Apple Announces iPhone 13, Watch Series 7, New iPads

Posted on September 14, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Hardware, Mobile, iOS, iPadOS, Apple Watch with 77 Comments

Well, it’s not a leap year. Instead, Apple has announced evolutionary updates to its iPhone, Watch, and iPad product lines.

“iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max make up our most pro iPhone lineup ever with the biggest advancement for our camera system, the best battery life ever in an iPhone, and the fastest performance of any smartphone, setting a new standard for iPhone and enabling incredible experiences never before possible,” Apple senior vice president Greg Joswiak said. “The new pro camera system offers even more pro photography capabilities like improved telephoto zoom, macro photography, Photographic Styles, Cinematic mode, as well as ProRes and Dolby Vision video. The Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion is our best display ever; it intelligently responds to the content on your screen, offers fantastic graphics performance, and is perfect for any viewing experience.”

Here are the hardware announcements:

iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. Apple’s “most Pro iPhones” continue with the same design as last year, but get upgraded A15 Bionic processors, ProMotion 120 Hz display capabilities, slightly upgraded camera lenses, 128 GB of base storage, and some new colors. As before, pricing starts at $999/$1049.

iPhone 13 and 13 Mini. Apple’s mainstream iPhones come in five new colors, offer a new wide-angle lens, and sport improved battery life. Pricing is the same at $699/$799 and up.

iPad. The 10.2-inch “basic” iPad continues forward with the same bezel-heavy design as before, but it features a few small improvements, including an A13 Bionic chipset, True Tone, and Center Stage compatibility. It also offers double the storage, 128 GB, for the same $329 starting price.

iPad mini. This is the only major update, and it effectively turns the $499 and up iPad mini into what should be called an iPad Air Mini. It features the same basic design as the Air, with its USB-C port and top-mounted Touch ID, but with an 8.3-inch display.

Apple Watch Series 7. This was no doubt the biggest disappointment to those who closely followed the leaks all summer, as it does not have an iPhone 4-style design with flat edges. That said, it has a much bigger display, improved durability, and 5 new aluminum case designs. It starts at $399 and will ship later this fall.

Speaking of rumor disappointments, we also didn’t get an updated AirPods design as expected.

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Comments (77)

77 responses to “Apple Announces iPhone 13, Watch Series 7, New iPads”

  1. will

    The Apple Watch Series 7 was the biggest disappointment.

    • pecosbob04

      Was there something in particular you ere expecting?

      • red.radar

        New design was teased. apple watch hasn't changed significantly since launch. Its still a rounded square

        • jwpear

          I'm glad they didn't adopt the squared edges of the iPhone. I don't quite understand the desire for this on a watch. The last thing I want is sharp edges cutting into my wrist while I'm moving around or working out.

          I welcome a larger display. A thinner design, as rumored, would have been nice.

          My wish list was better sleep tracking, glucose monitoring, and longer battery life.

        • lvthunder

          It wasn't teased by Apple. It was teased by people outside of Apple trying to grow their audience and influence.

        • ivarh

          Yes, the lack of iphone12 like design on series 7 made me laugh good. What will the clone makers that have released series 7 clones in china do now?

        • will

          This. If you have a Series 6, or even a 5, there is not much reason to upgrade. I don't even think Apple talked about the processors or hardware of the device outside of the larger screen. Nothing health-wise was updated, not that I was expecting it to be, so overall it is more of a Series 6SE.

          So maybe the hardware design change will come next year, that was rumored, as well as some health updates.

          • macguy59

            Yep. I have a series 6 so the only way I would upgrade would be for a new sensor (rumor about a BP sensor)

          • cavalier_eternal

            The health updates seem to come every other year or maybe I’m imagining it. I’d imagine watch owners update every two to three years so Apple isn’t really under pressure to do a huge upgrade year over year.

          • lvthunder

            I see that as a good thing. We should be holding on to this stuff for a longer period of time.

            • nbplopes

              I believe you would argue otherwise if Apple actually moved the needle further every year. No depth just cute justifications.

            • wright_is

              I have to agree. A watch should be something that gets replaced over a very long period of time. I could agree with a minimum of a 5 year life cycle.

              The other thing is, a watch is usually something you buy "for life" or was handed down from parent to child. As well as my Polar, I have a Seiko Kinetic Titanium, which I bought nearly 25 years ago and it is still going strong. We need to settle down to more sustainable designs.

