The iPhone 13 will likely be the fastest phone ever (again) when it launches this fall with the best cameras (again), and we’re expecting some notable upgrades across the board. These updates range from more robust 5G connectivity and astrophotography tricks to 120Hz displays — finally — on the iPhone 13 Pro models.
But if you’ve been paying attention to the early design leaks, which includes iPhone 13 renders as well as photos of what appears to be iPhone 13 dummy units, the look and feel of the iPhone 13 doesn’t appear to be changing much at all. And I think that’s a problem when you’re trying to get shoppers excited about upgrading.
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To be fair, the iPhone 12 was a relatively big departure from the iPhone 11 series, as Apple transitioned from rounded sides to a more squared-off look. It made the iPhone 12 feel more substantial, even if it resulted in a less comfortable feel in the hand. The more pronounced edges of that phone can dig into your palm a bit.
The iPhone 12 also introduced a tougher Ceramic Shield display, as well as support for MagSafe chargers. So the iPhone 13 should share these same features or build on them.
However, based on the iPhone 13 reports I’ve seen thus far, it doesn’t appear as though these new handsets will be changing much at all on the outside. The biggest and most immediate design tweak should be a smaller notch across all iPhone 13 models. The notch isn't going away, and based on the images I’ve seen, it’s still going to be larger than the punch hole on the Galaxy S21 and the best Android phones.
Nevertheless, this is a welcome upgrade, and it looks as though Apple will be shrinking down the Face ID tech and perhaps moving the speaker to make this all happen. But the bottom line is that you’re getting only a little bit extra screen real estate.
The other not-so-big iPhone 13 design change that we’ve heard about is the new camera arrangement for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini. The two lenses should be diagonal this time around, as opposed to stacked vertically. I know, mind blown. This positioning will allegedly help with augmented reality applications, as there should be a LiDAR sensor in the mix as well.
Of course, there are other ways to make the iPhone 13 look new. This includes new iPhone 13 color options, as the regular iPhone 13 is tipped to come in a possible pink hue. The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max may come in orange or bronze, and we’ve heard about a possible new matte black option.
There have been rumors that the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro series could get thicker, either to accommodate beefier cameras or larger batteries, but it doesn’t sound like it will be that noticeable in day-to-day use.
The iPhone 13 will have a lot more going on under the hood, and I’m excited to see how Apple will evolve the capabilities of its phones, especially when it comes to computational photography. For example, I’d like to see how well the rumored portrait mode video will work. And it sounds like we’re going to get better ultra-wide photography across the board, as well as always-on displays for at least the Pro models.
But, overall, the iPhone 13 looks like it will be just another slab phone at a time Samsung will be pushing the envelope with foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, and other companies like TCL and Oppo are exploring rollable phones. A so-called iPhone Flip reportedly won’t launch until 2023.
Call me shallow, but at this stage of the game I want to be excited by both the look and feel of a phone as well as by what it does. And based on the leaks thus far, the iPhone 13 doesn’t seem like it’s going to wow you out of the box.
- Next: iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12: Biggest upgrades to expect