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Apple reveals iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini with smaller notch, better screen

Updated Sep 14th, 2021 2:30PM EDT
iPhone 13 reveal
Image: Apple

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After delaying the launch of the iPhone 12 in 2020, Apple is back with a timely iPhone release in 2021. On Tuesday, Apple announced the iPhone 13, and while it has plenty in common with last year’s new iPhone, it also features a number of key updates both inside and out. Many of the updates had been spoiled by leaks, but here’s everything we learned from the iPhone 13 reveal.

iPhone 13 reveal: New design with smaller notch

All of Apple’s new color options for the iPhone 13. Image source: Apple Inc.

As was the case with the iPhone 12 series, the standard iPhone 13 will have a 6.1-inch OLED display while the iPhone 13 mini will have a 5.4-inch OLED display. Apple says its Super Retina XDR displays are 20% brighter this year, with 1200 nits max HDR brightness.

Starting with the design, the most obvious change on the iPhone 13 is the smaller notch. The sensor housing (which is what Apple actually calls the notch) has been the same size on every phone since it debuted on the iPhone X. The iPhone XS, iPhone 11, and iPhone 12 models — all the same. This year, Apple finally shrunk the notch, giving the iPhone 13 slightly more screen real estate.

Unsurprisingly, Apple has also brought back the flat sides of the iPhone 12, as all of its products are adopting this design language. The huge camera bump is back as well, but Apple has rearranged the camera lenses within. Rather than stacking the lenses on top of one another, they now sit diagonally within the camera array. Apple says it reengineered its TrueDepth camera to make it fit into a space that’s 20% smaller. Otherwise, the iPhone 13 looks rather similar to the iPhone 12.

Specifications, price, and release date

iPhone 13 specifications. Image source: Apple Inc.

Moving inside the phone, Apple is introducing the A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13. Apple’s new 5nm chip has a 6-core CPU with 2 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores. It’s also capable of performing 15.8 billion operations per second and has a faster neural engine.

Apple says that the iPhone 13 features the most advanced dual-camera system it has ever made. It contains a 12-megapixel wide camera with a new sensor, 47% more light gathering, a f/1.6 aperture, and 100% Focus Pixels. There’s also a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a f/2.4 aperture and 120-degree field of view. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have sensor-shift stabilization as well, which was reserved for the iPhone 12 Pro Max model in last year’s lineup.

Apple also debuted a new “Cinematic mode” which is capable of blurring the background, similar to the Portrait mode for photos. When a new person enters the frame while recording, the camera will automatically adjust focus. Cinematic mode shoots in Dolby Vision HDR.

Despite more processing power and a brighter display, Apple says the iPhone 13 mini will last an extra 1.5 hours compared to the iPhone 12 mini, while the iPhone 13 will stay alive 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12. Apple credits bigger batteries, better performances, and software improvements.

Finally, Apple says that the iPhone 13 lineup features more 5G bands than the iPhone 12, which will bring better performance and coverage to the new phones. Apple adds that support for 5G on iPhone will double across the world by the end of the year.

The iPhone 13 starts at $799 and the iPhone 13 mini starts at $699. Apple has doubled the storage of the base iPhone 13 mini, so both phones will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 256GB configurations. Preorders for the iPhone 13 begin Friday, and the phone will launch on September 24th.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.