It feels like the iPhone 12 only just landed, but we’re already looking ahead to the next one. While we’re not sure of the name—we’re calling it the iPhone 13 here but it could be the iPhone 12s—we’ve already heard a lot about what the next iPhone will bring. Stay tuned to this article as we’ll update it with the newest and most credible reports as we hear them. Just remember, nobody knows for sure until Apple says so!
iPhone 13: The latest rumors
More evidence has emerged that Apple is shrinking the size of the notch on the iPhone 13. DigiTimes claims that Apple has been able to reduce the die size by about half for VCSEL chips used in the True Depth camera, which will cut the size and costs.
MacRumors claims to have seen physical schematics of the iPhone 13 that show a camera bump that is both larger and thicker than those on the iPhone 12, with camera lenses that protrude less. The differences are more pronounced on the Pro models.
The new iPhone in 2021 is expected to stick to the same overall size and shape as the iPhone 12 models, including flat edges. The rumors suggest that this year’s model is being considered an “iPhone 12S” of sorts, though it may or may not carry that name. The most notable cosmetic change on the outside is rumored to be a larger camera bump.
Color options are unknown at this time, but Max Weinbach says the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max will be getting a new matte black option that is darker than this year’s graphite color that replaced space gray.
While the iPhone 12 mini has not sold as well as some hoped, current rumors suggest that there will still be a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini. Thus, we’re told to expect four models just like the iPhone 12: a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini, 6.1-inch iPhone 13, 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max.
One rumor from Indian site MySmartPrice suggests that the two-camera variants (the non-Pro models) will have the lenses arranged diagonally in the camera bump, rather than vertically.
Because of the larger camera bump, and the fact that the phone body is rumored to be ever-so-slightly thicker, you shouldn’t expect iPhone 12 cases to work on iPhone 13.
iPhone 13: Camera upgrades
According to Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), the iPhone 13, 13 mini, and 13 Pro will have the same f/1.6, 7-element wide-angle lens as the iPhone 12, while the 13 Pro Max will get a 7-element lens with a slightly improved f/1.5 aperture. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives claims that the entire iPhone 13 lineup may get the LiDAR sensor, while other analysts believe it will still be limited to Pro models.
It is expected that the Ultra Wide camera on all iPhone 13 models will be improved from a 5-element f/2.4 lens to a 6-element f/1.8 lens. There is disagreement among analysts about whether this improvement will come to all models or just Pro models.
Sensor-shift stabilization, currently only on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, is rumored to make its way across the entire iPhone 13 lineup, though we don’t know to which cameras it will apply.
iPhone 13: A smaller notch
The display cutout (aka “notch”) for the TrueDepth and other sensors has been with us since the iPhone X, and it may change its size for the first time with the 2021 iPhone. Apple is expected to move the speaker up to the top edge of the display area, clearing room for the camera and other sensors to move closer together, which will make the notch smaller. More recently, DigiTimes reported that Apple had “decided to scale down the die size by 40-50% for VCSEL chips used in 3D face ID sensors for new iPhone and iPad devices to be rolled out later in 2021,” a move that will cut costs and reduce the amount of space necessary to house the True Depth camera.
The smaller notch will allow for a little more room in the status bar, though we don’t yet know how Apple will fill it. We might get one additional indicator icon on each side of the notch.
After years of the iPad Pro being the only Apple device to feature a refresh rate higher than 60Hz, we may finally get 120Hz ProMotion in this years’ new iPhones. The 120Hz ProMotion display is likely to be limited to the iPhone 13 Pro models, and it will still be an OLED display.
Max Weinbach of the EverythingApplePro YouTube channel reports that the next iPhone could have an always-on lock screen. You will see the clock and battery life indicator, and notifications will appear, though we don’t know what other information will be featured. To conserve battery life, Apple could use an LPTO (low-temperature Polycrystalline oxide) OLED display like the one in the Apple Watch.
iPhone 13: A15 processor and other specs
As is true every year, we expect the next iPhone to feature an all-new Apple-designed processor. This one is likely to be called the A15, and it will probably be produced by TSMC on an enhanced 5nm process. Expect some small-but-significant improvements to CPU and GPU performance, along with a faster Neural Engine, image processor, and enhanced energy efficiency.
Several leakers and analysts say that this will be the first year that Apple will produce an iPhone with an 1TB storage option.
When it comes to wireless technology, the whole lineup will almost certainly once again feature 5G, this time using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 modem.
Some rumors suggest the battery will be a little larger this year, likely to help offset increased power use from the ProMotion display or always-on lock screen.
iPhone 13: Price and release date
The iPhone 13 lineup is expected to be announced at an event in September. Preorders typically start a few days after the event, and at least some models of the phones are usually released two or three weeks later. We haven’t heard any rumors about the price yet, but we assume it will be in line with the iPhone 12.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life – over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.