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Two key iPhone 13 Pro features just leaked

Published Apr 9th, 2021 6:50AM EDT
iPhone 13 Pro Specs Rumors
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple is widely expected to launch four iPhone 13 versions this year, all direct successors to the four iPhone 12 versions unveiled last fall. The new handsets will feature almost the same design as their predecessor, although reports say the new iPhones might get at least one notable change. Many leaks indicate the iPhone 13 notch is about to shrink, and we’ve seen a few concept images showing the purported designs. A few reports also say the new iPhones might feature an under-display fingerprint sensor, although this particular change would not impact the iPhone’s overall look and feel.

Separately, a few leaks have provided more information about the iPhone 13 specs, with rumors claiming the new handsets will feature a few notable camera upgrades, better battery life, and more storage than ever before. A brand new leak says that the iPhone 13 Pro versions will get two key upgrades, including the screen tech some iPhone fans have been waiting for, as well as the anticipated power efficiency that comes with every new iPhone generation.

Taiwanese site Digitimes (via MacRumors) published a new report detailing Apple’s recent supply chain moves.

Apple reportedly plans to equip both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max with 120Hz OLED displays similar to what’s available on competing devices running Android. About a year ago, iPhone 12 specs rumors said that Apple was contemplating 120Hz screens for the 2020 iPhone generation but had concerns about battery life. As we’ve seen on the first Android handsets with high refresh rate screens, having the screen set at 90Hz or 120Hz would impact battery life. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is the first phone to feature a brand new type of 120Hz OLED screen that doesn’t hurt battery life as much.

That’s an LTPO (short for Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) display that supports an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. This new iPhone 13 rumor says that Apple will use the same screen tech for the 2021 Pro models, with Samsung being one of the three display makers tasked with supplying the new screen components:

Samsung Display and LG Display, now offering LTPS OLED displays for iPhones, are proceeding with capacity conversion to LTPO ones at their Apple-dedicated 6G OLED lines, with the conversion likely to be completed in the first half of 2021, the sources said, adding that production capacity will drop due to the added oxide step when LTPS is converted to LTPO.

The report says that production will drop due to these screens’ extra complexity, but Apple is reportedly planning to add BOE to the list of OLED panel suppliers for the iPhone. The Chinese screen maker has been pining for an iPhone deal for years, but Apple has constantly refused BOE screens for not meeting its requirements. That changed late last year, with the report claiming that Apple approved BOE to supply OLED screens in December. Reports from Korea a few months ago revealed the heated competition between Korean display vendors and Chinese companies, which includes corporate espionage and stealing key engineers who get lucrative contracts over in China.

Digitimes also says that the iPhone 13 Pro phones will feature 15-20% reduced power consumption even when using the new displays, suggesting battery life issues won’t be a problem. If accurate, that’s also good news for the regular iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13, which should be just as energy efficient. That’s because the new A15 chip is likely responsible for the power consumption reduction. Every new A-series chip delivered a significant performance boost and better efficiency, and the A15 is expected to do the same thing. The non-Pro iPhone 13 models should feature great battery life if there’s no 120Hz display to draw extra energy, and the same 15-20% efficiency applies.

Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 13 series in mid-September, the usual time for announcing and releasing new iPhones. The current chip shortage isn’t expected to impact iPhone production, a report said earlier this week while highlighting delays in iPad and MacBook production lines.
 TSMC will reportedly produce the A15 chips earlier than expected, according to an earlier report from the same Taiwanese site.

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.