iPhone 13

iPhone 13

The "iPhone 13" is expected to launch in late 2021 and could see some drastic changes that will affect day-to-day use. Apple may do anything from removing the Lightning port in favor of wireless charging to adding yet another camera for improved optical zoom.

● TBA 2021
● "port-less" model, may not have Lightning connector
● MagSafe for accessories and charging
● Smaller or no notch is possible
● Touch ID under the display or in the power button
● 120Hz screen with LTPO
● Potential four-camera array + LiDAR

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We're early in the iPhone 12 lifecycle, but rumors about the next iPhone are already here. The "iPhone 13" is expected in the fall of 2021 with improved cameras, no ports, and the possible return of Touch ID.

Apple keeps the naming schemes of the future iPhone locked down, so we refer to the 2021 iPhone as the "iPhone 13." This may not be its final name due to any number of reasons including superstition or a complete revamp of Apple's naming conventions. It is just as likely that Apple could call this device the "iPhone 12S."

"iPhone 13" Features

After a considerable number of changes to design and features in the iPhone 12, the "iPhone 13" will likely remain relatively the same. Upgrades tend to occur on a tick-tick-tock schedule for iPhone, so expect this to be a minor-upgrade year focused on specs and stability.

Design

Renders of the Renders of the "iPhone 13" [via MySmartPrice]

The iPhone 12 returned to flat sides with a new design, which means the "iPhone 13" will likely not change the external design much year-over-year. The longer a design can be reused, the wider the margins Apple can make on their current models.

The most noticeable physical changes to the device could be the camera bump and notch. The camera bump is expected to change from separate bumps for each lens to a single sheet of glass covering all lenses. This would reduce wobble when laying the device flat on its back.

The notch is expected to be reduced or eliminated. Apple has been investigating methods to hide certain elements of the TrueDepth system behind the display. Some Android manufacturers have managed to hide selfie cameras behind the display, but the TrueDepth system is much more complex.

Apple may be able to hide the selfie camera and a few other sensors in the "iPhone 13" by placing them under the display or raising them into the bezel. Either possibility would yield a smaller notch. It is highly unlikely the notch will be eliminated anytime soon.

The 'iPhone 13' could have one or more different colors The 'iPhone 13' could have one or more different colors

New colors could be introduced for the "iPhone 13." The colors currently offered are white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. Apple usually replaces one of the unique colors with another to boost sales for that model.

The rumored colors include bronze for the pro models and matte black for all models. Apple had a "jet black" color for the iPhone 7, but it was prone to scuffs and scratches.

Apple may implement various design changes to improve durability and water-resistance as well. The iPhone 12 lineup has an IP68 rating which allows submersion for up to 6 meters for 30 minutes. Apple doesn't intend their devices to be used underwater and will not cover water damage under warranty.

If Apple is able to reasonably increase water resistance, the "iPhone 13" may be the first model with Apple's blessing for underwater photography. Capacitive buttons, e-sim, and no Lightning port would enable a fully closed-off device.

The stainless steel rim that encases the iPhone 12 Pro attracts a lot of fingerprints. Apple may implement a new coating to prevent this from happening.

Cameras

As with the body design changes, a camera change usually occurs on a longer cycle. The iPhone 12 Pro has a similar three-camera system as the iPhone 11 Pro, but with an additional sensor for LiDAR. This camera design is said to be carried over to the 2021 Pro iPhone lineup as well.

A leaker known as choco_bit on Twitter has shared a questionable image saying the 2021 iPhone would have a 4-camera system plus LiDAR. Other leakers are at odds with this image, with Jon Prosser saying it is a 0% chance of being correct and L0vetodream saying it aligns with their leaks.

Comparing the current iPhone range with new mockups (source: EverythingApplePro) Comparing the current iPhone range with new mockups (source: EverythingApplePro)

The same leak said the 2020 iPhone will feature a 64-megapixel shooter with a wide lens and 1x optical zoom (6x digital zoom), 40MP telephoto lens with 3x to 5x optical zoom (15-20x digital zoom), 40MP ultra-wide with 0.25x "optical reverse zoom," and a 40MP anamorphic lens sporting a 2.1:1 ratio.

The large jump in megapixels would be highly unusual for Apple since they have historically avoided changing the megapixel count unless it was absolutely necessary. The most likely change to the camera system will be better zoom, better sensor size, and more powerful LiDAR.

Ming-Chi Kuo says that the ultra-wide cameras will be improved in the 2021 iPhone with an f1.8 aperture and 6P lens. The current ultra-wide lens is f2.4 and 5P, so the improvements will greatly improve low-light photos.

A later leak suggests an f1.5 aperture and 7P wide lens on the "iPhone 13 Pro Max" model. The improved aperture would bring in more light during low light shots.

