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New iPhone 13 report hints at upgraded cameras, unchanged design


Leaks about the iPhone 13 series are far and few between, but Japanese blog MacOtakara has bucked the current trend by obtaining some interesting information about Apple’s next-gen flagships.

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 could look almost identical

The iPhone 12 line offered an updated design language when it launched last fall, yet it looks as though the iPhone 13 won’t be receiving quite as much attention. Instead, Apple is planning to reuse the existing design on all four iPhone 13 models. That means the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini, 6.1-inch iPhone 13 & iPhone 13 Pro, and the 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max are going to look identical to their predecessors, save for a couple of changes.

The report points towards a thickness increase of 0.26mm on all models. The reason for this wasn’t divulged, but it could mean Apple is planning to use larger batteries.

Sources inside the supply chain believe there will be a less noticeable camera bump too. Apple may add a single piece of sapphire glass to the bump that covers all lenses.

In terms of shape, the resulting camera module could resemble the one featured on the iPad Pro (2020), although black glass is unlikely to be used, with the brand instead choosing to match the glass color to the phone.

Could the iPhone 13 be marketed as the iPhone 12S?

Taking these very minimal design changes into consideration, there’s a chance these phones could hit the market under ‘iPhone 12S’ branding. Apple used to churn out ‘S’ models every two years, but in recent times it hasn’t been as consistent. 

The iPhone 7S name was skipped in favor of ‘iPhone 8’ because of the switch from aluminum to glass. Apple did offer an ‘S’ model in 2018 in the form of the iPhone XS, which reused the iPhone X’s design, but it skipped the iPhone 11S last fall in favor of the iPhone 12, a decision that again could be down to visual upgrades. 

But with the iPhone 13 set to introduce so few design changes, could the ‘S’ line make a return in 2021? Only time will tell. 

Camera upgrades and an updated Face ID setup are expected

MacOtakara’s supply chain sources didn’t provide a detailed breakdown of the iPhone 13 camera tech that’s being worked on, but they nevertheless hinted at some important upgrades.

The iPhone 13 Pro, for example, is expected to use the same camera setup as the larger iPhone 13 Pro Max, so Apple’s new ultra-wide shooter with sensor-shift stabilization should make the cut. The 2.5x telephoto zoom camera that was included on the iPhone 12 Pro Max could make a return on both iPhone 13 Pro models too. For reference, the standard iPhone 12 Pro uses a 2x zoom lens.

Everything above may be paired with updates to the existing Face ID system. MacOtakara claims that Apple is preparing a “narrower” TrueDepth camera, although it’s unclear if the change will lead to a smaller notch. 

Recent rumors have indicated that all iPhone 13 models, not just Pro models, are going to benefit from a LiDAR sensor.

When will the iPhone 13 series be announced?

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro should be announced and released in September. If previous iPhone launches are anything to go by, the unveiling event could take place on September 7 with shipments following on September 17.

Expect it to be accompanied by the Apple Watch Series 7, among other things.

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