Apple’s Fancy New iPhone 13 ProRes Feature Has a Catch

Apple’s Fancy New iPhone 13 ProRes Feature Has a Catch
Image: Apple

Now that the iPhone 13 is out in the open and almost in our hands, it’s time to dig into all the new things it has to offer. One feature, in particular, that is new and exciting for the iPhone is ProRes, but it won’t be available on all models.

What is ProRes?

For starters, what is ProRes and why should you care about it?

When you’re buying an iPhone these days, you’re basically buying a professional camera as well as a phone.

The iPhone Pro models have always featured a better camera than the average iPhone, and that’s no different with this year’s lineup. Alongside an additional Telephoto lens, the new iPhone is also capable of an advanced video format known as ProRes.

ProRes is an advanced video format used widely in the film and television industries to offer higher colour fidelity and less compression. In the iPhone 13, this is possible via the new camera and advanced video encoders and decoders powered by the A15 chip.

Combined, this allows the iPhone to provide an end-to-end workflow (film, edit and upload) in ProRes and Dolby Vision all within the device, making it the first smartphone to do so.

ProRes is essentially the video equivalent of what ProRaw does for photos on the iPhone, and it’s a pretty big deal for camera nerds and filmmakers.

Which iPhone 13 models can use ProRes?

As Apple stated in its announcement, both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will be capable of filming ProRes video.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of caveats to this.

For starters, ProRes won’t be available on day one and will instead be available to download in an iOS software update later down the line. There’s no date set for when this update will launch.

Secondly, not all iPhone 13 Pro models will be capable of filming ProRes footage in 4K.

This footnote was discovered in Apple’s tech specs page for the iPhone 13 (via MacRumors) and reveals that while all the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models are equipped to handle ProRes, some of them will have limitations.

Basically, if you want to use your iPhone to film with ProRes in 4K at 30fps (i.e. the top resolution) then you’ll need to purchase an iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max with 256GB of storage or more. This rules out the 128GB entry-level models, which will only be able to film in 1080p.

The iPhone 13 Pro models are available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB sizes, but they each have a hefty price tag to match that extra storage.

It’s reasonable to think that those planning to use their new iPhone 13 to film cinematic quality footage will want to do so in 4K, which means they’ll have to fork out the extra dollars for a higher storage device.

This may seem like a small limitation, but it’s a big one if you care about specifics and it’s worth being aware of if you’re considering which iPhone 13 is right for you.

If you’re keen on ordering an iPhone to (eventually) try out ProRes for yourself, here are the best deals for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max in Australia.