An iPhone With a Periscope Lens Could Significantly Boost Optical Zoom

One of the iPhone models that's coming two years from now in 2022 will feature a "periscope" lens, according to information shared today by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often provides accurate insight into Apple's plans.

2022 is a long way off, but periscope lens technology is already built into some smartphones on the market, giving us an idea of what we can expect from the ‌iPhone‌ feature when it launches. A periscope lens offers optical zoom capabilities not otherwise possible in a smartphone camera, allowing for 5x or even 10x optical zoom.

First and foremost, Kuo has very little to say about Apple's plans for a periscope lens, with the information limited to one sentence: "The new 2H22 ‌iPhone‌ will feature a periscope." Due to the lack of information, we have no idea at this time what Apple's periscope lens might be capable of, aside from an increase in optical zoom capabilities.

At the current time, Apple's higher-end iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max models feature a telephoto lens capable of 2x zoom capabilities, but a periscope lens will go even further.

How a Periscope Lens Works

It's not clear how Apple plans to implement a periscope lens, but in general, the technology uses a prism or mirror to refract light onto the lens sensor for magnification purposes, with the mechanics of the lens built into the inside of the smartphone instead of the outside like a traditional zoom lens for a DSLR.

The 5x periscope lens in the Huawei P30 Pro from an iFixit teardown

Periscope lens technology has advanced enough that in smartphones, the lenses are compact and small enough to fit into a normal lens enclosure and don't even take up too much internal space. Depending on the build of the phone and internal space available, a periscope lens could theoretically be quite long, allowing for impressive levels of optical zoom.

Another look inside the Huawei P30 Pro and its periscope lens

Optical vs. Digital Zoom

The ‌iPhone‌'s telephoto lens is limited to 2x optical zoom, but digital zoom is available up to 10x. Optical zoom capabilities use the lens to capture a close-up image, so pictures taken with optical zoom remain crisp and clear.

Digital zoom is basically cropping in to an image taken with a wider-angle lens, resulting in blurriness and artifacts that often make the photo undesirable due to the lack of detail.

The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro offer 0.5x zoom (ultra wide-angle lens) and 1x zoom (wide-angle lens) alongside the 2x telephoto lens. With a periscope lens, Apple would presumably bump up the telephoto lens capabilities to allow it to zoom in further than 2x.

The periscope lens would likely be limited to the telephoto camera, as this technology works best in a single lens situation. So you'd have a single camera that can zoom in super far alongside other more standard wide-angle and ultra wide-angle cameras.

Existing Smartphones with Periscope Lenses

Periscope-style lenses for advanced optical zooming capabilities are trending right now, and several manufacturers have implemented the technology. Apple's main competitor, Samsung, just introduced the Galaxy S20 Ultra with hybrid 10x optical zoom capabilities.

Huawei has come out with the P30 Pro, which also offers 5x true optical zoom and 10x hybrid optical zoom, and the company is rumored to be working on a P40 Pro that has even more advanced true 10x optical zoom capabilities. Oppo too is said to be planning a smartphone with 10x optical zoom.

Huawei P30 Pro 10x hybrid optical zoom via DxOMark

Samsung calls the zoom functionality in the S20 Ultra "Space Zoom" and it enables up to 100x digital zoom. The periscope lens itself uses a folded 4x telephoto lens combined with a 48-megapixel sensor, which can swap between 4x and 10x zoom. Samsung's zoom feature is technically a hybrid option because it uses some sensor cropping for the 10x zoom.

The 100x zoom capability uses digital zooming technology that we thought worked quite well up to 30x, but is not particularly useful at 100x. Apple, like Samsung, could combine digital zoom with optical zoom for a similar effect.

So far, periscope zoom lenses in smartphones that are truly 10x don't seem to be available, but the technology is certainly on the verge of launching, and Huawei's rumored P40 Pro may be the first with 10x optical zoom. The technology should be even more advanced by the time Apple is ready to build it into a smartphone in 2022.

Apple Patents for Periscope Lens Technology

Apple has patented technology related to periscoping smartphone camera lenses, so this is certainly something the company has experimented with and considered.

A 2016 patent, for example, describes a folded telephoto camera lens system that includes multiple lenses with refractive power and a light path folding element in the form of a mirror.

According to the description included in the patent, light would be channeled into the camera through a primary lens, bounced off of the included mirror in the smartphone, and then would be sent to a secondary lens that moves up and down for the purpose of zooming in.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Impact on Apple’s iPhone, Mac and WWDC

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has been spreading around the world since January, and so far, it has had a major impact on Apple's device production and device sales in affected countries like China.

As the virus continues to move through the United States and other countries, it could lead to production and supply problems for several months, and it could cause events like WWDC to be canceled. This guide covers everything that we know about COVID-19's impact on Apple.

Coronavirus Explained

SARS-CoV-2 is a virus in the coronavirus family that surfaced in Wuhan, China in December of 2019, and the illness that it causes is COVID-19. It is believed that the virus originated at a seafood market where exotic animal meats were sold, though Chinese scientists have suggested that it may have originated elsewhere and then spread in the market.

Genetically, SARS-CoV-2 has been found to have a similarity to coronaviruses in bats, which is the animal it may have originated from, though researchers believe a secondary animal such as a pangolin was involved in the transmission.

SARS-CoV-2 is known as a coronavirus because of its shape, which is circular with protruding club-shaped spike peplomars that look similar to the corona aura that surrounds the sun and other stars.

Coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections, and while many coronaviruses in humans cause mild problems similar to a cold, rarer versions are more dangerous. Other examples of coronaviruses that have raised alarms in the past include SARS and MERS, both of which were deadlier than SARS-CoV-2, but not as widespread. Symptoms include fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath.

Regardless of where SARS-CoV-2 came from, the virus has infected over 95,000 people and killed more than 3,000, primarily in China. It has spread to over 50 locations around the world, including the United States, and in the U.S. specifically, there have been cases of community transmission, where medical professionals are unsure of how the virus was contracted.

Many younger people who contract COVID-19 have recovered, but because this is a new virus, there are still many unknowns, and older people who are more prone to respiratory issues have not fared as well. There are also unknowns about the extent of the transmissibility of the virus, which has led to events worldwide being canceled as it spreads.

For those who want more information on the COVID-19 outbreak, the CDC's website is a good source.

Coronavirus Impact on Apple's Device Sales

When news of COVID-19 spread in late January and infection numbers began to rise, Apple shut down all retail stores, corporate offices, and contact centers in China for two or more weeks.

Many of the stores started reopening in late February, but there are still some store locations that remained closed into March, while other stores that reopened in February are operating on reduced hours.

Closing stores, operating on reduced hours, government-imposed travel bans and quarantines, and the public's fear over contracting coronavirus in public spaces have led to less foot traffic in stores in China, which has significantly impacted Apple's sales in the country.

Coronavirus Impact on Apple's Device Production

Many of Apple's suppliers in China were forced to shut down production for several weeks in early February, with the factory closures coming right after the Lunar New Year holiday. Main iPhone suppliers that include Foxconn and Pegatron were closed for quite some time because an outbreak of COVID-19 at a supplier campus where workers live in close quarters would be devastating.