Some sources say that LiDAR may come to all future iPhone models, rather than being reserved for the Pros. This aligns with Apple's push to make AR experiences better for all users.

Apple could expand ProRAW to the entire "iPhone 13" lineup due to changes in the image signal processor. It is unknown why Apple restricted the feature to the iPhone 12 Pro models, but it may have something to do with the difference in RAM. The standard iPhone models have 4GB of RAM and the pro models have 6GB of RAM.

An Apple ProRAW file is the combination of computational photography and a DNG file for the maximum amount of data the sensor can provide. Taking a ProRAW photo is such an intensive process that Live Photos become disabled, so RAM may be a limitation. Apple could improve the ISP in the "iPhone 13" or add additional RAM to the standard models.

The front-facing camera may not see any drastic changes in the "iPhone 13." Users can expect similar specs and maybe a wider selfie angle than what is present in current models.

Slow-motion selfies were introduced previously as a standout feature of the camera, so expect something similar. New Memoji and Animoji options are not out of the question either.

Display

The iPhone could gain a ProMotion display in 2021 to optimize viewing content but may necessitate the use of LTPO technology to keep the battery life under control. Samsung has used similar techniques to push its display refresh rate up to 120Hz as well.

It is claimed that Apple wants both Pro models to have 120Hz refresh rates, but they must be variable to prevent inadvertent battery drain. This would be accomplished by using LTPO backplanes, which is what the Apple Watch uses to remain always-on by slowing the screen to as little as 1Hz.

ProMotion display with 120Hz refresh might come to the 'iPhone 13' ProMotion display with 120Hz refresh might come to the 'iPhone 13'

The iPad Pro has a 120Hz refresh rate but does not use LTPO, so it is hard to consider the validity of the rumor. Jon Prosser said that the iPhone 12 could have received the technology, but Apple decided to cut it at the last second due to battery life concerns.

A report says that LG has been tapped to produce the needed LTPO displays for the "iPhone 13" which would go into production in mid-2021. A different report suggests Samsung might be the sole provider of LTPO displays for Apple due to their history of providing quality displays.

In April, industry watchers reported that LG and Samsung had begun converting iPhone display manufacturing to the LTPO displays needed for 120Hz. Mass production of devices begin in the summer, so component prep at this stage seems natural.

There is always some chance Apple could bring Apple Pencil functionality to the iPhone. The second-generation Pencil is sleek and small enough to use with the iPhone comfortably, but it requires a capacitive attachment point for pairing. Apple could release a third-generation Pencil or a new version of Pencil altogether meant specifically for the iPhone.

Apple's use of multiple magnets in a device for charging, accessories, and mounting devices is not new. The iPad Pro has 102 magnets distributed through its chassis, so an accompanying Apple Pencil mount wouldn't complicate the device much.

Cables and Connectors

There has been some controversy about Apple and cable standards in the past, and it seems that the "iPhone 13" will reignite that controversy. Rumors point to the 2021 iPhone dropping the long-used Lightning connector in favor of a port-less design.

Many have speculated at iPhone moving to USB-C, as the iPad Pro did in 2018, just to have a uniform connector across all Apple devices. Both Jon Prosser and choco_bit believe USB-C will never come to iPhone, with Apple forgoing a port altogether in 2021.

A report from Ming-Chi Kuo in March 2021 said that USB-C would be detrimental to the MFi business's profitability and is less waterproof than Lightning. Therefore, Apple will likely skip USB-C entirely and adopt a port-less design with MagSafe. Though, Kuo says that MagSafe is not mature enough to take over from Lightning, so Lightning will remain for the foreseeable future.

Mockups of the device from the same people who did mockups of the rumored iPhone 12 were shared. Both Prosser and Fudge dismissed the design, which did not align with their own sources.

Apple introduced MagSafe to the iPhone 12 lineup for charging and connecting accessories. It offers 15W charging but no data passthrough. If Apple truly wants to go port-less in the future, it is likely because MagSafe will take over the role of the port.

If MagSafe in the "iPhone 13" can handle data and charging, then features like CarPlay and syncing to a Mac would still be possible.

The return of MagSafe to MacBooks has been rumored as well. Magnetic charging ports with the ability to handle data would work great for iPhone and Mac.

Wireless recovery modes could allow users to restore their iPhone from a Mac using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Apple could also include a special pogo-pad connection within the SIM card tray for use by support teams. These methods would be required for a port-less iPhone.

5G

The iPhone 12 lineup has 5G in sub-6GHz and mmWave bands. According to Apple, mmWave is only available in the U.S. on the iPhone, but that could change in future models. Ming-Chi Kuo says this is a possiblity as Apple tries to expand adoption in other markets.

As 5G becomes more ubiquitous Apple will want people who travel to have access to the same speeds they find at home, so a global expansion of 5G mmWave support is natural. 5G in ideal conditions can offer up to 3.5Gbps download speeds.

