12:46PM EDT - It's that time of the year again - Apple's fall iPhone event, where we expect the Cupertino company to unveil its newest generation family of iPhones - likely the iPhone 13 series. Last year's iPhone 12 series introduced a new industrial design, and we generally expect Apple to iterate and refine upon the form of last generation's phones. The industry rumblings are that we might be seeing some new generation OLED panels for the Pro models and high refresh rates for the first time. Cameras remain a mystery on whether Apple will upgrade things this generation. Naturally, we also expect Apple to introduce a new generation processor in the form of the A15. Apple's latest iterations of SoC silicon have been ground-breaking and industry leading, and we very much expect the new chip to further push the envelope in performance and efficiency.

12:47PM EDT - The event will be starting in 15 minutes - we'll be commentating along with the official stream.

12:49PM EDT - This year, same as last year's event, is held virtually. Apple has had a significant amount of time now to refine the streaming format, and generally it has been well received as it allows for faster flow and better editing of the presentation. The bad thing for us is we need to catch up at a faster pace with the blog.

12:49PM EDT - Today's event is rumoured to be mostly iPhone focused, with Apple doing a separate Mac event in a few weeks time.

12:52PM EDT - As noted earlier, we don't expect too much visual changes in the design of this year's iPhones, though we've seen reports of a reduced notch. The notch had been introduced back in 2017 with the iPhone X, and has become a bit dated among a crowd of hole-punch faces as well as new under-display cameras, however we don't expect it to totally go away this year.

12:53PM EDT - On the display side of things, there have been reports of Apple introducing 120Hz displays on this year's Pro models, which would be also much welcomed. LTPO technology has been thrown around, similar to what we've seen on the Galaxy S21 Ultra this year. If Apple does adopt it, we expect large user experience improvements as well as power efficiency gains.

12:54PM EDT - Cameras are a wild card this year - generally Apple has been more conservative over the years in terms of their camera hardware. I honestly wouldn't be able to say what kind of improvements they'll be doing this year, but I'm sure computational photography will be mentioned.

12:56PM EDT - The new Apple A15 might become the first Armv9 SoC to come to market. It makes sense in terms of timing since the release of the new ISA. SVE2 is the big new piece of technology, evolving the SIMD capabilities of new CPUs and allowing more general purpose code to be auto-vectorized. We'll see if this prediction does pan out, but it's something that I expect to happen.

01:00PM EDT - On the GPU side of things, given that we don't expect large process node improvements this year due to technology timing - the A15 should still be on N5 or the newer N5P, I wonder how much Apple will be able to squeeze out in terms of performance given their demanding power profile. LPDDR5 might be a new thing we'll see this year - Apple had skipped it on the A14.

01:00PM EDT - We're starting the event now.

01:01PM EDT - Intro music video playing. Various sceneries throughout California.

01:02PM EDT - Tim Cook taking the stage.

01:03PM EDT - "Proud to call California our home"

01:03PM EDT - Starting with Apple TV+

01:03PM EDT - 130 wins for Apple TV originals.

01:03PM EDT - "We're just getting started" - Tim on the Apple TV originals portfolio.

01:05PM EDT - iPad !

01:06PM EDT - Looks like we're getting more than iPhones today.

01:06PM EDT - Promoting the Apple Keyboard and magic pencil.

01:07PM EDT - Talking about iPad OS - 1 million apps designed for large screens.

01:07PM EDT - A new baseline iPad is coming out today.

01:08PM EDT - "New iPad packed full of goods"

01:08PM EDT - Powered by the A13 SoC.

01:08PM EDT - "6x faster than the best selling Android tablet" - shots fired.

01:09PM EDT - Using the A13 ISP for better camera quality.

01:09PM EDT - New 12MP front camera with ultra-wide optics.

01:10PM EDT - Center-stage adjusting the frame for video calls, tracking you via the ultra-wide field of view and cropping in on you.

01:10PM EDT - "It makes you more productive on iPad"

01:10PM EDT - TrueTone coming to the iPad - ambient light colour temperature adjustment.

01:11PM EDT - Will come with Apple Pencil support.

01:11PM EDT - Coming with iPadOS 15 - we covered the update earlier this summer.