Apple's factories were up and running by mid to late February for the most part, but travel restrictions from heavily impacted areas in China, mandatory quarantines, and low labor return rates led to delays with factories ramping up to full production. Outbreaks in new countries like South Korea have also led to factory closures.

Supplier issues have already led to some Apple products having long ship times, such as build-to-order versions of the iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro, and this could be more of a problem in coming months as existing component supplies dwindle.

Analysts have lowered their estimated device shipments for the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus, and the overall impact of the coronavirus throughout the rest of 2020 remains to be seen.

Rumors suggest that Apple plans to move forward with the launch of the rumored low-cost iPhone that's expected in March, but it's possible there could be some supply issues. Also at risk is the 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup, which Apple begins working on much earlier in the year.

Apple has implemented travel restrictions for its employees, and employees have not been able to travel to China to begin the preparation process that takes place ahead of when new iPhones are manufactured. In February, Apple employees typically travel to China to perfect their manufacturing processes with partners like Foxconn, and delays have the potential to eat into the time that Apple needs to finalize orders for chips and other ‌iPhone‌ components.

It is not yet known if and how these issues will cause production problems with Apple's 2020 iPhones, but so far, rumors suggest Apple is still on track to launch the new iPhones in fall 2020.

Device production on current and upcoming devices will continue to be impacted well into April, and reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo does not believe that ‌iPhone‌ production will significantly improve until the second quarter of 2020.

Apple's Response to Coronavirus

Apple in January announced plans to donate to money to groups dedicated to fighting the COVID-19 outbreak in China, and later, Apple CEO Tim Cook said it would more than double the company's donation.

As mentioned before, Apple temporarily closed all corporate offices and retail stores in China in response to the virus. Corporate offices are now reopened, and stores are in the process of reopening.

According to Apple CEO ‌Tim Cook‌, Apple's chief concern is the health and safety of its employees, supply chain partners, customers, and communities in which it operates, with Apple prioritizing people over revenue.

March Revenue Cuts

Apple in mid-February announced that its financial guidance for the March quarter would fall short due to the COVID-19 outbreak. During the January earnings call, Apple said it expected to see revenue of $63 to $67 billion in the March quarter, but that is no longer a goal the company will be able to meet.

Apple cited lower customer demand in China and constrained ‌iPhone‌ supplies worldwide as the factors leading to lower than expected revenue. We won't know the full extent of the coronavirus's impact on sales until Apple's next earnings call, expected to take place in April.

Apple Stock

Apple's stock has been fluctuating wildly due to uncertainty caused by the spread of COVID-19. On February 16, Apple's stock hit an all-time high closing price of $327.20, but by February 28, it had dropped as low as the $260s. As of March 2, it was back up to $298 a share.

Stock prices may continue to ping pong back and forth as analysts and shareholders attempt to determine the long-term impact of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus and WWDC

With COVID-19 now spreading across the world, many companies have been canceling or postponing major events that would see people gathering in large numbers.

Mobile World Congress, a major smartphone trade show that takes place in February, was the first to be canceled. The Game Developers Conference, a major gaming event set to take place in San Francisco in March, has been canceled, Google's I/O event has been nixed, and Facebook also recently canceled F8, its annual developers conference that would have happened in May.

The cancellation of F8 is of particular interest because it is an event that's very similar to WWDC. F8 attracts around 5,000 people and it was set to be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, which is also where Apple now hosts WWDC.

F8 was set to take place on May 5 and 6, which is just about a month ahead of when Apple is expected to hold WWDC this year. Apple has not provided firm dates for WWDC in 2020, but based on past year's events, we are expecting Apple to hold it from June 8 to June 12.

Given that Facebook has canceled F8, Apple could be considering a similar move, but at this time, there is no word on whether the event might be postponed or canceled. If WWDC does end up being canceled, Apple may opt to share all of its developer information online while holding a small keynote just for media to announce new software and products.

Similarly, there's also no word on how the coronavirus will affect Apple's plans for a March event, if there are indeed plans for an event in late March.

In Cupertino, California, which is where Apple's campuses are located, there have been reports of multiple coronavirus infections without a known source. These cases are believed to be community transmission cases as the people in question have not traveled to a country with a known outbreak nor have they had contact with people who had an infection from travel.

How COVID-19 spreads in the Bay Area will dictate what Apple decides to do in the coming weeks.

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Apple’s Working on a Smart Keyboard With Trackpad for the iPad: Here’s What You Need to Know

Apple is rumored to be working on a new version of the Smart Keyboard that includes a trackpad for the first time, which goes even further towards positioning the iPad as a replacement for a Mac.

In the guide below, we cover everything that we know about Apple's new ‌Smart Keyboard‌ plans, including compatible devices, when it might launch, and more.

A mockup of a ‌Smart Keyboard‌ with Trackpad

‌Smart Keyboard‌ Trackpad Rumors

Apple has been experimenting with trackpad keyboard options for the iPad Pro for several years, according to a recent report from The Information, and is finally ready to release a new ‌Smart Keyboard‌ that includes a trackpad.

There's no word on what the specific design will look like, but in the mockups above, we've imagined a version that is similar to the current ‌iPad Pro‌ ‌Smart Keyboard‌ but with a space-saving design that moves the keyboard up to accommodate a trackpad at the bottom.

A mockup of a ‌Smart Keyboard‌ with Trackpad

It's similar in design to the keyboard that Microsoft has designed for the Microsoft Surface as the Surface has a form factor that's similar to the ‌iPad Pro‌.

The new ‌Smart Keyboard‌ is expected to be made from materials similar to those in Apple's current ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio design, which includes waterproof keys covered with a polyurethane material.

Current ‌Smart Keyboard‌ for ‌iPad Pro‌

The Information suggests that Apple has designed prototype keyboards that feature capacitive keys, but it's not known if this feature is included in the final product.

Other Expected ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Features

A recent rumor from DigiTimes did not mention a trackpad, but did say that Apple is working on an iPad Pro Smart Keyboard with backlit keys and scissor switches, which could also be features that might be included in the trackpad ‌Smart Keyboard‌ that The Information outlined.

Backlighting and scissor switches would likely result in a keyboard that has thicker keys with more travel than the keys on the current ‌Smart Keyboard‌ options.

Scissor switches were used in MacBook keyboards until 2015, when Apple introduced the first keyboard with butterfly switches. Butterfly switches turned out to be a huge disaster, however, due to their penchant for failure when exposed to dust and other small particulates. Apple is facing lawsuits over the butterfly keyboard and has implemented a repair program that covers every Mac equipped with a butterfly keyboard.

With the 16-inch MacBook Pro that was released in October 2019, Apple reverted to using a keyboard with more reliable scissor switches, and the MacBook keyboard lineup is expected to return to scissor keys. Whether Apple will also transition the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ to scissor switches also remains to be seen as we haven't heard. a second rumor about it.

Compatible Devices

It sounds like the new ‌Smart Keyboard‌ with Trackpad will be released alongside updated ‌iPad Pro‌ models set to come out during the first half of 2020.

The new ‌iPad Pro‌ models are expected to be the same size as the current ‌iPad Pro‌ models (11 and 12.9-inches), with the only design change being a square-shaped camera cutout. Because the designs will be the same, it's possible the new ‌Smart Keyboard‌ that has a trackpad will be compatible with 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ models as well.

