The 2021 iPhone 13 models are just weeks away from launching in September, and because we’ve been hearing rumors about what to expect from the new devices since before the 2020 iPhone 12 models even debuted, we have a pretty good idea of what’s coming. We don’t yet know the debut date for the new iPhones, but if Apple follows past event plans, the most likely target date for an event is September 14.
The 2021 iPhone lineup will look similar to the 2020 iPhone lineup, with four devices in sizes that include 5.4-inches, 6.1-inches, and 6.7-inches, with two of the iPhones being higher-end “Pro” models and two positioned as lower-cost, more affordable devices.
Major design changes are not expected, and 2021 iPhones will have the same feature set as the 2020 iPhones, but we can count on camera improvements, a faster A-series processor, a new 5G chip from Qualcomm, increased battery life, and a tweak to the size of the notch.
There were early rumors that at least one iPhone in 2021 would feature a portless design that relies entirely on wireless charging, but reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that’s not going to happen. Apple is going to continue to rely on Lightning for the foreseeable future with no transition to USB-C and there will be no portless design until MagSafe accessories are more common. Portless iPhones could instead start appearing in 2022.
We are expecting a smaller notch, and while some rumors suggested it could be shallower, device mockups based on information sourced from the Chinese supply chain indicate it will be smaller in size, taking up less space than the existing notch. Apple is also expected to introduce 120Hz display refresh rates for Pro iPhone models, bringing the iPad Pro’s ProMotion technology to the iPhone for the first time.
Apple was considering adding an in-display fingerprint sensor to the iPhone 13 models, which would be used in addition to Face ID as an alternate biometric authentication method, but it’s something that’s been tabled or saved for a future update because it didn’t make the cut for the iPhone 13.
When it comes to improved camera technology, rumors suggest we could see the larger sensor in the iPhone 12 Pro Max extend to other models, along with the Sensor-Shift Stabilization feature for better auto-focus and stabilization across the lineup. With the camera changes that are coming, there are some design shifts in the camera bump. This will be most noticeable on the iPhone 13 Pro, which is getting a much larger camera array, and the iPhone 12 and 12 mini will have diagonal camera setups.
There are rumored to be improvements to the Ultra Wide lenses on the “Pro” iPhone 13 models in the form of better performance in low-light conditions and improved autofocus, but few changes are expected for the Wide lens in the devices. The iPhone 13 and 13 Pro are expected to feature a new diagonal camera lens setup, a departure from the design of the iPhone 12 models.