01:11PM EDT - "This iPad offers enormous value"

01:11PM EDT - Starting price at only $329 with 64GB.

01:12PM EDT - Available next week, preorders today.

01:12PM EDT - Back to Tim now.

01:12PM EDT - Talking about iPad mini now.

01:12PM EDT - "Most portable iPad"

01:12PM EDT - "iPad mini is in a class of its own"

01:13PM EDT - All new iPad mini being announced - huge set of updates.

01:13PM EDT - All new frame design with the flat frame design of the iPhone 12 series.

01:14PM EDT - "Liquid Retina Display"

01:14PM EDT - Touch ID relocated to the top right frame side.

01:15PM EDT - CPU 40% faster, GPU 80% faster - no mention of what SoC powers it.

01:15PM EDT - 2x more ML performance from the Neural Engine

01:15PM EDT - "Performance of the iPad mini is on a whole new level"

01:16PM EDT - USB-C connectivity, dropping the Lightning connector.

01:16PM EDT - Apple had started the move to USB-C with the iPad Air - the iPhones are still trailing behind here.

01:17PM EDT - 5G connectivity variants.

01:17PM EDT - 12MP back camera

01:17PM EDT - SmartHDR naturally included.

01:18PM EDT - Front camera also supports the new 12MP ultra-wide camera.

01:18PM EDT - Stereo speaker playback when in landscape mode.

01:18PM EDT - Supports second generation Apple Pencil.

01:20PM EDT - Starting at $499 - both in WiFi and cellular variants.

01:21PM EDT - There was still not explicit mention what SoC is powering it.

01:21PM EDT - Both models are built with 100% recycled aluminium enclosure.

01:21PM EDT - Back to Tim now.

01:22PM EDT - Next - Apple Watch

01:22PM EDT - New features for Apple watch for bike riders.

01:23PM EDT - Next-gen Apple Watch intro.

01:24PM EDT - Apple watch series 7

01:24PM EDT - 20% more screen on the new retina display

01:24PM EDT - 1.7mm borders

01:24PM EDT - Barely changes the dimensions of the watch itself.

01:25PM EDT - 70% brighter display.

01:26PM EDT - More content on the display, denser UI. Full keyboard

01:27PM EDT - WR50 water resistance, and IP6X dust resistant.

01:27PM EDT - 33% faster charger with a USB-C cable on the back magnetic charger.

01:28PM EDT - A whole set of new colours.

01:28PM EDT - Also big emphasis on environmentally friendly manufacturing.

01:29PM EDT - New pricing line-up: Series 3 at $199, SE at $279, and Series 7 at $399

01:31PM EDT - Talking about Apple fitness+ - will largely skip this one here.

01:34PM EDT - Still talking about fitness+ ... where's the iPhone!

01:38PM EDT - Back to Tim finally.

01:38PM EDT - iPhone time, let's hear some new leading edge hardware!

01:39PM EDT - Next-gen iPhone is ...

01:40PM EDT - iPhone 13

01:40PM EDT - Looks pretty much the same at first glance.

01:40PM EDT - "Ceramic shield front"

01:41PM EDT - The camera lenses are now diagonal instead of horizontally arranged.

01:41PM EDT - 20% smaller notch.

01:42PM EDT - New internal hardware component rearrangement for a larger battery.

01:42PM EDT - 28% brighter display up to 800 nits

01:42PM EDT - It sounds like last year's Pro display now powers the base models here.

01:43PM EDT - A15 Bionic

01:43PM EDT - Still uses 5nm process node - 15bn transistors.

01:43PM EDT - Still 2 large cores, 4 efficiency cores

01:44PM EDT - 50% faster than the nearest competitor in CPU performance

01:44PM EDT - "30% faster graphics than leading competition" - that's a weird comparison, what's the generational boost?

01:45PM EDT - 16-core NPU with 15.8TOPs

01:45PM EDT - The GPU comparison was a bit interesting, did Apple make no large generational improvements for better power efficiency?

01:46PM EDT - New encoders, Apple actually talking about double the system cache

01:46PM EDT - Already done with the A15 - that was quite lacklustre

01:46PM EDT - 47% more light in the new camera

01:47PM EDT - Main camera uses IBIS (sensor shift stabilisation)

01:47PM EDT - Also new ultra-wide camera.