              • Greg Green

                Old analog watches would last decades (unless of course you went for the cheap casios). What progress.

            • jwpear

              Hear, hear!

    • wright_is

      18 hour battery life is very disappointing. I find the once a week of my current Polar is about right. My old Charge 2 (4 days) was too often, my Huawei was 10 days, which was pretty good (or a month if I turned off smart features). The Polar is in the middle and is about right.

      I would expect at least a day out of the battery, so that you can charge it at the same time every day. The Polar, for example, recharges when I go for a bath at the weekend, 1.5 hours charging is fine for a weeks worth of use.

      If it was up to the Charge 2 level, I'd accept it for the more advanced features, but not making it through the day is very disappointing - the biggest feature I use on my watch is sleep tracking.

      • Jim Lewis

        Same with me as for prebengh. I effectively get 2 days use out of Series 6 on a single charge. I have watch basically for fitness and sleep monitoring. I run most of day in airplane mode as I don't need "stuff" coming to watch but use full-on mode as needed for an hour or two a day. Since I'm mostly a 76-yearold stay-at-home type, I charge every 10%-15% charge decrement (every 6 to 8 hours or so)-it's magnetic so it's easy. The watch is almost 1-yearold and battery health says the battery capacity is still 100% (may be I need to go through a full discharge, full recharge cycle?).

      • prebengh

        I wear my Series 6 everyday and night. I do a walk for more than an hour everyday. In the morning I charge it for 40 - 60 minutes.

        So in my opinion it lasts a whole day without problems.

        Having to charge every morning becomes a habit. If it was several days I think I would forget to charge it occasionately.

  2. leoaw

    The iPad mini update interests me. The price is still a bit steep for my tablet purposes. I am interested in using the Pencil 2, but even at the lowest configuration, it comes in at around $700 after tax with the Pencil 2 and folio cover. Too steep for me at the moment. In a year or two when it goes on sale, it might be worth it for me.

    • MikeCerm

      I'm disappointed they didn't keep the same starting price. $400 was already a lot for a small tablet that is primarily useful for media consumption or as an e-reader. That being said, they can charge whatever they want because if you want a tablet smaller than 10" that isn't a total piece of crap, the iPad mini is literally the only option. The Kindle Fire HD 8 and Samsung Tab A7 Lite are basically the only competition, and they have low res screens not well suited to reading text, low end performance, cameras that are unusably bad, and old versions of bastardized Android that don't receive regular updates. The iPad mini is in a class all its own.

    • RobertJasiek

      Besides the more fundamental topics discussed elsewhere, the iPad Mini 6 disappoints me because it replaces the display ratio 4:3 = 1.33 by more than 3:2 = 1.52 (2266 x 1488) and introduces the Pro / Air sin of a camera bump, which - if one does not want to use a case - disturbs flat use on a table and annoys hand-holding.

      The features 1.8% reflectance and 500nits, although not as good as a matte display or brigher HP displays, should have made it into the ordinary iPad.

    • wright_is

      I found the new mini to be the best reveal. That is much more like the Air and Pro models. A shame I had to buy my wife a new tablet in the Spring...

      • justme

        I am with you here. I have been contemplating the purchase of a Mini and had put it off to see if they would announce a new one. Glad I waited.

  3. red.radar

    I decided to watch the keynote over my lunch break.

    I was disappointed that my sandwich tasted acidic and my throat was burning. Then I realized all the Hyperbole had caused me to vomit. Was not the " incredible experience " I was looking for.

  4. whistlerpro

    Maybe it was all the leaks, but I was underwhelmed.

    • lvthunder

      Stop listening to the rumors and leaks. It's more interesting to hear the company describe the new features anyways.

    • wright_is

      I found it interesting to see which of the rumours were actually wrong - colours, for example.

  5. Saarek

    All of Apple's current product lines (exception being the Apple Silicon Macs, it's going to be a fun ride there for a while) are mature and are therefore in effect "boring". In many respects this is a good thing for the average consumer, it means that their shiny new device will last for years and they won't feel disappointed when a new model comes out a year later and makes their very expensive device feel obsolete and totally inferior.

    I had the original iPhone, followed by the 3G, followed by the 3GS, followed by the 4S, followed by the 6S Plus, followed by the XS Max. After the 3GS my upgrade cycle has got longer and longer due to a mix of lack of compelling updates and massively increased cost. I see no compelling reason to get rid of my iPhone XS Max this year, I'll either replace it in around 2 years or if it dies before then.

