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Apple event recap — iPhone 13, Apple Watch 7, new iPad mini 6 and more

All the big Apple announcements in one place

Apple september 2021 event live blog
(Image: © Apple)

Apple introduced two new iPads, four new iPhones and an updated Apple Watch during its Sept. 14 product event, while also leaving a few rumored products waiting in the wings. 

Still, more than half-a-dozen product launches is nothing to sneeze at, especially when led by the iPhone 13 series. While there are plenty of similarities between this year's phones and the iPhone 12 models from 2020, there are significant enough changes — especially on the iPhone 13 Pro models — to tantalize people to upgrade.

Here's a closer look at what Apple announced at the Apple event and when you can get it.

iPhone 13: Like last year, Apple is introducing four phones, and they have the same prices as the iPhone 12 lineup — $699 for the iPhone 13 mini, $799 for the iPhone 13, $999 for the iPhone 13 Pro and $1,099 for the iPhone 13 Pro Max. But there are several upgrades here.

The phones have smaller notches as rumored, and major improvements to the cameras, including big sensors to let in more light. All four models support a new Cinematic mode which brings Hollywood-style rack focus to the videos you shoot. And it's all powered by the faster new A15 Bionic processor.

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max see the more substantive changes with improved telephoto lenses plus 120Hz ProMotion displays that adjust their refresh rate for smoother, more immersive experiences.

The best news is the promise of better battery life across the board, thanks to bigger batteries and other tweaks.

Apple Watch 7: Apple's new watch is arriving later this fall with a bigger, brighter screen, thinner display borders and faster charging (though not longer battery life, we're sad to say).

Another highlight is the crack-resistant display for better durability. The new watch will start at $399 while the Apple Watch 3 and Apple Watch SE will remain as lower cost options.

iPad 9: Apple's standard iPad gets an A13 Bionic processor, an improved 12MP front camera that adopts the Center Stage feature and better low-light photography. It's arriving next week at $329.

iPad mini 6: Apple's smallest iPad sees its first update since 2019, with a new edge-to-edge display and Touch ID button similar to the one Apple introduced with the iPad Air. Center Stage video and Apple Pencil support is included in this $499 model, which ships next week.

Missing in action from this event was any news of new MacBooks — which we expected to be left out — and the AirPods 3 — which surprised us by its absence. Apple did detail new features coming to its Apple Fitness Plus subscription service, though.

Be sure to also check out our archived live blog below for more details, as well as our live reactions to every big announcement as it happened and an embedded replay of Apple's product event announcements.

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So today's the big day. And the iPhone 13 is coming. Think you'll upgrade? Well, here's the one feature we're hoping to see to make Apple's new iPhones worth buying

iOS 15 widgets

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

iOS 15 is also coming this week and will get a recap at the Apple event. So here are 8 of the new iOS 15 features you'll want to try out

A last-minute case leak adds further credence to the leaks we've heard about the iPhone 13's design. It basically looks like an iPhone 12 but we expect a smaller notch.

iphone 13 spigen case leak

(Image credit: Spigen)

Interested in the new Apple Watch design? Then here are the colors we are expecting to see from the Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch Series 7 colors — here's what the rumors suggest

(Image credit: Jon Prosser & Ian Zelbo)

Another leak has the iPhone 13 tipped to get 1TB of storage space, which isn't a first for smartphones, but could be pretty massive. It would be a boon for people who capture a lot of photos and videos. 

New iPad mini 6 leak alert! Or at least an alleged one, claiming there'll be Apple Pencil 2 support, a USB-C port, Smart Connector, and a trio of colors. The jury's still out on whether it'll be revealed today. 

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It's looking like the new iPhone could get a ProMotion display, and we have a good breakdown of why an iPhone 13 120Hz display is a big deal for users.

iPhone 13 concept design

(Image credit: ConceptsiPhone)

The AirPods 3 are expected to launch today but could be more expensive than the AirPods 2. At least that's according to Apple oracle and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has the next-gen wireless earbuds tipped to be sold alongside the previous generation. 

AirPods 3 design leak

(Image credit: Gizmochina)

Well this won't come as a huge surprise to people who follow tech events, but Apple has its own 'like' animation for Twitter for the Apple event, with a like flashing up a luminescent Apple logo before tuning into a heart. 

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Given the whole "California streaming" tagline for the Apple event, we'd be somewhat curious as to whether there'll be any mention of Apple TV Plus. We've heard no leaks around it, but maybe Apple has managed to keep the lid on a few surprises. 