This is not confirmed, however, and compatibility will depend on the overall design Apple goes with. If there is a back cover with the keyboard, it could be limited to the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models due to the new camera design.

‌Smart Keyboard‌ Trackpad Launch Date

Multiple rumors have suggested Apple is planning to launch new ‌iPad Pro‌ models in the first half of 2020, perhaps as early as March. Back in February, one rumor indicated Apple is planning an event for March 31, so that could be the date that we see new products unveiled.

The new ‌Smart Keyboard‌ with a trackpad will likely launch alongside new ‌iPad Pro‌ models.

It is not known if production issues caused by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak will have an impact on Apple's plans to release the ‌iPad Pro‌ and accompanying ‌Smart Keyboard‌ early in 2020.

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Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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Everything You Need to Know About the Apple Pencil

Apple in 2015 unveiled the first iPad Pro, which came with an optional stylus called the Apple Pencil. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was famously against styluses, but the Apple Pencil has proven to be a useful tool for note taking, sketching, and more.

The Apple Pencil has stuck around since 2015, and as of today, it is compatible with Apple's entire current iPad lineup. In the guide below, we cover everything you need to know about the Apple Pencil.

What is the Apple Pencil?

The Apple Pencil is an Apple-designed stylus that works with Apple's iPads. It's called the Apple Pencil because of its resemblance to a traditional pencil, albeit with a definitively Apple-esque design.

There's a small plastic tip (which can be replaced) that connects with the ‌iPad‌'s display, a pencil-like body to hold onto, and a charging mechanism. In the original Apple Pencil, there's a Lightning connector, but the second-generation model charges magnetically.

The Apple Pencil is used in lieu of a finger for precision tasks like writing and sketching, and it can also be used for navigating through the operating system. It's excellent for drawings, art creation, note taking, and similar tasks because it's precise, has palm rejection, and offers pressure and tilt sensitivity.

In a nutshell, the Apple Pencil is meant to work like a traditional pencil, but instead of writing on paper, you write on the ‌iPad‌'s display. You can put your hand right on the ‌iPad‌ while you write, which, for a long time, was functionality other styluses were not able to accurately replicate.

What are the differences between Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2?

There are two versions of the Apple Pencil, the first version released in 2015 and the second version released in 2018. The two do the same thing, but have different designs and charging mechanisms.

The biggest difference between them is their device compatibility - Apple Pencil 2 works with the 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ models and Apple Pencil 1 works with everything else.

Original Apple Pencil

The second-generation Apple Pencil is sleeker, smaller, and more compact than the original Apple Pencil because it has no Lightning port at the end. It's designed to charge through the ‌iPad Pro‌ magnetically, so you stick it on the right side of the ‌iPad Pro‌ in the flat area to initiate charging.

Apple Pencil 2

With the original Apple Pencil, there's a Lightning connector that lets it plug into the Lightning port of an ‌iPad‌ for charging purposes, which is inconvenient because of the size of the Apple Pencil. Apple also includes an adapter with the Apple Pencil 1 so you can charge it with any Lightning cable.

Apple Pencil 2 has a more pencil-like design because it has a flat side and a sanded design that improves the texture. The Apple Pencil 1 is smooth and round. Apple Pencil 2 also supports touch gestures for swapping between tools, something not possible with the original Apple Pencil.

Though there are different charging mechanisms and bells and whistles, Apple Pencil 1 and 2 fundamentally work in the same way and have the same general feature set.

What devices are compatible with Apple Pencil?

The original Apple Pencil, manufactured from 2015 on with the round body design and Lightning connector is compatible with the following devices:

  • iPad Air (3rd generation)

  • ‌iPad‌ mini (5th generation)

  • ‌iPad‌ (7th generation)

  • ‌iPad‌ (6th generation)

  • ‌iPad Pro‌ 12.9-inch (2nd generation)

  • ‌iPad Pro‌ 12.9-inch (1st generation)

  • ‌iPad Pro‌ 10.5-inch

  • ‌iPad Pro‌ 9.7-inch

The second-generation Apple Pencil with a smaller footprint and magnetic charging capabilities is compatible with the following devices:

  • ‌iPad Pro‌ 12.9-inch (3rd generation)

  • ‌iPad Pro‌ 11-inch

The original Apple Pencil cannot be used with the 11 and 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ models released in 2018, and the newer Apple Pencil does not work with older iPads.

What are the Apple Pencil's features?

The Apple Pencil has a rich feature set, allowing it to be used for any precision task, or as a replacement for a finger when navigating through iOS.

The need to know features are below:

  • Palm Rejection - When the Apple Pencil is connected to the ‌iPad‌, it only recognizes the Apple Pencil tip and not your hand or your finger, allowing you to write or sketch comfortably.

  • Pressure Sensitivity - Depending on how much pressure is placed on the ‌iPad‌ while writing or drawing, a line can be thicker or thinner. Apple doesn't provide a specific pressure sensitivity level for the Apple Pencil.

  • Tilt Sensitivity - Apple Pencil is designed to work like a regular pencil, so if you hold it at an angle and press the side of the tip alongside the ‌iPad‌ for something like shading, it works. The Apple Pencil knows its general orientation and how it's being tilted.

  • Pencil-Like Weighting - Apple designed the Apple Pencil to have a pencil-like feel in the hand, and it is weighted to feel like a real writing instrument.

  • Low Latency - Apple Pencil has super low latency, which means that when you write on the ‌iPad‌, there's no delay between the movement of the pencil and what appears on the display. Apple Pencil latency is as low as 9ms on iPads with 120Hz displays (the ‌iPad Pro‌ models from 2017 and later).

  • Precision - Apple Pencil is precise, so it is accurate down to the pixel. That means there's no offsetting between where the pencil is located and what's shown on the screen.

  • Simple Pairing - There's no need to fuss with Bluetooth with Apple Pencil. It connects automatically. Just plug in the first version or attach the second version to the ‌iPad Pro‌.

  • Touch Gestures (V2 only) - The second-generation version of the Apple Pencil supports touch gestures. With a double tap, the Apple Pencil 2 can swap between tools in apps, useful because it allows for quick switching between a pen tool and eraser tool, as an example.

  • Magnetic Charging (V2 only) - Apple Pencil 2 charges through a magnetic connection to the ‌iPad Pro‌. Apple Pencil 1 does not have this feature and charges through a Lightning connector.

Where can Apple Pencil be used?

Apple Pencil can be used as a finger replacement to do things like open apps, scroll, and more, but support for Apple Pencil is also built into iPadOS. There are several unique Apple Pencil features worth being aware of for those thinking about an Apple Pencil purchase.

  • Screenshots - If you take a screenshot on your ‌iPad‌ and then tap it when a preview appears in the corner, you can draw and write on it using the Apple Pencil through a feature called Markup.

  • Markup - Markup is the Apple feature that lets you write on screenshots, but it also works across the operating system in various apps. In Mail, you can edit photos or PDFs (it's great for signing documents), in Messages, you can draw on photos, in the Photos app, you can add captions and drawings to images, and in Books, you can edit PDFs.
Apple Pencil also works with tons of third-party apps for note taking, drawing, sketching, and more. You can find these apps by searching for Apple Pencil in the App Store on the ‌iPad‌, but below we've listed some standouts.

  • Procreate ($9.99) - Ideal for sketching, drawing, and art creation. Simple enough for beginners, but powerful enough for professionals.

