Apple is famously secretive when it comes to tech announcements but going by the latest rumours, Apple's iPhone 13 launch date will be September 2021. The next-gen iPhone is expected to bring a host of upgrades including a super-fast 5G modem, ultra-wide camera lens and Apple's first-ever 120Hz display. Here's everything we know about the iPhone 13 so far...
The very first iPhone 13 rumours sprung up long before Apple CEO Tim Cook had unveiled the iPhone 12, back in 2020. More recently, there's been strong speculation that Apple could bring back TouchID. Apparently, FaceID does just doesn't cut it with so many users now wearing face masks (via MacRumours).
So, when will iPhone 13 be released? How many cameras will it have? Will Apple bundle the new iPhone with the upcoming AirPods 3 wireless earbuds? All valid questions. Grab a coffee, put your phone on silent and prepare for an exciting first look at the rumoured iPhone 13 specs, features and pricing...
New 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 Bionic processor
- 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 and Covid-19 happened, forcing Apple to push back its iPhone 12 launch to the month of October.
Barring any further disruption caused by the global health crisis, 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 in January 2021, 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 in spite of 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).
One thing's for sure: Apple won't be short of takers.On 27th January 2021, CEO Tim Cook reported record-breaking revenues of $65.6 billion in the first fiscal quarter of 2021 – around $5 billion more than analysts had predicted.
The bump in sales was driven by a record number of people upgrading their iPhones in the last quarter of 2020 (iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max sold best during that period). Judging by those stellar numbers, it's likely the iPhone 13 will debut at around the same price as the iPhone 12 did. We'll keep you updated as soon as we hear more about the iPhone 13 price and release date.
- Browse today's best Apple deals: iPhone, iPad, HomePod
iPhone 13: design
In March 2021, trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a detailed investor note claiming that the iPhone 13 will be available in “four models and the same screen sizes” (via 9to5Mac).
That suggests the iPhone 13 family will bear a close resemblance to the 2020 iPhone 12 line-up. It also seems to debunk the persistent rumour that Apple could kill off the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini, which has reportedly suffered from poor sales.
Here how (rumoured) 2021 iPhone 13 series could look:
iPhone 13 mini – 5.4-inches
iPhone 13 – 6.1-inches
iPhone 13 Pro – 6.1-inches
iPhone 13 Pro Max – 6.7-inches
Kuo's (highly credible) March 2021 predictions tie in with previous iPhone 13 rumours authored by fellow tech tipster Ross Young, who claimed Apple will launch two "affordable" devices and two higher-end models blessed with Cupertino's top-tier camera tech.
As for the design of the iPhone 13, no major changes are expected in 2021. Apple tends to debut a major iPhone design overhaul every two years and with the iPhone 12 sporting a fresh 'geometric' design and 5G, Apple will likely wait until 2022 to make any big changes.
That said, you can expect to see some interesting tweaks...
Firstly, there's plenty of speculation that Apple will finally shrink the notch (that annoying section at the top of the device that has stopped the iPhone from becoming 'all screen' since 2017).
In his March 2021 investor note, trusted analyst Kuo tipped the iPhone 13 for "a reduced notch area". Kuo goes on to say that Apple won't adopt a 'pin hole' selfie camera until 2022 at the earliest. Here's a recent concept from LetsGoDigital that imagines what how a "reduced notch" could look.
And (as first reported by MacRumors) on 23rd March the Greek repair company iRepair obtained and shared an image of what it claims are the front glass panels for the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. In this alleged photo of the handsets' front glass panels – which feature the same three 5.4-in, 6.1-in, and 6.7-in display sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup – the notch on each iPhone is visibly smaller and the earpiece speaker has been relocated above it, into the top bezel.
Kuo is also confident that Apple will bring back TouchID (in combination with FaceID, naturally). That tip ties in with a previously-revealed Apple patent that showed how to integrate Face ID and Touch ID sensors into the screen of an device.
With face masks now de rigueur in some parts of the world, the reintroduction of TouchID couldn't come at a better time for many users. (Fun fact: Apple's latest iOS 14.5 operating system is tipped for the ability to unlock your iPhone using an Apple Watch when wearing a mask).
Another big rumour – first tweeted by Apple leaker Jon Prosser in May 2020 – suggests that the iPhone 13 could be "port-less". The idea is that Apple would remove all the ports from one of its high-end iPhone 13 devices. The port-free design would rely entirely on wireless charging and wireless headphones, such as Apple's new AirPods Max and upcoming AirPods 3. The "port-less" rumour was boosted by a January 2021 Bloomberg report that claimed Apple was considering axing the Lightning port.
However, it seems that "port-less" design is now firmly off the table. In his March 2021 report, top analyst Kuo says all four iPhone 13 mobiles will stick with Lightning connectors. Why? Because Lightning offers greater water resistance than USB-C, and Apple doesn't want to ensure the iPhone 13 is a "life-proof" as its predecessor. That said, Kuo goes on to say the iPhone could go port-less in 2022.
