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Forget the iPhone 12: iPhone 13 killer upgrade just leaked

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(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 13 is but a twinkle in Apple fans' eyes at the moment, but that’s not stopping rumors and forecasts about what Apple is planning for 2021’s iPhones. And the most exciting change coming to the iPhone 13 may not be visible to the eye at all.

There’s a report out from a trio of analysts for Barclays, who predict that the next iPhone 13 would feature support for Wi-Fi 6E, a variation on the Wi-Fi 6 standard that will support even faster wireless speeds. MacRumors spotted the Barclays report on Apple’s iPhone 13 plans.

By now, you’ve probably heard of Wi-Fi 6, a wireless standard aproved in 2019 that handled wireless traffic more efficiently to improve wireless performance. Wi-Fi 6E is a variant on that, adding support for connections in the 6Ghz band. 6GHz Wi-FI will go a long way toward helping users open up their connections and see much faster connections on the new spectrum standard, so it would be quite the addition to the iPhone 13.

A Wi-Fi 6E-capable iPhone 13 would benefit from faster data speeds and lower latency; you’d also expect less interference given that fewer devices support Wi-Fi 6E. Networking experts also contend that Wi-Fi 6E devices will be able to use 160MHz for high-bandwidth purposes such as augmented reality.

According to Intel, Wi-Fi 6E chips will start becoming more widely available in January, which means we should start seeing devices that support Wi-Fi 6E throughout the year.

At present, a number of phones are certified for Wi-Fi 6, including several Samsung Galaxy models as well as the iPhone 12. iPhone 11 and iPhone SE in Apple’s current smartphone lineup.

Speaking of the iPhone SE, there’s news about the cheapest iPhone in the Barclays report. The analysts predict a new version is coming in the second half of 2021. 

We’ve previously heard rumors that Apple was working on a slightly larger version of the iPhone SE called the iPhone SE Plus that would feature a larger display than the current version. Rumors had suggested that the phone wouldn’t appear in the first half of next year as had initially been reported, so the Barclays forecast is in line with conventional wisdom.