In 2021, even if you’re just wrapping your head around the iPhone 12 family, a new iPhone – presumably the iPhone 13 – is coming, and we’ve already seen a range of juicy leaks and rumors.
The 2021 Apple handsets are likely to be released by the end of the year, but we’re hearing reports from a number of outlets about what to expect from Apple on the next-gen iPhone.
Right now, what’s the general word? We’ve heard that no humongous improvements are planned from all various types of sources, as reports point to the company concentrating on optimizing the design, upgrading the internal ones, and maybe even getting in far more powerful cameras.
Much of this is speculation at the moment, and when Apple is ready to release its next smartphone, it could be subject to change.
You’ll find everything we know so far about the next iPhone below, including our best guess at the release date of iPhone 13, and a list of stuff we want Apple to introduce in its 2021 handset.
Update: A source argues that all four iPhone 13 models would have a LiDAR scanner for enhanced augmented reality, although there are also whispers that the iPhone 13 might also receive advanced liquid cooling.
Cut to the hunt
What’s that? The Next iPhone
When did it come out? Likely September 2021
What’s it going to cost? For $699 / £699 / AU$1,199 and up, anticipate
Release date for iPhone 13 and price
When do you hope to be able to purchase an iPhone in the next generation? We expect the release date for the iPhone 13 to be set for September 2021, but given the Covid-19 pandemic, that may be subject to change.
Apple has regularly launched its new phones at an event near the beginning of September for the last 10 years and released the phones 10 days later. Owing to the pandemic, all that changed in 2020, and the phones were delayed past their normal window.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro were pushed back to October, and in November the other two devices were launched, the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max, allegedly due to a shortage of parts for the production process.
If we were betting on a date, we would expect Apple to move the release date of the iPhone 13 back to September 2021, and at least one well-respected Apple analyst actually agrees with us.
The price of the iPhone 13 is little known, but we would expect it to be at a level similar to the iPhone 12 family. Those handsets cost more than the iPhone 11 series of 2019 phones, but this is due to the inclusion of 5 G and a few other technological components.
As we hear them, we’ll be sure to add more 2021 iPhone price leaks and speculation, but below you will see the iPhone 12 series rates that we’re pretty certain will be comparable next year.
Any chance there is that the next iPhone isn’t going to be called iPhone 13. This is particularly true as the number 13 in parts of the world, including the US, is seen as an unlucky number, so when it comes time for a new iPhone, Apple may want to skip this number.
With reports saying we’re going to see a design somewhat close to the iPhone 12, it could be that for 2021, the business is reading an iPhone 12s family. This is standard practice for Apple where, the year after a major update, it introduces a ‘S’ set, and we will see that next year.
Leaks on iPhone 13 and speculation
You may think so far in the future that we wouldn’t know anything about the next-gen phone with the iPhone 13 release date, but a number of reports have given us some stuff to expect on the next iPhone.
First off, we’re expecting four iPhone 13 family members. These are likely to be the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, although this is not guaranteed.
Until 2020, when it launched the mini model as the fourth handset in the iPhone 12 range, the company concentrated on three versions. Most reports say that in 2021 it will continue, and if the iPhone 12 mini sells well, it is even more likely to happen.
We expect similar designs to the iPhone 12 family, and since the company made significant improvements to that part of the iPhone 12, the screen technology is also likely to be similar.
The inclusion of a high refresh rate monitor was one thing speculated for the iPhone 12 that did not come to fruition. Rumors say that it can be implemented on the iPhone 13, and that when playing games or scrolling through your social media stream, the show would look cleaner.
This technology will also run in a similar way to what we have seen on the iPad Pro lineup of the business, where the refresh rate can vary depending on what operation you are doing on your computer.
Another speculation backed up reports of the 120Hz refresh rate, but indicated that such a display could only be on two of the four planned iPhone 13 models. Perhaps this means that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will have 120Hz displays, while the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini will not, or whatever they end up being called.
Since then, it has been repeated by the source of that argument (Korean site The Elec), adding that industry sources suggest the top two models will get a screen of 120Hz. More information have now also been added to that site, stating that Samsung will be the sole provider of these 120Hz panels.
The question of the notch has also been discussed with some reports suggesting it will stay the same size as the iPhone 12 and others claiming it will shrink more likely in 2021. It is especially uncertain right now what will happen here.
The business might finally be able to launch an under-display fingerprint scanner, another leak has also indicated. This technology is used on flagship phones by several Android manufacturers, and this leak means that Apple is ready to follow suit.
One source has also stated that when we see the launch of 1TB iPhones, 2021 could be. That’s a storage size with which the company has not yet experimented, at least for its smartphones, and we would expect it to be an option on the most expensive Pro handsets on the phone.
That could well make for the most expensive iPhone ever if Prosser’s data is right, as that’s a lot of storage on one smartphone.
