Every year around this time, rumors about the next iPhone keep growing. 2021 is no exception. The iPhone 12 is six months old and yet there is already a plethora of leaks and rumors about its successor, which might be known as the iPhone 13. (Or iPhone 12S, or just “iPhone “like the fourth generation iPad. Maybe it will be the iPhone 21 because it’s 2021). Think of this article as a wish list.
Note that these are rumors and leaks. Nothing is certain until Apple officially announces it.
The next iPhone might have a bigger battery and possibly longer battery life. Patrick Holland / CNET
IPhone 13 might have a bigger battery
The autonomy of the iPhone 12 is good. In use, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro lasted a day without a problem. In our battery test with looping video and in airplane mode, the 12 Pro showed 15 hours, 56 minutes of battery life, and the iPhone 12 shut down after 17 hours, 14 minutes.
But it’s far from the best range we’ve seen. The Samsung Galaxy S21, with its 4,500 mAh battery, lasted 18 hours and 3 minutes after the same test. The Galaxy S21 Ultra and its 5,000mAh battery ceased all activity after 22 hours and 57 minutes. And both of these phones have a 120Hz screen that consumes more power.
While Apple never reveals the capacity of the batteries inside the iPhone, sites like iFixit show that the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are powered by a 2,815mAh battery. What’s brilliant is that Apple gets such battery life thanks to the efficiency of its A-series and iOS processors.
Now imagine this optimization applied to a larger physical farm.
Rumor has it that the next iPhone will have a high refresh rate display, which could bode well for making those Apple Arcade games look even better. Patrick Holland / CNET
Pro Motion could arrive on the iPhone 13 screen
As of 2017, the iPad Pro has a screen with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. It is an LCD panel, but rumors indicate that the iPhone 13 will have an OLED display with a rate of high refreshment. For years, many of us have hoped to see this feature on an iPhone. There are many phones at different price points that take advantage of this like the € 399 OnePlus Nord N10 5G which is equipped with a 90Hz display. The new Galaxy S21 at € 859 and S21 Ultra at € 1,259 each have a display. 120Hz. Recently, Asus released the ROG Phone 5 with a 144Hz display. For comparison, the iPhone 12 has a 60Hz display.
Why do you need a high refresh rate? Quite simply because it improves the fluidity of the interface. Animations and graphics appear sharper, motion blur is reduced, games (especially those designed for high refresh rate screens) appear more immersive and alive. Imagine how beautiful 120Hz Apple Arcade games could be.
The next iPhone must be equipped with a 120 Hz screen, at least the “Pro” models. This would be another “Pro” feature that would distinguish the high-end iPhone Pro models from the regular and mini versions.
If there was an iPhone without a port, could something like the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector be the way to charge it? Patrick Holland / CNET
A “Smart MagSafe” to make up for the lack of a Lightning port
There is a persistent rumor that the iPhone 13 will not have a Lightning port. Ever since Apple got rid of the headphone jack in 2016 with the iPhone 7, people have speculated that Apple will someday make a phone that doesn’t have a port altogether. In December, Ming Chi Kuo claimed that Apple would release an iPhone in 2021 without a port.
The MagSafe technology on the iPhone 12 makes it easier to imagine such a portless future. However, in its current form, the MagSafe recharge does not exceed 15 watts. OnePlus offers a 50-watt wireless charger.
Not only will the next version of MagSafe need to be more powerful to reasonably replace a physical charging cable, but Apple will also need to fix some data sharing issues that the Lightning port currently allows. Apple may be hoping that 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 and its U1 chip will succeed it for data sharing? Or maybe there will be a Lightning compatible version of MagSafe? Who knows ?
Apple could integrate something like the Smart Connector found on the current iPad Pro into the next iPhone. While the iPad Pro’s USB-C port gets all the attention, there are three metal contacts on the back of the iPad. When you use the Magic Keyboard accessory with the iPad Pro, it connects to the iPad via this connection. You can even plug a USB-C cable into the side of the Magic Keyboard to charge the iPad Pro.
Maybe the next iPhone will have a “Smart MagSafe” charging system? Even if this rumor is true, removing the last port from the iPhone isn’t something Apple needs to do, at least for now.