  • Notability ($8.99) - Notability is a note taking app that's been around for a long time. It has all kinds of features for writing, sketching, annotating PDFs, and more, plus there are plenty of paper styles and it can scan documents, record audio clips, and more.

  • Pixelmator ($4.99) - If you like to edit photos on your ‌iPad‌, Pixelmator is worth checking out. It supports Apple Pencil, and the Apple Pencil is a great tool for precision edits.

  • Pigment (Free with in-app purchases) - If you like to color and find it relaxing, there are tons of coloring apps for the Apple Pencil like Pigment.

  • Adobe Photoshop Sketch (Free) - Adobe Photoshop Sketch is a pared down version of Photoshop that's optimized for artists who like to sketch and draw. It has a bunch of brushes and supports brushes from Photoshop, plus useful color mixing features and layers support. Adobe also has a full Photoshop app for the ‌iPad‌.

  • Linea Sketch ($4.99) - If you like to jot down ideas and make quick drawings, Linea Sketch is easy to learn, easy to use, and has a useful range of tools for you to take advantage of.

How is the Apple Pencil different from other styluses?

Prior to when the Apple Pencil came out, styluses either had a fine hard tip and were battery powered to activate the capacitive display of the ‌iPad‌, or had a wide, rubber finger-shaped tip that was not accurate.

A pre-Apple Pencil stylus

Palm rejection was all done via software by individual app creators and it didn't work reliably, plus connections were all done via Bluetooth rather than the automatic process that the Apple Pencil uses.

Many styluses on the market that are not the Apple Pencil are still have these kinds of tips that are nowhere near as accurate as the Apple Pencil and can't offer the same simple charging and palm rejection features, but there are now some more affordable Apple Pencil alternatives that have Apple Pencil-like functionality.

What Apple Pencil alternatives are available?

There are a few non-Apple made styluses on the market that have some of the same capabilities as the Apple Pencil, but for a more affordable price. These options aren't as feature rich as the Apple Pencil and don't have the same simple design, but the base functionality is there.

The Logitech Crayon

  • Logitech Crayon ($55) - Designed by Logitech, the Crayon was originally meant to be a cheaper version of the Apple Pencil for students to use with the low-cost ‌iPad‌. It's now available to anyone. It works just like the Apple Pencil and offers the same palm rejection, latency, and tilt support, but it does not include pressure sensitivity.

  • Adonit Note ($43) - The Adonit Note is similar to the Apple Pencil, offering the same small tip, excellent latency, and palm rejection, but there is no pressure sensitivity.

  • Adonit Note+ ($62) - The Adonit Note+ is similar to the Adonit Note, but it includes 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and two configurable shortcut buttons.

What apps are compatible with Apple Pencil?

Any first or third-party app is compatible with the Apple Pencil, but it is designed for writing, drawing, and sketching apps where handwritten content is appropriate. The Apple Pencil can also be used in place of a fingertip for navigating through ‌iPadOS‌.

Is the Apple Pencil worth the money?

For anyone who wants to take advantage of the ‌iPad‌ for drawing, sketching, note taking, or other similar activities, the Apple Pencil is absolutely worth the money, but for those who don't need all of the advanced features, there are some similar styluses on the market like the much more affordable Logitech Crayon.

Does Apple Pencil work with iPhone?

The Apple Pencil and Apple Pencil 2 are only compatible with iPads and will not work with the ‌iPhone‌. The Apple Pencil requires a display built for it, which iPhones do not have.

Will Apple make an Apple Pencil for ‌iPhone‌?

There have been rumors here and there suggesting Apple could develop a version of the Apple Pencil for the ‌iPhone‌, specifically ahead of the release of the 2019 ‌iPhone‌ lineup, but we haven't heard much since then and there has been no concrete information indicating such a product is in the works.

Apple could potentially be planning on a stylus for the ‌iPhone‌ in the future, but it doesn't look like it's coming in the near future and it's not something that we expect to see for the 2020 iPhones.

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iPhone: 2019 Buyer’s Guide

In 2007, Apple launched the original iPhone, kickstarting the modern smartphone era which is now dominated by the Apple iPhone and Google Android platforms. We've had 12 years of iPhones so far, with the latest models, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, having launched in October of 2019. Apple follows an annual update cycle, introducing new high-end flagship models while often discounting prior-year models and selling them at more affordable price points.

iPhone vs Android

Over the years, the Android and iPhone platforms have evolved to the point where feature-wise, they're similar in function. Android smartphones are made by multiple manufacturers, but the operating system is provided by Google, which leads to a wider variety of phones and price points to choose from, but poorer integration between software and hardware.

Apple's control of both the iPhone and the operating system (iOS) results in a more consistent experience plus ongoing support. With iOS 13, Apple supports all iPhones that were introduced in the last four years, so the majority of active iPhone owners can and do upgrade to the newest version of iOS that Apple rolls out each year.

Android updates, though, are are more inconsistent and often don't make it to all Android-based smartphones because each manufacturer has to implement support on an individual basis. So while Google also does yearly Android updates, the reality is that a lot of older Android smartphones don't get the new software.

With Apple's control and curation of the iPhone experience, the iPhone is largely considered to be the more secure platform, and Apple has made it a point to focus heavily on privacy. Apple's iOS is, however, less customizable than Android, so for individuals who prefer flexibility and customization options, the Android operating system may be worth looking at.

How do iPhone Updates Work?

Here are the basics you should know about how Apple updates the iPhone and the iOS operating system.

Each fall, usually in September, Apple releases a new series of flagship smartphones. These often come at high prices and feature the latest technologies, with Apple offering one super high-end model and one still high-end but more affordable model. Prior year iPhones often stick around with lower price points as cheaper alternatives to the latest and greatest technology.

At the current time, Apple's iPhone lineup includes the iPhone 8 (2017), iPhone XR (2018), iPhone 11 (2019), iPhone 11 Pro (2019), and iPhone 11 Pro Max (2019).

Apple also debuts an updated version of iOS at the same time that new iPhones launch, but new versions of iOS are pre-introduced every year at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference to give developers time to incorporate new features and technologies into their apps ahead of when the software becomes available to the public.

In 2020, Apple will introduce iOS 14 in June, letting developers and public beta testers try out the software early. iOS 14 will see its official public launch alongside new iPhones in the fall of 2020.

In this guide, we go over all of the iPhones that are in the current Apple lineup, offer up some buying suggestions, and provide tips and resources for both new and existing iPhone owners.

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max ($999+)

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are Apple's current flagship devices, with the top of the line features and the most bells and whistles.

Pricing on the iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999, while pricing on the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1,099. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are identical with the exception of screen sizes and some minor differences in battery life.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch display and can accommodate a larger battery due to its bigger screen size, while the iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8-inch display.

Both have edge-to-edge OLED displays with slim bezels, a notch with TrueDepth front-facing camera systems for Face ID biometric authentication, glass bodies with stainless steel frames, the latest super fast A13 chips, IP68 water resistance (the highest offered in an iPhone), and a triple-lens camera system.

The triple-lens camera system is unique to the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, offering a telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens, and a super wide-angle lens that gives you a lot of versatility when taking shots.

