“There are fresh Apple iPhone models out, and here’s a closer look at the flagship 11 Pro”

This is a crucial time for Apple in India. Company-owned retail stores are on the anvil, and the brand is also said to be firming up plans to sell devices via online channels to consumers directly. It’s also looking to increase revenues via a renewed focus on services, which now include Apple TV+ and Arcade gaming subscriptions, both of which are available to Indian consumers as well. And given that this is the start of the festive season in India, it’d be hoping it can cash in on the pre-Diwali buzz, riding on the new iPhone 11 lineup that has just landed in the country. Speaking of, here’s a closer look at Apple’s newest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 11 Pro.

The retail box features a large image of the back panel of the new phone, showcasing what’s perhaps one of the biggest upgrades this device boasts – triple cameras. More on that later though. Inside the box, you’ll find the usual documentation, a SIM eject tool and a pair of wired EarPods that come with a Lightning connector.

In a welcome move, Apple has included a fast charger and a Lightning to Type-C cable in the box, which means you don’t need to spend extra to get this functionality, and finally, would be able to charge your new iPhone at lightning fast (pun intended) speeds as soon as you unbox it. On the flip side, there’s still no Lightning to 3.5mm dongle in the box, so if you’re hoping to use your existing pair of wired earphones or headphones, you’d need to buy a compatible connector separately.

From up front, you’d hardly be able to tell the new iPhone apart from its predecessor, the iPhone XS (review). The iPhone 11 Pro shares its design ethos with the older model, and features an OLED display that’s sized the same as the one on the predecessor, viz. 5.8-inches. The display also rocks the same wide notch as earlier, housing the front camera and the sensors that enable the Face ID biometrics system. However, the screen on the new iPhone 11 Pro, dubbed Super Retina XDR display, now boasts a higher brightness of up to 800 nits. And as one might expect, the screens does look very capable, with punchy colours and deep blacks. On the flip side, Apple has ditched its 3D Touch tech in favour of a haptic feedback mechanism that’s supposed to provide similar functionality, giving you contextual options when you press and hold on the app icons.

Flip to the rear, and you’re greeted by the large squarish camera bump on the top left. Sporting three large, hard-to-miss lenses along with the flash, this triple camera is pretty much the mainstay of  the new flagship iPhone. The setup comprises three 12MP sensors, one of which is a primary f/1.8 sensor, the second is a telephoto sensor with f/2.0 aperture, and the third one is an ultra-wide sensor with 120-degree field of view and f/2.4 aperture. There’s dual OIS on offer as well. And as far as the front camera is concerned, you get a 12MP sensor, a step up from the 7MP shooter present on last year’s iPhones. The camera app has received a suitable refresh as well, and is slightly different from the one you might be accustomed to with the older iPhones. 

The glass panel on the back comes with a new matte finish that feels quite premium to the touch, and doesn’t smudge easily either. The chassis is held together by stainless steel. The placement of ports and controls is standard, with a Lightning port and speaker at the bottom, volume keys and mute button on the left, and the multi-functional side key on the right, along with the SIM tray. And just like last year, the iPhone 11 Pro supports dual SIMs, with the SIM tray on the right accepting a single physical nano-SIM, and an eSIM embedded inside. The device is rated IP68 and is impervious to dust and water.

Undoubtedly, the new iPhone 11 Pro (and its Max sibling) promises quite a bit in terms of photography prowess. For one, the camera app allows you to zoom from the telephoto to the ultra-wide sensor in a seamless manner, utilising all three cameras giving you an effective optical zoom up to 4x. Then there’s the new night mode that kicks in automatically, capturing multiple shots in low light and combining the images into one to offer more detail. A new feature called QuickTake lets you capture short videos while you’re shooting stills, just by long pressing the shutter button. And then there’s Deep Fusion, a computational photography feature that isn’t here yet, but promises to offer pristine images regardless of shooting conditions.

Related read: Understanding Deep Fusion, the tech behind Apple iPhone 11’s new camera capabilities

The iPhone 11 Pro comes powered by the new A13 Bionic cup, promising better performance, improved power efficiency and better graphics too. The chip includes an enhanced Neural Engine too, for driving the triple cameras, Face ID tech and the phones’ AI / AR capabilities. There’s a new U1 chip for spatial awareness, letting you share files with other U1-equipped iPhones just by posting your device at them. Apple is also claiming significantly better battery life as compared to previous gen models, and I’ll be putting all those claims to the test as I take the new devices through the review grind.

Out of the box, the new iPhone comes with iOS 13, the latest big refresh of Apple’s mobile OS, featuring an all-new dark mode, more control over location sharing, a new sharing suggestions sheet, improvements to Siri, Quick Path swipe gestures with the native keyboard, new editing features for photos and videos, removal of the 200MB app download limit over cellular data and lots more. Of special mention are India-centric features that include Indian English support for Siri, native support for 22 Indian languages and optimisations for saving data while streaming videos.

Related read: India-centric features of iOS 13

In case you’re interested, the iPhone 11 Pro will set you back by Rs 99,900 for the base 64GB model (and the 11 Pro Max by Rs 1,09,000). Without a shadow of a doubt, there’s a lot on offer here, though admittedly, the new iPhones mainly seem like iterative upgrades over their predecessors. As far as I’m concerned though, I’m hopeful that the new camera capabilities can put Apple back on the radar for photography buffs, and into the reckoning for the crown of the best camera smartphones. It’s about time.

Related read: Can the iPhone 11 Pro help Apple regain the best camera smartphone crown?