iPhone 13: Release Date, Specs, Price, News, and Rumors

There's another new iPhone on the horizon. Here's what we know

Apple just announced the iPhone 12 in late 2020, but that doesn't mean there aren't more phones brewing for the smartphone giant. Here's what we already know (or suspect) about the iPhone 13...or will it be called the iPhone 12S?

When Will the iPhone 13 Be Announced?

Apple traditionally announces new iPhone models in the Fall, so expect the official notice to be given in September or October 2021.

When Can I Pre-Order the Next iPhone?

Pre-order information is typically announced when the phones are, so we'll know these details when the official announcement is made. If you want one, be ready to pounce: After the announcement of the iPhone 12, 2 million of them were pre-ordered in the first 24 hours of availability.

When Will the iPhone 13 Be Released?

Apple has a tradition of releasing the newest iPhone within a short time following the official announcement. Your best bet for learning this information is to pay close attention to the official announcement, where release details will be shared.

Lifewire's Release Date Estimate

Our bet is on release of the 2021 iPhone in September. Based on previous iPhone release dates, we're really not going out on a limb here. For all its innovations, Apple is somewhat a creature of habit, plus a pre-holiday release tends to do well for the bottom line. According to some estimates, the announcement might take place on September 7 and the phone released on September 17. If not then, we might be looking at a September 14 reveal with a release the following week.

That said, leaker Jon Prosser suggests that there might not be an iPhone 13 at all and that Apple might stick with the S moniker this year, calling it iPhone 12S. He talks about this in more detail in a YouTube video.

How Much Will the New iPhone Cost?

Pricing is, of course, completely unknown at this point. However, if the rumors about a five-device lineup turn out to be true, it could be that pricing will range from around $600 to $1,200, slightly lower than iPhone 12 starting prices.

That's an awfully wide price spread, but perhaps Apple is finally understanding that high prices don't always mean highest market share. If Apple's pursuing anything, it's market domination. Without a very low-priced phone, it will never achieve it (despite the devotion of Apple aficionados.)

Smartphone marketshare chart 2018Q2 to 2020Q2
IDC

How Many New iPhone Models Will Apple Release? What Are the Colors?

Rumors are already swirling that the 2021 iPhone lineup will be very similar to the 2020 lineup, which included four devices. If true, that means there will likely be two less powerful devices (5.4 inches and 6.1 inches) with two devices in the 'pro' range for 2021 (6.1 inches and 6.7 inches).

One persistent but unsubstantiated rumor is that a fifth model will be included, called the iPhone SE 2 or iPhone SE Plus. Surrounding rumors about this addition to the lineup continue to speculate that it will be similar to the iPhone 8 but with a new design and biometric sensor (possibly inside the display). However, it might not arrive until early 2022.

The iPhone 12 mini is getting rave reviews, so it's possible that the tiniest iPhone will be on board in 2021 alongside the larger Pro and Pro Max versions, though some reports say otherwise. This leaked prototype image shows what the camera area might look like in this year's mini model.

As for colors, it's a good bet that Apple won't stray far from its own tree and will retain the current lineup of colors: black, white, Product Red, green, and blue. Finishes will probably stay the same, too: silver, graphite, gold, and Pacific Blue with the possible exception of the Pro model which is rumored to be available in matte black and rose pink.

What's Known About Key Features and Design for the iPhone 13

Respected Apple analyst (and prolific leaker) Ming-Chi Kuo with TF International Securities at one point predicted a completely wireless experience for the 2021 iPhone lineup. His various reports indicated that Apple will cancel the Lightning port, but his latest remarks are that we won't see these changes with this iPhone (or if so, it'll be the case only for the Pro Max). In other words, we could still see a Lightning port.

Apple Insider discovered a patent Apple filed in 2019 where the drawings clearly indicate the lack of a Lightning port and, actually, buttons of any kind. It also shows glass encasing all six sides of the phone in a kind of waterfall display as shown here.

Apple iPhone patent showing lack of buttons or ports
Apple/US Gov. Patent Office 

That design, however, might be reserved for a phone further in the future—possibly a distant foldable iPhone where only MagSafe wireless charging is used—meaning that the iPhone 12S/13 could stick to the Lightning port.