You can use the telephoto lens to take close up shots and portraits, and then zoom out to the ultra wide-angle lens for amazing landscape and architecture shots. Night Mode, a feature that lets you get awesome shots even in super low lighting conditions, is also included.

Key Features:

  • Highest End, Highest Price

  • Triple Lens Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto

  • OLED Screen
Bottom Line: The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are the iPhones to choose if you want the absolute best camera capabilities that you can get in an iPhone. If you value an OLED display, these are Apple's only current devices with OLED.

iPhone 11 ($699+)

The iPhone 11, being sold alongside the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, is a new 2019 iPhone that features many of the same capabilities as the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, but with some notable downgrades to keep the price tag lower.

Priced starting at $699, the iPhone 11 features an LCD display instead of an OLED display and it has a dual-lens camera setup instead of a triple-lens camera setup. Size wise, the iPhone 11 is in between the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max at 6.1 inches, and it too supports Face ID with the TrueDepth camera system.

The LCD display doesn't offer the deeper blacks and HDR features available with the OLED display, but the iPhone 11's display is still quite good and one of the better smartphone LCD displays on the market. You can see a difference between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro when the two phones are side-by-side, but in everyday usage, the lack of OLED is less noticeable.

As far as the camera goes, the iPhone 11 has the wide-angle lens and the ultra wide-angle lens that's in the 11 Pro, but it does not have the third telephoto lens. The iPhone 11 has the same A13 chip that's in the iPhone 11 Pro, plus 4GB RAM.

The difference in the cameras doesn't matter much unless you're someone who often likes to take portraits and closer shots as it still has the ultra wide-camera, which is the new technology in 2019.

The iPhone 11 features a glass body but rather than the stainless steel frame of the 11 Pro, it has a less expensive aluminum frame. It also comes in a range of bright colors, while the 11 Pro is limited to Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Midnight Green.

Key Features:

  • Dual Lens Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide

  • LCD Screen

Bottom Line: The iPhone 11 is a solid phone for a much more affordable price than the iPhone 11 Pro. The differences between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are relatively minor for most people, but there's a $300 price difference.

iPhone XR ($599+)

Apple's iPhone XR was released in 2018, but Apple is continuing to sell it as a lower-cost alternative to the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.

Priced starting at $599, the iPhone XR has the same design as the iPhone 11, but with a single-lens camera instead of a dual-lens camera and a different range of color options.

Aside from these changes and some updates to the iPhone 11 display, the iPhone XR is identical to the iPhone 11 with TrueDepth camera system and Face ID, LCD display, glass body and and aluminum frame (with lesser water resistance), and wireless charging support.

It's using year-old technology, though, so it has an A12 chip instead of an A13 chip and cameras that aren't quite as good as the camera in iPhone 11, but at its price point, it's still a very capable device that's going to last for several years to come.

Key Features:

  • Previous Generation CPU

  • Single Lens Camera

  • LCD Screen

Bottom Line: The iPhone XR is a good choice if you like the feature set of the iPhone 11 but want to shell out slightly less money. We believe it's worth the $100 upgrade to the 11 if you take a lot of photos, but if you don't, there aren't too many differences between the 11 and the XR.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus ($449+)

The iPhone 8 was first introduced in 2017, so it's using two-year-old technology. It's the cheapest iPhone that Apple offers in its current lineup with pricing starting at $449, and it's also the sole iPhone that continues to offer a Touch ID Home button which uses fingerprint recognition for security.

The iPhone 8 has comparably thick bezels at the top and bottom of the device, housing the Home button at the bottom and the front-facing camera, speaker, and microphone at the top.

It features a 4.7-inch LCD display, but there's also an iPhone 8 Plus option (priced starting at $549) with a larger 5.5-inch LCD display. The iPhone 8 has a glass front and a glass back with an aluminum frame, and the glass body allows for wireless charging.

Inside, there's an A11 Bionic processor, which is two years older than the A13 processor in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, but it's still capable of performing well for everyday tasks like gaming, watching videos, messaging, using augmented reality apps, and more. There's also 2GB of RAM, the lowest in any of the available iPhones.

The iPhone 8 uses a single-lens 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, while the iPhone 8 Plus has a dual-lens camera setup with a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens for portrait shots.

The cameras aren't as good as the cameras that you'll find in the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Pro, but you still get Portrait mode (with the 8 Plus' telephoto lens) and some decent photographic capabilities with the wide-angle lens. LTE capabilities are also ultimately slower, but most people shouldn't notice this in day to day usage.

Key Features:

  • Two Year Old CPU

  • Only the "Plus" size iPhone 8 has a Dual Lens Camera

Bottom Line: The iPhone 8 is still a capable phone for a cheaper price. Based on Apple's history of support, the iPhone 8 will likely be supported for at least two years with the latest version of iOS, and it's the only iPhone Apple sells with Touch ID support.

Frequently Asked Questions

There's no one single iPhone that's best for everyone, as picking the right smartphone for you needs to take into account factors like budget, desired battery life, preferred feature set, and more.

If, for example, you're not a fan of Face ID and want to use Touch ID, you're going to want to choose an iPhone 8 model. If you want the absolute best photographic capabilities, you're going to want the iPhone 11 Pro, and if you want something that has a solid feature set at a great price, the iPhone 11 is what you'll want to look at.

Below, we've outlined some of the best iPhone choices based on different scenarios or features that you might be looking for.

Which iPhone Has the Best Battery Life?

With their more efficient A13 processors, the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max have the longest battery life of Apple's iPhones.

Of the three, the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max has the longest battery life because it has the space for a larger battery. It offers up to 20 hours of video playback, 12 hours of streaming video playback, and 80 hours of audio playback.

Comparatively, the iPhone 11 Pro offers up to 18 hours of video playback, 11 hours of streaming video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback. The more affordable iPhone 11 offers up to 17 hours of video playback, 10 hours of streaming video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback.

The iPhone XR offers battery life close to the iPhone 11, but the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus fall far behind with up to 13 and 14 hours of video playback, respectively.

Which iPhone Has the Best Camera?

With their updated triple-lens camera systems, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have the best iPhone cameras that you can get.

There's a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with a larger sensor and better autofocusing capabilities than previous iPhone models, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with an improved f/2.0 aperture for closer shots, and a new ultra wide-angle lens that offers up a 13mm focal length that's perfect for wide group shots, architecture, landscapes, and more.

The iPhone 11 Pro also features Night Mode for taking incredible photos in low lighting conditions, and Portrait Mode for shots where the background is blurred. Night Mode is easily one of the best camera improvements Apple has added in years, and it's an incredible feature to have for iPhone photographers.

The iPhone 11 gets an honorable mention here because it has the same wide-angle and ultra wide-angle cameras that are in the iPhone 11 Pro, but without the telephoto lens. It too does Night Mode, making this the best choice if you're looking for fantastic image quality on a budget.

Which iPhone Has Touch ID?

If you want an iPhone with Touch ID, your only option at this time is the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Apple stopped using Touch ID in 2017, and the 2018 and 2019 iPhone lineups have not included an updated Touch ID iPhone.

The good news is that rumors suggest Apple is working on an updated Touch ID iPhone, so it's possibly worth holding out for that if you want to upgrade to a Touch ID iPhone rather than a Face ID iPhone.

Which iPhone is the Best Value?

