The iPhone 12 may have stuck to its usual fall launch schedule though it took more than a month post that for the device to eventually land up with the buyers. The reason should not need any explanation as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc with schedules worldwide and all subsequent product launches got delayed.
However, the good news on this front is that the next iPhone model, the iPhone 13 is all set to be on track for a launch and subsequent shipping within the fall season itself. Of course, this isn’t a confirmed piece of news though it comes from noted Apple leakster Ming Chi Kuo. And Kuo has been really fantastic with his Apple-related predictions over the years.
From everything we’ve heard so far, the iPhone 13 is set to offer a 120Hz LTPO display on both Pro models, improved battery life thanks to a more efficient 5G modem, as well as substantial upgrades to the all-important cameras. That includes a LiDAR sensor on cheaper iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, as well as a new portrait video mode.
As for the design, we’ve heard that the notch is shrinking. Some other rumors have suggested that at least one iPhone 13 model may come with a truly portless design, but that’s now contested. That’s actually possible now that we have MagSafe charging. We could finally see an always-on display, too.
Based on all the rumors and leaks out there already, here’s everything we know about the iPhone 13.
Latest iPhone 13 news (updated March 30)
- A leak has revealed the existence of iOS 15, which will almost certainly be the launch operating system of the iPhone 13. Sadly we don’t know what features the next version of iOS will sport.
- Apple’s A15 chip will go into production in May, according to reports, putting the iPhone 13 on track for a fall launch.
- A new iPhone 13 Pro leak has revealed a lot of info, including new orange and matte black colors, a smaller notch, and camera and audio upgrades.
- Apple has set the date for this year’s WWDC conference, where we’ll hear about iOS 15 before it debuts on the iPhone 13.
iPhone 13 release date
If the iPhone 13 release date follows Apple’s pattern for previous launches, we could see this device hit shelves on the fourth Friday of September 2021. That would be September 24.
Despite the coronavirus-related delays that faced the iPhone 12, pushing its launch to October 13, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the iPhone 13 should return to a normal release schedule in 2021.
This was given further credence by a more recent analyst note from Daniel Ives at Wedbush, who said that the iPhone 13 is on track for a September launch and Apple expects to build 25% more iPhone 13 units than the iPhone 12.
We’ll get our first hint of the iPhone 13 features this June when Apple shows off iOS 15 at its Worldwide Developer Conference. WWDC 2021 takes place June 7, Apple says.
iPhone 13 price
Various rumors point towards the iPhone 13 coming in the same four sizes as the iPhone 12: a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Regardless, we’d expect the prices to track with the iPhone 12 range, so $699, $799, $999 and $1,099, respectively. Apple tends to keep its pricing for each new generation of iPhone relatively close to the one that preceded it.
iPhone 13 name
Early rumors about this fall’s iPhone have used iPhone 13 as the name for the upcoming model, since Apple went from from the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12 last year. But a handful of recent rumors have referred to the unreleased iPhone by a different name — the iPhone 12s.
Slapping an “s” at the end of a model number would actually be a return to form for Apple, which used to alternate between releasing a new model number and then an “s” version of that same phone the following year. The last phone to fit into that pattern was the iPhone 6s, released in 2015. (Technically, 2018’s iPhone XS could be part of that naming scheme, though at the same time, Apple also introduced the iPhone XR.)
The “s” model of iPhones generally implied that the phone had a lot in common with last year’s version, save for a few key improvements. So whether Apple goes with the iPhone 12s or iPhone 13 as a name will say a lot about how different this year’s phone truly is.
iPhone 13 design
A variety of leaks and reports have the iPhone 13 tipped to come with a smaller display notch, after several generations of using the same, somewhat bulky notch.
Apple will apparently achieve this notch downsizing by combining the currently separated infrared flood illuminator, sensor and dot projector, which make up the iPhone 12’s Face ID unlocking system, into a single module. With two fewer sensors required, we should see a much narrower notch on the iPhone 13.
Another leak has revealed a set of images from Greek repair provider iRepair which apparently show off the iPhone 13 in a trio of sizes with a smaller display notch.
It’s notably more compact and looks to have moved the phone’s earpiece to the top bezel rather than keep it inside the notch.
If you want a better idea of what a finished iPhone 13 might look like, LetsGoDigital published some iPhone 13 renders — actually labeled as the iPhone 12s Pro — that show off Apple’s phone with a smaller notch and a Touch ID sensor under the phone’s display.
Speaking of which, there has been a clutch of leaks and rumors pointing toward the iPhone 13 getting an under-display take on Touch ID. There is still some doubt bubbling around that this will be the case. But at a time when mask-wearing is prolific, having a secondary form of biometric security is no bad thing.
In addition, the iPhone 13 may be slightly thicker, which would allow for a larger battery.
The biggest change we can expect from the iPhone 13 is that one model could feature a portless design, dropping the Lightning port and opting for charging and data transfer to be carried out wirelessly.
That would be a radical change from the iPhone 12, but could also spark a move for the smartphone world to slowly ditch its reliance on ports and bundled chargers and cables. (Apple already made such a move with the iPhone 12, by not including a charger with any of those phones.)
