We're already passed 2021's halfway mark, which means we're edging closer to the iPhone 13 launch; and with all of the leaks and rumors flying around, we've got a pretty good idea of what we night be in for.
Trusted industry tipster Max Weinbach (opens in new tab) has teamed up with EverythingApplePro (opens in new tab) to cover the features we're expecting to see in the iPhone 13 and Apple fans are in for a treat. We've even got a peek at iPhone 13 dummy units which show off a design change coming to the rear camera that looks much more appealing compared to previous models – but staunch fans of the brand might feel differently!
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Rear camera design change
iPhone 13 and 13 Pro dummies. All 4 sizes still in the running. Camera module placement changed on the regular 13s. Pro Max looks slightly larger pic.twitter.com/RqxNiOfBnbJune 23, 2021
First up is the new diagonal orientation of the rear camera lenses on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini. Last year's iPhone 12 base model and iPhone 12 mini's dual rear lenses are stacked vertically, which has been the case for Apple's iPhones for a number of years now.
You can take a look at the iPhone 13 dummy units in DuanRui's tweet (opens in new tab), as well as the lineup from Sonny Dickson (opens in new tab) laid out above. It's not a drastic change, but I think the aesthetic is significantly more pleasing to the eye than the vertical arrangement.
Of course, we'll want to see internal camera upgrades, and not just the lenses getting rearranged. One feature iPhone users have been eager to see roll out in that area is Portrait mode for video. Portrait mode for photos debuted with the iPhone 7 Plus and while it's available to use with FaceTime, it's not something that can be used for shooting video.
There are apps out there that simulate the bokeh effect, blurring the background after recording; there's even some that have managed to create a live Portrait mode effect using the iPhone's lenses, but they're not perfect either, with issues stabilizing video.
According to Weinbach, the iPhone 13 lineup will bring Portrait mode to video, so if you've been devastated at not being able to carry over the dreamy background blur of your photos to video, that's going to be a concern of the past.
EverythingApplePro also touches on a tidbit from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors (opens in new tab)) that points to an upgraded ultra-wide camera with autofocus coming to the iPhone 13 Pro models. The iPhone 12 Pro models sport ultra-wide cameras with fixed focus lenses, so the bump means we can look forward to sharper images.
Paired with previous rumors of improved low light performance, this year's flagship should be upping its camera game significantly.
Reverse wireless charging
Max Weinbach has also said that the wireless charging coil in the iPhone 13 is going to be larger than last year's iPhone 12. This could be for a number of reasons, from better serving the stronger MagSafe magnets, offering improved heat management, as well as facilitating higher wattage for faster charging.
Weinbach adds that it's possible the larger coil indicates Apple's intention to enable reverse wireless charging, but of course that's just speculation. If it does come to fruition, Apple will be ticking off a feature that fans will be eager to see.
Smaller notch and display upgrades
I know it's an 'iconic' design feature, but in a world where we're expecting under-screen cameras to take off this year with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, I find it mystifying as to why Apple thinks it can keep churning out phones with a giant chunk of the screen missing.
The notch needs to disappear in my opinion; keeping it around simply because it's a look seems to fly in the face of delivering a premium experience to customers. While it's not getting scrapped this year, it is very likely getting made smaller.
Meanwhile over on the display side of things, Apple is finally done playing catch-up. We hear tell that the iPhone 13 Pro models will be sporting a 120Hz display which is a huge leap from the previous 60Hz the devices have been restricted to.
Whether we'll see the base models bumped up from 60Hz to 90Hz, we don't know, but given how slow on the uptake Apple has been in this area, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to learn that this isn't the case. In a world where budget phones like the OnePlus Nord are kitted out with a 90Hz refresh rate, it's becoming more and more unacceptable for pricey phones to be trotted out with anything less.
No price increase this year
According to TrendForce (opens in new tab), Apple will be keeping the price of the iPhone 13 on par with last year's iPhone 12. Given the upgrades rolling out for the Pro models, that's going to be great news for users who are looking to upgrade later this year when the flagship is announced.
The iPhone 12 saw a small price hike, with the iPhone 12 mini costing the same as the iPhone 11 base model and rising from there. While there are some significant changes in terms of the display refresh rate, the possible return of Touch ID, and so on, avoiding pushing the cost up further – especially off the back of a financially rocky year for a lot of people – is something consumers will undoubtedly be hyped about. And of course it makes it that much more tantalising of a prospect to upgrade.
iPhone 14 features skipping the iPhone 13
Even though the iPhone 13 has yet to be unveiled, there's already rumors about features that will skip the handset and make their debut with Apple's iPhone 14 instead.
The ultra-wide auto focus is something Kuo has said will extend to the base models next year, and he also dropped the bombshell that the iPhone mini is getting its last outing with the iPhone 13 mini. The compact smartphone is getting killed off next year, to be replaced with the iPhone 14 Max. As EverythingApplePro explains, the iPhone 14 Max will essentially be the same as the iPhone 14 Pro Max but with less camera features, and no in-screen Touch ID.
Rumor has it that Touch ID is making a comeback next year – but whether that's limited to the Pro models, or the entire range, has yet to be confirmed. But then the feature itself isn't a sure thing, so we'll wait for more details before we start celebrating. If you're not a fan of Face ID, you'll be keeping your fingers crossed for Touch ID's comeback.