Unquestionably, it's the iPhone 11. Apple introduced a great feature set in the iPhone 11 while also keeping the price point below $700, and even less if you trade in an older model.

The iPhone 11 has the same camera setup as the iPhone 11 Pro (minus the telephoto lens) and the same super fast, super efficient A13 chip with 4GB RAM, Battery life is similar too (and incredible), plus it has the same TrueDepth front-facing camera system with Face ID, and it comes in a whole range of fun colors.

For most people, the iPhone 11 is a great deal and has all of the capabilities you could possibly want from an iPhone, so this is the best all-around iPhone to get if you want a modern feature set that will last.

The iPhone XR is fine if you're on a budget, but it's priced starting at $599. If you can swing the extra $100, the iPhone 11 is worth the upgrade for the updated camera technology, better water resistance, and the much-improved front-facing camera.

Which iPhone Has the Most Features?

If you want the iPhone with the most bells and whistles, that's the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. Compared to the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max offer OLED displays, triple lens cameras, a glass body with a stainless steel frame (compared to aluminum in the iPhone 11), better water resistance (four meters for up to 30 minutes), larger maximum storage capacities, and longer battery life.

In More Depth

Still not sure? We have deeper dives directly comparing the iPhone 11 vs iPhone Pro and the iPhone 11 vs iPhone XR. For full details on each phone, explore our roundups:

Upcoming iPhone Rumors

Apple is working on a few new iPhone products, including the 2020 flagship iPhone 12 devices and a new low-cost device that's being referred to as the "iPhone SE 2" because of its rumored price point.

In reality, the new "iPhone SE 2" is expected to be an iPhone 8 followup with an A13 chip, a single camera, and an affordable price tag. It's said to be coming in early 2020, while we can expect the iPhone 12 lineup in September 2020.

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When Might Apple Release an Arm-Based Mac?

There have been rumors suggesting Apple has an interest in Arm-based Macs for years now, but speculation about an Arm-based Mac has picked up over the course of the last year following rumors about Apple's work on its own chips designed for the Mac.

Right now, Apple is reliant on Intel for the processors used across its Mac lineup, but that is perhaps set to change in the future as Apple works to transition over to Arm-based chips similar to the A-series chips used in its iPhones and iPads.

Arm vs. Intel

Right now, Apple uses x86 chips from Intel in all of its Mac products, while its iPhones and iPads use Arm-based chips. x86 chips and Arm chips are built using different architectures.

Intel's chips are CISC (Complex Instruction Set Architecture) while Arm chips are RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer). As these names suggest, RISC instructions are essentially smaller and less complex than CISC instructions, which means Arm processors require less power and are more efficient carrying out computing tasks.

Arm chips have historically been seen as not powerful because x86 chips are designed for more robust desktop machines while Arm chips are designed more for lower power applications like mobile devices. Arm has historically focused on power efficiency, while Intel has historically focused on maximizing performance.

Ditching Intel

Apple has been using Intel's chips in its Mac lineup since 2006 after transitioning away from PowerPC processors. Because Apple is using Intel technology, Apple is subject to Intel's release timelines and chip delays.

Over the course of the last several years, there have been multiple instances where Intel has seen significant chip delays that have undoubtedly impacted Apple's product plans. Swapping over to its own house-made chips would allow Apple to release updates on its own schedule and with perhaps more frequent technology improvements.

Apple would also be able to differentiate its devices from competing products with chips designed by its own internal teams, introducing even tighter integration between hardware and software.

Apple's Arm-Based Chips for iOS Devices

Apple uses an Arm-based architecture for its A-series chips in the iPhone and iPad, and each year, those chips get faster and more efficient. In fact, when introducing the latest A12 and A13 chips, Apple has made it a point to emphasize that these chips are faster than many Intel-based chips in competing devices.

The 2018 iPad Pro models with A12X chips, for example, are close in speed to the 2018 15-inch MacBook Pro models.

With Apple closing the speed gap between Arm and x86, there's no reason why many of the company's notebook machines (and even desktop machines) couldn't be powered by Arm-based chips instead of standard Intel chips.

Apple's A-series chip packages also include custom-built GPUs, Secure Enclave, memory and storage controllers, machine learning processors, Image Signal Processing, custom encryption, and more, all of which could also be applied to Mac processors.

Arm Chips in Current Macs

The ‌MacBook Pro‌, MacBook Air, iMac Pro, Mac mini and upcoming Mac Pro are already equipped with Arm processors, in the form of the T1 and T2 chips that power the Touch Bar and other features in these machines.

The T2 chip in particular integrates several components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, SSD controller, and a Secure Enclave with a hardware-based encryption engine in addition to powering the Touch Bar and Touch ID.

Arm Benefits

Bringing Arm chips to a Mac could bring efficiency and battery life improvements without sacrificing speed, with Apple also perhaps able to cut down on the size of some of the internal components, thus perhaps allowing for slimmer devices.

An Arm-based MacBook might not need a fan, for example, much like an ‌iPad‌. Apple's iPads also have superior battery life, another feature that could be brought to the Mac lineup.

Apple's Rumored Work on Arm-Based Chips

Rumors suggest that Apple employees are working on an initiative codenamed "Kalamata" to make iPhones, iPads, and Macs work more seamlessly together.

One aspect of this involves new custom-built Mac chips that are designed by Apple much like its current iPhone and ‌iPad‌ chips.

Apple eventually wants developers to be able to create an app that can run across all Apple devices, and along with custom-built chips, Apple has also been working on this on the software side with Mac Catalyst. Mac Catalyst lets developers port their ‌iPad‌ apps over to the Mac App Store with minimal effort.

When Will Apple Release an Arm-Based Mac?

Apple is said to be aiming to transition to its own Arm-based chips starting in 2020, though the transition period could take some time.

It's possible one Mac line, such as the ‌MacBook Air‌, could see an update first ahead of the rest of the Mac family.

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Tag: ARM

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AirTags: Everything We Know So Far

Apple is working on a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app.

Based on assets found in iOS 13.2 and trademarking details dug up by MacRumors, Apple seems to be planning to call its tracking accessory the "AirTag."

A mockup of what AirTags could look like

AirTags are still in the works and there's no prospective release date yet, but signs of them have been found in iOS 13 betas so we do know a bit about what we can expect when they're available. This guide goes over everything that we know about AirTags at the current time.

What are AirTags?

AirTags are small tracking tiles with Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to find lost items. There are several similar products on the market, such as Tile and Adero, but Apple's version will be more deeply integrated with Apple devices.

How will AirTags work?

AirTags will have built-in chips that will allow them to connect to an iPhone, relaying the position of devices that they're attached to. You will be able to use your iPhone, iPad, and Mac to track the location of AirTags much like you do to find missing Apple devices.

What will AirTags look like?

Based on images found within an internal build of ‌iOS 13‌, AirTags are small, circular white tags with an Apple logo on the front. Presumably, these will attach to items via adhesive or an attachment point like a ring, and there may be multiple ways to use them with different items.

AirTags might not look quite like this because it could be a placeholder image, but this is the only information that we have at this time.

How will tracking items with AirTags work?

AirTags will show up in a new "Items" tab that will be available in the ‌Find My‌ app right alongside your Apple devices and your friends and family. With AirTags, the ‌Find My‌ app will be a one stop shop for anything that you want to find.

