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Whoa, the new iPhone 11 starts at $699

Better cameras, a faster CPU and longer battery life -- for $50 less than the price of last year's iPhone XR.

Shara Tibken/CNET

Apple has introduced the iPhone 11, unexpectedly slashing the starting price of its new flagship to $699 (£729, AU$1,199) -- the lowest entry-level price for a new iPhone since the iPhone 8 debuted in 2017. Though the design is largely identical to last year's iPhone XS, the new iPhone 11 comes equipped with more powerful cameras, Apple's brand new A13 Bionic processor and longer battery life. 

Apple has expanded its palette, as well. The iPhone 11 is available in white, black, green, yellow, purple and the company's special Product Red color. The entry-level 64GB model costs $699, the 128GB model costs $749 and the 256GB edition costs $849. 

Now playing: Watch this: Apple reveals iPhone 11 Pro with 3 cameras

The new iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max pick up where last year's iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max left off, starting at $999 and $1,099, respectively, though they have even more sophisticated cameras and a handful of other premium features. All of the new phones go on preorder starting this Friday, Sept. 13 at 5 a.m. PT. They will arrive in-store on Sept. 20. 

During the event on Tuesday, Apple executives played up the new iPhone's camera technology, which includes the addition of an ultra wide-angle camera and a Night Mode feature that will improve low-light performance. Apart from the photographic advances, Apple's new A13 Bionic processor and a promise of longer battery life, however, the new phone isn't terribly different from its predecessor. Apple seems to have tacitly acknowledged the modest nature of this year's upgrade by lowering the iPhone 11's starting price to $699 -- $50 less than the price of the iPhone XR when it debuted this time last year.

Read more: Where and how to preorder the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro

What's new in the iPhone 11

  • Six colors, including yellow, purple, green and Product Red
  • A13 Bionic processor
  • An hour more battery life than iPhone XR
  • Faster Face ID unlocking
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Dual camera system with a 12-megapixel lenses: wide and ultra-wide (switch by tapping on the screen)
  • Camera night mode
  • 2x optical zoom
  • New portrait lighting in monochrome
  • 12-megapixel front-facing camera (up from 7 megapixels)
  • 4K video for both front and rear cameras, with slow-motion video for the selfie camera (aka "slofies")
  • iOS 13 
  • Starts at $699 (£729, AU$1,199) 

Though Apple added three new models to its lineup, the company will continue to sell the iPhone XR and iPhone 8, which now start at $599 and $329, respectively. The iPhone XS and XS Max have now been discontinued. 

The company also announced that it will throw in one free year of its new Apple TV Plus service with every new iPhone purchase.