Rumors indicate that all four iPhone 13 models will have a new camera, and the normal Pro model will have cameras equivalent to the Pro Max version. Patrick Holland / CNET
The next iPhone could be equipped with new cameras
Currently, the iPhone 12 Pro has the same wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle selfie cameras as the iPhone 12 and 12 mini. The Pro has a 2x telephoto lens, but it’s not the same as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which can zoom optically up to 2.5x. The iPhone 13 Pro could be equipped with a larger sensor for its main camera. This rumor does not indicate if it will be exactly the same as that of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. But the new sensor could incorporate mechanical stabilization, which is currently only found on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
It is also rumored that the iPhone 13 Pro will be equipped with the same or similar telephoto lens as the 13 Pro Max. All of this means that the next regular “Pro” model will be closer to the Pro Max model. While this year the 12 and 12 Pro are overly similar.
There are some rumors about a new ultra wide-angle camera on the iPhone 13 or iPhone 14. The ultra-wide angle of the 13 might be more effective in low light. Currently the aperture is at f / 2.4, but the new lens could open at f / 1.8, which would certainly help improve performance under these conditions.
In terms of camera gear, the iPhone 13, especially the Pro model, could benefit from these improvements.
An in-screen fingerprint scanner could fix iPhone Face ID issues. Andrew Hoyle / CNET
Touch ID could come back to the iPhone
The iPhone 13 might have a fingerprint reader under the display. Ever since the first Android phone came out with this feature, people have speculated that a Touch ID sensor under the display would be a way to alleviate the frustration some feel when using Face ID.
Currently, on Android smartphones, there are two types of fingerprint sensors under the screen. There are the optical sensors that are found on phones like the OnePlus 8T and the Motorola Edge Plus. Then there are Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint readers that power phones like the S21s.
If the iPhone 13 has an under-display fingerprint reader, we don’t know if that will replace Face ID. The rumor also suggests, with a patent illustration filed by Apple in 2019, that the iPhone could be unlocked by a fingerprint anywhere on the screen instead of the unique sensor location on Android phones.
If Apple could design an ultrasonic sensor as reliable and easy to use as the Touch ID reader in the latest iPhone SE, it’s not hard to imagine it on an iPhone. And if Touch ID is paired with Face ID, you might have more ways to secure and access your phone.
There may be a video version of portrait mode on the iPhone 13. Sarah Tew / CNET
IPhone 13 could shoot video in portrait mode
The next iPhone could record videos in portrait mode. You may be familiar with portrait mode which allows you to take a photo with a bokeh effect on the background. On the iPhone, portrait mode is limited to photos. But there are currently several Android phones like the latest Galaxy that can record portrait mode videos (or live focus videos) and blur the background while leaving the subject in focus.
It’s exciting to think of what Apple could do with a video portrait mode and how the company handles all the processing needed to isolate the foreground and artistically blur the background. The rumor also evokes the possibility of changing the depth of field once the video has been shot. It would be particularly interesting to include Apple’s studio lighting and the ability to change it after the fact. As fun as portrait mode video is, the iPhone doesn’t need it.
The Pixel 4 was the first smartphone to offer an astrophotography function in its Night Sight mode. It combines computational photography and long pause. Google
The iPhone 13 could improve in astrophotography
The last rumor that we want to highlight concerns another feature of the photo part. The iPhone 13 might have a better astrophotography mode. Currently, you can mount the iPhone on a tripod and, in darker conditions, extend the night mode capture up to 30 seconds. If the sky and the weather are right, you can take a decent photo of a starry sky. But when we see what the Google Pixel can do in terms of astrophotography, the iPhone leaves a lot to be desired.
If this rumor is true, maybe astrophotography will still be enabled in night mode but you can extend the time over 30 seconds or use computational photography to capture a better night sky or moon. This could be another feature that only exists on “Pro” models, like Apple ProRaw. It is certainly not a necessary function, but it is a nice function to have.
For more on the next iPhone, read our review of iPhone 13 rumors:
Article from CNET.com adapted by CNET France