As for the camera, industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is always right about Apple results, has indicated that the iPhone 13 camera could be bumped from the current f/2.4, five-element lens on the Pro to an f/1.8, six-element lens.
There are also rumors that Apple is looking at attaching a camera to a potential iPhone with a periscope. This would make a wider zoom range than current models, perhaps up to 10x optical zoom, likely without making the components of the camera thicker. This could not happen until the iPhone 14 or an even later model, however, based on rumors.
A study also indicated that all four iPhone 13 models could get a LiDAR scanner instead of only getting it as on the iPhone 12 range for the Pro models. The same site has since repeated the argument, but we’d take it with a pinch of salt before we hear it from other sources.
Specifically around the camera, nothing else has been rumored, but we’d expect Apple to concentrate on this as a key area to distinguish the handsets from the iPhone 12 family.
There were reports of a portless iPhone debuting in 2021 as well. It may be that the company only has one phone that does this, so that will mean that wireless charging would only be used.
It’s a claim we’ve heard from a variety of outlets, but most say that only one model would go portless (most likely the iPhone 13 Pro Max).
Meanwhile, we heard from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on the battery front that the iPhone 13 could turn to soft board technology, which could allow physically smaller batteries without reducing power.
There is also an Apple patent that speaks of a ‘protective charging’ mode that will prevent you from overcharging the phone even though you keep it plugged in for long periods of time (such as overnight). Patents do not always get used, however, so don’t count on this.
Performance should be boosted as usual every year, but we’ve heard talk that advanced vapor chamber cooling is going to be deployed on the iPhone 13, and if it’s not read this year, we may have to wait to see it on the iPhone 14.
Of course, 5G support is expected to begin in 2021, but it is expected that the company will move to either mmWave or sub-6 devices, enabling it to save money.
That basically means that you will only be able to purchase the sub-6 version if mmWave technology is not available in your region. Both iterations of the 5G technology on the iPhone 12 were included by Apple, and that saw the price of the smartphone increase dramatically in the US in particular.
We have also been led to believe that the iPhone 13 is going to come with some Wi-Fi 6E access for an even quicker connection to the web and the cloud. Sticking with wireless technology.
What we want to see on iPhone 13:
We’ve put together a list of things we’d love to see the company launch for its next-gen smartphone, with little known for sure about the iPhone 13. Some of these are going to match what you read about above, and others are just stuff that we like to see Apple do.
1. A massive camera update
The iPhone 12 series added some minor camera tweaks to the handset family, but many hoped that it was not a massive redesign.
Expect to see an updated camera in 2021, and we’re hoping for a major one that could mean that the business will hold on to having some of the best shooters on the market.
2. Improved lifetime of batteries
The iPhone 12 has not improved the battery life on handsets that much over the iPhone 11 series, so we would like to see Apple in the future place more emphasis on battery life.
This is nowhere more true than on the iPhone 12 mini, which has the family’s worst battery life. It’s all right to deal with it on a day-to-day basis, but we would like to see Apple commit to further maximizing battery life.
3. A mini iPhone 13
This may sound like an obvious one, but we really like the mini iPhone 12, and we would like to see it become the iPhone family’s cornerstone.
There are few and far between smaller handsets that are as capable as the flagship alternative in 2020, so we would like to see the company stick to this new size of handset again for the iPhone 13.
4. A price decline
This is unlikely to be true for the iPhone 13, but we would like to see the company drop its prices again in 2021 with the price of the iPhone 12 series rising above the iPhone 11.
With a rumor suggesting that the company would only use 5G technology applicable to any market in which you reside, that may enable Apple to lower the price than it had previously done.
5. The death of iPhones with 64GB
With 64 GB of storage, the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 are both available, and we think that’s not enough space on a smartphone in 2020. Some will be able to manage that, but after a few years of use, you’ll probably find it will clog up if you want to make the most of your computer.
We would like to see Apple implement 128 GB as the minimum unit size in 2021, and potentially push the price down to a more reasonable level of the larger storage models.
6. A fast display refresh rate
A high refresh rate display, rumored for the iPhone 12, would be another good screen update that we would love to see included on the iPhone to keep it competitive with other smartphones on the market.
It’s the kind of update that you don’t realize you want until you’ve used a phone with the included technology, but it’s something that will make the iPhone experience a significant difference.
7. For chargers, a safer choice
The moment Apple wanted to drop chargers in the box was the iPhone 12. This is an effort, according to Apple, which it claims would save on ewaste, and while that may be true, it is not the most user-friendly way to do so.
We’d like to see the company come up with an alternative way to sell those who want them chargers, though by default not putting them in the package.
Perhaps each iPhone could come with a charger coupon that you can cash in if you need a charger, but if you already have a way to charge your phone, does it strongly deter you from doing so?