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This is everything we know about Apple’s iPhone 13 so far

Published Apr 1st, 2021 9:00AM EDT
iPhone 13 2021
Image: Apple

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A new report from Digitimes reveals that Apple’s longtime manufacturing partner TSMC will start producing the company’s A15 processor for the iPhone 13 in May. The A15, like the A14 before it, will be manufactured with a 5nm process technology and, if history is any indication, will deliver impressive performance enhancements with improved power consumption management compared to its predecessor.

With A15 production set to begin in just a few weeks, it’s as good a time as any to take a look at what type of features Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 will bring to the table. Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup will likely look similar to last year’s iPhone 12 lineup, but there will definitely be no shortage of compelling and new features that, taken together, should make the iPhone 13 an attractive upgrade.

Before diving right in, it’s worth mentioning that Apple’s iPhone 13 models will reportedly all launch in September. While this is usually a given, recall that the coronavirus pandemic resulted in Apple using a staggered release schedule for the iPhone 12.

Design-wise, the iPhone 13 will look similar to the iPhone 12 insofar that Apple thankfully isn’t planning a return to the rounded edge design that defined the iPhone since the iPhone 6. Still, there is one rumor which claims that the iPhone 13 Pro models will boast a texturized matte back designed to make the device grippier and easier to hold.

Beyond that, the iPhone 13 Pro models will likely be the first iPhones to feature a 120Hz ProMotion display, a feature that will introduce more fluid scrolling, improved responsiveness, and “smoother motion content.” And in Apple’s neverending effort to preserve battery life, rumor has it that Apple’s implementation will see the display dynamically switch between 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rates depending on the use-case scenario. While rumors of Apple adding a 120Hz ProMotion display to the iPhone have been making the rounds for years, there’s a strong chance that it’s finally going to happen with the iPhone 13.

One of the more intriguing rumors we’ve heard claims that the iPhone 13 will feature an Always-On display, similar to what you can find on the Apple Watch. The entire display won’t be visible but rather will only show the time, battery icon, and incoming notifications.

“Always-On Display will have minimal customizability,” noted leaker Max Weinbach said last month. “Current design basically looks like a toned-down lock screen. Clock and battery charge is always visible. Notifications seem to be displayed using a bar and icons. Upon receiving, the notification will pop up normally except that the screen will not entirely light up. Instead, it will display it just like you’re used to right now, except dimmed down and only temporarily.”

Camera-wise, we can expect to see the iPhone 13 ship with improved image stabilization functionality, improved low-light camera performance, a more capable ultra-wide lens, and, perhaps, a Portrait Mode setting for video recording. We’ve also seen reports that the iPhone 13 could see an optical zoom boost thanks to a periscope telephoto lens, though it’s more likely we won’t see this arrive until the iPhone 14.

MacRumors reported back in December:

Supply-chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects the aperture of the ultra-wide angle lens on the ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro and ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro Max to increase from ƒ/2.4 to f/1.8, with a new six-element lens assembly. This would allow for a shallower depth-of-field and much more light to enter the lens, leading to significantly improved images with the ultra-wide angle lens.

There’s also a strong possibility that some camera features currently only available on the iPhone 12 Pro models, like 2.5x telephoto zoom and LIDAR, will be available on the entry-level iPhone 13 models.

Some other iPhone 13 rumors we’ve seen include reports of a smaller notch, new color options, and a 1TB storage option on the top-tier Pro models. With the current iPhone 12 Pro models maxing out at 512GB of storage, a full TB would be nice but arguably unlikely given how Apple likes to take its precious time when it comes to boosting storage options on the iPhone.

With respect to size, we’re not expecting Apple to make any changes to this year’s iPhone lineup, which is to say the iPhone 13 models will more or less be the same size as last year’s iPhone 12 lineup.

And lastly, there’s no denying that there have been several rumors pointing to Apple exploring a fingerprint sensor built directly into the iPhone display or power button. And while filed patents do corroborate Apple’s research into this type of technology, the feature will likely not be part of the iPhone 13.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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