Apple’s Massive iPhone 13 Upgrades Suddenly Confirmed
Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup has only been on virtual shelves for a few months, and already the mobile phone world has turned its attention to the iPhone 13 (or whatever Apple names its next flagship) and the three other variants expected to join the lineup: the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The latest rumor: a 120Hz always-on display à la the Apple Watch (and like many Android phones have had for years).
Rumors were circulating about Apple’s 2021 phone lineup even before the last Apple event, which unveiled the iPhone 12. And the leaks are only going to ramp up as we get closer to the next iPhone release date. Read on to find the latest rumors about the iPhone 13’s price, design, specs and more. We’ll update this story as new information becomes available.
So far, there’s no official or unofficial word on when we can expect to see Apple’s next iPhone. Usually, we can predict with some degree of accuracy when Apple’s iPhone events will occur and extrapolate a release date based on that. 2020 was a different story — it was the first September Apple event in eight years without an iPhone — thanks to delays in production due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, however, Kuo is forecasting business as usual for Apple’s supply chain. If that’s the case, we can expect to see the iPhone 13 unveiled at an event sometime in September.
iPhone 13’s rumored sizes:
• iPhone 13 Mini: 5.4-inch
• iPhone 13: 6.1-inch
• iPhone 13 Pro: 6.1-inch
• iPhone 13 Pro Max: 6.7-inch
Two potential design elements that are getting some decent buzz already: A shallower notch or completely notchless screen and the death of the Lightning port, both of which have been speculated about, hoped for or dreaded ad nauseum for generations of iPhones.
iPhone 13 may nix the chunky notch
Apple introduced the world to the notched display in 2017 with the release of the iPhone X, and as rivals solved the selfie conundrum with hole-punch and under-display cameras, Apple still hasn’t, er, taken it down a notch. Those who crossed their fingers for a notchless or at least smaller-notched iPhone 12 are reassigning their hopes to the iPhone 13 now that their 2020 all-screen dreams have failed to come to fruition.
Will Apple kill the Lightning port too?
When Apple ousted the headphone jack, the doomsday clock started ticking for the iPhone’s charging port as well, according to industry analysts. Though a lot of us are still holding out hope for a USB-C port, the introduction of MagSafe accessories in 2020 all but sealed the deal on a portless future for the iPhone. Frequent leaker Jon Prosser shares this prediction, asserting on his YouTube channel, “The end goal is very obviously portless.”
But don’t get too excited (nervous?): Kuo predicts that only one 2021 iPhone will be completely portless, likely the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Better zoom capabilities for the iPhone 13
One weak spot in the 2020 lineup’s camera offerings, however, was zoom technology. The iPhone 12 Pro Max only featured a 2.5x optical zoom — for comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra and now the S21 Ultra both offer a 100x zoom (though it is a mix of optical and digital). According to ETNews (as reported by TechRadar), the iPhone 13 could potentially include a periscope camera, a technology that would allow for a larger zoom range without requiring an even larger camera bump. Kuo made similar predictions for a future periscope lens, though his report hinted that we may have to wait until 2022. It’s also possible that the 2.5x zoom found on the iPhone 12 Pro Max could trickle down to the next iPhone’s Pro model.
Improved night mode photos
New rumors in early February hint at welcome improvements for low-light photography. Analysts are predicting an ultrawide-angle lens with a larger aperture — f1.8, instead of f2.4. A larger aperture means more light can hit the sensor, which makes for better photos at nighttime or in low-light situations.
Features: All the other iPhone 13 rumors we’ve heard
There’s a lot we can confidently predict for the 2021 iPhone lineup based on last year’s features and Apple’s usual track record. For instance, 5G is all but a foregone conclusion. There probably won’t be a charger or headphones in the box, nor a headphone jack, nor a USB-C port. And unless 2021 throws us for an even bigger loop than 2020, we expect Apple to preview iOS 15 at its annual WWDC event in June, shipping the iPhone 13 with the new operating system installed.
120Hz refresh rate for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max
We thought we’d get a refreshed refresh rate in the iPhone 12, but the 120Hz rumors didn’t pan out — likely because of the already increased demands on battery from the phone’s 5G connectivity. Instead, Apple’s lineup last year featured the same 60Hz display as the previous year’s iPhone 11.
But 2021 could be the year of the 120Hz display, which would result in a smoother, faster scrolling experience thanks to a higher screen refresh rate. Many higher-end competitors already feature a 120Hz display (e.g. the OnePlus 8T and Galaxy S21), so the odds are good Apple heads in this direction for its next Pro line.
Evidence for doubling the refresh rate in 2021 comes from Korean news site The Elec, which reports that two of the iPhone 13 models will use LTPO technology in their screens (story is in Spanish). This screen tech would make the phone more power-efficient in general, meaning smaller batteries and/or longer battery life are also probable (not to mention these whispers about an always-on display). Learn more about LTPO, or low-temperature polycrystalline oxide, OLED screens. This rumor was repeated by well known leaker Max Weinbach in mid-February on YouTube.
An always-on display
Like the Apple Watch (and Android phones), the iPhone 13 may have its own version of the always-on display, what Weinbach called a “toned-down lock screen.” If rumors are true, your next iPhone would always display the time and battery charge, as well as incoming notifications, without you having to unlock or wake the whole screen.