Apple is reportedly working on its own cellular modems, which means future iPhones may drop Qualcomm as a modem provider. This stems from Apple's acquisition of Intel's 5G modem platform and will lead to Apple bringing yet another part of its device in-house.

Biometrics

The fingerprint sensor was replaced with Face ID on the iPhone X, and this caused a shift in the entire smartphone market. Some manufacturers moved to face recognition, while others moved to place the fingerprint sensor below the display.

Apple has been rumored almost every year since the iPhone X to be resurrecting Touch ID in the iPhone through some kind of under-screen or power button implementation. The latest rumors point to both being used in some regard in the 2021 iPhones.

Could Apple be moving to under-the-display fingerprint technology? Could Apple be moving to under-the-display fingerprint technology?

Apple embedded Touch ID into the iPad Air 4 top button, and some expect they could do the same in a future iPhone. Having both Face ID and Touch ID in a device could open up better security use cases, or allow users wearing a mask to unlock their iPhone easily and securely.

In the same March 2021 Kuo note mentioned before, he mentioned that Touch ID will be implemented in the power button. This change will significantly improve the user experience, but Kuo notes that there is no visibility of the timing of the feature. Therefore it may not arrive in time for the "iPhone 13."

Apple may not need to introduce new biometrics, however, due to an update in iOS 14.5 which allows the iPhone to unlock when wearing an Apple Watch. Of course, Apple could include Touch ID in future models for those who do not own an Apple Watch.

"iPhone 13" pricing and release

Apple will likely release four distinct models of the "iPhone 13" identically priced to the iPhone 12 counterparts. Reports suggest that demand for the iPhone 12 mini may lead to Apple de-emphasizing the product, but an "iPhone 13 mini" is still expected.

Apple may give users different choices over storage options. Currently, there are three options in the non-pro lineup at 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The 128GB option is $50 more expensive than the 64GB option, and the 256GB option is $100 more expensive than that.

Apple could push the baseline to 128GB and offer 256GB and 512GB options above that. The pro models may get 1TB options for even more money — likely a $200 premium.

The iPhone 12 starts at $799 so the "iPhone 13" will take its place. See the price chart below for current iPhone pricing or check our price guide.

The "iPhone 13" could see a major shift in use cases with multiple new technologies pushing the device forward. Fall 2021 is a while away yet, so expect a lot more leaks to detail the new iPhone until its launch.

iPhone 12 price tracker

iPhone 12

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Configurations           Discount
64GB Black iPhone 12
 
$829.00
 
$829.00
 
$26.67/mo
 
$33.33/mo
 
From $26.67/mo
$29.01
64GB Blue iPhone 12
 
$829.00
 
$829.00
 
$26.67/mo
 
$33.33/mo
 
From $26.67/mo
$29.01
64GB Green iPhone 12
 
$829.00
 
$829.00
 
$26.67/mo
 
$33.33/mo
 
From $26.67/mo
$29.01
64GB Red iPhone 12
 
$829.00
 
$829.00
 
$26.67/mo
 
$33.33/mo
 
From $26.67/mo
$29.01
64GB White iPhone 12
 
$829.00
 
$829.00
 
$26.67/mo
 
$33.33/mo
 
From $26.67/mo
$29.01
128GB Black iPhone 12
 
$879.00
 
sold out
 
$28.34/mo
 
$35.41/mo
 
From $28.34/mo
$29.01
128GB Blue iPhone 12
 
$879.00
 
$879.00
 
$28.34/mo
 
$35.41/mo
 
From $28.34/mo
$29.01
128GB Green iPhone 12
 
$879.00
 
$879.00
 
$28.34/mo
 
$35.41/mo
 
From $28.34/mo
$29.01
128GB Red iPhone 12
 
$879.00
 
$879.00
 
$28.34/mo
 
$35.41/mo
 
From $28.34/mo
$29.01
128GB White iPhone 12
 
$879.00
 
$879.00
 
$28.34/mo
 
$35.41/mo
 
From $28.34/mo
$29.01
256GB Black iPhone 12
 
$979.00
 
$979.00
 
$31.67/mo
 
$39.58/mo
 
From $31.67/mo
$29.01
256GB Blue iPhone 12
 
$979.00
 
$979.00
 
$31.67/mo
 
$39.58/mo
 
From $31.67/mo
$29.01
256GB Green iPhone 12
 
$979.00
 
$979.00
 
$31.67/mo
 
$39.58/mo
 
From $31.67/mo
$29.01
256GB Red iPhone 12
 
$979.00
 
$979.00
 
$31.67/mo
 
$39.58/mo
 
From $31.67/mo
$29.01
256GB White iPhone 12
 
$979.00
 
$979.00
 
$31.67/mo
 
$39.58/mo
 
From $31.67/mo
$29.01
 

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