It’s that time of year when Apple releases new devices and software updates. You’ve probably seen this mentioned in the news quite a bit over the past couple of weeks. Now that the dust has settled (a little), I thought I’d give a quick overview of what’s new and help to answer that all-Important question: should you get a new device.
iOS 13 is the next major update to the operating system on iPhones and iPads. If you followed my advice (here), your device will automatically update in the coming days.
This year’s update adds a number of new features and I plan to go into more depth on these in upcoming articles. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are some of the biggest things:
- Dark Mode: an optional new, dark look for apps.
- Updated Photos app: new layout, easier to find photos, new editing features, video editing, and more.
- Updated Maps: more map details, look around to zoom in on surroundings, and collections of places you’d like to visit (great for trips).
- Siri gets a more natural voice
- Keyboard improvements
- All new reminders app with great new features
- Apple Arcade: game subscription service
- Text formatting in mail
- Better file management
- Improved Notes app: better search, gallery view, shared folders
- Easier sharing
- And much more…
Look for upcoming articles digging into some of these new features and how best to make use of them.
iOS 13 or iOS 13.1?
iOS 13 was released Thursday, September 20 and, interestingly, Apple will release iOS 13.1 on Tuesday, September 24. iOS 13.1 adds some features that weren’t quite ready in time for the new phones, and fixes several bugs as well.
If you’re someone that likes to manually install updates to get the latest and greatest features as soon as possible, I’d suggest waiting for iOS 13.1. It’s only a few days, and you won’t have to go through updating twice in a short time period.
Fall is the time of year when Apple releases new iPhones. And often, as is the case this year, they also release other products as well. This year’s new products are (click on each to jump to Apple’s site):
Every year Apple releases iPhones with new hardware features. Some years the updates seem more incremental than others, but each year the iPhone advances in interesting ways. To me, this year’s updates can be summed up by two main things:
- Camera improvements
- Battery life
There are, of course, many other things Apple has updated: stronger glass, better water resistance, improved screen brightness, better performance, etc., but those two things are the big ones.
The cameras get some pretty major updates this year. All three new iPhone models get a new ultra-wide lens, which allows you to take wider shots than the standard wide lens. The iPhone 11 has two cameras: wide, and ultra-wide, and the iPhone 11 Pro (and Max) have three cameras: wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto. The front-facing camera is also updated to take somewhat wider shots as well, allowing you to fit more in a selfie.
Another major new camera feature is night mode. This gives some amazing results in low-light situations, such as inside a dark restaurant or night shots.
There are many other camera improvements, and overall I think these updates are quite impressive.
Apple has made some major gains in battery life for these phones. The iPhone 11 will get an hour more usage over the iPhone XR, which already had better battery life than any previous iPhone.
The biggest improvement comes with the iPhone 11 Pro models: 4 or 5 more hours of usage! That is an amazing improvement and really makes these new iPhones all day devices.
The biggest change in the Apple Watch is an always on display. If you’ve used an Apple Watch in the past, you know that you had to flip your wrist or tap the screen to turn it on and see the time. The new watch’s display is always on so you can easily see the time no matter what position your wrist is in.
The new entry-level iPad is quite an improvement over the previous model: larger screen, faster performance, support for the Apple Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. It’s a great iPad at a great price.
Should You Get a New Device?
This is always a tough question to answer, but I think it comes down to two main things: want or need. Clearly the question around want is very subjective and you’ll have to decide if the price is worth it. However, the question around need is more clear-cut.
In my mind, the biggest factors in deciding to buy a new device are whether your current device is still getting updates from Apple, and whether it still does what you need it to do.
Updates are the most important thing to think about. As I’ve written in the past, updates contain not only new features, but important security fixes. If you have an older device that no longer receives updates from Apple, then, in my mind, it’s time to buy a newer device. You don’t have to buy the latest and greatest (or most expensive), but getting something that’s still supported with updates is important.
Apple does a better job than most companies supporting older devices. iOS 13 can be installed on:
- iPhone 6S and newer
- All iPad Pros
- iPad (5th, 6th, & 7th generation)
- iPad mini (5th generation) & iPad mini 4
- iPad Air (3rd generation) & iPad Air 2
Note: iPads will need iOS 13.1 that releases September 24.
The Continuing Cycle
These yearly updates have become a regular part of tech life, and trying to stay on top of what’s new and what’s important can be challenging. I hope this article helps give you an overview of what’s new, what’s coming, and more importantly, how to think about buying a new device.
If you have any questions about the updates that I don’t cover, let me know in the comments below.