Apple iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max: best and worst features

Apple held its annual iPhone extravaganza on the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino yesterday, and whereas there have been some surprises, these of us aware about the Apple rumor mill noticed largely what we had been anticipating. There was a brand new “Pro” variant of the iPhone, in addition to an always-on Apple Watch show, a brand new 10.2-inch iPad, and a few much-needed pricing and launch figures for Apple’s upcoming media companies.

However Apple’s displaying was a well-recognized one, and nowhere was that extra obvious than in its simple smartphone lineup. Final yr, we noticed Apple holding on to to the “X” naming scheme with the XS, XS Max, and XR. This yr, it was again to numerics, with the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Professional, and iPhone 11 Professional Max. The Professional moniker could sound like a daring departure, however the construction of Apple’s lineup follows final yr’s established sample of a barely cheaper mannequin and two different-sized flagships.

Meaning shoppers are in the identical boat as final yr: do you have to get the $699 iPhone 11 or the pricier $999 iPhone 11 Professional? If you would like a totally kitted out iPhone 11 Professional Max, that may price you $1,449, as is the case now with the biggest, most storage-packed, premium Apple handset. To make the choice simpler, it’s finest to grasp which telephones pack which {hardware} and software program options and whether or not the iPhone 11 Professional is a considerable sufficient improve to be price shelling out, at a minimal, an additional $300.

We’ve highlighted the three standout elements of the Professional and its bigger Max variant in addition to the three most disappointing options of these telephones. That method, you’ll know what you get whenever you shell out for the dearer iPhone, and you may resolve whether or not it might make sense to get the usual 11 as an alternative or maintain off on upgrading fully.

Picture by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Greatest: important battery life enhancements

Some of the essential options of any new smartphone is enhancements to battery life, and Apple has really made fairly a leap right here with the iPhone 11 Professional. The machine now lasts 4 hours longer than the iPhone XS from final yr, with the Max variant getting a rise in battery life of 5 hours.

That leaves you with 18 hours of video playback, 11 hours of streaming video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback. On the usual iPhone 11, you’re getting one hour docked from every of the video playback metrics however the identical audio playback size. It seems the iPhone 11 is retaining the battery enhancements Apple made to the iPhone XR that made it even higher than its XS variants final yr, however the firm is placing extra battery advantages towards the Professional this time round.

That’s good to see, because it offers the pricier Professional an apparent benefit over the usual iPhone 11, albeit a marginal one. Apple can now say the iPhone 11 Professional has the most effective battery of any iPhone, and the four-hour and five-hour jumps over the XS and XS Max, respectively, are robust causes to improve when you’re somebody who burns by way of your telephone battery earlier than the solar units.

Picture by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Whereas higher battery life is a pleasant perk, Apple has more and more leaned on its digicam tech to market its latest and costliest iPhones. That’s maybe more true of the iPhone 11 Professional than another cell machine within the firm’s historical past. This go-around, the flagship iPhone has a triple-camera system in comparison with the usual iPhone 11’s dual-camera setup. You get one ultra-wide angle 12-megapixel digicam, one normal vast 12-megapixel one, in addition to a 12-megapixel telephoto.

The true benefit right here is within the added telephoto lens, which the iPhone 11 doesn’t have. That provides iPhone 11 Professional customers 2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, and as much as 10x digital zoom. These zoom benefits carry over to video, the place the iPhone 11 Professional has 6x digital zoom and the identical optical zoom over the usual 11’s 2x optical zoom out and 3x digital zoom. You additionally get twin optical picture stabilization on the Professional, because of the telephoto lens working in tandem with the usual vast one.

How do all these numbers meaningfully translate to precise product options? Nicely, the Professional could make use of these three lenses concurrently to allow images tips you possibly can’t get on the usual iPhone 11. The one Apple particularly talked about onstage is known as Deep Fusion, a computational images characteristic coming later this yr the corporate says will mix 9 images, together with one long-exposure shot, right into a composite that features the most effective options of every, all aided by synthetic intelligence.

One other characteristic of the Professional makes use of the additional digicam to zoom in on topics in movies based mostly on the supply of audio, whereas video recording could be manually carried out by any one of many cameras for extra artistic freedom round the feel and appear of iPhone video. Portrait mode images will also be captured with both the usual digicam or the telephoto one.

Past these options and the added zoom functionality, the iPhone 11 Professional shares virtually each different digicam ingredient with the usual iPhone 11. That’s considerably of a departure in how Apple has handled its lineup of smartphone cameras up to now, with the corporate normally reserving its higher cameras for the Plus variants beginning with the iPhone 7 Plus after which the flagship mannequin when it launched the iPhone X in 2017. Final yr, the XR featured only a single rear-facing digicam system whereas the XS and XS Max loved dual-camera ones.

This relative improve in digicam parity means each the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Professional will get Apple’s new Evening mode, which is able to artificially brighten low-light images, and the “Slofie,” Apple’s profitable try at making a cringey portmanteau for the slo-mo selfie. Each share the identical normal and ultra-wide cameras on the again and the 12-megapixel TrueDepth digicam on the entrance.

