iPhone 13 leak reveals 7 biggest upgrades for Apple's next flagship

iPhone 13
(Image credit: Ben Geskin)

The iPhone 13 leaks keep coming. 2021 just got started and yet we’re already hearing so much about Apple’s next smartphone lineup. Leaker Jon Prosser recently took to his YouTube channel to address some of these leaks and assign likelihood values based on his knowledge and sources.

He’s confident that all iPhone 13 Pro models will have 120Hz refresh rates on their displays and they’ll be called “iPhone 12s” instead. He’s less sure about a smaller notch, a portless phone, and LiDAR for all models.

Apple always generates a lot of fervor and leaks get everyone excited, but why are we seeing so many so early? The COVID-19 pandemic has messed with a lot of things and forced Apple’s engineers to work from home, outside of normal security measures. It’s possible this has led to all of these leaks.

120Hz displays: 100%

iPhone 12 Pro Max review vs iPhone 12 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Prosser is completely confident that the iPhone 13 Pro models will feature high refresh rate displays, like we’ve seen on some Android phones. This means that the entire iOS experience will feel smoother than it already does, since the display will be refreshing faster. That allows for the screen to display more frames per second, effectively making it look speedier than a 60Hz display.

It appears that Samsung will be producing the LTPO OLED displays for the iPhone 13. Across the industry, people are fairly confident that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will feature a 120Hz display, but there's less certainty for the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13. Prosser is 100% confident that this leak is true.

Smaller notch: 75%

iphone 13 smaller notch render

(Image credit: Front Page Tech / Jon Prosser)

The iPhone X introduced Face ID, a secure method that uses your face as biometric authentication. Other than the iPhone SE (2020), each iPhone since has featured Face ID, which requires a fairly large notch in the display.

No one would call it pretty, and fans have been asking for a smaller notch for a while. Some prototypes of the iPhone 13 have shown smaller notches, but not all of them. Apple might be trying to figure out a way to slim it down, though there are two camps on how the company will achieve this. One says to reduce the width of the notch, the other says make it shorter.

Prosser is of the latter opinion, showing a render of what he believes is likely. It shows a notch that’s the same width we’re all used to, but it’s ultimately shorter. He’s somewhat confident in this guess.

iPhone 13 is really the iPhone 12s: 85%

iPhone 12 Pro Max review

(Image credit: Future)

Apple isn’t too terribly consistent in its iPhone naming conventions, but it usually uses the “s” moniker to denote a refinement on the last year’s model, instead of something new entirely. Such might be the case for 2021, as several people believe Apple will call the next iPhone the iPhone 12s.

That’s not to mention the general superstition around the number 13, which is considered to be unlucky in some Western countries. While it might sound silly, Apple might decide to play it safe and skip the supposed unlucky number altogether. 

Prosser is fairly confident that the next iPhone will carry the “s” title, making it the iPhone 12s instead of the iPhone 13.

Camera upgrades: 100%

iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

This one is fairly obvious to a lot of people, but rumors suggest that the iPhone 13 will come with several camera upgrades. However, but these improvements are likely to be smaller in nature. In fact, it’s possible that only the ultrawide lens will be tweaked. Apple might give the ultrawide f/1.8 optics. This would effectively increase the amount of light that reaches the lens, versus the iPhone 12’s f/2.4 ultrawide.

Prosser briefly mentions that he doesn’t believe the iPhone 13 will have a periscope zoom lens — that might be reserved for 2022’s iPhone 14. He is, however, completely sure the iPhone 13 will have camera upgrades.

LiDAR on all iPhone 13 models: 30%

Rumors suggest that Apple will include a LiDAR scanner on all iPhone 13 models, including the less expensive base ones. The Pro versions will feature that one extra camera lens, but this leak says they won’t have the exclusive right to LiDAR. 

Prosser isn’t too sure of this, since the LiDAR scanner is one of the upsells Apple uses to convince people to buy the Pro models. The company could simply want to give more people access to augmented reality (AR), so this rumor isn’t too far outside the realm of possibility. He is also pretty sure that the camera module layout on the iPhone 13 will be the same as the iPhone 12’s. A LiDAR sensor on the base models would require a bit of shuffling in the layout, which is why he doesn't think it's coming to the lower-tier iPhones this year.

Portless iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max: 70%

iPhone 13/iPhone 12S concept

(Image credit: Jermaine Smit/LetsGoDigital)

Prosser reported last year that there would be a portless iPhone 13 this year, which would rely on wireless charging. While it seemed far-fetched at the time — why won’t Apple just embrace USB-C on the iPhone — he’s pretty sure it’s happening, but only “one” model will be portless.

By one, he doesn’t think one version will be portless, e.g. iPhone 13 Pro Max, but rather that the Pro variants will be portless. His source for this was in China, so he thinks the “one” model being portless was lost in translation, rather leading him to believe that both Pro models will be portless.

He reports that there will be four iPhone 13 models, like with the iPhone 12, and it’s unlikely that only one of those four would be portless.

iPhone 13 1TB: 65%

iPhone 12 Pro Max review

(Image credit: Future)

Prosser believes, and simultaneously doesn’t believe, that the iPhone 13 Pro models will have a 1TB storage option. This is a ludicrous amount of storage for a phone, but it would be fitting for the Pro versions. He trusts his sources that made this claim.

However, he’s not sure that Apple would go this route since it would reduce reliance on iCloud storage. That’s a monthly stream of income for the company and it’s unlikely it would want to compromise that. That being said, the amount of people likely to buy a 1TB iPhone 13 Pro or 13 Pro Max would be a small percentage of total iPhone 13 buyers. Odds are that this storage option will be astronomically expensive.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.