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iPhone 11: Five Things Everyone Missed (U1 Chip, Video Zoom Audio, IP Rating)

The iPhone 11 devices might be grabbing headlines everywhere, but most sources aren’t covering all the details of Apple’s newest line of smartphones.

We do a deep-dive into some of the features in the fine print that many have missed.

1. Water resistance

Where the iPhone Xs and Xs Max were also IP68 water and dust resistant, Apple kinda glossed over the fact that the new iPhone 11’s water resistance had been improved.

Apple shows off the rigorous testing it places its iPhone 11 Pro through – exposing it to drop stress, heat and water. Image: Apple

We can hardly fault them since IP68 is a vague term that indicates that the phones have max-ed (pun intended) out the scale – “IP” standing for Ingress Protection, “6” and “8” being the top of the scale for dust and water ingress protection respectively.

Where its predecessors could manage 30 minutes submerged at a depth of 2 metres, the iPhone 11 Pro doubles that with protection up to 4 metres.

Apple touts resistance against sodas for the iPhone 11. Image: Apple

The iPhone XR’s successor, the iPhone 11, similarly moves up a notch from an IP67 rating and 30 minutes of resistance submerged at 1 metre to an IP68 rating and resistance up to 2 metres. Apple’s promotional video also touts resistance against sodas and presumably other beverages.

2. Wider Face ID Sensing

The iPhone’s front-facing camera has been greatly improved with 4K 60fps recording, and Apple has also widened the field-of-view for selfies. This can be accessed with a touch of the zoom toggle, and also automatically engaged when the iPhone is rotated horizontally.

What was very briefly mentioned was that Face ID, in addition to being 30% faster, is now effective at wider angles. This is significant given the lack of accessible Touch ID sensors to unlock iPhone when it is set down flat on a desk, allowing Face ID to be that bit more usable in this scenario.

3. Zoom Microphone in Video

The iPhone has always been the leader when it comes to mobile videography, but the iPhone 11 phones turn it up to eleven with a set of features both big and small.

Sean Baker, director of the award-winning film, Tangerine, shot it on iPhone. He showcases the capabilities of the new iPhone 11. Image: Apple

Just like Samsung’s Zoom-in Mic, Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro will feature a zoom mic feature to match the framing as you zoom through the 4x range in video.

Apple didn’t think much to shout it out too loudly, but it’s a handy feature that can help videos be that bit more immersive by allowing audio sources become more audible as they zoom in to the frame.

4. 3D Touch Is Dead, Long Live Haptic Touch

3D Touch was a key feature I certainly appreciated on the iPhone X and Xs phones. While I (as with most users) did not use it much on the home screen app icons, 3D Touch was perfect for accessing the hardware torch and quickly accessing the camera, providing a convincing button-press haptic nudge in return.

The feature was also useful when interacting with the powerful iOS QuickType keyboard, which accessed a little-known feature that turns the keyboard into a trackpad of sorts to quickly and accurately move the text caret around the screen.

Instead of the expensive and difficult-to-implement 3D Touch, the iPhone 11 Pro phones (successor to the iPhone Xs phones) will receive Haptic Touch instead, which substitutes pressure for a more pedestrian long-press.

5. U1 Chip For Harry Potter-esque AirDrop

The Apple-designed U1 chip was also quietly implemented on to iPhone 11, and indicated only on the infographic displayed at the summary of the keynote segment.

The U1 chip was hidden amidst other features during Phil Schiller’s presentation for the iPhone 11. Image: Apple

Apple touts the U1 to deliver spatial sensing to the iPhone, meaning that directional features like AirDrop will get more accurate and intentional.

Little other information is available, but we imagine the U1-augmented AirDrop will turn your iPhone into Harry Potter-esque wand, and you can simply go “AirDropius!” to send your precious files on their way.

This feature uses ultra-wideband technology that leverages Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to improve locational communication between fellow U1 chips, and is in line with other rumours about Apple’s upcoming Tags product that could track the location of your belongings in the revamped Find My app in iOS 13.

Ian Ling
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

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