iPhone 13 Pro Max leak just revealed smaller notch and new earpiece design

iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit
(Image credit: Unbox Therapy/YouTube)

We've been hearing a lot about changes Apple is cooking up for the iPhone 13 this fall, including some tweaks to the phones' long-standing designing. Well, new video now shows what the upcoming iPhone will look like, confirming many of the longstanding rumors.

A new video from Unbox Therapy purports to show off some of the physical changes coming to at least one of Apple's new phones this fall. The video shows a supposed dummy unit of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and if accurate, then it looks like several iPhone 13 rumors are going to pan out.

Dummy units are typically based on leaked schematics for upcoming phones. They're non-working models often used by accessory makers who want to time the launches of new gear like cases to as close to the phone's release as possible. For that reason, there's heavy incentive to get the dimensions as close as possible to the real thing.

Whomever made this iPhone 13 Pro Max stand-in seems to have done exactly that. Unbox Therapy's Lewis Hilsenteger calls it the "closest, best look yet at the next generation iPhone." This gives us a better idea of what the iPhone 13 Pro Max might look like when Apple unveils that 6.7-inch model, alongside the three other iPhone 13 versions, this fall.

iPhone 13 Pro Max: The notch is definitely smaller

For a while now, rumors have suggested that Apple is going to shrink the notch on the iPhone 13 — not just on the Pro versions, but across all four upcoming iPhone 13 models. This iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit suggests that's definitely the case.

In the video, Hilsenteger breaks out the calipers to measure the notch on both the dummy unit as well as an iPhone 12 Pro. The current notch is 34.62mm wide, while the notch on the iPhone 13 model clocks in at 26.31mm. That's 25% smaller. And while that won't translate to huge difference in available screen space, it will help the upper menu of the iPhone 13 Pro Max feel less cramped.

iPhone 13 Pro Max: Ear speaker on the move

How is Apple making room to shrink down the notch on this year's phones? Rumors suggest the company has come up with a way to make the sensors used for Face ID more compact. And since that's primary what's behind the notch, that frees up more screen real estate. But there's another factor at play here, as suggested by the dummy unit.

iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit

The iPhone 12 Pro (left) compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max (Image credit: Unbox Therapy/YouTube)

In this new version, the earpiece speaker on the iPhone 13 Pro Max has moved. In current iPhones, that speaker is located right in the middle of the notch. The iPhone 13 Pro Max unit shows that it's located more on the top bezel of the phone, with the notch squarely beneath it.

iPhone 13 Pro Max: A different rear camera module

Rumors claim that the iPhone 13 Pro models are going to see changes with the rear cameras. While the assortment of lenses will likely remain the same — a main camera augmented by ultrawide and telephoto lenses along with a LiDAR sensor — the ultrawide shooter could be in for some improvements. 

Specifically, we've heard reports that the ultrawide lens will feature a larger aperture — f/1.8 vs. f/2.4 on the iPhone 12 Pro models — and that Apple will use a six-element ultrawide lens instead of the current five-element lens. The ideal is to let in more light while also providing a shallower depth-of-field. 

iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit

iPhone 13 Pro Max camera module (Image credit: Unbox Therapy/YouTube)

In the iPhone 13 Pro Max video, this translates to noticeably bigger lenses on the rear camera module. That's also to accommodate sensor-shift optical image stabilization for the ultrawide lens — another rumored iPhone 13 Pro model addition.

iPhone 13 Pro Max: What's staying the same

The iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit's buttons are in the same order as the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The mute switch, volume rocker and sim card slot on one side of the phone, with the power button on the other. There's also a Lightning port on the bottom, so if Apple's coming out with a portless model as has been rumored in some quarters, it won't be this particular version of the iPhone 13. (Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has already suggested a portless iPhone 13 isn't going to happen and this video will only cement that idea.)

iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit

iPhone 12 Pro Max (left) and iPhone 13 Pro Mac (right) (Image credit: Unbox Therapy/YouTube)

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is about as tall and wide as its predecessor. If there's any change between the models, it's that the newer iPhone looks to be fractionally thicker than its predecessor. The straight edges from the iPhone 12 are also back.

iPhone 13 Pro Max: Other rumors

Because this video features a non-working unit, we really can't use it to verify other iPhone 13 rumors floating around. One such rumor claims that Touch ID is coming back, either underneath the display or embedded into the iPhone 13's power button. (There's no indication of that happening with this dummy model.)

A major iPhone 13 rumor posits that the Pro models are getting fast refreshing displays that dynamically adjust the refresh rate based on your activity — a feature currently available in the Galaxy S21 family. But without a working screen, that's currently unverified.

After the iPhone 12 began rolling out in October and November last year, the iPhone 13 is expected to return to a more traditional September launch window. It's then that we'll find out then how much this leaked dummy compares to the final iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.