AirTags, like a lost iPhone or ‌iPad‌, will show up on a map and will have an address listed where they can be tracked to.

What will happen if I lose an item that has an AirTag?

Based on code found in ‌iOS 13‌, if you lose an item that has an AirTag on it, you'll get a notification on your iPhone. You'll then be able to tap a button in the ‌Find My‌ app that will cause the AirTag to chime loudly so you can locate something that's lost nearby.

It also appears that augmented reality will play a role in tracking down lost items. The ‌Find My‌ app may include an ARKit feature that lets you use augmented reality to track down an item that's nearby, with Apple using balloon assets to let you know visually where an item might be.

There's a string of code in ‌iOS 13‌ that reads "Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view."

Will AirTags still work if my item is far away?

Yes. If an item is not nearby and can't be located, you can put it into Lost Mode. In this mode, if another iPhone user comes across the list item, they'll be able to see your contact information so they can send you a text or give you a phone call to let you know the item has been found.

You'll also receive a notification as soon as an iPhone comes across your lost item. This feature that lets any iPhone detect a lost item is part of ‌iOS 13‌, and it leverages Bluetooth to locate lost Apple devices and when released, AirTags.

Will I be able to set boundaries for AirTags?

Yes. In the ‌Find My‌ app, you can create Safe Locations. If an item with an Apple Tag is in a safe location (such as your home), you're not going to receive a notification when it's left behind.

If it leaves the safe location, you'll get a notification. You can also share the location of items with friends and family.

How accurate are AirTags?

AirTags are rumored to be more accurate than your average Bluetooth item tracker like Tile because they're said to take advantage of ultra-wideband technology, which basically offers more accurate indoor positioning.

Apple's newest iPhones have a U1 ultra-wideband chip so they're going to be able to track ultra-wideband equipped AirTags more precisely than is possible with Bluetooth alone.

What will AirTags cost?

There's no word on what Apple's AirTags will cost at this point in time, but similar products from companies like Tile are priced in the range of $25 to $35 for a single Bluetooth tracker.

Tile Bluetooth tracking tags

Apple's AirTags could be priced similarly.

When will AirTags be released?

There were signs of AirTags in an Apple internal build of ‌iOS 13‌ and later versions of ‌iOS 13‌, but we haven't heard any rumors pointing towards a specific release date for AirTags.

For that reason, it's not entirely clear when the AirTags will be released. They could potentially come before the end of the year, but Apple may also be waiting until 2020.

AirTags Rumor List

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Haptic Touch vs 3D Touch: What’s the Difference?

With the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max, Apple did away with 3D Touch across its entire iPhone lineup, replacing the former 3D Touch feature with Haptic Touch.

In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about Haptic Touch and how it differs from the 3D Touch feature that's been available since the iPhone 6s.

What is Haptic Touch?

Haptic Touch is a 3D Touch-like feature that Apple first introduced in the 2018 iPhone XR and later expanded to its entire iPhone lineup.

Haptic Touch uses the Taptic Engine and provides haptic feedback when the screen is pressed on one of Apple's new iPhones. A Haptic Touch is a touch and hold gesture, and it can be used across the iOS 13 operating system.

Haptic Touch can be used by pressing in a relevant location until a little haptic pop is felt against the finger and a secondary menu pops up, with content varying based on where you're using the feature. A simple tap will activate one of the options on the secondary menu that pops up.

How is Haptic Touch different from 3D Touch?

3D Touch supports multiple levels of pressure, so you could have a softer press do one thing and a harder press do another thing. As an example, Apple used the multiple pressure levels for "Peek and Pop" gestures.

On a 3D Touch device, you were able "Peek" into a web link to see a preview, and then press harder to pop into it and open it up in Safari, for example. Those secondary "pop" gestures are not available with Haptic Touch because it's a single level of pressure (essentially a long press) rather than multiple pressure levels.

You can still sort of get the same functionality as Peek and Pop, but now it's more of a Peek and Tap. Just press and hold to activate a Peek with Haptic Touch and then tap the relevant section of the menu or preview that pops up.

Where does Haptic Touch work?

Haptic Touch works everywhere that 3D Touch works. You can use it on Home screen app icons to bring up Quick Actions, you can use it on links, phone numbers, addresses, and more to preview content or to activate different gestures on the iPhone or to bring up various contextual menus.

There are some notable differences in how Haptic Touch and 3D Touch behave. As an example, with 3D Touch, you could press anywhere on the keyboard to turn the iOS keyboard into a cursor. With Haptic Touch, you have to use that gesture on the space bar, which is an adjustment.

Deleting apps has also changed somewhat. Rather than pressing and holding briefly to make the apps "jiggle," a press and hold now brings up an option to "Rearrange" apps, which lets them be rearranged or deleted. You can still use the old method, but the press and hold needs to be a lot longer.

Below are some of the main things that Haptic Touch can do:

  • Activating Live Photos

  • Trackpad activation (with space bar)

  • Expand notification options

  • Activate Quick Actions on the Home screen

  • Bring up quick reply options in Messages

  • Preview links in Safari and access menu options

  • Open new tabs in Safari

  • Preview Photos and bring up menu options

  • Preview Mail messages and bring up quick actions

  • Activate the flash light on the Lock screen

  • Activate the camera on the Lock screen

  • Activate extra features in Control Center

  • Deleting apps (the new Rearrange option)

Haptic Touch essentially works across the iOS 13 operating system and in most of the Apple designed apps, along with some third-party apps. Almost all apps have extra elements that can be activated with a Haptic Touch gesture, so it's worth experimenting to figure out what's what.

Does Haptic Touch feel different?

Haptic Touch does feel different, mostly because it works a bit slower than 3D Touch gestures. Haptic Touch is a press and hold sensation, while 3D Touch is a faster press with force kind of gesture that activates quicker.

The actual haptic feedback component of Haptic Touch feels similar to the feedback received from a 3D Touch, so in that respect, it's close to indistinguishable. As mentioned, though, there's no secondary level of feedback when using Haptic Touch like there was with 3D Touch.

Why did Apple get rid of 3D Touch?

3D Touch was never available on the iPad, so Apple may have nixed it to make sure the iPhone and the iPad offer a similar experience.

With Haptic Touch and a long press on the iPad, the gestures used to get to additional contextual information like Quick Actions are the same. That was never the case with 3D Touch -- the iPad simply didn't have the extra gestures available.

3D Touch was also something of a fringe feature that was never mainstream, which could also be a reason why Apple decided to go with something that's simpler and ultimately more intuitive. One single press gesture is easier to use than a press gesture that supports multiple levels of pressure for different actions.

Where are the Haptic Touch controls?

Haptic Touch can be somewhat customized with an adjustable time that it takes to trigger Haptic Touch. You can choose between fast or slow activation, with the default setting being fast.

This feature is located in the Accessibility section of the Settings app:

  • Open up the Settings app.

  • Choose the Accessibility section.

  • Tap on "Touch."

  • Tap on "Haptic Touch."

There's an option to preview the Haptic Touch feedback options right in the Settings app. Most people are likely going to want to keep the Haptic Touch feedback set to Fast because even Fast is on the slow side compared to 3D Touch.

The Future of Haptic Touch

Now that 3D Touch has been eliminated in the 2019 iPhone lineup and many 3D Touch gestures have been tweaked to be more Haptic Touch friendly even on older iPhones, Haptic Touch seems to be the new standard.