  6. jdawgnoonan

    Nice devices, I know, but none of this stuff is as exciting as it used to be; that is a good thing.

  7. alissa914

    Well, at least I don't feel bad about buying my iPhone 12 and my iPad Pro a few months ago now.

    So I guess we're ignoring the 20th anniversary of iTunes... good to know. I still leave hope open for an iPod Classic HD only to always be disappointed every year.

  8. _stevenelliott

    I wanted to love everything; instead, I love nothing. I will keep my S21 Ultra and Z Fold 3 for now. I switch between them often, depending on what I'm doing for the day. The 12 Pro Max sits on my desk until I need to debug something on the iPhone. I was hoping the 13 Pro Max would be worth switching to, but I already have 120Hz screens, and in the S21 Ultra, a lighter, more pleasing form factor. iOS 15 Beta is fine, I have been using it for months, but I still don't love the notifications. I like Apple, just not enough to buy anything they debuted yesterday. Not to mention, that event felt flat yesterday, not something we expect from Apple. Maybe the weight of Epic, #AppleToo, CSAM stuff, etc., took the wind from their sails a little.

  9. Brent Morris

    Apple.......nufff said

  10. prebengh

    It is quite funny on a mostly Windows/Microsoft related site to see that everytime Paul writes about Apple, these are the ones that really gets many comments.

    And it is also clear that Apple is a subject that really divides people on this site.

    My guess is that most readers on this site have a PC, but many have either an iPad and/or an iPhone as well.

  11. bart

    Paul, the Apple website shows the iPad (10.2") still starts with 64GB of storage.

  12. nbplopes

    This iPhone developments seam to have been dedicated mostly to video … saw some interesting things there. The rest … improvements that we have seen years ago.

  13. spiderman2

    so no satellite communication in the end

  14. mike2thel73

    Apple had a huge opportunity to get even more Android users like myself to switch. If it wasn't for this mask pandemic I'd be ordering an iphone 13 pro max this week but because apple forces their customers to bended knee I won't. What I'm talking about is that apple has no more excuses. Last year they were caught off guard but since then they've had plenty of time to bring back touch ID in some form for those that don't want the hassle of a password or removing the mask everytime you want to unlock your phone. They arguably have the best engineers in the business and can't figure out how to put touch ID into the sleep/power button on the iphone but can do it for the slightly bigger (compared to pro max) ipad mini. This smells like apple being lazy and cheap because they wanted to keep the same design to keep the price the same instead of doing a proper iPhone for 2021/2022. Also usb-c for the mini but not the phone....again....laziness and cheapness. I want to buy an iPhone but won't because apple does whatever they want and their brainwashed loyalists would buy human feces if it was molded into an iPhone.

    • hbko

      Making such a big change to the hardware sounds more like something they'd introduce in a "tik" year (next year).The current solution using the Apple Watch to unlock your phone while masked works really well.

      • mike2thel73

        The watch is another expense....the only iPhone I would consider buying is the max with the middle level storage option (apple uses cheaper and slower storage solutions on ALL their base models (mini, regular, pro, & pro max) and has been doing so for years) combine that price 1199 plus tax with the price of an apple watch and you're looking at almost 2large just so that I can unlock my phone without thank you

    • wpcoe

      @crunchyfrog: Agree 100%. Lack of fingerprint sensor rules out the iPhone Mini 13 as a replacement for my aging Sony XZ Compact 2. I will now wait for the iPhone SE 3, hopefully early next year. In practically every other way (except price) I considered the Mini a better phone that the SE. That Apple didn't put a fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 13 line is staggering.

    • duncanator

      Samsung made me want to switch to the Galazy Z Flip 3 that my wife purchased last week. While I stare at the same grid of icons since 2007 in my 12 Pro Max, she has a really nice phone that is lighter and interesting to use, plus the same screen refresh rate as the just announced iPhone 13 Pro. When she purchased it new for $699 (cash, no carrier discount), I felt stupid paying 1100 last year for the iPhone.

  15. cavalier_eternal

    I was pretty happy they didn’t change the form factor of the watch, the rumored iPhone shaped one sounded pretty bad and the renders made it look terrible.

    The rest was all pretty much the level of of upgrade I’d expect. Nothing to get buys over the last two years to run out and buy a new phone or watch but the aggregate updates of the last couple of years has to be pretty compelling for anyone that has a phone three or more years old.

