Everything you need to know about Apple's new iPhones

The Apple fairy godmother must be on annual leave, as fans wishing for a last minute iPhone surprise have lucked out.

Instead, Tuesday's event at its Cupertino headquarters confirmed the rumours. This year we have three new iPhones with a few cool features, extra cameras and crazy colours. 

Great? Of course (we're still talking Apple). Game-changing? No. That magic must be on hold for next year.

As expected, all the devices have faster processors and the latest iOS software, but here's what else you need to know.

iPhone 11 


This is the successor to Apple's cheaper device, the iPhone XR.  The 6.1-inch True Tone display is still Liquid Retina. As expected, the new phone has a dual camera system with new wide camera and new sensor. Features include 2x optical zoom out, 36 percent brighter flash and night mode. It also claims to have the highest ever quality video for a smartphone. The phone is water-resistant up to two metres for 30 minutes, and battery life should last an hour longer than the iPhone XR.

Price: NZ$1349

iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max


The first phones that Apple has labelled 'Pro'. Made of surgical grade steel, with optical PVD coating and matt textured finish and new colours such as Midnight Green.

There are two display sizes, 5.8-inches and 6.5-inches. With HDR 10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, Apple are calling the display Super Retina XDR.

The phones are water resistant up to four metres for half an hour and have the 'toughest glass ever in a smartphone'.

All the phones have the A13 Bionic chip inside, so there are specific improvements in machine learning and power efficiency. These are particularly evident in the two premium models.

Battery life has been given a good bump, four hours longer for the 5.8-inch and five hours longer for the bigger 6.5-inch. The phones also come with fast charging - an 18W charger is included in the box.

For the square rear camera set-up there's a new 12MP wide camera, 12MP telephoto camera and 12MP ultra-wide camera. This adds the telephoto lens to the premium phones, which the iPhone 11 doesn't have.

Each camera in the triple-camera system records 4K video with extended dynamic range and cinematic video stabilisation.

Apple is also upgrading its camera software. It looks to be finally catching up with some Android devices by adding a dedicated Night mode to improve photography, which starts automatically when you're shooting in the dark. 

Deep Fusion is a new feature which is neural engine driven. It shoots nine images, analyses long and short images and optimises for detail and low noise.

Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, excitedly called it "computational mad photography science".

Another feature, Filmic Pro, allows for front and rear camera filming at once and will be available from the App Store later this year.

Face ID has been improved so it works at greater angles. 

"We think this is the most exciting iPhone we've made yet," Schiller said. Apple will have to wait and see if fans agree.

Phil Schiller explains how the new iPhone camera works.
Phil Schiller explains how the new iPhone camera works. Photo credit: Getty

About a third of the 900 million iPhone users worldwide are believed to be on upgrade mode so the company might be expecting good sales, but it faces a lot of competition from the likes of Android competitors such as Samsung and Huawei, who already have exceptionally strong devices with features similar to what Apple announced today.

There is also no sign yet of a 5G phone from Apple. Maybe next year? 

The phones are expected to go on general sale on 20 September. Prices start from NZ$1949 and go up to NZ$2149.

The day wasn't all about iPhones. We also heard about:

Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade


Apple TV+ takes on Netflix for a mere NZ$8.99 a month. Anyone buying a new Apple device from this week will get one year of Apple TV+ for free. Shows will include See, a thriller made by team behind Peaky Blinders and featuring Jason Momoa and Dickinson, startring Jennifer Aniston.

There's also a new game subscription service for mobile, desktop and TV called Apple Arcade.  With a subscription, people can download more than 100 games right from the Arcade store. 

Also from NZ$8.99 a month.



A new seventh-generation iPad has been unveiled with a new larger, 10.2-inch retina display. It's got the A10 fusion chip, which makes it super fast, and a Smart Connector. It also works with an older Apple Pencil which is handy.

From NZ$599.

Apple Watch


Apple Watch Series 5 has been unveiled with features including a new 'always on' display and a built-in compass.

From NZ$719.