If you're not convinced by the design of the iPhone 13, then you might want to wait for the iPhone 14. According to the early claimed leaks so far, it could finally drop the display notch and lose the camera bump. And Face ID could even be hidden under the iPhone 14's display. That would be cool, but we'd be curious to see how Apple would pull that off. 

iPhone 14 renders by Front Page Tech and Ian Zelbo

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo | Front Page Tech)

More claimed iPhone 13 case renders have been posted by serial leaker Evan Blass on his evleaks Twitter account. They give us yet another look at how Apple could have shrunken down the display notch, finally! 

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Uh-oh! The Apple Store appears to be down. But that's actually a good thing as it means Apple is likely refreshing its product lineup ahead of the Apple event, meaning we could see iPhone 13 pre-orders go live today. 

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And here's our take on the iPhone 13 case leaks. It's not going to revolutionize the iPhone's current design, but we're absolutely ready for a smaller notch. 

iPhone 13 case render

(Image credit: evleaks)

Don't expect so see the much-rumored MacBook Pro 2021 14-inch or a refreshed 16-inch MacBook Pro today, as they've been tipped for a separate Apple event, likely in October time. But Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has claimed the new M1X MacBook pros could arrive in "the next several weeks" at a second Apple event that may also feature iPads. 

We've perused the rumor that the iPad mini 6 will be inspired by the iPad Air, and we reckon Apple could be onto a winner here. A sleeker design with slimmer bezels and extra functionality could make for a rather impressive compact tablet. 

iPad mini 6 renders

(Image credit: Michael Ma)

Tom’s Guide’s editors are making their predictions for the Apple Event. Global editor in chief Mark Spoonauer thinks the camera upgrades will be the highlight of the iPhone 13.

“If the rumors are true, I think people will be talking about the improved Night mode and portrait mode video. Right now the iPhone 12 really struggles when shooting the moon or stars,” Spoonauer says.

iPhone 13 renders by Ian Zelbo

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo / Twitter)

Meanwhile, it's all about the display upgrades for managing editor of news Roland Moore-Colyer: "I really hope to see Apple adopt a 120Hz refresh rate across all iPhone 13 models. But it looks like only the iPhone 13 Pro will get it. 

"But having used the Oppo Find X3 Pro for months now, I'm utterly enamoured with high-refresh rate displays, so if the iPhone 13 Pro gets one, it'll be the Apple phone for me." 

iPhone 13 renders

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo / Twitter)

Senior staff writer Kate Kozuch would like to see Apple adopt the much-rumored under-display Touch ID. Sadly, it looks like she'll have to wait until the iPhone 14. 

"The return of Touch ID would make all my iPhone 13 dreams come true. Yeah, it's probably not happening, but under-screen Touch ID would make getting into my iPhone so much easier," said Kozuch. 

iPhone 13 Pro Touch ID

(Image credit: the Hacker 34)

More of an Android user, editor in chief Marc McLaren still feels that camera improvements are again the big draw of Apple's next-gen phone.

"The iPhone 13 Pro will supposedly be getting some big new camera skills such as autofocus on the wide-angle lens and a bigger sensor," he said. "If true, this could push the iPhone even further ahead of the competition when it comes to photography. And let's face it, that's a far bigger deal for most people than whether it has a slightly smaller notch."

iPhone 13 dummy unit

(Image credit: Apple Insider)

Purple iPhone 12

(Image credit: Future)

Finally. The iPhone 13 is tipped to ditch the measly 64GB storage option (opens in new tab) and start with a base 128GB of storage. This would put Apple's new iPhone on par with the best Android phones. 

An iPhone in sharp focus with a MacBook in the background.

(Image credit: Yalcin Sonat/Shutterstock)

If you haven't done so yet, update your iPhone to iOS 14.8 right now. Apple has issued an emergency update for iPhones and iPads in response to a serious spyware flaw. 

Apple iPad 10.2-inch

(Image credit: Future)

The iPad 9 has just been tipped to launch today (opens in new tab) alongside the iPhone 13. It's definitely not set in stone, but we could see a larger 10.5-inch display, faster A14 Bionic chip and more RAM inside Apple's most affordable tablet. 

Feeling nostalgic as we wait for the iPhone 13 launch? @SuperSaf (opens in new tab) has a closer look at the original iPhone on video, and it looks positively tiny.  

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If this Tim Cook tweet (opens in new tab) is to be believed, today's Apple Event is coming to you live from the Joshua Tree National Park.