Before you buy: Are the new iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 worth it?

Cupertino, California - Is an upgrade to the newest iPhone or Apple Watch worth your money? Here's some food for thought before you use your hard-earned cash for the next edition of shiny and chrome technology.

Snazzy-lookin' new smartphone, the Apple iPhone 13 is great, but not as an upgrade.
Snazzy-lookin' new smartphone, the Apple iPhone 13 is great, but not as an upgrade.  © © Screenshot/

Tuesday saw a new set of devices unveiled at the long-awaited Apple launch event. But pump the bank-brakes – this is your buyer's guide to whether the newest Apple smartphone and smartwatch offer a meaningful improvement.

And straight away, for Apple users who already have an iPhone or Apple Watch and are on the lookout for an upgrade, the verdict on the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6 is a simple "Nah, probably not worth it."

There's just not enough of an improvement on the predecessors.

The iPhone 13 lineup does have a newer processor, but the better performance is not as impressive as a generation-leap needs to be to justify a purchase.

Korean website Clién wrote about a performance test of the new A15 System on Chip that is slotted into the new iPhones. The benchmarks show that the performance uplift is not massive, and that there was even a downturn due to heat throttling.

Beyond that, the power draw is huge, with the iPhone 13 pulling 8.5 Watts. This power consumption is a 9% to 13% increase compared to the iPhone 12's A14 chip, which peaks at 7 Watts, much like the iPhone 11 with its A13 chip.

The iPhone 13 is heavier, in part due to a larger battery, but because Apple does not release the battery life as part of its product specs, testing in the coming months is needed.

Future benchmarking will show how the higher power usage on the newest chip compares to earlier iPhone chips. It would be useful to know if the increased power consumption on the iPhone 13 is handled by the increased battery capacity.

The meaningful change for the iPhone 13 is the suite of features for photos and videos. That is currently the only good reason to upgrade from a recent iPhone model.

The "new" Smart Watch isn't really all that new

The Series 7 Apple Watch is not worth your money as an upgrade.
The Series 7 Apple Watch is not worth your money as an upgrade.  © © collage: screenshot/

The Smart Watch would be a "sidegrade" rather than an upgrade.

It has the same processor and battery life as the previous model, with minor changes such as a larger screen.

That screen size increase is 20% up on the Apple Watch 6, but it's still tiny.

The gist is that the touted increase in charge speed for the Series 7 does not change the target use of the watch, even if a minor improvement to charge speed is not bad. It just isn't meaningful when the watch is meant to be on your wrist for as long as possible while you are, you know, wearing it and using it for smartwatch things.

So is this the upgrade for you if you have an older Apple Watch model? Probably not, unless the increased screen size really does it for you.

Here's the bottom line. The new Apple Watch and the iPhone 13 models are all fine, powerful smartphones.

That said, unless the additional video and photo features of the iPhone 13 would make a difference for your work, there is no real reason to upgrade. And the Apple Watch Series 7 is the same watch as the Series 6, with a slightly larger screen.

Waiting until there is a serious performance leap might take only a few months, because Apple churns out new devices like clockwork. If you can make what you are using now work until then, do yourself and your bank account a favor: save your money.

Cover photo: © Screenshot/

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