iPhone 13's secret weapon is ahead of schedule — what you need to know

iPhone 13 Pro orange
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

It looks like the new iPhone 13 should be ready to go this September, as a new leak has flagged that Apple is set to start making A15 chips for the iPhone 13 in late May. 

That’s according to Digitimes, courtesy of MacRumors, which reports that longstanding Apple supplier TSMC is gearing up to start making the silicon slices for Cupertino's next iPhone. From that, we can posit the iPhone 13 should arrive in September this year. 

For regular followers of Apple’s smartphones, that’s hardly a revelation. But it’s still good news. 

Last year, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro made their debut in October rather than the regular September slot. And the iPhone 12 Pro Max followed in November alongside the iPhone 12 mini. That meant a longer wait for some people looking to upgrade to a new iPhone. 

So for those waiting to upgrade from, say, an iPhone 11 or iPhone 8 to the iPhone 13, this morsel of information indicates that September might be the time for an upgrade rather than a month or so deeper into the fall. 

We’ve already heard reports from Apple oracle and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that the iPhone 13 is on track for a September reveal, so this TSMC tidbit adds further credence to that. 

The question is whether the iPhone 13 will be worth the upgrade. From the leaks and rumors so far, we can expect a smaller display notch, finally, and a couple of new colors including orange and a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra-like matte black. 

An upgraded chip is obviously on the cards. We can expect improved processor performance and likely a solid boost in graphics, as well as AI processing and the ability to handle more augmented reality functions. The A14 Bionic is no slouch, but Apple will want to keep its lead in smartphone performance.

The iPhone 13 could also get an upgrade to a 120Hz ProMotion display using LTPO tech; it's unclear whether this will be limited for the iPhone 13 Pro models or put into the entire iPhone 13 range. While a lot of Android phones now have refresh rates of 90Hz or 120Hz, Apple has fallen behind the curve here.

Some rumors have pointed towards the return of Touch ID as an under-display fingerprint scanner. And photography improvements are expected, seemingly more on the software side with features like astrophotography and portrait mode video, though the iPhone 13 Pro is expected to come with an improved ultrawide camera. And all four predicted iPhone 13 handsets could offer the sensor-shift stabilization seen in the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

While we're not expecting the iPhone 13 to be an major overhaul, we’re cautiously optimistic that its upgrades could earn it a spot on our best phones list later this year. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.