iPhone 13: 7 Major Upgrades To Look For

The iPhone 13 is said to have a better design, a longer battery life, 120Hz displays, and much more.

The iPhone 13 is expected to be unveiled in 2021 during its usual September launch window and based on early rumors and leaks, there are plenty of reasons to be excited. Yes, the iPhone 12 is the best phone you can buy right now, but once you hear what’s coming, you might reconsider.

While the iPhone 12 has a new look with trimmed borders and flat sides, the notch remains the same size. And, for the new iPhone 13, Apple is expected to embrace 120Hz displays, catching up to the best Android phones. We may also see the return of a feature that will make it much easier to unlock your phone while wearing a mask.

Of course, the iPhone 13 will not be unveiled for several months. However, these are the seven most significant upgrades and changes we’ve heard about so far.

A smaller notch on the iPhone 13 (finally)

The iPhone notch has been a source of consternation since the release of the iPhone X, but the area that houses the TrueDepth camera and enables Face ID is packed with technology. According to a leak on Twitter by Ice Universe (opens in new tab), the iPhone 13 will keep the notch design, but it will be shorter.

According to a separate report by Digitimes, Apple will be able to reduce the size of the notch by shrinking the size of the sensor that powers Face ID. Furthermore, the VSCEL chip in the front camera will be streamlined, which should reduce volume. So, while the notch will not disappear from the iPhone 13, it will be less visible.

Displays with 120Hz ProMotion for the iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 will be the first iPhone to feature 120Hz refresh rates, which should result in smoother scrolling and improved video playback and gameplay with supported content. Both Apple analyst Jon Prosser and display analyst Ross Young believe this.

The displays should be able to scale from 120Hz to 1Hz depending on the content on the screen, which should help save battery life thanks to LTPO technology. However, according to The Elec (opens in new tab), only two models will have 120Hz LTPO displays, which will most likely be the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Significant improvements to the iPhone 13 camera

While it appears that a more powerful periscope zoom will not be available until the iPhone 14 in 2022, several other iPhone 13 camera upgrades that appear promising have leaked. To begin, the iPhone 13 is said to have an improved ultra-wide lens with six elements and an f/1.8 aperture. That would be an improvement over the iPhone 12’s f/2.4, 5-element lens, and it should result in better low-light results.

Furthermore, analyst Ross Young predicts that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will get larger sensors, allowing more light in. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the advanced sensor-shift stabilization found in the iPhone 12 Pro Max will make its way to both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Wi-Fi 6E is a significant upgrade

You will have heard of Wi-Fi 6E if you haven’t already. This new wireless standard is intended to provide even faster wireless speeds. According to a Barclays analyst report (opens in new tab), the iPhone 13 lineup will support Wi-Fi 6E, which connects over the 6GHz band. As a result, other devices in your home should experience less interference.

In addition to faster speeds, Wi-Fi 6E allows for lower latency, which should result in improved performance. Furthermore, Wi-Fi 6E devices can utilize 160MHz for high-bandwidth activities such as augmented reality. Broadcom, which manufactures mobile Wi-Fi 6E chips, has referred to the 6GHz band as “the most disruptive boon for Wi-Fi users in the last 20 years.”

Touch ID returns for iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 could be the first truly new iPhone design in years to support Touch ID. According to analyst Mini-Chi Kuo, Apple is developing an iPhone with both Face ID and an under-display fingerprint scanner for release in 2021. This feature, however, may be reserved for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

According to the analyst, Apple is also working on a 2021 iPhone with Touch ID integrated into the power button. This isn’t a flagship device, so we’re not sure if this is referring to the regular iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 mini, or a new iPhone SE 3 or iPhone SE Plus.

The new iPad Air includes a Touch ID sensor in its power button, which performed admirably in our testing. Resurrecting Touch ID for the iPhone 13 makes sense because Face ID does not work well with masks, and we may still be required to wear them in public until 2021.

Increased battery life (and better 5G)

If you’ve seen our iPhone 12 battery test results, you’ll know that Apple’s flagships did not fare well. When browsing the web, we noticed a significant difference between 4G and 5G speeds. The good news is that Apple’s documentation (opens in new tab) has revealed that Apple will be upgrading from Qualcomm’s 7-nanometer X55 5G modem to its newer and more efficient 5-nanometer X60 modem.

The X60 can integrate directly into a phone’s chipset, reducing its footprint while increasing battery life. Furthermore, the X60 can combine mmWave and sub-6GHz networks for even faster speeds.

All four iPhone 13 models include LiDAR

The LiDAR sensor, which was introduced on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, improves autofocus performance while also enabling tricks like portraits in low light. LiDAR also improves augmented reality performance by allowing for the much faster creation of 3D maps of rooms.

According to Digitimes, this time around, all four iPhone 13 models should include LiDAR (opens in new tab) (or time of flight). As a result, the feature will no longer be limited to the most expensive iPhones. According to the report, the new ToF sensors will enable “instant immersive AR experiences.” So far, we’ve seen some pretty cool iPhone AR apps, but nothing that we’d call a must-have.

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