iPhone 13, iPad mini 6, and more: A recap of Apple's big week

Ipad Mini 6 2021 Lifestyle Touch Id
Ipad Mini 6 2021 Lifestyle Touch Id (Image credit: Apple)

Hello hello, and welcome to another installment of From the Editor's Desk with yours truly! It's been an epic and packed week with Apple's 'California Streaming' event and preorders, so let's get right down to it.

During the Apple event, we got a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini 6, Apple Watch Series 7, and iPhone 13. While the Series 7 and iPhone 13 were definitely expected, I believe most of us were shocked that Apple decided to start off with the new iPad lineup.

While there were plenty of rumors for the new iPad mini, I don't think there were as many for the base-level iPad, which kicked off the event. I'm honestly surprised that the iPad is keeping the old, classic iPad design, Home button and all. While it's definitely now the "ugly duckling" of the entire iPad lineup because of the old design (no flat edges) and Home button, it's still a great purchase for those who just want a basic iPad because the internals got a much-needed bump. Thanks to that A13 Bionic, it's now going to be 20x faster than the 8th-generation iPad, which is nice. Oh, and double the starting storage? I mean, it's still 64GB, but it's much better than 32GB — who wouldn't be able to fill that up in a matter of days or weeks? Honestly, for the $329 starting price, the next-gen iPad is not too shabby.

But the real showstopper for iPads was the iPad mini 6, which could be one of the best new iPads in a while. While we were all expecting a new iPad mini, I think most of us were expecting it at the next Apple event, and not this one in particular. Still, we have a new iPad mini 6 that is basically a scaled-down, better version of the iPad Air 4 — flat edges, a full 8.3-inch edge-to-edge display, Touch ID in the top button, A15 Bionic, full Apple Pencil 2 support, 12-megapixel cameras with Center Stage, a USB-C port for charging, and 5G connectivity. It also comes in new colors, including a light purple and pink. Of course, the only real downside is that the iPad mini 6 is now $499, so it's slightly more expensive.

While I'm not getting one right now, I was still very excited to see the new iPad mini. It's been long overdue for a refresh, and Apple certainly delivered. This is a big upgrade — I certainly love that the Home button is gone and the mini is getting the full-screen treatment. After all, this is an iPad that's perfectly sized for reading ebooks, so it really makes sense. I'm also quite impressed that Center Stage, a feature that debuted with the latest iPad Pro, made its way to the mini. It's certainly a feature that I have yet to experience since I'm stuck with a 2020 11-inch iPad Pro!

Pink Iphone

Pink Iphone (Image credit: Apple)

For me, though, the iPhone 13 was what I was most excited about. We finally have a pink iPhone! Unfortunately, it's just for the regular iPhone 13, which I'm not getting, but I'm excited that it's finally a thing. If I didn't want the Pro's features, I would have totally gotten the pink iPhone 13, maybe even an iPhone 13 mini. But alas — me and a pink iPhone just doesn't seem meant to be, as I went with a 1TB Sierra Blue iPhone 13 Pro. With a baby on the way, I wanted to max out my storage, which would be one less thing to worry about as I plan to take a lot of Cinematic video with my upcoming bundle of joy.

But boy, that was quite a mess when it came to preorders this year, especially for those of us with the iPhone Upgrade Program and Apple Card. While I had done the pre-approval process for my iPhone Upgrade Program earlier in the week, by the time preorders came around, I kept having issues with placing my order.

At first, I really thought it was because I had a credit freeze in my name due to T-Mobile's data breach a few weeks ago, but then I began to realize that everyone trying to pay for their iUP preorder with Apple Card was having a problem. As I wanted to make sure I get the iPhone 13 Pro on launch day (I've a long-standing tradition of getting a new iPhone every launch day), I just panicked and bought the phone outright with Apple Pay (somehow that worked, though others may have had issues). So now while I will be getting a new phone next week, I'll still have my iPhone 12 Pro and will still have payments on that to complete. Alas, I may end up just selling it off to a family member or even keeping it as a backup (always good to have a backup). It was a terrible experience for iPhone Upgrade Program and Apple Card customers this year, for sure. I even tried to complete my upgrade later so I could cancel my first order, but shipping dates already slipped, and by then, what would be the point?

Apple Watch Series 7 Apple

Apple Watch Series 7 Apple (Image credit: Apple)

Now, for the biggest disappointment of the event: Apple Watch Series 7. Maybe it's because of all of the hype around the rumors of a new design, but I was very disappointed with what we got. No redesign, same battery life as before, and no new health sensors; just a slightly bigger display that will get us some new watch faces (yay?), better durability, and faster USB-C charging. I was saving up my Apple Card Daily Cash for a new watch, but it looks like my Titanium Series 5 will have to trek on a bit longer. It seems possible that the rumored redesign might be for next year after all, and I'm hoping that's the case, but after this, I will definitely be warier of supposed "leaks."

I'm also quite surprised that we had no mention of AirPods 3 at all, even though it's supposedly in production now. Perhaps this will be something we'll see next month.

Regardless, I'm excited to get my new iPhone 13 Pro later this week. Hope you all were able to get some new Apple products this past week!

- Christine Romero-Chan

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed. When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.