iPhone 13 leak just revealed all the top upgrades — and a big surprise

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

When you want to know what's coming to an Apple device, you generally turn to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo for an eerily accurate forecast. And the well-connected Apple watcher's latest research note contains a number of details about what's in store for the iPhone 13.

The Apple phones coming out this fall should have smaller notches and bigger batteries, Kuo said in a note obtained by both MacRumors and 9to5Mac. Thre's one surprise in the mix, too. That portless iPhone 13 we've been hearing about probably may not happen at all.

Here's a closer look at all the iPhone 13 tidbits mentioned in Kuo's latest forecast.

iPhone 13 notch size

Multiple sources have suggested that Apple is looking to shrink the size of the notch on its phones — or eliminate altogether in some instances. It sounds like the notch is sticking around for the iPhone 13, but at least it will be smaller than what previous iPhones have sported since Apple first introduced the design with 2017's iPhone X.

Kuo doesn't have much in the way of specifics on the reduced notch size other than to note that it will be one of the "main hardware specification changes" for Apple's upcoming phones. And the smaller notch will be present on all iPhone 13 models, with Kuo expecting Apple to stick with the mini, Pro, Pro Max and standard iPhone that make up the iPhone 12 lineup.

Reducing the size of the notch makes sense for Apple, especially if the company has been able to reduce the size of the sensors needed to power its Face ID unlocking feature. While the notch has given the iPhone a distinctive look that some Android phone makers briefly copied, it still cuts into screen real estate in a way that other phones have moved past. Of course, those devices don't have as sophisticated a face unlocking feature as the iPhone, so that's a trade-off Apple has been willing to make.

iPhone 13 battery size

Apart from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, battery life is one of the biggest areas of disappointment with the iPhone 12 lineup. Three of Apple's four models struggled to keep up with the average performance for a smartphone on our demanding battery test.

Apple will apparently address this issue with the iPhone 13, as Kuo forecasts that all four new handsets will offer bigger batteries than before.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPhone 12 modelBattery sizeWeight
iPhone 12 mini2,227 mAh4.76 ounces
iPhone 122,815 mAh5.78 ounces
iPhone 12 Pro2,815 mAh6.66 ounces
iPhone 12 Pro Max3,687 mAh8.03 ounces

The change in battery size is made possible by some changes Apple is making to the internal design of the iPhone 13. According to Kuo's note, Apple plans to integrate the SIM card slot with the motherboard, while also using thinner Face ID components. That frees up space inside the iPhone 13 models for bigger power packs.

There's a tradeoff in adding bigger batteries to this year's iPhone. Kuo expects the iPhone 13 models to weigh more than their iPhone 12 counterparts.

No portless iPhone 13

Previous iPhone 13 rumors — including some from Kuo — have indicated that at least one new model would feature a portless design. The thinking seems to be that Apple, having already dropped the headphone jack from the iPhone and adopted MagSafe wireless charging for last year's models, would take the next logical step and put out an iPhone without a Lightning port.

That may be scrapped, according to Kuo, who says that the Lightning port is sticking around on all four iPhone 13 models. 

Other iPhone 13 specs and features

Other details in Kuo's new note recap a lot of previous rumors about the iPhone 13, though it's good to see more evidence that these features are going to be around in this year's models.

For example, Kuo reiterates that the Pro versions of the iPhone 13 are going to feature low-power LTPO displays with refresh rates that top out at 120 Hz. That feature would put the iPhone 13 on par with this year's Galaxy S21 models and finally give iPhone fans the fast-refreshing displays that are becoming more common on Android devices.

The LiDAR scanner introduced on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max is sticking around, Kuo says, but it will remain exclusive to the Pro models. Those iPhone 13 Pro handsets are also expected to get an improved ultrawide angle camera with a 6-part lens and autofocus.

Kuo echoes reports from last week that the iPhone 13 will use Qualcomm's X60 modem. That's a 5-nanometer modem compared to the 7nm X55 featured in the iPhone 12 models.

Finally, Kuo throws some cold water on rumors that Touch ID will come back to this year's iPhone 13 models in some form. Some rumors had suggested that the iPhone would adopt an iPad Air feature and incorporate Touch ID into the power button. Kuo, however, says "there is no visibility" on that particular design change with the iPhone 13.

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.