The annual refresh of the iPhone is one of the biggest events in tech: it's the phone that many aspire to own, one that sets trends and the phone that all others are looking to better.
While leaks and rumours are nothing new to the world of tech, getting information about unannounced Apple devices is fairly rare. They don't tend to leak as comprehensively as a Samsung or Google phone - but we're gathering up everything we hear about the 2021 iPhone models right here.
Apple iPhone 13 release date and price
- September 2021
Apple has announced it will hold its next special event on Tuesday 14 September 2021. Though it hasn't been confirmed what will be revealed at the event, the date falls in line with when the company has previously typically (except 2020) Apple held its iPhone event so the iPhone 13 series is expected.
Rumours have said availability could start in the third week of September with pre-orders claimed for 17 September and availability from 24 September.
In terms of price, we'd expect the iPhone 13 series to start around the same as the iPhone 12 range.
What will the iPhone 2021 be called?
- iPhone 13/14 mini
- iPhone 13/14
- iPhone 13/14 Pro
- iPhone 13/14 Pro Max
Pre-2017, it was pretty easy to predict what the next iPhone would be called. Following the iPhone 3G up to the iPhone 8, Apple used sequential numbers and that was that.
With the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max having launched in 2020, it's pretty likely the 2021 iPhones will be called the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, if there are four iPhones again - there might not be a mini according to rumours.
In terms of name though, as the number 13 is commonly associated with being unlucky, it could be that Apple skips 13 and calls the 2021 iPhones the iPhone 14 mini, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. There's also been talk of iPhone 12S flying around so the naming is a little up in the air at the moment.
- Similar design
- Squarer edges
The Apple iPhone 12 models came with a refreshed design, offering squarer edges more like the iPhone 4 or 5. It's therefore likely that the iPhone 13 models will stick with this design as a design refresh two years running would be unusual.
We're hoping to see a reduced notch at the top of the screen of the 2021 models though - which has been suggested in rumours - or better still, no notch at all. A patent has previously been filed for a notch-less phone, but how Face ID would be accommodated remains a puzzle. It's also been said that a notchless phone won't arrive until 2023.
Other rumours surrounding the design suggest a matte black finish could be on the cards, as well as a bronze finish and there's been talk of a coating on the Pro models stainless steel frame to fight off fingerprints. There's also been claims of the new models being slightly thicker and a larger camera housing on the rear.
- All OLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Always-on display
With the iPhone 12 models all offering OLED displays, it is likely the iPhone 13 models will also all have OLED screens.
There were reports of a variable refresh rate for the iPhone 12 models with a 120Hz refresh rate that could drop down to 60Hz when necessary, though this never happened, so perhaps it will be something we will see on the 2021 models.
Samsung is said to be producing LTPO displays for the Pro models - and production is claimed to have started - so it's possible we will see 120Hz variable refresh rates on the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg believes this will be the case and he's usually a very reliable source.
The iPhone 12 series comes in a 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models and a 6.7-inch model. With the display sizes changing for 2020, we'd predict they will stay the same for 2021 - as do others - though you never know.
Some speculation also suggested in-display fingerprint sensors for the iPhone 12 models. As this never appeared, perhaps this is something the iPhone 13 models will look to introduce alongside Face ID. There has also been talk of an always-on display, with icons like clock and battery showing even when the screen is locked, as well as notification bars dimly lighting up when a notification appears rather than the whole screen.
- Pro models likely to be better
- Improvements likely
- Astrophotography mode?
Currently there aren't many rumours surrounding the cameras iPhone 13 models, but we suspect Apple will stick with offering a better camera setup on the iPhone 13 Pro models. We're hoping to see the standard iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max offering the same again though.
There have been claims to suggest all models in the iPhone 13 line up could offer sensor-shift image stabilisation, which is currently offered on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which would be great to see. There's also talk of an upgraded ultra wide sensor with all four models moving to a lens with an f/1.8 aperture compared to the f/2.4 offered on the iPhone 12 models, though it's also been claimed only the Pro models will get the upgrade and that this upgrade will include autofocus.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max model is also said to be coming with a f/1.5 main sensor.
Additionally, an automatic astrophotography mode that kicks in when the stars or moon is detected when taking a photo has been reported and there's been talk of a redesign to allow for a smaller protrusion on the Pro models.
It's been said the camera housings will get thicker on the iPhone 13 models to allow for a more seamless finish.
In terms of other features, it's been claimed there will be three upgrades, including Portrait mode coming to video - said to be called Cinematic video, a feature called ProRES and a new filtering process.
Hardware and software
- A15 chip
- iOS 15
With the iPhone 12 series offering 5G, the iPhone 13 models will no doubt do the same. They will also all likely run on the A15 chip and iOS 15 software, the latter of which was previewed during WWDC at the beginning of June. It's also said they will all run Qualcomm's X60 5G modem and there has been some talk of users before able to call and text without signal.
Battery capacities are said to have appeared on China's 3C (China Compulsory Certificate) certification site for the iPhone 13 models. It's claimed the iPhone 13 Pro Max will have a 4352mAh battery, the iPhone 13 with a 3095mAh battery and the iPhone 13 mini with a 2406mAh battery. All are slightly larger than their predecessors.
Other hardware and software features have yet to be detailed in rumours, except that there may be a 1TB storage option on the iPhone 13 Pro models, but we expect to hear more over the coming weeks as leaks increase.