John Gruber reviews Apple’s new iPhone 11/Pro/Max: Mind-boggling camera improvements

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the most powerful and advanced smartphones ever, feature a triple-camera cluster
The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the most powerful and advanced smartphones ever, feature a triple-camera cluster

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max offer a new triple-camera system that provides a pro-level camera experience with an Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto camera, delivering huge improvements to low-light photography and offering the highest quality video in a smartphone that is great for shooting action videos.

John Gruber for Daring Fireball:

Apple spent the vast majority of the stage time for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro talking about their cameras. They spent no time — not a word — talking about phone calls. It would have been weird if they did talk about phone calls. That’s probably the single biggest change in the landscape from 2007 to today. Back then, introducing the original iPhone, Steve Jobs spent a lot of time talking about phone calls and voicemail, and almost no time on the camera…

I have been using an iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max since last Wednesday. Most of what I have to say — and I think most of what one needs to know to understand them — is about the cameras. My biggest problem is that I wrote this review last year. I re-read my review of last year’s iPhones XS (regular and Max) and at almost every single paragraph I found myself wanting to say the exact same thing again this year. Not that these phones are the same as last year’s phones, but that the year-over-year improvements are equally impressive and at times mind-boggling…

Several times over the past few years, I’ve had conversations along the lines of, “I know they’re never going to do this, but wouldn’t it be cool if Apple made a real camera?” As the iPhone camera system evolves, I’m starting to think Apple is making a real camera, right under our noses — or perhaps better said, right in our pockets.

MacDailyNews Take: Imagine if Steve Jobs had decided to make a camera that was also capable of making cellular phone calls and surfing the Internet? Would it have caught the world’s imagination as it did in the run-up between Jobs’ unveiling and the device hitting store shelves six months later? Maybe not, given the fevered anticipation before Job’s keynote for something that most of us (including Cisco) were referring to as “iPhone,” and “iCamera” would have been a shocker!

Regardless, Apple actually did end up making quite the camera that’s also capable of making cellular phone calls, surfing the Internet, and a whole lot more!

iPhone 11 is going to be all about the camera(s) and that’s going to sell a lot of units to people who thought they might be waiting until next year’s 5G iPhone… Expect this batch of iPhones, the last one prior to the start of the iPhone 5G super cycle in late 2020, to focus on the triple camera array, Smart Frame, and other camera-related features as the main selling point.MacDailyNews, August 12, 2019

It sure looks like Apple got their photography team in gear this time around!

As for cameras, back in 2015 it was reported that Apple had 800 people working on iPhone cameras, yet Google still kicked their 800 asses, especially in low-light photography four years later (Night Sight). Granted, it’s not representative of reality, but when snapping a shot at night, we do prefer to see what’s there more than we prefer the “accuracy” of underexposed black soup.

So the question is: Why? 800+ people and four long years weren’t enough to figure out something like Night Sight, Apple? We don’t like to see Apple outclassed in anything, especially after throwing 800+ people at the iPhone camera hardware and software over a period of several years.MacDailyNews, May 8, 2019

1 Comment

  1. Google’s night sight is half baked (as always), compared to Apple’s Night View. Yeah it’s frustrating when Google and Samsung get so much publicity for their gimmicks, but I prefer Apples perfectionist approach even if it takes longer.

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