    Weird that they didn’t give a date for iOS, iPadOS or WatchOS release. They appear to have all gone GM today.

  16. Sir_Timbit

    Hey Paul, the base iPad does have double the storage from before, but it went from 32 GB to 64 GB, not 64 GB to 128 GB (unlike the phones.)

  17. ponsaelius

    We are in a mature market. The software support is for years on these devices. Your battery will probably need replacing before they wear out unless you deliberately set out to destroy them. The base ipad has some nice enhancements. Especially if you like the center stage camera update for video chat.

    I have a sixth gen ipad with 32gb. A trade in for the new base model might make some sense for me. Better processor, storage, and that camera. I will think about it some more when I see the odd review.

    If you have an iphone 8 then the form factor of a 13 mini might make sense with a trade in.

    Apple wasn't going to change the world in 2021 but there will be users who see value in updating.

  18. RobertJasiek

    Apple should have used the presentation to cancel and apologise for the i(Pad)OS malware. Besides, iPad without reduced display mirroring and iPad Mini / Air / Pro with camera bump make all current iPad hardware unattractive.

    • lvthunder

      Glad to see you are on the side of the pedophiles. My guess is they came up with these technologies because one of the Apple Engineer's kids was being groomed by one of these scumbags.

      • nbplopes

        What a senseless observation.

      • wright_is

        They didn't come up with this technology, it was originally developed by Microsoft and has also been used by Google, Facebook and others for several years now... Server side!

        It is Apple trying to put it on the client side that is the break of trust.

      • usman

        Gotta disagree with that smear it is quite a mott bailey fallacy. You wouldn't trust Google or Microsoft to scan through your own images on your own device, regardless of what reason they may have.

        That's an uncontroversial statement, and the majority of people agree that CSAM is also horrible.

        You can be against both statements. Your smear is completely gross and disgusting.

      • RobertJasiek

        I am on the side of human rights, basic rights, just laws and the principle of the rule of law enforced by jurisdiction. As a German, I am under EU and German laws.

        In Germany, (e.g. preemptive) digital surveillance by a natural person or company (Apple) violates the constitution's basic rights (to informational self-determination and to confidentiality and integrity of information-technical systems) and is a crime fined with prison. Child pornography is a crime fined with prison. Preemptive digital surveillance is allowed only exceptionally for only the most severe crimes (murder, genocide etc.), only by preceding approval of a judge for only each individual case and then only by state executives.

        If Apple wants preemptive digital surveillance in Germany or of ca. 50 million (?) Germans / people in Germany or that many devices of Germans / people in Germany, then Apple may never do it itself, some Apple employees will go to prison if Apple does it nevertheless, Apple needs to accuse each suspected individual German / person in German at the police and court, for each individual case the court needs to approve surveillance, such surveillance of one individual person in one particular case for a limited, determined period has to be approved in advance by a judge, such surveillance would then have to be executed by the German state executive (police) and may still never be executed instead by a private person or company (Apple) because, in each individual, particular case it (Apple) would still commit a crime charged with years of prison.

        The pretence is protecting against child pornography. The danger includes silent extension to other uses of the spyware, its abuse by secret services, its abuse by criminals and its abuse by oppressive regimes. The human right to freedom is in imminent danger.

        Needless to say, constantly running malware also costs CPU speed, battery life and lifespan of the device.

        If Apple wants to protect its clouds from abuse for criminal activities, Apple may survey its clouds on themselves subject to the laws. Apple may not use the endusers' devices as if they were Apple's own property.

        Since Apple advertises with privacy of iDevices (and has done so again during the keynote), Apple ought to respect their privacy. If Apple wants to commit billions of crimes against billions of endusers in many billions of individual cases, Apple ought to publicly declare its own crimes of preemptive mass surveillance contrary to countless basic rights and laws, and Apple will have to accept its own involved employees and managers to go to prison.

  19. blue77star

    Still on iPhone 8, not planning to upgrade any time soon, probably not by 2025.

    • will

      You would see some significant improvement in the camera system over the 8, but the 8 is still a great phone.

  20. ronv42

    Feels like Apple engineering is on autopilot, more pixels, faster CPU, bring in some licensing from Dolby, and make some minor form factor changes so everyone will have to buy new accessories.

    • bluvg

      It's been the same commentary for a while also (maybe even since the first iPhone, which was widely ridiculed at first?), so I'll continue with the next bit: What revolution are we really expecting? The things are near miracles in our pockets.

