Over the years, my iPhone upgrade ritual has developed a few models. My routine is to refrain from pre-ordering, visit any remote retail store that has inventory on launch day, and travel to New Orleans to try out the new camera system.

This year is no exception. I sold my 128GB silver iPhone 12 Pro Max to a local buyer who thought I was kidding when I said the charging brick was no longer in the box. Then I traveled 90 minutes to a Best Buy with a 256GB Sierra Blue iPhone 13 Pro ready for pickup.

The Apple Store was an option, and I’m sure the reservation system is great for customers and employees, but it wasn’t as flexible for me as driving to a designated parking spot and asking someone to pull out the iPhone.

The new no-wrap packaging paired with someone walking to my car to hand it over creates such a relaxed shopping experience that it almost feels like buying someone’s iPhone on Facebook or something of the kind. If only opening a CD wrap in the late 90s were that easy …

Any-who, some first impressions:

  • IPhone 13 Pro is compact and dense when used as a camera (like a beautiful camera should)
  • Sierra blue is incredibly difficult to see online or in photos and videos; I wasn’t sure I would like it but it’s darker than I expected
  • The iPhone 12 Pro Max had slightly better camera specs than the iPhone 12 Pro; it’s nice that both Pro models have the same camera system this year, even though the camera tray is comically out of proportion to the body size on the smaller phone.
  • ProMotion, Apple’s variable refresh rate screen technology that can reduce or even double the refresh rate, is a fantastic feature for year-to-year developers who can see it and invisible to those who can’t. not ; luckily I am in the old camp but I also gave a demonstration to the people of the last camp
  • Photographic styles, which allow you to adjust the tone and warmth of your camera, are perhaps my favorite feature; So far, I’ve toggled between vibrant and high contrasts (but who thinks that won’t end up happening to the iPhone 12?)

Here’s a similar photo with each style built in before adjustments:

Macro photography and cinematic video are two things I haven’t spent enough time evaluating yet, so more on these features in the future. For now, I’m going to share a few photos that surprised me as I walked around New Orleans.

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