iPhone 13 in 2021: what we know right now

Everything we know about the new 2021 iPhone so far, according to rumors and analyst opinions.

Siri User Guide
Siri User Guide

When will the 2021 iPhone be released?

Apple usually launches the latest version of iPhones in the fall. However, due to the worldwide pandemic causing supply shortages, the 2020 release was delayed for a month.

This year will probably see the iPhone return to a September launch date.

Similar model design to the iPhone 12

There are not expected to be any significant design changes, with four sizes being available to buy, as in 2020.

iPhone 13 may have a smaller notch compared to iPhone 12

MacRumors reports that the new iPhone could feature a much smaller 'notch' at the top of the screen.

The reduced width is enabled by the earpiece being integrated into the top bezel, above the TrueDepth camera and Face ID components, indicated by the space left in the middle. According to a report from Japanese site Mac Otakara, the ‌iPhone 13's TrueDepth camera array is "getting narrower" because the receiver at the top of the display will move to the edge of the case.

A previously leaked 3D-printed mockup suggests that compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 13 Pro will feature a notch that is 5.35mm in height, as opposed to 5.30mm, and 26.80mm in width, down from 34.83mm.

The notch on the iPhone hasn't changed since the iPhone X was introduced back in 2017.

iPhone 13 rumored notch changes
iPhone 13 rumored notch changes

iPhone 13 could offer a 1 TB storage option

There have been sporadic rumors hinting that the iPhone 13 will feature up to 1TB of storage space, up from the 512GB maximum in the iPhone 12 models.

Additionally, analysts Strecker Backe and Daniel Ives at Wedbush have said that supply chain checks suggest that the next-generation iPhone lineup will introduce a 1 TB premium storage option for the first time.

From a spec perspective, we have increased confidence that iPhone 13 will have a 1 terabyte storage option which is double from the highest Pro storage capacity today (512GB) and will also include a number of enhancements with Lidar across all iPhone 13 models.

Previously, Apple has only offered 1 TB of storage on its iPad Pro tablets.

Touch ID under the display

iPhone rumors suggest that the latest model will feature a new under-display fingerprint scanner as a complementary security option to join Face ID.

Fingerprint scanning has not been available on the iPhone since the home button was removed when iPhone X was released.

The pandemic may have focused Apple's minds on an alternative to Face ID, which is unresponsive when wearing a mask.

Barclays analyst Andrew Gardiner said in a report:

Based on our industry conversations, we do not think structured light beneath the screen is likely to be ready for mass deployment in 2H22. We also view the adoption of fingerprint-under-glass, that likely is added in the 2H21 iPhones, as a structural headwind for additional 3D sensing content at Apple and could be the security feature of the future.

We'll have to wait to see if the new feature appears in the fall.

Battery improvements

The iPhone 13 will have larger batteries, potentially resulting in longer battery life. Apple is using new space-saving designs like integrating the SIM slot with the mainboard and reducing the front optical module thickness to provide more space for the battery.

A15 chip

DigiTimes reports (via MacRumors) that the A15 chip will introduce further efficiency improvements in the iPhone 13. DigiTimes reports that the iPhone 13 Pro models will feature 15-20 percent lower power consumption to offset the battery life impact of high-refresh-rate displays.

Longtime Apple supplier TSMC is set to begin mass shipments of Apple's upcoming A15 chip for the iPhone 13 ahead of schedule at the end of May, according to a snippet of a full report set to be published tomorrow by DigiTimes. 

The new chip will be based on an enhanced version of the 5nm process, which first debuted in the A14 Bionic with the 2020 iPad Air and iPhone 12 lineup. While the full report will likely offer more details as to the specifics of the new chip that will power the next-generation iPhones, it can be reasonably assumed that it will improve on performance and power efficiency.

Improved camera

Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Thomas O'Malley expect that all iPhone 13 models will feature an upgraded Ultra Wide camera lens with a wider f/1.8 aperture.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the upgrade will be limited to the Pro iPhone models.

Barclays also believes that the upgraded telephoto lens used exclusively in the iPhone 12 Pro Max will expand to the standard iPhone 13 Pro model in 2021.

Improvements to the iPhone camera are expected
Improvements to the iPhone camera are expected

Leaked dummy iPhone 13 video

Dummy models are used by case makers to design and produce new accessories in time for a new iPhone launch. Inevitably, some of these dummy handsets make it out into the wild.

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