Apple is famously secretive when it comes to tech announcements but going by its recent smartphone launches, the iPhone 13 is hotly tipped to arrive in September 2021. It's said to offer a host of next-gen features including Apple's first quad camera and a speedy new chipset. Below, we've pieced together the most reliable leaks and rumours to build up a credible picture of Apple's next flagship iPhone.
The first iPhone 13 rumours sprung up long before Apple CEO Tim Cook had unveiled the iPhone 12. When will iPhone 13 be released? How many cameras will it have? Will Apple bundle it with the upcoming AirPods 3 buds?
All valid questions, which we'll answer below. Grab a coffee, put your phone on silent and prepare for an exciting first look at the rumoured iPhone 13 specs, features and pricing...
- Read our iPhone 12 review
iPhone 13: latest rumours at a glance
- Four new iPhone 13 handsets
- Release date: September 2021
- New ProMotion 120Hz displays
- New quad camera with 10x zoom
- New A15 chipset
- Price: from £699 ($799, AU$1349)
iPhone 13: release date
For ten years, Apple introduced its next iPhone in the month of September. Then 2020 happened, forcing Apple to push back the launch of the iPhone 12 to the month of October.
Barring further disruption, Apple is hotly tipped to launch the iPhone 13 in September 2021, as per the usual routine.
In a 12th December investor note, respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that production of the iPhone 13 will run on the usual pre-iPhone 12 schedule, and that we can "expect all iPhone 13 models available by September 2021 without delays" (via 9to5mac).
For reference, here's how the (covid-disrupted) iPhone 12 launch panned out:
iPhone 12 Pro: pre‑orders started at 5:00 am PST (8am EST, 1pm BST) on 16th October 2020, for availability on 23rd October.
iPhone 12 Pro Max: pre‑orders started at 5:00 am PST on 6th November 2020, for availability on 13th November.
iPhone 12: pre‑orders started at 5:00 am PST (8am EST, 1pm BST) on 16th October 2020, for availability on 23rd October.
iPhone 12 mini: pre‑orders started at 5:00 am PST on 6th November 2020, for availability on 13th November.
- Read our review of the five-star Apple HomePod Mini
iPhone 13: price
We're yet to see any reliable iPhone 13 price leaks but there are a couple of things to note.
The Samsung Galaxy S21, which launched recently, actually cost less than its predecessor, the Galaxy S20. According to tech analysts, phone makers are set to lower prices this year to encourage users to to upgrade to the latest handsets despite the economic downturn.
We'll have to wait and see whether Apple follows Samsung's lead, but don't hold your breath. As a luxury brand with a huge global following, its unlikely to indulge in anything so unseemly as price-cutting. More likely, the iPhone 13 will cost around the same as the iPhone 12 – from £799 ($799, AU$1349).
We'll keep you updated as when we head more about the price of the iPhone 13.
- Browse today's best Apple deals: iPhone, iPad, HomePod
iPhone 13: design
Noted tech tipster Ross Young claims Apple will launch four iPhone 13 handsets in 2021. If he's on the money, the 2021 iPhone 13 family will bear a close resemblance to the 2020 line-up.
The (rumoured) 2021 iPhone 13 series:
iPhone 13 mini – 5.4-inches
iPhone 13 – 6.1-inches
iPhone 13 Pro – 6.1-inches
iPhone 13 Pro Max – 6.7-inches
Young reckons Apple will launch two 'affordable' devices and two higher-end models blessed with Cupertino's top-tier camera tech. Nothing's set in stone though – if the iPhone 12 Mini flops, we could see Apple ditch the iPhone 13 Mini.
As for the design of the iPhone 13, no major changes are expected in 2021. Apple tends debut a major iPhone design overhaul every two years and with the iPhone 12 sporting a fresh 'geometric' design and 5G, Apple likely wait until 2022 to make any big changes.
Of course, we can expect the odd tweak. One of the most intriguing rumours – tweeted in May 2020 by Apple leaker Jon Prosser – is that Apple will remove all the ports from one of its iPhone 13 devices. The so-called 'portless' design would rely entirely on wireless charging and wireless headphones. This was backed up by a recent Bloomberg report that claimed Apple was considering axing the Lightning port from certain models to rely solely on wireless charging.
