What the Apple Event Means for Outdoorsy Folks

David VogeleerSep 12 · 2 min read

Tim Cook addresses the crowd at the Sept 2019 Apple Event
Tim Cook in front of new iPhone on screen

If you happened to catch the entire Apple event this last Tuesday, then you know it was a ton of new software, hardware, and general Apple fanboy goodness. Everything from the new series 5 Apple Watch, to the disappointing iPad update (in my opinion), and of course the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. It’s a lot to mire through, so I pulled out the highlights that I think will have the most impact on the outdoor community. Let’s start with the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch, Series 5

With basically the same form factor, the real updates are in the inside:

  1. Always-On Retina display - This is awesome! No longer will you have to lift your wrist up to see the time or check that notification. This is especially great while doing a myriad of activities from yoga to rock climbing. Just look at your watch and it’s on. It’s almost like a real watch that way.
  2. The compass - The new Series 5 Apple Watch now has a built-in compass so you can always find your way home. It also tells you the elevation, latitude, longitude, incline, and heading. You can even set the compass as a watch face. Good upgrade for the hikers among us.

Always On Retina Display
Always-On Retina display on the Apple Watch
Compass on the Apple Watch
Apple Watch's new built-in compass feature.


Honestly, don’t take your iPad outside. It works and all, and it’s getting closer to a laptop replacement, but there wasn’t any upgrade worth bringing it with you outside of work or home.

iPhone 11

Yes, there are a decent amount of updates here, but for getting outside, you care about the camera. Two big lenses on the back and they upgraded the front-facing one as well.

  1. Night mode - Have you ever taken a decent shot outside with low light on a phone? Me neither, but the new night mode will use adaptive bracketing for better shots in low light. Of course the images they showed as examples look stunning, so you’ll have to check it out yourself to see if it works for your next late-night photo shoot.
  2. Ultra-wide camera - If you like capturing views from the peak, you’ll love this. Getting more of mother nature in a single shot is definitely going to be the Instagram trend of the fall #ultraWide.

Night Mode Comparison
Low light photos look MUCH better in Night mode
Ultra-wide Camera Shot

iPhone 11 Pro

Apple’s first-ever “Pro” labeling of a phone upgrades the camera system even more than the standard iPhone 11.

  1. More is better? - A third lens on the back to include the wide-angle, ultra-wide angle, and the telephoto. All 12MP, as well as the front-facing camera, and all can shoot in 4k.
  2. Night mode plus - Not content with the night mode found on the standard iPhone 11, the pro will get a software update this fall to include something called “Deep Fusion” that uses neural networks and a series of different exposure shots taken before you even press the button, to deliver a remarkable shot even in lower lighting conditions.

iPhone 11 Pro
Not two, but THREE cameras on the Pro.

And both iPhones (3 if you count the iPhone 11 Pro Max) have increased their battery life over predecessors and have the toughest glass in the industry.

We’ll update this article if/when we get our hands on some of the gear soon to check it out.

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