The iPhone 12 may be an excellent implementation of Apple’s vision for the modern smartphone, but you can be sure that the company is already hard at work on its successor. We take a look at what you may see when the iPhone 13 arrives – theoretically – in 2021.
Apple’s release cycle for the iPhone is predicable, albeit with the global pandemic disrupting things in 2020. Usually, the new models are announced at the beginning of September and then become available a week or so later.
In the past few years though, there have been a few devices that have been announced in September but appeared slightly later, with the iPhone XR coming in October 2018, while the iPhone X arrived in November 2017. Due to the problems caused by COVID-19, we also saw the iPhone 12 being delayed until October, but if things return to some semblance of normality, then we would expect the traditional September release for the iPhone 13 in 2021.
Of course, the iPhone SE (2020) breaks these rules by turning up in the Spring whenever Apple decides to update the range. For this reason, the SE range should always be counted as an outlier rather than a guide to potential release dates for the flagship models.
How much will the iPhone 13 cost?
Prices for the standard iPhone have been going up and down with recent releases, as you can see from this list;
iPhone X: £999/$999
iPhone XS: £999/$999
iPhone 11: £729/$699
iPhone 12: £799/$799
The arrival of the iPhone 11, with the sudden price-drop, is more easily understood when you take into account that it coincided with the release of the iPhone Pro range. Why the iPhone 12 saw an increase by £70/$100 is less clear, but it does mean that the current Apple smartphone range now has a very regimented feel, with options at most price points. Here’s how the iPhone catalogue breaks down;
iPhone 12 Pro Max – £1,099/$1,099
iPhone 12 Pro – £999/$999
iPhone 12 – £799/$799
iPhone 12 Mini – £699/$699
iPhone 11 – £599/$599
iPhone XR – £499/$499
iPhone SE – £399/$399
As you can see, the iPhone 12 sits just above the middle, £100/$100 more than the new iPhone 12 Mini but £200/$200 less than the iPhone 12 Pro. The lower end of the list is made up of previous iPhones that have been kept around to offer buyers the chance to enter the world of iOS without spending around £700/$700.
With this model in place, we think there’s a good chance that Apple will replace devices like-for-like when it updates the line in 2021. So, the iPhone 13 is likely to cost £799/$799, with Mini and Pro varieties either side.
What new features will Apple bring to the iPhone 13?
Obviously, with it still being many months until the iPhone 13 is unveiled, there isn’t much in the way of confirmed news about features or specs. That hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from going into overload though, with various leaks and prognostication about what Apple has in store. Here’s what’s been said so far.
Processor & storage
It’s a pretty safe call to say that the iPhone 13 will arrive with the latest version of Apple’s own A series processors. Just as the iPhone 11 sported an A13 Bionic and the iPhone 12 arrived with the A14 Bionic, it’s a good bet that the iPhone 13 will come with a new A15 Bionic. How this will improve things is still to be determined, but expect performance boosts and better energy management with the updated silicon.
One interesting tweet that appeared in October 2020 from tipster Jon Prosser is that the iPhone 13 will offer a 1TB storage tier.
hope y’all are ready for 1TB iphones
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser)
October 28, 2020
This would double the maximum currently available on the iPhone Pro lineup and quadruple that of the iPhone 12 standard model.
New displays with smaller notches
Since the launch of the iPhone X, the notch at the top of the screen that houses the Face ID cameras has been something of a Marmite issue. Some like it, others have just grown used to it, while a further group actively hate it. Now, it does seem unlikely to disappear in the iPhone 13, but one rumour from Ice Universe suggests that the notch will be slimmed down so that it protrudes less into the display.
iPhone13 still continues the notch design, but notch is shorter.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce)
October 7, 2020
This could be due to another feature being touted by industry insiders, that of an embedded fingerprint sensor in the screen. We’ve already seen a few different Android phones with this capability (the Samsung Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8T being recent examples), so it makes sense that Apple may also take this route, especially when so many people are now wearing masks when out and about.
The display itself could also see significant upgrades, with lots of expectation for the standard iPhone 13 to move up to a 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rate that would allow ProMotion scrolling and catch the Apple smartphones up with the majority of Android flagships. There’s also the chance that the new model with benefit from switching to Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide (LTPO) panels, as found on the Apple Watch. These would bring increased energy-efficiency over the current OLED panels, which in turn could add a chunk of time to battery life.
Apple to ditch all ports on the iPhone
One of the stranger rumours that’s gathering momentum is that Apple will remove the Lightning port, but rather than move to USB-C like on the MacBook and iPad Pros, it will simply have no ports at all. This would mean all charging is wireless and connecting your iPhone to another device or peripheral will have to be done by Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or witchcraft.
Jon Prosser and fellow tipster Fudge (so many of them have fun names) have already agreed publicly on this idea, and with Apple’s history of removing popular ports while simultaneously releasing very expensive wireless accessories, we can see it happening.
Keep checking back to see what rumours appear, but in the meantime read our iPhone buying guide and best iPhone 12 & 12 Pro deals.