We can expect Haptic Touch to be the new feedback feature in iPhones going forward, and it's not likely 3D Touch will be making a return.

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Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

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Everything You Need to Know About Night Mode in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro

Apple's newest iPhones, the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, are equipped with a new feature called Night mode, which is designed to take crisp, clear photos even when lighting conditions are poor, such as at night.

Night mode, as the name suggests, lets you take photos in the evening, with lighting that has never before been possible on an iPhone thanks to new hardware and new machine learning algorithms. Though Night mode brightens photos, it also preserves the night time feeling, balancing the light and dark elements of an image.

Android smartphone makers like Google and Samsung have had special modes for brightening up evening shots for a while now, and with the 2019 iPhones, Apple is on equal footing with these other smartphone cameras.

How Night Mode Works

Night mode takes advantage of the new wide-angle camera that's in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro models. It's equipped with a larger sensor that is able to let in more light, allowing for brighter photos when the light is low.

Night mode uses the new sensor along with machine learning and the Neural Engine in the A13 processor to create Night mode shots.

When Night mode is engaged, the cameras in the iPhone analyze the available amount of light and then the iPhone chooses the number of frames needed to create a suitable image. The camera then takes a series of images for a set amount of time, such as one second, three seconds, five seconds, or in some situations, even longer.

The images are taken at different exposures, some with longer exposures and some with shorter exposures, similar to what's done when the iPhone composes an HDR image. This lets the iPhone pull out the best parts of the scene, highlighting what's important.

You'll need to hold the camera steady when using Night mode, and optical image stabilization also works to reduce shake as you take the photos. After the set amount of time, the A13 chip in the iPhone analyzes each photo that was taken, aligns them to account for movement, tosses out the images that are too blurry, and then fuses all the sharpest images of the bunch.

The resulting photo is the end image that you get when using Night mode, with Apple's software algorithms adjusting color, eliminating noise, and enhancing details to create a night time shot that preserves an impressive amount of detail.

Taking and combining several images allows Night mode to pick up more light than would be available in a single shot, which is why you can see so much more detail than the lighting conditions would normally allow for.

All of the Night mode calculations are done behind the scenes -- you'll only see the final shot, rather than being able to choose from a series of images as you can do in Burst mode even though it's a similar concept.

In a nutshell, Night mode is the result of a better camera sensor and some behind the scenes magic from Apple's A13 processor.

Activating Night Mode

Night mode turns on automatically when the lighting conditions call for it, so there's no need to enable it. Tapping the moon icon at the top of the Camera app will let you access the Night mode settings, though, allowing for the time length of photos to be adjusted in some situations.

Turning Night Mode Off

To turn off Night mode, tap on the moon icon at the top of the Camera app interface to open up the Night mode slider and then slide it all the way to the left to turn the feature off entirely for a photo.

Night mode will need to be turned off on a photo by photo basis, as it is meant to come on automatically. There is no setting to disable it permanently.

Night Mode Lenses

On the iPhone 11, Night mode is limited to the wide-angle camera as it is the only camera with optical image stabilization and because Night mode requires a camera with 100 percent focus pixels to analyze and align images.

On the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, Night mode can be used with either the wide-angle camera or the telephoto camera because both of these lenses support optical image stabilization and the other necessary features for Night mode to work.

Night mode images look best with the wide-angle camera as it is the better lens, but the telephoto is an option when needed. The ultra wide-angle camera in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro models doesn't work with Night mode.

Using Night Mode's Time Intervals

The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro are able to analyze the lighting in a situation and will provide a recommended interval for Night mode, which is usually somewhere between one and five seconds, though it can vary based on how much ambient lighting is available.

You can tap on the moon icon at the top of the Camera interface to get to the Night mode settings, where you can change the interval from the recommended level to a longer level if desired, which can alter the look of the photo that you're capturing.

The darker the photo subject, the longer time period options your iPhone will offer up. At sunset where there's still a decent amount of light, your exposure options might max out at around 3 to 5 seconds.

In full darkness, when taking a photo of the night sky, as an example, you might see longer time intervals available, and selecting a longer time interval in this situation may allow you to see more of the night sky in the resulting image than you might have been able to capture with a shorter exposure. For maximum time, a tripod is required.

night mode
The different time intervals are worth experimenting with to get the specific look that you want for a particular image, but Apple's default shot length is calculated using a multitude of factors and almost always results in a nice looking low light shot.

Getting the Best Night Mode Shots

Night mode takes a series of shots and is similar to a long exposure photo, so techniques used for long exposures can also be useful for Night mode.

Apple uses optical image stabilization and software to cut down on blur, but for the absolute best Night mode shots, it's a good idea to use a tripod. A tripod means there won't be any shake when capturing the multiple images that are used for a Night mode shot.

A tripod isn't needed, but when the iPhone is stable and detects that it's being held steady, it will offer longer 10 second exposure times than you can get when holding the iPhone yourself. If you want a 10 second Night mode shot of the night sky, for example, you're going to need a tripod to do it.

Even with shorter time intervals, Night mode can result in blur, so if you don't have a tripod, do your best to hold the iPhone as steady as possible. Stabilizing your arms can help.

Night mode shots work best on images where there aren't moving people, pets, or objects. Since the iPhone is taking multiple shots of a subject and stitching them together, there needs to be minimal movement. A pet that's running around or an active child isn't going to make for a good night mode shot, but you can get good night time portraits of people and pets if your subject can stay still.

Night mode image via Austin Mann

Night mode isn't going to work for every photo because it can result in dramatic colors, high contrast (especially in situations where the ambient lighting is an odd color like the yellow of a street light), excessive shadows, and issues with light reflection, but more often than not, it produces incredible images and allows iPhone users to capture scenes that simply couldn't be captured with an older iPhone.

Night Mode Availability

Night mode is a feature on the new 2019 iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. It isn't available on earlier iPhones, but like other camera additions, will continue to be a feature for future iPhones and is likely to see improvements over the years.

Night Mode vs. Earlier iPhones

Night mode is a feature that's unmatched by earlier iPhones, as can be seen in comparison photos between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the iPhone XS Max. The iPhone 11 models can get a whole new level of detail in lower lighting conditions that just wasn't possible before. It's a major step forward in camera technology and is going to result in much better photos than were possible with the iPhone XS line and earlier.

Comparisons With Android Smartphones

Night mode isn't new -- and in fact, it's something that Google popularized last year with its Pixel 3 smartphones. Google introduced a feature called Night Sight in the Pixel 3 that blew people away.

Night mode vs. Night Sight on Google Pixel 3, image via TechCrunch

Other Android smartphone manufacturers have also added similar features to their smartphones too, so this isn't a feature that originated with Apple. Below, we've shared some comparison videos and photos between Night mode in the iPhone and other Android phones with a similar feature.

Pixel 3 XL (left) vs iPhone (right), image via PCWorld

iPhone 11 (left), Pixel 3 XL (center), Galaxy S10+ (right), via PCWorld

Pixel 3 (left), iPhone 11 Pro (right), via The Verge

Apple's technology isn't too far off from the technology used by other smartphone makers, and as with any camera setup, image preference is going to vary from person to person.

Guide Feedback

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Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

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