shattering is about to happen.

Mark Gurman probably has been around long enough to know this.

Gruber was on the money with his “Pro Max” vitamin supplement remark. Yikes.

Yup. It has a weird vibe and also seems completely unnecessary. We have the 13-inch MacBook Pro and 15-inch MacBook Pro. The 10-inch iPad Pro and 12-inch iPad Pro. And the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro and the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro. Other than those measurements being a little awkward, I don’t see why we need the “Max” modifier at all. The 15-inch MacBook Pro also does things the 13-inch doesn’t (like, be faster by a long shot particularly in terms of GPU), so that can’t be the reason.

Leave a Comment