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First real-life iPhone 13 photos just leaked ahead of Apple’s event

Published Sep 14th, 2021 7:31AM EDT
iPhone 13 Notch
Image: SvetApple

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It’s September 14th, the Tuesday when Apple will unveil the iPhone series fans have been waiting for all year long. The iPhone 13 will not be a complete surprise, featuring a familiar redesign. All iPhone 13 will have the same design as the iPhone 12, and they’ll have almost identical dimensions. But the iPhone 13 is getting a big design change when it comes to the infamous notch. The top bezel will be narrower than ever. We saw the notch in all sorts of unofficial renders and schematics so far that all confirmed the smaller Face ID notch. But, with hours to go until the iPhone 13 event, images of the real-life iPhone 13 made their way online, giving us our first look at the smaller notch. The leak also explains how Apple will use the larger display “ears” that flank the notch.

The original notch

Some iPhone 13 rumors claimed the notch redesign is significant enough to warrant a new iPhone name. We’re not getting the iPhone 12s series this year even though the new handsets will look and feel a lot like the iPhone 12. But the smaller notch is a signature feature that deserves the move to a new number, iPhone 13. Apple has kept in place the same notch design since the 2017 iPhones.

Also, the notch had the same size regardless of how big the iPhone unit was. That meant the iPhone mini and the iPhone Pro Max all featured a similar bezel at the top. That’s because all phones featured the same Face ID components in the notch. That’s on top of the speaker and FaceTime camera.

According to previous leaks, the iPhone 13’s speaker has moved inside the uniform bezel that runs around the screen. The real-life photo below seems to confirm it. That means there’s more screen real estate for Apple to take advantage of.

What will the bigger iPhone 13 display show?

A leaker who posted recently photos of alleged iPhone 13 cases is back with the following images on social media. One of them shows a picture of an iPhone 13 device. The screen is turned on, and it has been unlocked just before someone snapped the photo.

The first photo appears to have been taken somewhere in Italy late on Monday. The iPhone is running on Vodafone Italia, according to the information displayed on the left screen “ear.”

On the right side of the notch, the display includes more information than ever. We see the cellular connectivity bar, the Wi-Fi connection, and the battery percentage next to the battery icon. The battery percentage is a useful addition to the right display “ear.” You no longer have to swipe down on the top right corner to see that information, which is what happens on current iPhones that feature regular notches.

The second image features a screenshot of the iPhone 13 lock screen. As it happens now, the notch doesn’t appear in screenshots. But the picture gives us the same icon arrangement at the top.

That said, the smaller notch is still quite large. The Face ID bezel occupies about a third of this iPhone 13’s display. Apple isn’t ready to offer buyers the perfect all-screen iPhone they want, or even an iPhone with a hole-punch display like Android devices. Such designs might drop in the following years, as soon as Apple finalizes the technology that will allow it to hide all the Face ID components under the screen.

As with previous iPhone 13 leaks, there’s no way to guarantee these photos are accurate. But Apple will probably explain the phone’s new notch design during its press conference later on Tuesday.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.