We have seen the future and it is colourful. Apple’s made the iPhone 11 official and it looks for all the world like the budget iPhones we’ve seen in the past. Kinda. You know, quirky design and colourful options (including purple, yellow, red, and black). But this is the base model, rather than something featuring stripped back hardware. The concession? Seems to be the display and the camera sensors. Not the sensors themselves, just the number — there’s a dual camera in the iPhone 11.
Apple’s new iPhone sports a 6.1in Liquid Retina display. That’s the only size we were given, which suggests that we won’t see a Plus model this year. Or are we…? Probably not, it seems like the base model will replace the iPhone XR. Included in the device is spatial audio, helped along by an Apple-designed virtualiser and Dolby Atmos support. Wanna consume media? This’ll let you do it. Around the back is something a little different — that camera bump is milled from a single piece of glass. That’s a pretty weird flex, ‘cept that it doesn’t. Flex, that is. It’s glass, after all.
On to the camera — the iPhone 11 offers users a new dual camera arrangement. There’s a wide, 6-element f/1.8 sensor alongside an f/2.0 ultra-wide sensor that has a 120° field of view. Software has been tweaked to fit, letting you see both shots at once. Apple’s Neural Engine is still in the back there, beavering away, and it’ll be helped by semantic rendering and other software tweaks that should improve image performance. The killer? A new Night Mode that should make your dark images lighter. Wonder how long you’ve got to steady the phone for…
Not long at all for video, which has been upgraded — hard. Users will have 4K up to 60fps at their disposal, with a raft of features to make video footage better looking than ever. Apple’s claiming the highest video quality ever in a smartphone, a claim that we’re eager to test out. We’re not believing it. Yet. One thing we are believing is the new recording shortcut. While snapping an image, users can hold down the shutter button to record immediately. That’s… actually a nice touch.
And up front? A 12MP wide-angle front sensor, also capable of 4K video and slo-mo. And a little selfie magic. Not bad for the so-called budget handset.
As usual, Apple’s a little short on specs but they haven’t missed a chance to blow their own hardware horn a little. At the iPhone 11’s heart is a new A13 Bionic chip, because of course there is. Apple’s made another huge claim here — that this is the fastest CPU ever in a smartphone. Even if their claim is true (and it probably is) Apple’s gonna hit a wall at some point. Surely? Oh, yeah, and the GPU is also apparently the fastest GPU ever found in a smartphone. With Apple Arcade coming, that makes a lot of sense. There are the usual improvements, as well as speed bumps over the previous-gen chips. We can’t wait to see them in action.
And they’ll stay in action for a while longer. Apple still won’t give up battery sizes but iPhone 11 users will apparently get an extra hour over the iPhone XR’s battery life. That’s a good place to start.
Counting the cost
Apple’s given us a price for the iPhone 11 — the handset range starts at $699 (about R10,300). What we weren’t told at the time? Storage options and availability. (Some of) that came out when Apple announced the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max’s availability. We’ll see em all launch from 20 September, with international pre-orders starting on 13 September. That’s this Friday.