New iPhone 13: Rumored features at a glance
• Four iPhone 13 models at the same iPhone 12 sizes
• Smaller notch on all four models
• Faster A15 Bionic chip
• Improved 5G with new modem
• Astrophotography feature and portrait mode video
• Possible Touch ID in the display
• Dynamic 120Hz refresh rates for Pro model displays
• Always-on display
• Improved ultrawide lens on the Pro models
The new iPhone 13 launch looks to be just weeks away now, and Apple’s plans for its next smartphones are coming into focus. Not officially, of course — Apple never comments on unreleased products. But the assorted leakers and suppliers have no such reservations, and because of them, we have a surprisingly complete iPhone 13 picture.
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, and substantial upgrades to the all-important cameras. That includes a new portrait video mode.
As for the iPhone 13’s design, we have heard that the new iPhone’s notch will finally shrink on every model. (And yes, we’re expecting four models, just like with the iPhone 12.) Some other rumors have suggested that at least one version of the new iPhone may come with a truly portless design (though that prediction is looking shaky). We could finally see an always-on display gracing the iPhone, too.
Based on all the rumors and leaks out there already, here’s everything we know about the new iPhone 13.
Latest iPhone 13 news (updated July 26)
iPhone 13 release date
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. And that means a September launch.
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.
A report by analyst firm Wedbush lines up with this possibility, as it predicts that the iPhone 13 will debut the third week of September. Pre-orders could begin that Friday, and the new iPhones could go on sale the following Friday. However, it’s not clear whether the iPhone launch event would take place the third week of September or if that would be when the phones go on sale.
iPhone 13 price
As for how much the iPhone 13 will cost, we’d expect the prices to track with the iPhone 12 range — $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.
A report by TrendForce says that the iPhone 13 pricing should be “relatively on par” with the current iPhone 13 models. Unfortunately, the firm also says that the iPhone 13 Pro models won’t have a 1TB storage option.
Various rumors point toward the new iPhone 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. The new iPhones showed up in regulatory filings with the Eurasian Economic Commission; that filing included seven models, though that could include different configurations.
Even though the iPhone 12 mini hasn’t sold well, reports indicate Apple will still release an iPhone 13 mini (though not everyone is convinced an iPhone 13 mini is a good idea). Let’s assume we’re going to see four models in the fall, and that they’ll all be part of the iPhone 13 family. A 5G-ready iPhone SE isn’t expected until next year, and a foldable iPhone Flip is likely two years out.
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. A handful of rumors have referred to the new iPhone by the iPhone 12s.
However, while we won’t know for sure what it’s called until its release, a new report claims Apple will be sticking with the iPhone 13 name after all. Citing sources and supply chain checks, the report in the Economic Daily News says the iPhone 13 line-up will mirror that of the iPhone 12 in both naming structure and models.
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.
Interestingly, according to a survey of 3,000 Apple users conducted by SellCell, 18.3% said they’d be put off buying a product called the iPhone 13 due to the number 13 being unlucky.
A majority of respondents favored naming the handsets after the year of sale, with 38% backing the not very Apple-like iPhone (2021). 16% said the company should skip straight to iPhone 21.
iPhone 13 design
A set of iPhone 13 dummy units have gotten the hands-on treatment by Apple Insider, and they show some of the biggest possible design changes. This includes moving the speaker towards the top of the device, a new diagonal camera arrangement for the regular iPhone 13 and a larger camera module for the iPhone 13 Pro.
The SIM card tray is apparently moving further down as well, and the power buttons are shifting down a bit, too.
We’ve seen other alleged iPhone 13 dummy units leaked by Sonny Dickson. They show only the back of Apple’s lineup, but they do seem to line up with the rumors that the iPhone 13 will have a diagonal camera arrangement.
In addition, the iPhone 13 Pro Max could be slightly larger than its predecessor. In fact, an alleged iPhone 13 Pro case shows a considerably larger camera module, though this has not been confirmed.
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 on the new iPhone 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.
These rumors seem to be backed up by iPhone 13 dummy units leaked on Weibo, which show both the smaller notch and diagonal cameras.
A separate report from Digitimes says that the die size of the VCSEL chips used in the Face ID scanner will shrink by 40 to 50%. As a result, a smaller Face ID chip could mean a smaller notch for the iPhone 13.
The earpiece speaker could no longer be housed in the notch, moving instead to the top bezel, according to an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit showing off the new design and smaller notch. Another iPhone 13 Pro dummy unit (sourced by Mac Otakara) also shows a smaller notch up front, using that same design. Leaked glass screen protectors seemingly confirm the change.
That iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit suggested this year’s phone will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Subsequent iPhone 13 schematics reveal that will be the case for all iPhone 13 models — they’re thicker than their iPhone 12 counterparts with larger camera arrays.
Concept artist Ian Zelbo has also created renders of the iPhone 13, this time based on CAD files from leaker Jon Prosser. These again show the diagonal camera lens array and smaller notch.
A clutch of leaks and rumors point 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, as it could be exclusive to the iPhone 14. At a time when mask-wearing is prolific, having a secondary form of biometric security would be very welcome.
