Apple iPhone 13: Everything we know so far

Apple has officially confirmed “California Streaming,” its September 14 launch event, which likely heralds the arrival of the iPhone 13 and potentially other products, including the AirPods 3 and Apple Watch Series 7. You’ll be able to watch the event live at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on any Apple TV-compatible devices and YouTube. The iPhone 12 represented a major change for the iPhone series, with an all-new design, improved cameras, and more, but if reports are to be believed, the iPhone 13 could be even more exciting.

Here’s everything we know about the iPhone 13 so far.

iPhone 13 design

Back of iPhone 12 Mini.

The iPhone 12 series brought major design changes to the iPhone, mainly due to the blockier design that took inspiration from the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5. Because of that, we don’t expect many changes to the overall design and look of the iPhone 13 — but we could still see a few tweaks.

Some of the earliest leaks about the iPhone 13 come from serial leaker Jon Prosser, who says that he has obtained CAD renders of the upcoming iPhone 13. The renders show a new diagonal camera layout for non-Pro iPhone models, plus a slightly thicker build to accommodate a bigger battery. They also seem to show a smaller notch on the device.

iPhone 13 render leak top.
iPhone 13 render leak camera module.

Rumors indicate that at some point in the future, Apple will likely move to a port-free iPhone. Many experts view Apple’s decision to bring MagSafe charging to the iPhone as the first step toward that change. It is unlikely that this will happen with the iPhone 13, however. While rumors had suggested that at least one model will do away with ports, and well-known TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in 2019 that Apple would release a portless iPhone in 2021, recent reports indicate that Apple could be sticking with the tried-and-true Lightning port for one year more.

Another persistent rumor is that the iPhone will get a smaller notch. Some rumors suggest that Apple wanted to include a smaller notch on the iPhone 12 as part of its new design but was unable to do so — and so is instead targeting the iPhone 13 for that change. It’s unlikely that the notch will be gone altogether, but Ice Universe, a well-known leaker on Twitter, says that the notch will be shallower. A leak from Everything Apple Pro suggests the notch will be narrower rather than shallower, and Unbox Therapy managed to get their hands on a dummy iPhone 13 Pro Max device that may show off this smaller notch design.

The iPhone 13 was initially rumored to be bringing back Touch ID. The pandemic has proven that while facial recognition is cool, it doesn’t always make sense — like when you have a mask on. Apple was said to be considering an In-Display fingerprint sensor earlier by Bloomberg, but a later report from the publication added that it was unlikely the company would ship it this year. Instead, Apple has reportedly been testing an update to Face ID that would allow it to work with your mask on and with fogged-up glasses. It is unclear if Apple plans on shipping this with the iPhone 13 at launch, or will enable it later via a software update.

Last but not least, the iPhone 13 may come in a few different colors. According to EverythingApplePro and Max Weinbach, the iPhone 13 series may come in a matte black that’s darker than the Graphite color currently on offer on the iPhone 12 Pro. Other recent rumors indicate that at least some iPhone 13 models will come in a new Rose Pink.

iPhone 13 display

iPhone 12 Mini on a table showing apps on screen.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

The iPhone 12 brought OLED display tech to the full iPhone 12 series, and, as a result, the display experience on all iPhone 12 models is more or less the same. In 2021, however, Apple may give the iPhone 13 Pro models a different step up in the form of a 120Hz refresh rate.

Rumors about high refresh rate iPhones have been circulating for years, and there was a time when many experts thought it would come on the iPhone 12. In 2020, however, rumors reported that battery drain issues had caused Apple to abandon 120Hz panels for the iPhone 12.

There’s good reason to think that the rumors will prove true this time. In February 2021, Apple was granted a patent for iPhone displays with an automatic variable refresh rate. As of now, according to Korean website The Elec, Apple will include LTPO technology on the iPhone 13 models. The claims about a faster refresh rate and LTPO display have been corroborated by Kuo and Weinbach, who added that it will actually be an always-on display, similar to what we’ve seen on some Android phones.

Weinbach says that the always-on display will look like a “toned-down lock screen” and will always show the time and the battery level. Notifications will show up, too, but only part of the screen will reportedly light up to show the notification. Weinbach also claims the iPhone 13 Pro Series displays will throttle to a 60Hz refresh rate when Low Power Mode is enabled. A later report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman corroborated some of Weinbach’s other leaks, like live video in Portrait Mode and a faster refresh rate, adding credence to the claims of an always-on display.

It’s unlikely that the standard iPhone 13 models will get the high refresh rate tech. Hopefully, they’ll all get it in the iPhone 14 series, though.

iPhone 13 specs

There aren’t too many rumors about the iPhone 13’s specs under the hood, but there are some. Notably, according to Jon Prosser, some of the iPhone 13 prototypes offer a hefty 1TB of storage, which is double the maximum capacity of the iPhone 12.

Ming-Chi Kuo corroborates the report that the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max will be available with 1TB of storage, according to an investor report acquired by MacRumors. Kuo also says that the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini will be available with 128GB, 256GB, and 516GB. This means that 64GB of storage will no longer be available on any models.