01:47PM EDT - "Cinematic Mode" ?

01:50PM EDT - Focus tracking and focus transitions between subjects and does smooth focus transistions.

01:50PM EDT - Sounds like ML based subject detection to change focus.

01:51PM EDT - Turning to 5G now.

01:51PM EDT - Custom designed antennas and radio components.

01:52PM EDT - More frequency band support for more carrier supports in more countries.

01:52PM EDT - 200 carriers in 60 countries.

01:53PM EDT - Battery life - that's not a topic that is covered often by Apple.

01:53PM EDT - Bigger batteries and more efficient A15 are attributed to the battery life gains.

01:55PM EDT - Pricing starting at $699 for the mini and $799 - with starting capacity doubled to 128GB minimum.

01:56PM EDT - Storage tiers doubled across the configurations, which is much welcome as the 64GB variant was very dated.

01:57PM EDT - Back to Tim - likely to see the Pro models now.

01:58PM EDT - "Our most Pro iPhone ever"

01:59PM EDT - Looks like much larger camera sensor and camera bumps.

02:00PM EDT - Surgical steel with vapour deposition finish.

02:00PM EDT - New colours

02:00PM EDT - Those new camera bumps look large.

02:01PM EDT - Redesigned internals for larger battery and new cameras.

02:01PM EDT - Mentioning the new A15 again

02:01PM EDT - 5-core GPU on the Pro models

02:01PM EDT - 50% higher performance than the competition

02:02PM EDT - This is the first time that Apple is binning their SoCs within the iPhone line-up

02:02PM EDT - So that was quite unexpected

02:02PM EDT - New display up to 1000 nits

02:02PM EDT - Pro-Motion from 10 to 120Hz

02:03PM EDT - Video about the new improved touch response and refresh rate.

02:04PM EDT - "Our biggest camera advancement ever"

02:05PM EDT - All new modules and larger sensors for all the new modules.

02:06PM EDT - 77mm telephoto (3x)

02:06PM EDT - Ultra-wide with autofocus for close-up macro shots

02:06PM EDT - All cameras have night mode now (Finally)

02:07PM EDT - SmartHDR 4

02:07PM EDT - Better HDR processing and balancing

02:08PM EDT - Customizable styles

02:08PM EDT - Integrated into the processing pipeline instead of it being a post-processing effect

02:08PM EDT - Coming to both the Pro and standard models.

02:09PM EDT - Video recording improvements now

02:12PM EDT - Cinematic Mode uses a depth map during video

02:12PM EDT - It means the bokeh is computational

02:13PM EDT - ProRes video format for post editing

02:13PM EDT - Hardware acceleration for the format

02:13PM EDT - 4K30 ProRes in the camera app

02:13PM EDT - End-to-end workflow

02:14PM EDT - The Pro models also have increased battery life compared to their predecessors

02:15PM EDT - Pro pricing is still $999 and $1099 pricings which is good

02:15PM EDT - New 1TB model as a new tier

02:16PM EDT - New pricing for the whole iPhone line-up from previous generations.

02:17PM EDT - The event seems to be coming to an end. In general, no large surprises here on the new iPhones.

02:17PM EDT - The A15 disclosures were a bit weird - more on this later in our dedicated article.

02:17PM EDT - The new Pro cameras look great - and I'm happy they're equivalent between the Pro and Pro Max

02:18PM EDT - "These are the best iPhones we've ever created" - Tim Cook

02:18PM EDT - We're wrapping things up, expect a dedicated article in a few hours. Thanks for joining.

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  • Wrs - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    There are physical and logical limits to design without a process node improvement. I would guess they grabbed some efficiency from N5P over N5, as efficiency was actually a weak point of A14/M1 as evidenced by phone throttling. Kind of a relief too that they wouldn't further embarrass the architects at Qualcomm/Intel/AMD and push everyone toward hotter/throttling chips. Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    So you are admitting they could not improve their microarchitecture any further? We already all know everyone is stuck node-wise, but that is no excuse to not stopping feverishly searching after low hanging fruit and pushing the boundaries. And if anything, they are embarrassing themselves by showing how they are going to be left in the dust if they keep up on the low 10% annual performance increases and (now) 0% performance standstills. I can already tell you ARM, AMD, and others are pushing for 20% and above annual performance increases and that is what Apple needs to be looking out for or they will be in a world of hurt. Reply
  • Wrs - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    Improving a microarchitecture is a subjective and contextual thing. Sometimes one needs that light bulb moment. Other times one simply needs manufacturing advancements. The laws of physics are immutable, from one year to the next.