However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo disputed this recently, saying that there will not be a portless iPhone 13: “At present, the MagSafe ecosystem is not mature enough, so the iPhone will continue to use the Lightning port in the foreseeable future.”
iPhone 13 display
If Apple sticks to having four models of iPhone 13, then we can expect the displays to measure in at 5.4 inches, 6.1 inches, and 6.7 inches.
A report from ET News says that Apple will adopt a 120Hz refresh rate for the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. This will allow for smoother scrolling as well as improved gameplay and video playback.
A newer leak added further add fuel to the rumors that the iPhone 13 will have an LTPO panel, and that Samsung Display will be the company to make it.
The nature of an LTPO panel means it doesn’t need extra components under the display to enable an adaptive refresh rate, meaning phones with such screens can sport a thin chassis. In the iPhone 13, an LTPO display could enable the phone to not only have a super smooth refresh rate but also keep the neat frame of the iPhone 12.
Other leaks tip the iPhone 13 to use an always-on display, something the LTPO tech could certainly facilitate. A video shows how an always-on display for the iPhone could work. An always-on display would finally give Apple’s iPhones a feature that Android phones have had for some time.
LG and Samsung are likely to supply displays for the iPhone 13, as they’re the leading makers of OLED panels. But a Chinese supplier, BOE, may be in the mix as a potential source for iPhone 13 screens.
iPhone 13 specs
As night follows day, so to can we expect a chip upgrade for the iPhone 13 over its predecessor. It’s likely this will come in the form of the A15 Bionic, a successor to the very powerful A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12. Production reportedly starts on the A15 in May.
This new system-on-a-chip (SoC) could be a reasonable upgrade on the A14 Bionic, likely boosting overall performance and efficiency. A major upgrade doesn’t look likely until the iPhone 14, when Apple could potentially make a chip based on a 4-nanometer process node. Currently, the A14 Bionic inside the iPhone 12 is a 5nm chip.
On the storage front, we can expect the iPhone 13 to range from 64GB and 512GB, though a new analyst report has the iPhone 13 slated to get up to 1TB of storage. That would give it the most onboard storage any iPhone has ever had.
The iPhone 13 could also get a big boost in terms of wireless connectivity. Documentation of Apple’s settlement with Qualcomm revealed that Apple has plans to use Qualcomm’s X60 5G modem in upcoming iPhones, which will likely include the iPhone 13.
This is important because the 5nm X60 modem can integrate directly into a phone’s chipset, meaning a smaller footprint and lower battery drain. Plus, the 5G performance should be better, as the modem can combine mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G networks simultaneously. A separate report from Digitimes confirms that the iPhone 13 will get the new Qualcomm X60 modem.
Furthermore, the iPhone 13 is tipped to come with Wi-Fi 6E, a variation on the Wi-Fi 6 standard that will support even faster wireless speeds.
A Digitimes report hinted that the iPhone 13 could adopt liquid crystal polymer circuit boards for imaging purposes, resulting in faster data transmission. The addition of LCP boards, coupled with 5G connectivity, has the potential to accelerate applications like live streaming or augmented reality.
When it comes to storage, we’re not expecting any upgrade over the iPhone 12. As such, we predict the iPhone 13 will come in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB variants.
The iPhone 12 models did not wow on our battery life test. Only the iPhone 12 Pro Max truly impressed with its large battery. However, another report from Ming-Chi Kuo about so-called soft battery technology in the iPhone 13 claimed that the new iPhones could offer increased battery capacity without growing the design footprint. Apple could also decide to offer similar capacity in even thinner designs.
With the faster battery drain 5G can put on phones, we’re hoping the iPhone 13 finds a way to eke out as much life as possible from a battery pack. And if the iPhone 13 does indeed come with no ports, we’d hope that Apple brings in faster wireless charging, so we don’t have to wait around for hours for the handsets to fill up on electrical juice.
Finally, a recent leak from Jon Prosser has claimed the iPhone 13 Pro will come with up to 1TB of internal storage. That’ll be double the maximum storage of current-gen iPhones.
iPhone 13 cameras
We haven’t heard much about the entire iPhone 13 range yet, but one leak has the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max offering a new 6-element ultrawide lens. It would also offer autofocus capability. The current iPhone 12 Pro models sport a 5-element ultrawide angle lens. The more elements in a lens, the better the image quality tends to be as a rule.
One interesting rumor that has come up suggests Apple is looking for suppliers for a “folded lens” camera that will improve the iPhone 13’s optical camera zoom. The periscope-like design means the telephoto lens would be stacked vertically, instead of horizontally, meaning you can increase the optical magnification without increasing the size of the phone.
In fact, this design is commonly used by other phone makers, including Samsung and Huawei, to increase their own optical zoom capabilities. Which iPhone 13 models will get the improved zoom is still unclear.
Speaking of zooming, the iPhone 13 is also tipped to get camera upgrades that allow it to better shoot the night sky, as well as deliver portrait mode videos.