      • karlinhigh


        [The latest tech] is making us nervous. Nervous because the smartest new new thing is so stupid. Maybe they’ll get it fixed, and it will save us from The Dawning Realization, and we sure hope so! The party is starting to lag, and we currently have no place else to go.

        The nature of cultural obsessions is they not only have to keep delivering, and to an ever-accelerating degree. But instead now we have the the older parts of tech accumulating and seeming ancient and dull. The internet, that dazzling information superhighway, is starting to seem increasingly like a regular pavement highway, full of awful billboards and strip malls, and worst of all, the same dull people! The exciting thing about people online was they initially shimmered with sparlky digital luster, but the effect is fading. Facebook bragging turns out to be tedious in the same way as the face-to-face kind. Apps, save us! But is it possible there are only so many exciting new ways to deliver content? And is it possible we’ll be forced back to thinking about the content of what we’re doing with our lives? Hurry up tech! Deliver another quantum step forward, like implantable chips, right away! Or we may fall out of the thrall for good, and THEN WHAT?


        The Washington Post - Tom Toles - May 13, 2014

  21. jeff.bane

    Their older models are such a great deal now. An iphone 11 for $500 is crazy good.

  22. StevenLayton

    Can anyone skip a mortgage payment and buy me a iPhone 13 Pro Max?

  23. bluvg

    "slightly upgraded camera lenses"

    Color me optimistic, but both the lenses and sensors were updated, and some of the numbers (marketing, sure) looked impressive beyond slight upgrades. The video demos in particular were quite good (as one would expect, obviously). Looking forward to real-world tests.

    • cavalier_eternal

      Being able to shoot ProRes is impressive. It’s not going replace pro gear but it speaks to no Apple’s processor chops.

  24. waethorn

    The biggest disappointment is that the iPad's with USB-C still don't support UVC video capture hardware.

  25. crunchyfrog

    I enjoy watching the product launches from Apple but I just can't help that feeling like I'm in the movie, Groundhog Day. Without the Groundhog of course...

    • F4IL

      It's been close to a decade since I last watched an apple keynote mostly because I don't find them interesting anymore. Instead I usually catch the news on the various sites I follow which usually deliver summarized coverage and filter the noise.

  26. wright_is

    Prices start at $1346 for the base model Pro over here.

    • cavalier_eternal

      I feel like every time Apple releases a product we have remind folks that the prices in the U.S. don’t include any taxes while international pricing does. So, the price difference isn’t as dramatic as it sounds.

    • lvthunder

      That's taxes and exchange rates for you.

      • Daishi

        It’s not though. Very frequently the prices on computers and phones in places outside the US are jacked up by 20-30% even having allowed for taxes and exchange rates. There was once a laptop I was waiting to come out here that wound up being 50% more expensive than the currency conversion plus tax should have made it.

        • mikegalos

          You also have to include things like differences in required warrantee support laws. That's one reason why consumer products are more expensive in places like the EU which have a minimum number of years of covered support. To include that compare with the US price including buying the extended warrantee and then factor in currency conversion (with adjustments for projected fluctuation so the price doesn't change hourly) and any duty imposed.

    • bettyblue

      Seems like a lot. Then I think back to what I paid for some laptops 15 years ago and this thing is 100x more powerful and useful.

      For many people, their smartphone is their primary computing and communication device....if not only device for those services.

      • Greg Green

        We use them so often we take them for granted, but basically it’s almost a desktop pc in your pocket. Pretty amazing.

      • wright_is

        Apple prices have always been steep in Europe.

        When the original Macs came to the UK, they were incredibly expensive. At the time, there were about $2 to the pound. Apple used the conversion rate 2 pounds to the dollar, so a $2,000 Mac was 4,000UKP or nearly $8,000. It was no wonder that grey imports were such a problem for Apple.

        At least the prices are coming down. But, given the current exchange rates, I'd expect a 1-1 Euro-Dollar price, after European taxes - in most countries there is one sales tax rate for the whole country and all prices are quoted with sales tax.

    • navarac


  27. melinau

    Apple isn't that interested in seriously upgrading anything when it can get away is these minor "improvements". I doubt these new iPhone models will be huge best-sellers, but they'll probably help further to swell Apple's cash-reserves. The savvy Apple user waits for the major upgrade before splashing a wallet-load of cash on their latest & greatest & that's when the big-money will change hands.