Some other assumptions can be made about the iPhone 13’s specs. Notably, the iPhone 13 will likely make use of a new Apple A15 chip, which is expected to stick with a 5nm process. Apple is investing billions into its chip-making, with much of that research going to laptop-class processors like the M1. That said, the iPad Pro has seen a boost in performance with the inclusion of the M1 — and while it’s unlikely the iPhone will get an M-series chip, the A-series will still likely get a performance boost and will continue the tradition of being the most powerful mobile chip in the game. According to a report from DigiTimes, chip manufacturer TSMC will continue to build the A-series of chips for the iPhone 13.

When it comes to the bigger battery referred to above, a report in mid-August from Trendforce (via Pocket-Lint) says that Apple won’t actually be making its iPhones thicker or heavier but will instead be relying on clever engineering and tweaks to its circuit board design so that it can fit a larger battery in the same size chassis. When it comes to the precise numbers, ZDNet reports that the iPhone 13 Pro Max battery capacity will go up from 3,687mAh to 4,352mAh. The publication also says that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 will now share a 3095mAh battery as opposed to a 2,815mAh one, with the iPhone 13 Mini shipping with a 2406mAh battery instead of the 2227mAh in the 12 Mini. These slightly bigger battery capacities will also benefit from faster charging, according to reports from MacRumors. While the iPhone 12 supports charging speeds up to 20w, the iPhone 13 may be able to support charging speeds up to 25w, as Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S21 do.

iPhone 13 cameras

IPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from the back showing cameras.

The iPhone 12 didn’t get as big of a camera upgrade compared to the iPhone 11 series, but it still represented a step up, especially when it comes to the larger sensors and the sensor-shift tech on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Hopefully, that tech will come to lower-end iPhones in 2021, and rumors support that. One rumor from display analyst Ross Young suggests that all iPhone 13 devices will get the same sensors as the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Another rumor, however, suggests a different upgrade. According to an investor note from Barclays, all four iPhone 13 models will get an ultrawide camera with an f/1.8 aperture. It’s important to note that Kuo disputes this, saying that only the iPhone 13 Pro models will get a wider aperture. Kuo does, however, say that the ultrawide camera will get autofocus for the first time, which will be a major upgrade for the camera. Kuo’s report is backed up by a later report from TrendForce, which says the iPhone 13 Pro models will have autofocus, but Apple will bring it to all 2022 models.

Weinbach says that the iPhone 13 will put a heavier focus on astrophotography. The on-board sensors will receive 15% more light, allowing the device to recognize stars and adjust to Night Mode. Weinbach also claims the iPhone will be able to capture portrait mode videos, and users will be able to adjust the bokeh effect after recording videos. This report was later corroborated by Bloomberg, who added that Apple was calling this Cinematic Video. Apple is also said to be fleshing out its video capture arsenal with ProRes support, a format that allows for more powerful tweaks to captured video. It’s essentially a video version of the ProRaw that was brought to iPhones last year and has already been a standard on non-mobile platforms for creatives for years.

A post on Apple’s Support forum says that exposure to vibrations from engines may degrade the iPhone’s camera system, which uses magnetic sensors and a gyroscope to sense when the camera is being moved. Apple recommends against mounting iPhones on motorcycles with high-powered engines, and suggests using a vibration-dampening mount for mopeds and scooters.

Other rumors indicate that Apple may include a lidar sensor on all four of the iPhone 13 models, which should help make for faster autofocus in low light and may play a role in future augmented reality (AR) tech.

How many iPhone 13 models will there be?

With the iPhone 13, Apple will reportedly duplicate the iPhone 12’s lineup. This means that we can expect an iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, as well as an iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini. A Federal Communications Commission filing for a seemingly minimally updated MagSafe charger supports this, noting that the company tested its charger on four new models. Reports from analysts such as Trendforce say that the company is planning to focus on the bigger iPhones for promotional purposes, as the company found the initial sales of the iPhone Mini to be disappointing.

Will it really be called iPhone 13?

Some reports have said that Apple will be calling the 2021 iPhone an iPhone 12S, with Trendforce saying that the firm views the 2021 series as an extension of 2020’s iPhone 12 series. There are also unfortunate cultural associations with the number 13 that have been raised. On the other hand, a new report from the Economic Daily News, citing supply chain sources, says that Apple will indeed be calling the 2021 iPhone the iPhone 13, with a view toward a September launch.

iPhone 13 pricing and release date

It was expected that the phones will carry a price similar to that of the iPhone 12 series, though Digitimes reports that Apple might increase the pricing of the iPhone 13 instead to offset a recent hike in component costs from its chip supplier.

Although Apple launched the iPhone 12 in October, it traditionally releases new models in September — and sure enough, Apple confirmed that the iPhone would indeed launch at a “California Streaming” event taking place at 10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, September 14 at Apple Park. That will likely be followed by a September 17 pre-order date and a street date of September 24. It’s also a good sign for the supply chain that Apple still expects to ship more iPhones than it usually does, ordering a production run of 90 million iPhones as opposed to the usual 75 million.

Author: Michael Allison

Source: Michael Allison.” Apple iPhone 13: Everything we know so far”. Retrieved From

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