Other rumors and supposed leaks are claiming that Touch ID will be back as an in-display feature or that the iPhone 13 will be the first to feature both Face ID and Touch ID. This rumor could be very true; the newest iPad Air includes Touch ID on the power button, so it's clear that Apple is still playing with new concepts surrounding it. Plus, a recent patent details an under-display fingerprint sensor based on off-axis angular light.

Our hope is that Apple is indeed going to release an in-display Touch ID option. Plus, we're leaning into the idea that they'll go completely wireless in 2021, given the rumors surrounding the removal of ports and improvements in battery and charging tech. But with conflicting beliefs surrounding this from people like Kuo, it's hard to say it's set in stone.

That said, a July 2021 Bloomberg report casts some doubt on the in-display Touch ID:

The company has tested an in-display fingerprint scanner for this year’s devices, however that feature will likely not appear on this generation.

In April, Twitter user DuanRui got a hold of a screen protector supposedly meant for the upcoming iPhone. It shows a notch that's smaller in width than the iPhone 12's. Specifically, some are saying 30 percent smaller, but the same height as the current iPhone. This is similar to a previous leak mentioning a smaller notch, plus this one from June 2021, both sourced from dummy units:

Another recent take on the new iPhone, according to EverythingApplePro, is that it will feature an always-on display where the clock and battery indicators are always visible. When notifications come in, only that part of the screen will light up, with the other areas of the display becoming dimmer to save on battery.

The same source says that the iPhone 13 will feature astrophotography for taking pictures of the night sky. The idea is that the phone will automatically switch over to this mode when the camera picks up what it thinks is the sky, and will be able to adjust things like exposure automatically depending on the subject (like the moon vs stars).

In this Technizo Concept video are some renders that give us a feel for what to expect. There's also this video from Unbox Therapy which is the physical representation of some of these rumors in the form of the iPhone 13 Pro Max (not a real phone, just a mockup):

iPhone 13 Specs and Hardware

Watch for specs to improve between the 12 and 13 versions. Overall, the current rumors are that the iPhone 13 will include a 120Hz display (maybe just in the Pro and Max models), a new battery structure, the A15 chip (a bump from the iPhone 12's A14 Bionic chip), more capacity, LIDAR sensors, OIS that stabilizes the sensor instead of the lens (the same tech in the iPhone 12 Pro Max), and four cameras. Because we all need four cameras on our phones.

In late 2020, prolific Apple leaker Jon Prosser tossed out some tidbits regarding the extra storage potential of the iPhone 13. If you've just gotta have more, it might be coming in the form of 1 TB with the next iPhone. You'll pay a pretty penny for it, no doubt (especially considering Apple already offers online storage through iCloud), so it'll only be available in the higher-end, Pro models. This has been reiterated more recently as well, but later contradicted.

Other rumors are spreading that the new iPhone will include stronger MagSafe charging, larger camera sensors, larger zoom range, improved aperture, and a six-element lens, too. The higher-end models are probably the only ones to benefit from the telephoto and ultra-wide and cameras (good for low-light photography) that are supposedly coming.

We might also see Apple use Qualcomm's X60 5G modem in 2021. That's a substantial upgrade from iPhone 12, which uses the X55 and sucks power endlessly. Look for the SDX60 Qualcomm Chipset to be included, too, which will help cut the battery drain iPhone 12 users are currently experiencing.

It's also been said that the new iPhone will support Wi-Fi 6e, which is similar to Wi-Fi 6 (introduced with iPhone 11) but uses a higher frequency band for faster speeds. Faster/better hardware year after year just makes sense, so this is likely true, plus it's been backed by a Barclays analyst.

What Version of iOS Will Be on This New Phone?

Since Apple religiously releases a new iOS version every year around the same time, expect iOS 15 to drop in late 2021 and, of course, any new iPhone to include it.

The Latest News About the Next iPhone Coming in 2021

You can get more smartphone news from Lifewire on all kinds of topics; here are more stories (and some of those rumors) about the iPhone 13 and iPhone SE 2.

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