Apple has just announced the new iPhone 13 – the latest entry in its incredibly popular smartphone line. Here’s everything we know so far about the device.
The iPhone 13 is finally here after months of leaks, rumours and news. On the surface, it certainly feels like a smaller update, especially when compared to last year, but that’s not to say there isn’t a load of new features.
There’s a new A15 Bionic chip that Apple says is ‘50% faster than the competition’, a smaller notch, improved cameras and a whole new range of colours.
This is a breaking news story and we’ll update it as we learn more…Read on for all the previous rumours
Apple’s current flagship smartphone lineup consists of four models: the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the pocket-sized iPhone 12 Mini. We awarded all four phones 4.5 stars, meaning Apple has a lot to live up to if it wants to impress us again.
The iPhone 12, in particular, saw significant improvements over the iPhone 11, raising the bar for the more expensive Pro. However, the range as a whole wasn’t a huge departure from the iPhone 11 series.
Apple recently referenced four unreleased models in an FCC filing for its MagSafe chargers (via MacRumors), while also referring to the iPhone 12 range as a set of “legacy” devices, making it seem likely the company will launch four models once again.
That is, an iPhone 13, an iPhone 13 Pro, an iPhone 13 Pro Max and an iPhone 13 Mini.
Right now, the biggest changes we expect to see with the new flagship include a smaller notch and bigger batteries across the board, along with an always-on 120Hz display and up to 1TB of storage on the Pro versions of the phone.
We’re also expecting to see improvements to the ultra-wide camera sensor and support for satellite communications, so users can make calls and send text messages in emergencies, without signal.
Scroll down to discover everything we know about the iPhone 13 ahead of its launch, including price, release date, design and specs.
Release date – When will the phone launch?
Apple has officially confirmed that it will be hosting an Apple Event on September 14 at 10am PDT (that’s 6pm here in the UK). We expect to see the iPhone 13 make its debut at the event, alongside the Apple Watch 7 and possibly the AirPods 3 and the iPad Mini 6.
You can visit our guide to find out where to catch the livestream of the event.
While we expect Apple to unveil the iPhone 13 during the event, as is tradition, the pandemic delayed last year’s iPhone 12 to October 13, so it isn’t entirely clear whether the company will return to its usual schedule for 2021. Last year, Apple held a September event that didn’t mention the iPhone, so it’s possible that could be the case again.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives (via Barrons) predicted we’ll see an announcement take place in the third week of September, followed by pre-orders opening on September 17 and the device officially shipping on September 24.
However, during Apple’s Q3 earnings call, chief financial officer Luca Maestri warned investors that the iPhone 13 and the iPad could be impacted by supply constraints in September.
Price – How much will it cost?
As far as cost is concerned, DigiTimes has reported that TSMC – the company responsible for producing many of Apple’s mobile chips – has plans to increase its prices across the board, with a 3-5% price hike anticipated for Apple.
If Apple chooses to pass this price increase onto the consumer, we could see the cost of the iPhone 13 Mini raise from £699 to £720, the base model increase from £799 to £823, the Pro go up from £999 to £1029, and the Pro Max move up from £1099 to £1049.
However, other sources, including @PineLeaks on Twitter, don’t expect to see a price hike on the iPhone 13.
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Specs and features – A 120Hz display, no Touch ID and an always-on display
- 120Hz could be on the cards
- Touch ID will not be returning
- Up to 1TB of storage
- Satellite mode for emergencies
Jon Prosser of FrontPage Tech believes the iPhone 13 will be getting an LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) display, allowing Apple to include a 120Hz refresh rate on its ProMotion screen.
Apple currently uses LTPO tech to enable its Apple Watch 6 to show an always-on display and we’ve seen it used on some newer best Android phones, such as the OnePlus 9 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
This rumour has been backed up by influential analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who asserts both technologies will be coming to some versions of the iPhone 13.
Further evidence for the switch to LTPO comes from a DigiTimes report, which states both Samsung and LG Display are converting parts of their production into making LTPO displays for Apple. The report (via MacRumors) also states these displays are more efficient, with 15-20% less power required.
Leaker Max Weinbach (via YouTube channel EverythingApplePro) also believes we could see an always-on display this year. Weinbach says the clock and battery icons will be visible on the display even when it’s off. You’ll also be able to see your incoming notifications this way, with the whole display no longer needing to light up.
