iPhone 13 leak just revealed the design change we've been waiting for

iPhone 13/iPhone 12S concept
(Image credit: Jermaine Smit/LetsGoDigital)

The notch, which houses Apple's clever Face ID scanning tech, has a remained a staple of iPhone design since the iPhone X in 2017. But it looks like the rumors were correct, and the notch will be slimmed down when the iPhone 13 arrives this September.

Mac Otakara has got hold of what it believes to be a 3D printed mockup of the iPhone 13 Pro. As you can see in the photos and video below, while the overall phone size is similar, the notch is considerably reduced when held alongside the iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 13 3D printed mockup

(Image credit: Mac Otakara)

If you’re struggling to judge how much smaller the iPhone 13 pro notch is, the photographer took a ruler to both handsets. It’s actually slightly taller at 5.35mm to the old notch’s 5.30mm, but it is markedly thinner, with the new notch clocking in at 26.80mm, down from 34.83mm on the iPhone 12 Pro

The crude mockup also reveals how Apple has made the change without affecting functionality: it seems that the earpiece has been pushed up into the bezel of the iPhone 13 Pro. The front-facing camera also seems to have been moved from the right-hand side of the notch to the left-hand side.

iPhone 13 3D printed mockup

(Image credit: Mac Otakara)

Pictures of the back of the phone show no changes at all, with the same triangular triple-camera array housed in a small, square bump in the top left-hand corner.

iPhone 13 3D printed mockup

(Image credit: Mac Otakara)

Although Mac Otakara doesn’t share full dimensions of the model, the iPhone 13 Pro mockup doesn’t appear all that different to its predecessor, suggesting an iterative update in terms of design. 

But appearances can be deceptive. Not only are we expecting the usual performance and efficiency improvements that come from a new Apple A chip (the 5nm A15 is reportedly about to go into production), but Apple apparently has plans for its battery tech which could debut in the iPhone 13 family. 

According to reports last year, Apple will be introducing soft board batteries with fewer layers, leading to increased capacity with a smaller physical footprint. That means that the iPhone 13 Pro could improve on the disappointing stamina of its predecessor without needing a thicker body to compensate, and that is apparently Apple’s plan. That will be helpful, as Apple is also expected to introduce 120Hz panels to the iPhone 13 Pro models.

The iPhone 13 is also expected to offer better camera performance, thanks to sensor-shift stabilization being expanded across the entire lineup, a wider aperture for the ultra-wide lens and perhaps astrophotography features for capturing the night sky. 

This iPhone 13 dummy unit is definitely not proof that the new iPhones are getting a smaller notch, but the evidence is mounting that Apple is going in this direction. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.