An upgraded ultrawide camera on all iPhone 13 models could facilitate a dedicated astrophotography mode. And much like how night mode is enabled when you’re in a low-light environment, you’ll activate this mode when you point the phone at the stars or the moon.
Another leak has the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max tipped to get boosted ultrawide-angle camera lenses complete with sensor-shift OIS (optical image stabilization) and automatic focus features.
Portrait video mode will offer a blurred background on video footage when enabled, It will also reportedly let you customize the depth of field after shooting so you can dial in the blurred effect after the fact. There are no specifics given on whether this can be used on any of the iPhone 13’s cameras or just a select few.
Various other reports claim the iPhone 13’s camera will get a big hardware boost as well. Analyst Ross Young has predicted that the new Apple phone will come with larger sensors for starters.
Larger sensors mean larger pixels for increased light intake, which should produce better quality photos. Unfortunately, it’s not clear which iPhone 13s are set to take advantage of these sensors, though the iPhone 12 Pro Max featured a larger sensor when it debuted in the fall.
On top of that Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max will both include larger apertures on their ultra-wide cameras. Kuo said that both phones will come with an f/1.8 aperture, up from the f/2.4 on the iPhone 12. Paired with a six-element lens, that means more light will come in through the camera and improve picture quality.
Kuo also said that the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s sensor-shift optical image stabilization will also be returning to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, alongside the iPhone 13 Pro. The current model makes 5,000 adjustments each second to keep the lens steady, and a steady lens means better pictures, especially in low-light.
However, in a more recent report, Kuo has claimed there’ll be no new camera lens for iPhones until 2022. That means the iPhone 13 might not get any new rear camera hardware, though we’d expect Apple to bolster smartphone photo snapping with improved computational photography.
One final addition would be the inclusion of LiDAR sensors on the iPhone 13 and 13 mini, rather than just the Pro models. That’s according to sources speaking to DigiTimes, at least, who say all 2021 iPhones will include the advanced sensor, though not everyone seems to think that will be the case. The LiDAR sensors on the Pro models should be used to create better portrait photos with the iPhone 13, according to information about the new phone posted by leakers Flip Koroy and Max Weinbach.
iPhone 13 charging
The iPhone 12 maxes out at 20W charging, and we have not yet heard any rumors about the the charging speed for this year. However, we have heard some bad news. According to Bloomberg, the iPhone 13 likely won’t include reverse wireless charging, which would have allowed the iPhone to charge devices like the AirPods Pro and Apple Watch.
A new patent has also revealed an iPhone-compatible version of the classic MacBook Pro MagSafe charger. If implemented this system would replace the Lightning port with a new charging system held in place by magnets. That means you could charge wirelessly, while still benefitting from the security of a cable that will break away when it’s knocked or tripped.
iPhone 13 colors
What colors each new iPhone model features is always a big topic of discussion, and though we’re more than half-a-year away from the iPhone 13’s debut, some color rumors are already emerging, at least for the iPhone 13 Pro models.
Leakers Flip Koroy and Max Weinbach have teamed up to drop some iPhone 13 Pro color info. The Space Gray model should return to the lineup, though with a new black matte shade. Orange and bronze are apparently in the mix to debut as colors for this year’s Pro models too.
iPhone 13: What we want to see
Chances are we’ll begin to hear more details on the iPhone 13 as 2021 continues. In fact, one of the earliest reports that Apple was planning a compact, 5.4-inch variant of the iPhone 12 dropped in September 2019, mere days after the iPhone 11 series debuted. That device, of course, ended up known as the iPhone 12 mini.
Here’s what we’d love to see from the iPhone 13 when it does surface, beyond what rumors are suggesting.
- 128GB of storage, standard: Apple only granted 128GB base storage in the higher-tier iPhone 12 Pro models, leaving it out of the regular iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. That’s a good first step, but Apple has really got to get with the times and offer a floor of 128GB of storage in all iPhone 13 models. It’s borderline offensive to spend nearly a grand on a premium smartphone that only packs 64GB from the factory, especially considering Apple’s aversion to microSD expandability.
- Improved camera zoom: Either through hardware, software or a combination of both, Apple has to punch up the iPhone’s photography abilities when shooting from a distance. Many smartphone users love having a good ultrawide lens, but a strong telephoto is just as important for when you can’t get up close to your subject. Perhaps Apple could learn a thing or two from Google’s Super Res Zoom feature, which uses clever algorithms to nearly make up for the lack of a high-powered periscope lens. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has improved things slightly to 2.5x optical power, but we’d really like to see at least 3x in future telephoto-equipped iPhones.
- 120Hz display: If you’ve never used a phone with one before, a fast refresh-rate display just makes every scroll, tap, task and game so much more responsive than on standard 60Hz panels. We’d settle for 90Hz if 120Hz is deemed too costly for battery life, but a swifter refresh rate could go a long way toward making iOS feel even smoother than it feels now. Unfortunately, this was another feature teased for iPhone 12 early on that never ended up panning out for release.
We expect that the iPhone 12 Pro, with its flatter design, complete 5G support and LiDAR-boosted camera, will form the foundation for Apple’s 2021 devices. So keep a close eye on this page over the coming months as the future of iPhone takes shape.