The iPhone 13 is said to have a smaller camera bump than its predecessor, and to come in a new matte black finish. Apple is also reportedly considering a bronze or orange colour scheme, but that's much less likely to make it to shop shelves than the matt black.
As for the rumour that Apple will launch a folding iPhone this year... 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, last summer. 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 2021 is a little optimistic, it might not be that far off after all.
Indeed, DigiTimes recently claimed that LG is working with Apple on folding screens for an upcoming iPhone. And Kuo (who is as close to an Apple soothsayer as they come) has backed up these rumours, claiming that the device is slated to launch in 2023. Though he stresses that it is still in the research stage, and could be axed before then. Watch this space...
iPhone 13: display
The iPhone 12 was long-rumoured to boast a ProMotion display with variable refresh rate, but it never materialised. Instead, Apple may have saved that upgrade for the iPhone 13...
Ming-Chi Kuo's latest investor note (obtained by MacRumours) claims the two iPhone 13 Pro models will sport low-power LTPO display technology and a 120Hz refresh rate. If he's correct, the high-end tech could bless the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max with even smoother scrolling, along with improved gameplay and video playback.
An earlier January 2021 report by TheElec reveals more detail: "Both models of iPhone 13 will use low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistors (TFT) OLED panels made by Samsung Display."
LPTO tech allows for variable refresh rates of between 1Hz – 120Hz, which would allow the iPhone 13 to optimise battery life when, say, inactive. The other interesting thing about LPTO is that it cuts out a layer of components under the display, which suggests the iPhone 13 could be Apple's thinnest iPhone yet.
Other recent leaks have tipped the iPhone 13 for an "always-on" display, something that could be facilitated by low-power LTPO technology. Here's a mocked-up video of how the feature could work, courtesy of A Better Computer.
Don't get too excited, though. Other analysts have poured cold water on the "always on" display rumours, claiming that Apple won't be able to integrate LTPO tech until 2022 when the iPhone 14 will presumably launch.
- Read our in-depth iPhone 12 Pro Max review
iPhone 13: spec and storage
Rumour has it the iPhone 13 will raise the bar when it comes to spec and storage. Perhaps the most exciting news so far is that the iPhone 13 range will boast Qualcomm's X60 modem, according to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Thanks to Qualcomm's latest "5nm" manufacturing process, the the X60 packs a bigger punch of performance into a smaller footprint that the "7nm" X55 modem in the iPhone 12. The X60 is smarter about 5G too, achieving higher connection speeds whilst preserving battery life.
The iPhone 13 is set for a further boost thanks to Apple's (rumoured) A15 Bionic chip. The A15 is thought to be a System-on-Chip (SoC) affair – a major upgrade over the A14 Bionic processor in the current iPhone. Performance-wise, it could be a huge shot in the arm (via TechRadar).
As for storage, the iPhone 13 is expected to come with between 64GB and 512GB, but a February 2021 report (via 9to5Mac) tips the iPhone 13 for up to 1TB of storage - double the 512GB in the current largest capacity iPhone 12 Pro. The report seems to agree with a January 2021 YouTube video published by Front Page Tech, which also said 1TB of storage could be on the cards.
Finally, the iPhone 13 is rumoured to support Wi-Fi 6E, an improved version of Wi-Fi 6, which is said to deliver even faster mobile internet speeds. The 'E' might not sound like much but it extends your phone's bandwidth from 5GHz to 6GHz. That extra 1000Hz of bandwidth could make a big difference when streaming HD video on the go.
iPhone 13: camera
The big news here is that the iPhone 13 is said to boast a new camera with a game-changing ultra-wide lens.
According to a February 2021 report by Ming-Chi Kuo, the next iPhones could feature an upgraded 6-element ultra-wide lens with an f/1.8 aperture (up from the f/2.4 on the iPhone 12).
And, for the first time ever, Apple is tipped to add autofocus to an ultra-wide lens. Furthermore, the tech titan is also said to be developing a 10x optical zoom to match the top Android smartphone of 2021 so far, the Samsung Galaxy S21. Fingers crossed. With that kind of firepower, you could almost go pro.
The only disagreement seems to be over which iPhone 13 models will sport the new ultra-wide lens. Kuo says the upgrade will be limited to the two iPhone 13 Pro models, while Barclays analysts and well-known tech tipster Ross Young claim all four iPhones will get the tech.
One final addition could be the inclusion of LiDAR sensors on the iPhone 13 and 13 mini, rather than just the Pro models. That's according to sources speaking to DigiTimes, at least, who say all 2021 iPhones will include the advanced sensor. New stabilisation tech is expected to reduce camera shake, too.
An enhanced portrait mode is on the cards, leveraging these LiDAR sensors, according to sources speaking to YouTube channel EverythingApplePro. If more models feature these LiDAR sensors, we could see better portraits come to every phone in the range.
Lastly, the iPhone 13 could 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. However, Google offered (but later abandoned) similar gesture tech when it released the Pixel 4 – could Apple make the same mistake? We'll have to wait and see.
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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