What will the iPhone 13 feature for specs?
- No ports and the return of Touch ID, maybe?
- 120Hz Always-on display? It’s possible
- A better camera system is always a safe bet
- Satellite communication tech?
Features and specifications will be something we can start to nail down closer to the announcement, but right now, reports are all over the place and likely include stuff Apple is working on, has worked on, or considered working on.
For example, last year, rumors indicated we’d see an iPhone with a display refresh rate of 120Hz. That didn’t happen, and it’s unclear if it ever will, although there’s some speculation the faster display tech will make its iPhone debut this year. It’s possible Apple is still working on a faster display and it was always meant for the iPhone 13 (or 14). If I had to guess, we will see 120Hz displays in the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max this year, but not the base iPhone 13 (and iPhone 13 mini, if there is one).
There’s also some speculation that Apple will get rid of the Lightning port on the bottom of the iPhone. Instead, Apple will use its new MagSafe technology to charge the phone and sync data. Another possibility is Apple removes the Lightning port and replaces it with a USB-C port, as it has on the MacBook, iPad Air, and iPad Pro lines. Personally, I don’t see Apple doing this quite yet. I’d love for Apple to switch to USB-C across all of its products, but it’s been a slow process in changing out the Lightning connector on iPad models.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in his weekly newsletter Power On that Apple is readying an iPhone with a new A15 processor, smaller notch, and possibly an always-on display like the Apple Watch currently uses. Oh, and Gurman also states that a 120Hz is possible as well. He reiterated these expectations once again in his Aug. 15 newsletter.
There’s also talk of a new Portrait Mode camera feature, but instead of blurring the background of a photo, the effect would be applied to video. Gurman reports the feature will be limited to the Pro models and will be called Cinematic Video.
Another rumored feature that could be a product of wishful thinking is that we’ll see the return of Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint sensor tech, in the iPhone 13. Only instead of being embedded in the home button, it’s either going to be moved to the side button, like the fourth-generation iPad Air, or embedded under the display, as we’ve seen on several Android phones and tablets over the last few years.
Either option would be welcome, especially with facial coverings rendering Face ID almost useless. Although Apple added a tool to make it easier to use in iOS 14.5 if you own an Apple Watch, it’s still not ideal.
The last week of August was a busy one for rumors and speculation about the iPhone 13 and a new feature that is said to enable calls and text messages via a satellite connection when an iPhone owner isn’t covered by a wireless network. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the iPhone 13 would feature the proper hardware to make it possible, as reported by MacRumors (among various other outlets with access to Kuo’s investor note). Within a few hours, the rumor appeared to be debunked by PCMag’s Sasha Segan, who stated he believed the new technology would be used for more LTE bands, and not satellite communication. It was an easy mixup, and after a wild 24 hours, the rumor seems to be nothing more than a misunderstanding.
However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is now reporting that the technology is indeed being tested by Apple, and has been for the last few years. However, Gurman states that he doesn’t expect the emergency satellite communication technology to be rolled out for the iPhone this year. According to Gurman, Apple’s plan for the tech is to allow iPhone users in emergency situations such as natural disasters or when lost in the wilderness when cellular networks aren’t available or reliable to send shortened text messages to request help.
Those rumors can be founded in fact or wishful thinking, it’s hard to say right now. We can expect Apple to put a faster processor, a better GPU, improve or keep battery life the same, along with upgrades to the camera. All of those are staple upgrades in every new iPhone.