So maybe you weren’t convinced from this week’s new product announcements from Apple that you had to get that new iPhone 13 and ditch the old one.
Good news, cheapskates. You can get new features for your old iPhone without spending a dime. On Monday, Apple, as it does every fall, updates the iOS mobile operating system, and along the way, we get fun new tools at no cost.
For photographers, you won’t get a bigger telephoto lens, a more responsive ultra wide-angle lens in low light, the ability to shoot macro ultra close-ups, or pro movie like Cinematic video that blurs subjects in the background. Those are all highlights of the iPhone 13 Pro, which will be in stores Friday.
There are several new features available to iPhone users for models that mostly go back to the iPhone 6S in iOS 15.
For shutterbugs, we get better automatic movies from your photos, the ability to convert words from photos into text and more information about your images.
As a reminder iOS 15 highlights also include:
EXIF data: Apple will finally tell us the file name of the photo, and more. And it’s about time.
Easier ways to share those endless photos that get sent to us in texts. Now they’ll be saved to our Photos app as well.
Panorama enhancements: This only applies to the iPhone 12 and 13 models. Apple promises improved geometric distortion and “better captures” moving subjects while also reducing image noise and banding.
The two features that excite me the most are more like come ons, in they’re only available minimally. You can store your driver’s license in your iPhone, via iOS 15, and have the states of Georgia and Arizona recognize it at the airports. (With more states to come.) And you can use your iPhone, via iOS 15, to unlock hotel room doors (only at Hyatt hotels at first) and start cars (only some BMWs initially.) And this only works on phones from the 2018 iPhone XS and up.
But I can’t wait for these to go mainstream.
The other marquee features:
The FaceTime video app has fallen way behind in relevance to that of Zoom. So Apple is stealing Zoom’s best feature—letting people share their screens, and adding HouseParty like tools that let people watch TV shows and movies at the same time, remotely, and talk about it.
Finally, what Apple calls Spatial Audio, a feature that adds more depth to music we listen to, and will be showcased to users of the AirPods Pro and Max earbuds and headphones. Basically, instead of stereo, think of Spatial as like 8-track quad.
Remember that to download iOS 15, go to your Settings section on the phone, click General and then “Software Update,” which is directly at the top, below “About.”
Apple usually does the update at 10 a.m. California time, and early adopters flood the servers. I’d recommend waiting at least a few days, if not a week, before you make the switch. If there’s a big bug, people will be screaming about it loud and clear on Twitter. Let Apple smooth the road for you first.
Two big questions this week:
From Bill: “Do I sell my iPhone 12 Pro and get the 13 Pro, yes or no?”
The answer is no. Unless you’re a massive photo geek like me, there’s no need to do the upgrade now. Again, improved low light for ultra wide-angle, macro photography, slightly longer telephoto and better video. I need all those features. Do you? I’ll be able to answer this more in-depth next week after I get my hands on the new device. So stay tuned.
From Dror: “What’s the difference between the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max?”
Just a few inches. Unlike in year’s past, where Apple put in some goodies on the Max version that wasn’t available on the plain Pro model, this year is different. It’s just about size. The 13 Pro Max is larger, with a screen size of 6.7 inches vs. 6.1 inches.
This Week in Photo
It was a pleasure to meet up once again this week with my pal Frederick Van Johnson on his This Week in Photo podcast for an in-depth discussion on the iPhone 13 Pro as a professional tool.
On the show, Frederick also said some really nice things about this newsletter, which, if you don’t mind, I’d love to share.
“It’s one of the few newsletters I look forward to getting.,” he said. “The cool thing about it is the way that you write and…connect with your audience. It doesn’t feel like you’re reporting to me. It’s more like you’re a peer, and this is what I think about,” a variety of subjects.
As I told Frederick, writing this newsletter has been my all-time favorite writing experience, after all these years of journalism and book writing, because I feel a way stronger, closer connection to the reader. I am indeed writing directly to you, a group that includes heavyweights like Frederick and Scott Kelby, and average folks like my mom and neighbors. I go straight to your in-box, so it’s more personal. And I hear from you.
So thanks Frederick, and everyone for supporting this endeavor. (And if you haven’t gotten hip to Frederick’s podcasts and videos, do check him out. He has a wealth of knowledge in that TWIP universe, is a fabulous host and a great guy.)
How many weekly newsletters give you a song too? Here’s my take on the Steely Dan classic “Deacon Blues,” slowed down because, why not? Performed on my beloved Bravo Deluxe guitar, which was custom made for me in Savannah, Georgia by Benedetto Guitars, and amplified by the Henriksen Blue amp.
Some photo highlights from the morning walks, as captured by the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Can’t wait to see how the new 13 Pro will compare!
Thanks as always for taking the time to read the weekend edition of the Photowalks newsletter. Let me know if you enjoyed it with a HEART or reply, and have a great weekend. I’m off to Atlanta and Savannah this week for my first plane trip since March, 2020, so expect a few photos with a very different look next week.