After months of leaks, Apple has revealed the iPhone 13 range, made up of the standard iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
All four phones offer some solid upgrades over their predecessors, but some might argue Apple didn't go far enough. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max impressed us last year, with the latter topping our best phones list. But the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max feel like iterative upgrades, rather than a compelling step change. Sadly, I feel we may need to wait for the iPhone 14 before we see any major changes to the iPhone formula.
- iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: What's the difference?
- iPhone 14 early rumors and what we want
- Plus: I just saved $425 on the iPhone 13 Pro — here's how
While the iPhone 13 Pro got a high-refresh rate display, smaller notch, boosted battery life and some improved cameras, I feel it didn't move the needle as much as I’d like. With that in mind, here are five upgrades I want to see from the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro to convince me to return to Apple phones.
Kill the display notch
The iPhone 13 range now has — finally — a smaller display notch. But I’d like Apple to go further with the iPhone 14 and get rid of the notch altogether, especially with the Pro Max handset, allowing us to enjoy an expansive and uninterrupted Retina display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Apple could achieve this by using an under-display camera and sensor suite, a bit like Samsung has done with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. But it’s not looking likely to happen. I suspect that could be due to under-display camera tech not being at the stage where Apple feels it can deliver acceptable selfie snaps or videos.
Plus, Apple would need to find a way to put Face ID sensors below a display, yet still ensure the tech delivers the scanning fidelity needed for Face ID’s robust security. As such, this is one upgrade we won’t expect to see until 2022 at the earliest.
Bring back Touch ID
Speaking of under-display tech, I’d love Apple to do something Android phones have done for a while and embed a fingerprint scanner beneath the iPhone 14’s display. In a world where mask wearing is prevalent to avoid a deadly virus, Face ID can fall apart, meaning a secondary biometric security system would be ideal.
Such a feature was tipped for the iPhone 13, but ahead of the recent September Apple event, these rumors ran out of steam. And when Apple revealed the iPhone 13 there was no hint of Touch ID.
As such, it would appear it could be a feature for the iPhone 14. Even if it's not placed under the display, I'd settle for a side-mounted power button with a Touch ID sensor integrated into it like the one on the iPad Air.
Bigger camera upgrades
All four iPhone 13 models have received camera upgrades, with the former pair receiving a few minor tweaks, and the latter two getting improved telephoto and ultra-wide camera capabilities. While I'd expect the Pro phones to make it onto our best phone cameras list, I can't help but feel Apple could have done more with the iPhone 13 Pro.
The current trio of main, ultra-wide angle and telephoto cameras appear to have impressive capabilities, especially with Apple’s computational photography facilitated by the A15 Bionic chip. But we’ve now got Android phones with a quartet of cameras, notably the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with its extra telephoto lens and the Oppo Find X3 Pro with its impressive — if niche — microscope cam.
So I'd like to see Apple add a fourth camera into the iPhone 14 Pro's potential rear camera array. Or at least have a camera that offers something genuinely different from a somewhat minor improvement to zoom range or macro photography.
Ideally, I'd like to see Apple take the Samsung route and opt for a secondary telephoto camera with something like a 10x optical zoom. Combine that with Apple’s computational photography and we could see such a future iPhone take the zooming crown from Samsung.
With precious little in the way of iPhone 14 camera rumors, there's a feeling that anything could happen with the 2022 Apple phone. I just really hope Apple makes my desire to wait feel worthwhile.
According to a Reuters (opens in new tab) source, the European Commission wants to introduce a universal charging standard for all smartphones in order to cut down on e-waste. This would likely mean USB-C charging for all future phones that’ll be sold in Europe. Android phones are already there, but Apple has doggedly stuck with its proprietary Lighting port, even with the new iPhone 13.
But aside from convenience, moving to USB-C could open up future iPhones to more peripherals. And for the iPhone 14, that could be a boon. For example, you could use such connectivity to connect an iPhone 14 Pro to an external 4K display for better photo viewing or to transfer photos from a DLSR to the iPhone 14 Pro when out and about for easier editing on capable iOS apps.
And while it’s wishful thinking again, such connectivity could even allow an iPhone 14 to be put in a dock and connected to an external display, keyboard and mouse and used as a form of pseudo desktop computer — think iPadOS when used with the Magic Keyboard — a bit like Samsung does with DeX on its flagship phones.
But there’s no hint of that happening in the early rumors for the iPhone 14, with Prosser's supposedly leak-based renders still showing the phone with a Lightning port. But as it's so early on, such information could be based on early prototypes, meaning we could still see Apple potentially go down the USB-C route; after all, it's done so with the iPad mini 6.
Apple may have put in larger batteries in the iPhone 13 handsets, but there was no boost in charging speed; it appears to be limited to 20 watts again.
That's disappointing, given Android phones like the OnePlus 9 Pro have 65W wireless charging, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 has 25W fast charging. So I'd like to see Apple finally embrace super-speedy fast charging with the iPhone 14.
Taking all of the above into account, I think I'm going to wait for the iPhone 14 to arrive before I consider moving from Android back to iOS.
Should you do the same? Well that depends on how old your current iPhone is and how embedded you are in the iOS ecosystem. If you have an iPhone 12 Pro Max, I'd be inclined to suggest you wait as well. But Tom's Guide needs to do its full reviews of the new iPhones before we arrive at any firm conclusions, so be sure to check back here for the final Tom's Guide verdict.