iPhone 13 design kills the notch and adds USB-C — but don't get too excited

iPhone 13 prototype
(Image credit: MacOtakara)

A iPhone 13 prototype has supposedly been leaked. But while this 5.5-inch device looks interesting, one prominent leaker has already slapped down the report's accuracy.

The original source is MacOtakara, which published a story about some alleged iPhone 13 3D printed mockups, which allegedly shows what a 2021 iPhone could look like. It's this story that leaker Jon Prosser responded to on Twitter with the fantastically blunt answer: "lol no." 

MacOtakara claims that the designs for these 3D prints came from a source at online retailer Alibaba. This particular model has a 5.5-inch display, and is supposedly the successor to this year's smallest iPhone 12 model, which measures 5.4 inches according to leaks.

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The clearest change here is that there is no longer a front camera notch, which has been present from the iPhone X to the iPhone 11, and is likely coming to the iPhone 12, too. MacOtakara suggests that there will be an under-display selfie camera instead, as well as potentially a camera at the bottom of the screen.

iPhone 13 mockup

(Image credit: MacOtakara)

We know under-display cameras are on their way, with Samsung, Oppo and Xiaomi all looking into the technology for their 2021 phones. But we'd be surprised if Apple immediately adopted this new tech as well.

If Apple was to move its cameras beneath the display, it would have to factor in how it would affect Face ID. The infrared sensor could be located in the bottom camera previously mentioned, or Apple could decide to go for an under-display fingerprint scanner like many of its rivals. But we definitely don't see Apple abandoning Face ID.

iPhone 13 mockup

(Image credit: MacOtakara)

A shot of the mockup phone's bottom shows that the Lightning connector has been swapped for a more standard USB-C one. This is in contradiction to other rumors that have claimed that one iPhone 13 will be Apple's first portless phone, with the company looking to avoid using USB-C on iPhones.

The back of the phone shows a very odd camera bump with five tiny holes. MacOtakara explained that this is likely a modular system to help designers test multiple camera designs more easily. Rumors for the iPhone 13's camera array seem to be split between whether it will have four cameras - like the iPhone 12 Pro is expected to have - or if Apple will try and add more sensors outside of the main square patch.

iPhone 13 mockup

(Image credit: MacOtakara)

MacOtakara did say that this is only a prototype model and therefore could be very different from the real iPhone 13, if it does indeed exist. However, the fact this prototype differs so widely from other leaks we've heard makes it hard to believe.

It's still over a year until we'll likely see the iPhone 13 debut in fall 2021. However the iPhone 12 is expected to be revealed around September or October this year. 

We know a lot more about the iPhone 12 than next year's model, including its four different models, 5G connectivity, OLED displays (with 120Hz refresh rates on the Pro models), new A14 chipsets and camera arrangements - two rear cameras on the iPhone 12 and 12 Max, and four on the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, including a LiDAR sensor like the one seen on the iPad Pro 2020.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.