Kuo (via Apple Insider) has suggested that Apple is “aggressively” testing a vapor chamber thermal system to be used in the iPhone, allowing the company to handle higher thermal loads caused by the adoption of 5G and increased CPU performance. However, as of March 1, 2021, Kuo somewhat backed away from those predictions.
Despite the rumours that have been speculating, it seems highly unlikely that the iPhone 13 will feature Touch ID. In fact, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has said in his Power On newsletter that the new flagship phone will definitely not have Touch ID.
Gurman believes this is because of Apple’s long-term goal to include an under-display Face ID sensor. Since they’re all in on implementing Face ID in the display itself, Touch ID won’t make the cut this year.
Touch ID is still available on a few select iPads and some lower-end iPhones, such as the iPhone SE, but it seems the main flagships phones will not include Touch ID for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, analysts at Wedbush (via 9to5Mac) think that the iPhone 13 lineup could feature a model with 1TB of storage – that’s nearly double the 512GB found in the highest-specced Pro model right now.
Ming-Chi Kuo shared similar predictions in an investor report on September 12 (via 9to5Mac). The analyst believes we’ll see the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Mini come with 128GB, 256GB and 512GB configurations, while the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max will include the same options, along with an even larger 1TB model.
Not only would this mark the first 1TB iPhone, but it would also mean the end of the 64GB configuration available on previous Apple phones.
However, TrendForce has previously reported that Apple will be sticking with a max capacity of 512GB, going against Wedbush and Kuo’s suggestions.
There’s also been some chatter about Apple integrating satellite communications onto the iPhone 13, so users will be able to make calls and send messages even when conventional mobile services are unavailable.
Kuo believes that the iPhone 13 will be the first handset that supports low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications technology.
It isn’t clear if satellite communications will be something users will have to pay extra for, or if it will be available as a GPS communication, but it should become clear sometime this month.
Design – We might finally get a smaller notch
- The notch is likely to stay until 2022
- But it could finally be getting smaller
Both DigiTimes (via Forbes) and MacOtakara have suggested that the next iPhone will work to reduce the size of its somewhat dated notch, with the latter also reporting that the phone will be 0.26mm thicker.
More recently, Twitter tipster @MauriGHD shared the above tweet, seemingly confirming that Apple has created an entirely notch-less prototype at the expense of larger bezels.
Apple has even teased what a notchless iPhone might look like in an episode of the Apple TV Plus show Ted Lasso.
However, @MauriGHD indicated that Apple may not make the leap to fully notch-less until the iPhone 14 in 2022, so we won’t get our hopes up just yet.
The chances we may get a smaller notch rose in early March, thanks to a research note from Ming-Chi Kuo. That would be welcome, especially if Apple launches an iPhone 13 Mini, since the notch on the smaller iPhone 12 handset is particularly abundant.
Research firm TrendForce has also reported that the next iPhone will see a smaller notch. However, the firm suggested that this will be one of the biggest changes we’ll see, with the four new models operating as more of an “extension” to the iPhone 12 series. TrendForce even stated that the phone may be named the “iPhone 12s” series rather than the iPhone 13, implying a smaller update than we’ve seen in recent years.
It seems likely the iPhone 13 will feature a smaller notch and that we’ll be waiting around another year before we get to see the completely notch-free design.
Battery – Help is on the way!
- The iPhone 13 could pack larger batteries
- A new MagSafe charger
- Faster wireless charging is coming
- Apple could ditch the Lightning port
Apple plans to fit the iPhone 13 with much larger batteries, according to recent rumours – and now the reliable Ming-Chi Kuo has chimed in. In a note to investors, Kuo says this year’s models will have physically larger batteries than the iPhone 12.
As we’ve heard from previous leaks, the iPhone 13 range will find room for bigger cells by trimming components in other areas. However, there will be no avoiding the iPhone 13 gaining a little weight as a result, Kuo says.
He wrote (via MacRumors): “The new 2H21 iPhone models feature a larger battery capacity than the iPhone 12 series, thanks to the space-saving design of many components. Hence, the new 2H21 iPhone models are also slightly heavier than the iPhone 12. The space-saving design includes integrating the SIM card slot with the mainboard, reducing the front optical modules’ thickness, etc.”