Potentially, the biggest change we might see with the iPhone 13 is that one model would feature a portless design, dropping the Lightning port and opting for charging and data transfer to be carried out wirelessly. However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo disputed this possibility, 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 colors
The freshest iPhone 13 colors rumor points to four color options for the iPhone 13 Pro. These include black, silver, rose gold and sunset gold.
We’ve heard that that the regular iPhone 13 could come in pink, but that’s just based on a render. Previously, we heard that there could be two new color options for the iPhone 13 Pro lineup: matte black and a new bronze or orange color. Both of the latter rumors come from tipster Max Weinbach. We have a mini iPhone 13 colors roundup if you want to learn more.
iPhone 13 display
With Apple keeping the same display sizes as the iPhone 12, the company could make other changes to the phones’ screens. 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, with leaker Ice Universe also naming the iPhone 13 Pro Max as having 120Hz. 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. In addition, Samsung is supplying circuit boards to Apple to connect the display to the phone’s motherboard — more proof that an LTPO screen is in the works.
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.
Another benefit to LTPO is improved power consumption. A DigiTimes report claims the LTPO displays that Samsung and LG are building for the iPhone 13 Pro models will reduce power consumption by 15% to 20%.
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, letting you glance at the time, battery life and perhaps notifications.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also says that the iPhone 13 will reportedly get an always-on display, though it’s not clear if this will be for the iPhone 13 Pro or the regular iPhone 13 models, too.
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.
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.
Apple has reportedly ordered more than 100 million A15 chips, which signals even larger demand for the new iPhone 13 than the iPhone 12.
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. (Apple-built modems won’t arrive until 2023.)
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.
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.
iPhone 13 cameras
We’re beginning to hear more about the iPhone 13 cameras, starting with reports that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will offer a new 6-element ultrawide lens. 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.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also claims that the ultrawide camera on the iPhone 13 Pro series will offer autofocus for the first time. This should result in sharper images. Unfortunately, Kuo says this upgrades won’t be coming to the rest of the lineup until the iPhone 14.
A separate report by Digitimes says that Apple is increasing its order of VCMs (voice coil motors) by as much as 40%, which help camera lenses focus.
A leaked iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit shown off by Unbox Therapy features an iPhone with noticeably bigger lenses. That should let in more light to improve photos in low-light settings.
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.
All iPhone 13 models are expected to gain sensor-shift stabilization, a feature currently available in only the iPhone 12 Pro Max. That’s an improvement over optical image stabilization and should lead to smoother video among other benefits.
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. It’s possible, though, that this feature won’t surface until the iPhone 14 next year.
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.
Portrait video mode could 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.
One final addition could be the inclusion of LiDAR sensors on the iPhone 13 and 13 mini, rather than just the Pro models. This sensor helps with autofocus and AR performance; however, leaker Dylandkt on Twitter says LiDAR will be a Pro-only feature once again for the new iPhones.
We take a closer look at rumored iPhone 13 camera improvements and what they’ll mean for your photos.
iPhone 13 battery
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.
This seems to be backed up by a recent claim from leaker L0vetodream, who has tipped battery capacity increases for all models. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the big winner here, gaining an 18% increase from 3,687 mAh to 4,352 mAh. The other three models’ increases are all much smaller, but would still go some way to fixing the short battery life issue.
iPhone 13 charging
The iPhone 12 maxes out at 20W charging, but one rumor points to Apple potentially offering faster 25W charging this year. Unfortunately, the rumor comes from Chinese site MyDrivers, via 9to5 Mac, citing unnamed “foreign media.” That doesn’t sound very reliable.
The iPhone 13 could offer reverse wireless charging, according to tipster Max Weinbach, which would allow the iPhone to charge devices like the AirPods Pro and Apple Watch. However, Bloomberg previously reported that the iPhone 13 likely won’t include reverse wireless charging. So at this stage we would consider this rumor up in the air.
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 potentially with a new black matte shade for the iPhone 13 Pro. Orange and bronze are apparently in the mix to debut as colors for this year’s Pro models too.
Yet another rumor, this one from Peng Phones, suggests that there could be a pink iPhone 13 model. We’re not sure how much credence to put into this report, which seems to be based on a concept design and not an official render, but it does suggest that this year’s iPhone models could introduce some unusual color choices for Apple phones.
iPhone 13 and iOS 15
Each new iPhone brings a new version of iOS with its launch. Apple gave us our first good look at the software that will power the new iPhones — as well as iPhones dating back to the iPhone 6s — when it showed off iOS 15 at June’s Worldwide Developer Conference.
The top iOS 15 features include updates to FaceTime that will let you watch videos and share content with others, a new Focus mode for managing notifications, and improvements to Maps, Messages, Wallet, Weather and other built-in apps. Some iOS 15 features will require an A12 Bionic processor or later, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the iPhone 13 and its fancy new Apple chip.
We’re waiting to find out about iPhone 13-specific features hidden in iOS 15. One feature we’d love to see, which recently appeared in an Apple patent, is predictive charging notifications. This system would learn your phone usage and charging habits, much like Optimized Charging does already, but then warn you to charge it up before you drain the battery too far, while you’re still in the right place to plug it in.
iPhone 13: What we want to see
Expect to hear more details on the iPhone 13 between now and September. 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.