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iPhone gets 3x optical zoom for the first time

Zoom in closer.

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Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET
This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple.

At the iPhone 13 event Tuesday, Apple announced the iPhone 13 Pro would have 3x optical zoom, an improvement over the iPhone 12 Pro. The 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have 2x and 2.5x optical zoom, equivalent to 52mm and 65mm lenses. The 13 Pro's 3x zoom is equivalent to a 77mm lens.

The iPhone 13 Pro, announced on Tuesday, starts at $999 (£949, AU$1,699). The larger Pro Max starts at $1,099 (£1,049, AU$1,849). All of the new iPhone 13 models are available for preorder beginning Sept. 17 and will ship Sept. 24.

Apple's fall launch -- which was virtual again this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic -- tends to be the company's most important of the year. It's when the company announces new iPhones, which represent about half its revenue. Its lineup from 2020, the iPhone 12, offered 5G and the first major design revamp since 2017's iPhone X. Many of Apple's other popular products, such as its Apple Watch and AirPods earbuds, are tied to the iPhone too. 

While the iPhone remains Apple's biggest moneymaker, the company also has been expanding its software and services efforts. In the past couple of years, its new offerings have included a $5-per-month Apple TV Plus entertainment package, $5-per-month Apple Arcade gaming subscription and, last year, a $10-per-month Apple Fitness Plus workout service. Apple also offers a bundle of its services, called Apple One, which starts at $15 per month.

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