Picture by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Greatest: prettier, denser OLED display

If having the most effective smartphone display you should buy nonetheless issues to you, then excellent news: Apple remains to be utilizing its flagship iPhones to supply the newest and best in cell show tech. The iPhone 11 Professional will include what Apple calls a Tremendous Retina XDR show in both 5.eight inches or 6.5 inches for the Max. Whereas there doesn’t seem like an enormous distinction between the Tremendous Retina XDR and the Liquid Retina HD on the iPhone 11, it stays an OLED versus LCD resolution.

With the iPhone X, Apple determined to maneuver to OLED for its pricier variant. Whereas the corporate managed to maneuver its edge-to-edge design all the way down to its cheaper telephones beginning with the XR, there might be a drop in high quality whenever you go from the Tremendous Retina XDR (2436 x 1125 pixel decision at 458 ppi) to the Liquid Retina HD (1792 x 828 pixel decision at 326 ppi).

Picture by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Worst: Boring coloration choices in contrast with the iPhone 11

It feels a bit unfair to gripe about coloration schemes as a “worst” characteristic of a brand new Apple product, however that is the second yr in a row the corporate has supplied up a variety of colourful, eye-popping choices for the usual iPhone and stiffed followers of its higher-end handsets by sticking with the identical previous area grey, silver, and rose gold variants. This time round, those that purchase the Professional do have the choice of the brand new “midnight green” coloration, which seems to be a lot nicer in real-world images than it did on the Apple stay stream.

However a random, one-off darkish inexperienced isn’t sufficient to dispel the notion that Apple appears to suppose its apparently serious-minded Professional customers don’t like playful colours. It could be good to have all of the perks of a Professional in a casing as distinctive because the Product Crimson shade, the intense yellow, or lighter mint-style inexperienced ones.


Love how Apple positions a budget iPhone w/ cool colours for enjoyable individuals who appear to have fulfilling and energetic lives and all of the lame nerds like me who purchase the Professional get simply variations of gray (and for some cause military inexperienced) and a spec sheet.

— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) September 10, 2019

I perceive a difficulty like that is doubtless associated to Apple’s manufacturing course of. Its pricier telephones have completely different finishes and use barely completely different blends of supplies, and it might require a fairly costly retooling of its manufacturing strains to supply an iPhone 11 Professional Max in vivid crimson versus normal area grey or silver. But it surely’s a real disgrace that Apple forces its customers to make such drastic compromises over one thing so simple as coloration alternative, which finally ends in some shoppers spending $1,000 or extra on a tool that appears painfully plain.

Picture by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Worst: Not many “pro” advantages to assist it stand out

That is maybe a extra controversial tackle the iPhone 11 Professional, however its characteristic set and the differentiating components that separate it from the usual iPhone 11 didn’t appear to scream “pro” to me. For one, it’s not even clear what a professional smartphone is meant to appear to be. What does come to thoughts is an exorbitant Samsung machine just like the Galaxy Observe 10 Plus that comes with a large show, stylus help, and different options ostensibly marketed towards cell energy customers.

The iPhone 11 Professional didn’t get its personal devoted Pencil stylus (and it’s not clear it ever ought to). As a substitute, Apple’s argument appeared to heart on images and videography, with the iPhone 11 Professional positioned as a greater media creation machine for artists and on-line content material creators. However the dual-camera and triple-camera methods on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Professional don’t appear completely different sufficient to warrant one being labeled a tool for professionals and the opposite for amateurs. Each might be able to Evening mode and a overwhelming majority of the identical Portrait mode tips, slow-motion seize, and video recording options.

That makes the $300 hole between the most cost effective iPhone 11 and the most cost effective iPhone 11 Professional an more and more robust promote. You’re getting a nicer display, these further digicam options, and extra premium construct high quality. Apple additionally reserves its 512GB choice for the Professional, which maybe is vital to the category of creator that primarily makes use of a smartphone and shoots a mind-boggling quantity of 4K video.

But Apple didn’t make a convincing argument that this model of its dearer iPhone is one way or the other now pro-grade (and subsequently price the additional money) when it feels prefer it follows the corporate’s acquainted annual refresh sample. In any case, the iPhone XR grew to become Apple’s best-selling smartphone final yr largely by justifying its price ticket and present as a coherent various to different equally priced flagships. In the meantime, the XS, and now the Professional, exist predominately to be essentially the most premium iPhone, and that’s a pitch that grows much less convincing yearly.

Picture by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Worst: No USB-C this yr

Contemplating the magnitude of iPhone leaks that now happen each month of the yr, it was no shock that Apple’s iPhone 11 arrived with the identical, irritating Lightning port. We knew again in February of this yr that it was doubtless that Apple would persist with Lightning for its 2019 smartphones, and that was kind of set in stone by the summer season through further leaks and experiences.

But it surely’s nonetheless price griping over the truth that Apple’s laptops and tablets now use a distinct set of ports than its smartphones following the change to USB-C on the iPad Professional final fall. Making issues even weirder, the brand new iPhone 11 Professional ships with a faster-charging 18W wall charger that comes with, you guessed it, a USB-C port.

Fortunately, Apple features a Lightning to USB-C cable within the field so the 2 included units play good. And whereas that’s a effective gesture, it additionally underlines the sorry state of Apple’s ecosystem: most iPhone customers that additionally use Macs doubtless already personal certainly one of Apple’s $20 cables or its $20 USB to USB-C adapter simply so the iPhone could be plugged right into a MacBook. It’s dongle hell on the market and due time that Apple makes our lives simpler by making the complete transition to USB-C as quickly as attainable.


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