By all accounts Apple is poised to announce a new iPhone in just a few weeks time at a September iPhone event. The company reportedly plans to replace the iPhone 12 with a slightly tweaked 'S' upgrade that might look quite similar, but could bring big changes under the hood.
Name: Unlucky for some
Yes, we know, the title of this article is iPhone 13. However, the most recent reports suggest that internally, Apple's engineers consider the 2021 iPhone to be an 'S' upgrade, and Jon Prosser says that his sources indicate this will indeed be the name given to the device. In fact, Prosser says that because of the negative connotations given to the number 13 in some cultures, there might not be an iPhone 13... ever.
Only one report from a source with a pretty bad track record states the iPhone 13 will actually be called iPhone 13.
The brand new design of the iPhone 12 with its square edges has been a big hit with plenty of customers, and there are no reports that Apple plans to deviate from this design in 2021.
Multiple dummy units and CAD files indicate Apple is going to make some slight tweaks to the iPhone's design this year, the regular models will feature a rearranged camera configuration, whilst the iPhone 13 Pro will reportedly feature a much larger camera bump and enlarged camera lenses. We've also heard lots of rumors about a smaller notch coming to this year's iPhone.
Reports indicate that Apple will follow the same lineup configuration as the iPhone 12, which means four phones in three different 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)
If reports are correct, 2021 could finally be the year of 120Hz on the iPhone. According to reports, the iPhone 13 Pro lineup is expected to feature a ProMotion display with a variable refresh rate display, thanks to LTPO adoption. This is the same technology Apple uses in Apple Watch and Mark Gurman says this will bring an always-on display to iPhone, as well as 120Hz capability. We aren't expecting the regular iPhone models to feature 120Hz this year.
The inclusion of a new A15 processor in the new iPhone looks like a certainty at this point, expect speed boosts and efficiency upgrades as per previous years.
One big rumored improvement for the next iPhone is the camera. Reports suggest that at least the Pro versions of the device will feature a Time-of-Flight camera, with a triple-lens configuration.
Reports also claim that the iPhone 13 lineup, the two lower-end devices, will receive a boost by taking on the camera from the iPhone 12 Pro Max. As with iPhone 12, these are expected to be dual cameras. At least one leak indicates that LiDAR is only coming to the Pro iPhone 13 models. Multiple dummy units and case leaks indicate the camera layout of the regular new iPhone will be adjusted to a diagonal format, and that the bump will be larger.
The only reports we have about the iPhone's battery this year indicate a pretty substantial upgrade in capacity is coming. How this will translate to real-world performance, however, is a different matter, with upgrades to the display, connectivity, and camera, it could be the larger batteries only make for a slight performance increase or even something in line with last year.
Apple is expected to expand support for its much faster mmWave 5G with this year's iPhone, bringing support to more countries, as well as Wi-Fi 6E for improved browsing speeds wherever you are!
Charging: Finally USB-C, right?
No. A report from Jon Prosser earlier this year states that Apple will never adopt USB-C in the iPhone and that Apple is planning to release one 'portless' iPhone next year. That's right, at least one iPhone 13 could come with no ports whatsoever, relying on wireless connectivity and charging, or perhaps a smart connector to get the job done. Regardless, there will never be a USB-C iPhone. We have heard rumors however that the iPhone 13 might get a slight boost thanks to a new 25W adapter, however, the rumor doesn't come from a source with a great track record.
Again, there are no specific rumors about the price of the iPhone 13 yet, but in recent years Apple has followed the simple pattern of introducing a new phone at roughly similar price points to current models and then reducing the price of the old one. We'd be pretty surprised if the iPhone 13 is substantially different in price to iPhone 12. especially given the more minor 'S' upgrades apparently planned for this year.
The iPhone 12 debuted in a split launch and was delayed due to COVID-19. Multiple reports indicate that Apple's iPhone 13 is expected to launch in September on its usual cycle. An educated guess, a September 14 event with a release date of Friday 24 seems most likely based on previous rollouts.
The return of Touch ID
Numerous reports indicate that Touch ID may return to iPhone in 2021 thanks to an under-display fingerprint scanner. As noted by Jon Prosser, the events of 2020 provide the perfect cover for Apple to reintroduce the feature without undermining its previous push of Face ID in favor of Touch ID.
There are multiple indications that Apple's notch will be narrower, but not shorter, in the 2021 iPhone lineup. That should hopefully mean more space on either side of the notch for status symbols and indicators such as battery life and connectivity.