It isn’t clear how much heavier the iPhone 13 range will be if larger batteries are deployed, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max already comes in at a girthy 228g. It’s also possible that the larger batteries won’t have that great an effect on runtime, but with rumours of a 120Hz display, a larger cell might be needed to retain the current pace.
According to @PineLeaks, the higher refresh rate on the Pro model displays could be reduced to 60Hz when Low Power Mode is enabled, allowing the phone to make the battery last.
Twitter tipster L0vetodream (via Creative Bloq) claims the iPhone 13 Mini will pack a 2406mAh battery, while the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro will feature 3095mAh batteries, and the Pro Max will see the biggest increase with an 18% larger 4352mAh battery.
ZDNet published these numbers and pointed out that the A15 processor is rumoured to reduce power consumption between 15% and 20%, which could also boost the iPhone’s battery life.
Leaker Max Weinbach via EverythingApplePro has suggested that the iPhone 13 will pack larger wireless charging coils on the back, possibly for better heat management or to allow faster wireless charging.
While MagSafe can charge at 15W, many of the best Android phones wirelessly charge at far greater speeds than this.
Interestingly, just one week before the September 14 event, Apple filed a new MagSafe charger with the FCC under the model name A2548. However, the filing doesn’t reveal much about the charger itself, other than that it exists, so it isn’t clear whether it will be a major upgrade or just a few component changes.
MyDrivers (via MacRumors) has reported that Apple plans to introduce 25W fast charging across the iPhone 13 range, although this would only be a 5W improvement on the iPhone 12’s charging speed. This level of 25W also pales next to the 30W and 65W fast charging offered by some Android competitors.
A larger coil could also allow for additional features, such as the wireless reverse charge feature used on many Android phones. This could allow a pair of AirPods to be juiced up on the rear of the iPhone 13. This is a feature rumoured for an upcoming iPad.
As with previous models, there are rumours Apple will finally ditch the Lightning port and go completely wireless. Jon Prosser tweeted about a port-less iPhone 2021 last May, suggesting the phones will never adopt USB-C, despite pressure from the EU to make the port a universal standard.
In a new note to investors (via MacRumors) Kuo wrote: “If the iPhone abandons Lightning in the future, it may directly adopt the portless design with MagSafe support instead of using a USB-C port. At present, the MagSafe ecosystem isn’t mature enough, so the iPhone will continue to use the Lightning port in the foreseeable future.”
Camera – An upgraded ultra-wide lens
- Better low-light and Night mode performance
- Portrait mode in videos
- A periscope lens might not arrive until 2022
So, what about the camera?
So far, Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Thomas O’Malley (via MacRumors) have predicted an f/1.8 aperture for the ultra-wide lens in all four iPhone 13 models. This is wider than the f/2.4 aperture found on the iPhone 12 and would offer better low-light performance.
More specifically, @PineLeaks says that all camera sensors will receive at least 15% more light, while the ultra-wide lens will see a 40% improvement in this area.
However, Ming-Chi Kuo believes the upgraded ultra-wide lens will only be available on the Pro model.
Kuo (via 9to5Mac) has suggested Apple will introduce a periscope-style lens that will offer up to 10x optical zoom without bulking out the body of the phone. This follows the trend we’ve seen in other flagships, but it isn’t expected to debut until the iPhone 14 in 2022. The sensor-shift image stabilisation will be carried over from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, too, he says.
Meanwhile, the thread posted by @PineLeaks suggests that OIS will be less aggressive and more “smooth”, plus night-time photography will see some big improvements. This includes a new algorithm to analyse structures, re-sharpen and adjust shadows at night, and a new Night mode feature that will automatically recognise if there are stars in a scene. Colours will also see an improvement, since coloured lights will no longer impact skin tones as much.
Tipster Sonny Dickson has tweeted images of supposed iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro dummies that shows off a larger, more diagonal camera module than that found on the iPhone 12.
Mark Gurman recently revealed that the iPhone will get three major camera and video-recording features, including a video version of Portrait mode, the ability to record higher-quality ProRes videos, and a new “filters-like” feature to boost the looks and colours of photos. This is all reportedly according to those familiar with the matter.
According to a report by The Elec (via 9to5Mac), Apple also plans to start procuring camera modules individually this year and assembling them itself to reduce costs.
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