It feels like Apple just released the iPhone 12 series, spearheaded by the extremely impressive iPhone 12 Pro Max, but the rumor mill for the successor is already spinning. While we've gathered everything we know in one place, we thought we'd take a look at how those rumors stack up against what we have now with the iPhone 12.
It goes without saying that buying any of the iPhone 12 models right now is a great decision if you're due for a new phone. You get the best that Apple has to offer, including 5G support.
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Though we're several months out — we anticipate a mid-September announcement — that doesn't mean we can't get excited and speculate about the next new iPhone. As more information comes to light, we'll have a better idea how the iPhone 13 shapes up in comparison to its predecessor.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Price and release date
For the iPhone 13, we expect there to be four models: iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. We base this on what Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said (via MacRumors) earlier last year. Considering the poor sales of the iPhone 12 mini, it wouldn't surprise us to see Apple cancel its plans for the iPhone 13 mini. We certainly hope not, since the iPhone 12 mini is the best small phone right now.
As far as price, current rumors suggest that the iPhone 13 will be an iterative upgrade to the iPhone 12, so we don't anticipate the pricing structure to be too far off from what the 12 series goes for right now. That would mean that the iPhone 13 mini would start at $699 (64GB), iPhone 13 at $799 (64GB), iPhone 13 Pro at $999 (128GB), and iPhone 13 Pro Max at $1,099 (128GB).
If Apple increases the base storage on the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13, then we might see a slight increase on those phones' starting prices, perhaps $749 and $849. That's just speculation, though. There is also a possibility that there will be a ludicrous 1TB storage option for the Pro models.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Display
For the iPhone 12 series, Apple introduced OLED displays for all four models. OLED offers punchier colors and true blacks, among other benefits, and it was certainly a welcome upgrade. While we really like the displays on the 12 series, Apple still has some room to grow for its Super Retina XDR OLED panels.
When compared against the Galaxy S21 series, which have excellent Super Dynamic AMOLED displays, the iPhone 12 screens lack a high refresh rate and Always On Display (AOD). The iPhone 12 models are all locked at 60 frames-per-second (FPS), or 60Hz, but rumors suggest that the iPhone 13 Pro series will sport a 120Hz refresh rate, which would net 120 FPS and therefore much smoother scrolling and gameplay.
One benefit of OLED panels is that individual pixels can be disabled, which is how they produce those deep, dark blacks. On most Android devices with OLED displays, you get what's called Always On Display. This is a low-power mode which shows some important information. It varies by phone, but most devices show the clock and pending notifications. Rumors suggest that the iPhone 13 will finally gets its own always-on display.
Some, including leaker Jon Prosser, say that Apple will shrink the infamous notch at the top of the display which houses the Face ID tech. This would be a very welcome change, since the notch is quite unsightly.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Cameras
This isn't too surprising, but we've heard about some camera upgrades for the iPhone 13. Currently, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and 12 Pro use three lenses: a wide-angle 12MP f/1.6, an ultrawide 12MP f/2,4, and a 12MP telephoto with an f/2.0 aperture (2x zoom on the 12 Pro, 2.5x zoom on the 12 Pro Max). The iPhone 12 and 12 mini lack the telephoto lens and LiDAR time-of-flight sensor.
Some rumors say that the iPhone 13 will feature a periscope camera for better zoom to compete with the Galaxy S21 Ultra's ridiculous zoom capabilities. More importantly, Apple might upgrade the ultrawide camera to an f/1.8 aperture with autofocus (versus the f/2.4 aperture and fixed focus on the 12 series). This comes from Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors).
Other rumors suggest that Apple will use the LiDAR sensor on all four models instead of just on the Pro ones. Night Mode might see some enhancements, especially on the ultrawide camera. Finally, we've heard that the iPhone 13 may feature a portrait mode for video and an astrophotography mode for shooting the night sky.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Touch ID in the display
The iPhone 13 might bring back Touch ID, which was last seen on the iPhone 8 series (it's also on the iPhone SE, but that's not a flagship device and uses the iPhone 8 body). Apple has been all in on Face ID since the iPhone X, but it might add Touch ID to the iPhone 13. In this pandemic world where we're still wearing masks, Face ID doesn't do much good out in public.
Apple could use an in-display fingerprint scanner, like on the Galaxy S21 — the S21's ultrasonic sensor is pretty good and accurate in our testing and usage. However, Apple shoved a Touch ID sensor in the power button for the most recent iPad Air. Some Android phones have taken this route in the past and it can work quite well, and also feels pretty natural.
Regardless, having both Face ID and Touch ID in the iPhone 13 would cover all the bases: face unlock for going maskless and fingerprint unlock for public use and Apple Pay.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Lightning or portless
Speculation that Apple might abandon the Lightning port on the iPhone 13 has floated around for a few months now, especially once the company introduced MagSafe wireless charging on the iPhone 12 series. While few people seem to want this, Apple likes to shake things up a bit. USB-C would be preferable, but that may never happen.
Apple leaker Jon Prosser said that one of his sources mentioned that "one" iPhone 13 model would be portless. Due to some possible language barrier issues, he thinks that maybe the Pro models will portless, not just one variant. However, Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors) suggests that only the iPhone 13 Pro Max will be portless. While a "brave" decision, no one knows for sure right now.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Outlook
Nothing is set in stone yet for the iPhone 13, but both Kuo and Prosser have good track records when it comes to predictions. We won't get anything in any official capacity for several months yet, but more and more rumors are likely to spring up in the meantime. The COVID-19 pandemic might also lead to more leaks than usual, too.
As mentioned, buying an iPhone 12 is not a bad decision. You can play the waiting game forever, telling yourself to just wait for the next big thing. Be sure to check out our iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12, and iPhone 12 mini reviews if you're looking for more in-depth info on those phones. And don't forget to check out our best iPhone 12 deals page before you buy anything.