There's also talk of Apple killing off the notch (that annoying section at the top of the device that has stopped the iPhone from becoming 'all screen' since 2017). Let's hope so.
As for the rumour that Apple will launch a folding iPhone in 2021... it's not as far-fetched as it sounds. Apple is said to have sent prototype folding devices to Foxconn, it's Chinese manufacturing partner, in the Summer of 2020. Apparently, Foxconn will stress-test the devices with more than 100,000 open-fold actions and report back to Cupertino soon (via gsmarena).
That aforementioned Bloomberg report also centred on Apple prototyping foldable screens, if not the devices themselves. So while a foldable iPhone for this year is a little optimistic, it might not be that far off after all.
Back to this year, and an in-screen fingerprint sensor could be on the cards, according to Bloomberg. That would bring back Apple's Touch ID tech to its high-end phones. Which would be especially timely that now that the wearing of face masks has made Face ID facial recognition tech harder to use.
iPhone 13: display
The iPhone 12 was long-rumoured to boast a ProMotion display with a variable refresh rate display, but it never materialised. Instead, Apple may have saved that upgrade for the iPhone 13...
According to this tweet, posted by display analyst Ross Young, all four iPhone 13 devices will boast OLED displays with Apple's proprietary ProMotion tech, which dynamically adjusts the screen's refresh rate for greater responsiveness when scrolling and smooth video playback.
Apple already employs ProMotion in its iPad Pro, while Samsung is set to debut a similar technology in its forthcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphone.
In other display news, reliable Apple tipster Ming-Chi Kuo has backed Apple to bring back TouchID, this time integrated into the iPhone 13's OLED screen rather than placed on top.
The prediction appears to be based on September 2020 reports detailing an Apple patent called Fingerprint on Display (FOD). Fun fact: the very same rumour circulated prior to the launch of the iPhone 12, so you might want to take this one with a pinch of salt.
- Read the full iPhone 12 Pro Max review
iPhone 13: features
Rumour has it, the iPhone 13 will raise the bar with 'new' camera technology. Cue oohs and ahhs...
Apple is said to be preparing to trump the iPhone 12's triple camera with a quad camera. The tech titan is also said to be developing a 10x optical zoom to match the Samsung Galaxy S20.
Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iPhone 13 Pro models will also feature upgraded 6-element Ultra Wide lenses with f/1.8 apertures and autofocus capabilities. With that kind of firepower at your fingertips, you could almost go pro.
Fellow tech tipster Ross Young claims that even the 'cheaper' iPhone 13 devices will sport the same camera sensors as the iPhone 12 Pro Max – delivering a huge boost in performance to Apple's lower-end devices. New stabilisation tech is expected to reduce camera shake, too.
Excitingly, the iPhone 13 could also be in line for Time-of-Flight (ToF) selfie cameras, which use AI to recognise faces and track gestures. That could see the iPhone 13 offer touch-free navigation, though it's worth noting that Google offered (but later abandoned) similar gesture tech when it released the Pixel 4.
The iPhone 12 battery wasn't as beefy as some had hoped, so fingers crossed the iPhone 13 gets a serious power boost. Performance should get a shot in the arm courtesy of Apple's rumoured A15 chip (via techradar).
iPhone 13: name
Apple introduces new iPhone monikers – X, XS, Xr, Pro, Pro Max, etc – as and when the technology demands it. Since the iPhone 13 is expected to be more 'evolution' than 'revolution', it seems likely Apple will stick to the iPhone 12 naming standards. Here's the story so far...
2007 - iPhone
2008 - iPhone 3G
2009 - iPhone 3GS
2010 - iPhone 4
2011 - iPhone 4s
2012 - iPhone 5
2013 - iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c
2014 - iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
2015 - iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
2016 - iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
2017 - iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X
2018 - iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
2019 - iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
2020 - iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max
2021 TBC - iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max
Needless to say, we'll be bringing you all the rumours, leaks and news in the build-up. We know next September seems a long away at the moment, but assuming everything goes according to plan, it, and the iPhone 13, will be here before you know it.
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