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Apple iPhone 13: Everything we know about the upcoming smartphone

iPhone 13
(Image credit: Let's Go Digital)

With only a few weeks to go until the iPhone 13 (or is that 12S?) is finally released – assuming it sticks to the traditional September slot – the rumour mill is absolutely buzzing. From stunning screen tech to controversial design leaks, we've heard all manner of tantalising tidbits in the last few months.

And while nothing's certain until Apple officially reveals the device, one thing's for sure: if anything's going to knock the iPhone 12 off our best camera phones or best iPhone for photography list, it's the iPhone 13. Here's everything we know about the upcoming smartphone. This piece is updated regularly to incorporate all the latest news. And if you don't fancy waiting for the next iPhone, check out the best Apple deals available right now.

iPhone 13: Design

iPhone 13 render

Is this what a notch-less iPhone 13 might look like? (Image credit: Ben Geskin)

Apple introduced a brand new design with the iPhone 12, bringing back flat-edges reminiscent of the iPhone 5. A new shape tends to hang around for a few generations of iPhone, so we wouldn't be surprised to see the iPhone 13 follow the 12's lead. That said, there are already some big rumours about what changes could in store design-wise. 

Firstly, we've heard that the iPhone 13 might feature the change designers have been waiting for: a reduced notch. Long seen as a blight on the iPhone's supposedly all-screen design (no wonder it's our readers' most requested change), the notch has remained unchanged since it first appeared on 2017's iPhone X. While rumours suggest it isn't fully disappearing (yet), anything that allows for more even screen real estate will surely make the best iPhone apps even better for digital artists.

iPhone 13 pink concept

Could we be about to get the first hot pink iPhone? (Image credit: PengPhones)

A second (and more controversial) design rumour suggests that at least one of the upcoming iPhone 13 models could become the first ever port-less iPhone. Apple has form when it comes to what it calls "courageous" design decisions, from removing the iPhone 7's headphone port to doing away with a charger in the iPhone 12's box. And with the introduction of magnetic MagSafe charging for the iPhone 12, it seems the company is indeed keen to shift users away from the trusty Lighting port.

As for colours, there are plenty of rumours suggesting new hues are on the way. We'd personally love to see matte black and hot pink make an appearance.

iPhone 13: Features and tech specs

If there's one thing many smartphone users know only too well, it's that battery life could always be better. According to recent leaks, the next iPhone will be the first to adopt 'soft board' battery tech. With fewer layers than current batteries, soft board batteries can be much thinner – which means Apple could squeeze a ton of extra juice into a device the same size as the current iPhone 12. We've also heard that the capacities of the iPhone 13 line up's batteries is set for a significant increase, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max battery getting a whopping 18% boost.

iPhone 12

The iPhone 13's battery could be smaller yet more effective than the iPhone 12's (Image credit: Apple)

And it seems one of the most rumoured pieces of display tech might finally arrive with the iPhone 13. The iPad Pro's super-slick 120hz ProMotion refresh rate has been said to be hitting the iPhone for years, but it seems 2021 could be the year it finally happens. A 120hz refresh rate would allow for super-smooth scrolling and animations, making it a brilliant feature for animators and video editors looking for precision in motion. But some reports suggest it won't hit the entire iPhone line up until the iPhone 14 – with the 13, it could be limited to the 'Pro' models.

One of the most important features for most iPhone users is, of course, the camera – and it sounds like Apple has some game-changing upgrades up its sleeve when it comes to photography. Leaks suggest the iPhone 13 will feature a folding 'periscope' lens, which could mean zoom capabilities of up to 50x. Apple might have called the iPhone 12 Pro Max "the photographer's iPhone", but it could be blown away by its successor if a periscope lens does indeed make its way to the iPhone 13.

Another rumour relating to the camera concerns Portrait Mode. Apparently, portrait mode could make its way to video in the iPhone 13, rather than just being confined to photos. If this one comes to fruition, you can expect to be able to create some rather more flattering videos than before.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max's camera setup could be blown away by the iPhone 13's  (Image credit: Apple)

We've also heard tell that the iPhone 13 could borrow one of the Apple Watch's most popular features – an always-on display. This means that even in sleep mode, the iPhone could display  a "toned-down" lock screen, offering basic information such as battery life and clock. 

iPhone 13 render

A recent render of the iPhone 13's rumoured always-on display (Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

iPhone 13: Release date and price

The iPhone 12's release date was rather a moving target last year, thanks to you-know-what. Instead of its traditional September slot, the iPhone 12 ended up being unveiled a month later in October. Whether Apple will revert to September or stick to October remains to be seen, but it seems safe to assume the iPhone 13 will land at some point in the latter half of 2021. That said, as last year proved, anything could happen.

We also have little in the way of pricing intel, but if previous product releases are anything to go by, we can expect the iPhone 13 range to be priced similarly to its predecessors. Starting at $699/£699 for the iPhone 12 mini and going all the way up to $1,099/£1,099 for the 12 Pro Max, there ought to be an iPhone 13 to suit a range of budgets (well, a range of higher end budgets).

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini

Will the iPhone 12 mini survive the jump to the next generation? (Image credit: Apple)

But of the four iPhone 12 models, there's a question mark over whether one will survive the jump to the next generation. iPhone 12 mini sales are said to have been disappointing, with Apple considering decreasing (or even ceasing) production later in 2021. Is the mini iPhone already doomed

While we likely have a good few weeks to wait for the iPhone 13, the brilliant iPhone 12 range is available right now – and with a sharp new design and incredible camera tech, the latest iPhones are nothing if not future-proof. Check out today's best deals below, and don't forget to explore the Apple Back to School sale for more brilliant offers.

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).