iPhone 13 leak reveals killer upgrade for all models

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

All iPhone 13 models could be getting one of the defining camera features of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the best camera phone currently available based on our testing.

A new report claims that electronic component makers in Asia are preparing to supply a key part for sensor-shift cameras in the next iPhone. This could mean that even the most basic iPhone 13 will have class-leading cameras, which is exciting news if you don't fancy buying a Pro model.

Sensor-shift stabilization makes the camera sensor on the phone movable on its axis, offering better optical image stabilization. This is seen as preferable over the lens itself moving. In fact, Apple has said that this technique can stabilize an image at over 5,000 times per second. The previous OIS technique Apple used stabilized an image at 1,000 times per second. 

Digitimes Asia reports that iPhones will cause a 30 - 40% increase in voice coil motor (VCM) production from June. By July, there will then be more VCMs being used for iPhone production than for Android phone production, the source continues. VCMs are used to run sensor-shift cameras, hence why this news has exciting implications for the iPhone 13.

Apple has used this tech once before on the main sensor of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but it's now expected to be used in every iPhone 13 model. Currently Apple is the only manufacturer with a sensor-shift sensor in a phone, although Samsung is rumored to be working on one of its own.

Digitimes' source predicts that once Apple officially announces the whole iPhone 13 range with sensor-shift technology, demand will continue to rise thanks to other phone makers wanting to play catch-up.

That's not the only upgrade Apple has planned for the iPhone 13 from what the rumors say. We can also expect an improved ultrawide lens on the Pro versions of the phone, plus new astrophotography and portrait video modes. We could also see the LiDAR sensor from the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max be used on all iPhone 13s, not just the Pro models.

There's more to look forward to when Apple reveals its new iPhones, likely around September as it has done in previous years. It could be the first iPhone to shrink the Face ID notch since the feature was introduced on the iPhone X, and the iPhone 12 Pro models should get a 120Hz display refresh rate. There will no doubt be a faster A15 Bionic chipset as well, with iOS 15 handling software duties.

Taken all together, it sounds like Apple could be about to produce one of the best phones of the year.

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.