iPhone 13 Pro Max: 5 things I'm most excited about

It's nearly here, and this is why I'm excited

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
(Image credit: Apple)

I love a massive phone, and I’m now on record suggesting that Samsung Galaxy Note fans should switch to the iPhone 13 Pro Max when it launches. I say this, not to annoy people, but because that was my own personal experience. And, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max announcement only a few hours away, here are the things I’m really excited about Apple’s flagship device. 

A reduced camera notch

I have never minded the camera notch on the iPhone. You have to admire Apple’s skill here, they took something that people didn’t really love, and turned it into a trademark of sorts. In day-to-day use, the notch doesn’t bother me, but reducing it seems like a great idea until the tech supports losing it. 

Pandemic and facemasks aside, I love Face ID and its reliability over Touch ID on older iPhones is what I really think makes the feature better than other biometric tech. Face ID has been proven more secure than fingerprint scanners, and even 3D model heads don’t seem able to fool it. 

Reducing the notch, as long as it doesn’t affect the quality of the front camera, or Face ID is just a really good idea. Next year we might see Apple ditch the notch and make under-screen cameras work, but I’m not in a rush for that as the current tech is not good. 

Even better camera 

The last switch I made was from an iPhone Xs Max to an iPhone 12 Pro. What I realised was the Xs Max had held up incredibly well. Yes, my battery was getting a bit long in the tooth, but the device itself had held up well. But then I started using the iPhone 12’s camera and the difference is night and day. 

I love video, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max may feature some incredible new tech. Firstly, the rumours suggest that it will shoot “portrait” mode video. That’s significant, because if Apple has nailed the process, you’ll be able to get an even more cinematic look to video. This is a really technical challenge to get right, because moving video isn’t as tolerant to small mistakes as a still image. If Apple has nailed this, it will be a game changer. 

120Hz screen

I’m going to be honest here, I can live without a 120Hz display on my phone. So why am I excited, because it puts Apple among the Android flagships. And while I doubt many people are  too bothered about high refresh rate displays, I think the feature does make a difference when you’re using the phone. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is, after all, one of the world’s flagship devices, to leave out this feature seems counterintuitive to me. 

There’s another reason too. A change in the OLED display could open the iPhone 13 Pro Max up to an always-on display. Having notifications and a clock on screen would be handy. Again, it’s not an earth-shattering innovation, and I get on well with Apple’s existing “lift to wake” solution, but there are times when I look at the iPhone 12 on the desk and kind of wish I could tell if I had messages. 

ProRes for video

Back to my love of video, support for Apple’s ProRes format is a big deal. It’s used a lot by video professionals as an editing format, especially anyone using a Mac. Adding support for it on an iPhone is a big deal, because it could mean editing video on a phone could be a lot more flexible. It might be a big help to video professionals who want to show people early cuts. What’s more, if the iPhone 13 Pro Max shoots in ProRes, exporting that footage to a computer becomes a lot easier, and will work in a whole range of editing systems. ProRes also has a proxy format, which allows you to edit footage on low powered machines, then switch the clips out later for 4K resolution. It’s unclear what ProRes support might look like, but it could be a big deal. 

A bigger battery 

I’ll be clear here, you probably won’t get much, if any, extra battery life from the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The increase in power will likely just about pay for that new screen and its fancy 120Hz refresh rate. However, the rumours suggest that you can turn on battery saving mode, and it’ll drop your screen back to 60Hz. That means, on a really long day you should be able to use that extra capacity to keep things going. 

We’ll have all the latest on Apple Event and the new iPhone 13 as it launches. 

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better.