    One does not simply pursue speed at the cost of all else. Remember Netburst? That's when one keeps extending a core pipeline to satisfy a steady increase in gigahertz and single-thread instruction throughput, oblivious to the impracticality of removing a kilowatt of heat from a CPU socket. The low hanging fruit in that case was caching, and really scrapping the long assembly line paradigm altogether, going with multiple shorter lines. A15 has a ton of cache; if there is low hanging fruit it would be elsewhere.

    I won't even call Intel designers complacent during their Skylake stall. The fault was clearly on the fabrication side and probably a great deal on management for not outsourcing or even seeing the mobile threat opening.

    Until we run benchmarks we won't see the efficiency gain on A15 - though I'm sure it's there as 1.5/2.5 hours of extra battery life didn't come purely from a more efficient screen and rearranging the internals for battery space - and then we'll probably attribute that to TSMC, anyway.
    Reply
  • ammaterasu - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    They did push more transistors into the chip. I think the improvement will be more weighted in the GPU/AI processing department. Once they move to 3nm next year, performance gap vs competitor will likely widen once again Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    More likely, I suspect, is that they have hit the limits of an annual CPU redesign cycle.
    An alternative would be to switch to a biannual cycle, something like
    - odd years (starting with 2021) Mac gets new "extreme" core
    - even years (like 2022) that core gets optimized and whatever didn't work as well as hoped for (mac is a much more forgiving power environment!) is tweaked

    Most Apple products are on a two year cadence; look at eg aWatch or iPads or aTV.
    It can still look like annual updates for iPhone (and perhaps even for Macs) via improvements to the SoC (just not the core).

    In a way this makes Apple's life much easier. It decouples the riskiest part of the design, ie new core (and associated complex IP) from the forced schedule of iPhone, since new Macs ship when they ship. We all want to see what the M2 looks like and its associated iMac and Mac Pro; but no-one has any expectation that it's in Nov this year or May next year -- Apple can be more aggressive in future core designs if they have two years to work on the changes, and can slip a month or three with no serious consequences.

    We always assumed new cores would debut on iPhone, and till this year that made sense; but going forward it actually makes a lot more sense to have the newest most performant core debut in the devices for which they are most desired, ie iMac Pro and Mac Pro.

    This may be too optimistic, of course; but I'd keep it in mind as a theory until the M2 disproves it (which it will if the M2 is not a substantially new core).
    Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    It's zero improvement in CPU performance over the last generation A14 using Apple's own numbers. That's complacency at its finest. Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    A15 got the underwhelming presentation it rightly deserved. This looks like the stereotypical Intel-style rehashing of Skylake, only worse. At least Intel bumped up the clock speed so we got some single-digit improvements. There's nothing here! It's a literal standstill here on the CPU performance front. Reply
  • Wrs - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    Intel's Skylake-rehashing was more an indication of process node stall. I wouldn't be so fast to judge Apple's chip architects as complacent not even a year after they wrecked everyone else. I feel their A14 went too far as throttling was severe enough in some cases to lead to performance regression vs. A13. N5 is still a decent dense node; it's just not as mature as the 7nm+/N7P immediately preceding it. Reply
  • lemurbutton - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    One last thing: Tim Cook pulls out the MBP 16" featuring an A15-based M2X SoC with 8/2 big.Little cores that are 50% faster ST than 5950x in SPEC, 32-core GPUs that does 10.4 Tflops, 120Hz miniLED display, ultra thin, and 30 hours of battery life. Reply
  • blanarahul - Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - link

    I just want to see M1X using only its 8 big cores and being compared against 8 AMD Zen 3 / Intel Tiger Lake cores. If M1X does well, who knows maybe we can have the next generation of consoles use ARM v9 instruction set instead of x86. Reply

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