It’s fun to see how the rumours align with actual announcements on keynote day. Rumours nailed the iPhone 13 Pro notch and design about a year ago. Rumours nailed the larger 45mm Apple Watch Series 7. Rumours nailed the redesigned iPad mini.

Rumours also suggested the Apple Watch Series 7 would come with flat edges and an iPhone-like design. And the lack of rumours surrounding the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera system is eyebrow-raising.

There were still some surprises yesterday. I’m grateful for surprises.

It was a good event. I think Apple will sell many iPhone 13s. I think they will also sell many iPad minis.

Here are the things I’m most excited for after yesterday’s keynote.

The iPhone 13 Pro Camera System

When Apple proclaims “the biggest advancement ever” for the iPhone’s camera system, it wreaks of hyperbole. Then they stated a 92% increase in low light performance on the ultra-wide camera. They followed that up with a 2.2x increase in low light performance in the oft-used wide angle camera.

And suddenly, I’m going “Holy moly.” Coming from an iPhone 12 mini, I expect my socks to be blown off with the 13 Pro Max camera system.

I don’t think people give the telephoto lens enough credit. Many say it’s their least used camera and not worth having. I was in the same shoes last year. But after a year without it, I’ve quickly realize the value of optical zoom beyond 1x.

Even if you’re shooting at 1.5 times the wide angle’s field of view, the telephoto lens ensures you are shooting optically. On the 12 and 12 mini (and 13 and 13 mini), anything beyond 1x is digital. There is a noticeable difference between optical zoom and digital zoom.

I’m excited about the iPhone 13 Pro camera system, in general. Macro on the ultra-wide camera wasn’t expected and wasn’t on any major wish lists, but is sure to be a hit. Night Mode on each camera will ensure the feature is used constantly. And I’m excited to try optical image stabilization for both photo and video for the first time on an iPhone.

The New iPad mini

I want to buy a new iPad mini for my two girls. The iPads even happen to come in both pink and purple.

Having iPad-level power in the palm of your hand is enticing. Having iPadOS 15 in the palm of your hand is even more enticing. Some have said the iPad mini is too small for iPadOS. I wonder if the iPhone Pro Max is too large for iOS.

I also think throwing an iPad mini into your back pocket is such a power move. Like whipping out a Field Notes book, you can now whip out an iPad mini with a second-generation Apple Pencil and instantly take notes, draw out a sketch, and more. This e-reader, palmable size appears to be very convenient.

Lastly, I do wonder if we’re going to see constant iterations to the iPad mini going forward (like the iPad Air) or if it’ll be an afterthought like the last iPad mini.

Apple Watch Series 7

I have purchased a Series 2, Series 3, and Series 4 Apple Watch. Each time, they didn’t stick.

But that was pre-Peloton and pre-iPhone Pro Max.

I’m going to try the Series 7 again and have better hopes about it sticking. I’m going to buy an aluminum version this time so I feel less bad about the amount of money spent. And I’m going to feel less bad about wearing one with a fancy sport jacket.

The new larger display looks fantastic in Apple’s product images. Somehow, when shown next to the Series 3 and SE Apple Watches, the new 45mm edge-to-edge display makes the old Watches seem like decade-old technology. That they added screen real estate without making the chassis bigger is just icing on the cake.

I’m currently subscribed to an iPad Pro 5G data plan for $15/month, which I use at least a few times per week. But with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, I think portable data on the iPad can be largely replaced by data on the iPhone, and I think the iPhone can be largely replaced by a cheaper $10/month Apple Watch data plan. I don’t really want to carry that big iPhone everywhere I go.

Starlight, 45mm, LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 7 for me, whenever it’s available.

Wrap Up

It was a busy event and Apple wrapped it up in about an hour. This year’s iPhone changes are iterative in physical form, but significant in the camera department. The increase in battery life (which may come by way, in part, due to the increase in weight and thickness) is impressive, but likely less impressive than the camera system improvements.

The last 2021 event we’re all waiting for is the M2/M1X MacBook Pro and larger iMac. My question is simply “Will Apple blow our socks off in terms of performance?” The M1 MacBook Air and Pro have been nothing short of stunning. Can Apple do it again?

My deep-seeded fear is Apple will release a fancy external display for a broader target market, making my current LG UltraFine research a horrible error.