Technology Genie —
The new iPhone offers better battery life, superior cameras, and great screens.
Enlarge / The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light.Imagine you were visited by a genie who would grant you three wishes, but they all had to be about what you want from your next smartphone. As market research and surveys tell it, almost everyone would make the same three wishes: great battery life, excellent cameras, and big, beautiful screens.
This year, Apple is that technology genie, because that’s exactly what the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max deliver when they hit store shelves today.
Cupertino’s flagship phone lineup might seem like an iterative “S”-style update, given that the phones look almost the same as last year's models and that there are no major new features apart from screens with higher refresh rates in the priciest models. But since Apple zeroed in on most people's highest priorities, this seemingly iterative update ends up being a noteworthy one.
Apple iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro
(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)
Specs at a glance: iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max
2532×1170 6.1-inch OLED (13/Pro), 2778x1284 6.7-inch OLED (13 Pro Max), 2340x1080 5.4-inch OLED (13 mini)
Apple A15 Bionic
4GB (13/mini); 6GB (13 Pro/Max)
Apple A15 Bionic
128, 256, or 512GB for 13/mini; 128, 256, 512GB, or 1TB for 13 Pro/Max
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, 5G
Two 12MP rear cameras (wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle) for 13/mini; three 12MP rear cameras (wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, telephoto) for 13 Pro/Max; 7MP front camera; Dolby Vision HDR 4K video capture
146.7×71.5×7.65mm (13/13 Pro), 160.8×78.1×7.65mm (Max), 131.5×64.2×7.65mm (mini)
173 g (13), 204 g (Pro), 240 g (Max), 140 g (mini)
$699 (mini), $799 (13), $999 (Pro), $1,099 (Max)
MagSafe, Face ID
Last year, I stopped short of recommending the iPhone 12 Pro because the iPhone 12 offered enough. The two phones were not significantly differentiated beyond nicer materials and the inclusion of a zoom lens and a lidar sensor in the pricier phone. This time around, the Pro model has some more going for it: a better camera system, faster graphics, and markedly improved battery life over the iPhone 13.
Now it’s the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max that aren’t all that different from each other. For reference, last year saw the Max get the better camera system. Now they're the same, so it's just about screen size and battery life.
Apple claims that the iPhone 13 mini can last fo