Apple has revealed a considerably different iPhone range than many fans had anticipated, with Apple making some contentious feature changes. However, several random design selections for the iPhone 13 have been disclosed. In addition, Bloomberg’s respected Apple insider Mark Gurman and popular Chinese site My Drivers have announced unexpected changes to the iPhone 13’s screens and charging in a pair of exclusives. Both of these features will make Android competitors turn their heads.
As previously reported by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 13 lineup would include four phones: the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Unfortunately, this year’s selection is identical to the four iPhone 12 models from the previous year. But it’s not all that hasn’t changed: The iPhone 13’s price and style may also seem familiar.
The iPhone 13 features an always-on display.
Bloomberg broke the news first, and Gurman followed up with a reminder in his Power On the email that Apple will increase battery capacity in the iPhone lineup, with the extra juice powering new LTPO (low-temperature Polycrystalline oxide) 120Hz ProMotion displays on iPhone 13 Pro models. This confirms multiple prior disclosures, but Gurman’s statement that the large batteries would also power always-on displays is groundbreaking.
Gurman believes this will be an iPhone 13 Pro-only feature. Apple relies on LTPO screens’ variable refresh rate technology (which can dynamically switch from 1-120Hz) to save power in an always-on standby mode. Apple already has a lead in this area, with the Apple Watch 5 Series’ LTPO display giving an always-on display, and a comparable system of time, date, and app notifications would be useful on the iPhone as well.
Always-on screens have been available on Apple’s Android rivals for several years, and the feature is popular, so it’s a natural catch-up move. However, with the new iPhones only a few months away, it’s surprising to hear a new feature leak from such a trustworthy source.
Faster Charging on the iPhone 13
MyDrivers (via MacRumors) has a similar unexpected finding, revealing – for the first time – that Apple intends to offer expanded 25W fast charging across the iPhone 13 range. While this is only a 5W increase over the iPhone 12 line’s 20W maximum charging speed, the big surprise is that Apple is upgrading its power specification just a year after switching from 18W to 20W. MyDrivers does not say if the 25W will come from the Lightning port or the MagSafe. However, it would be consistent with recent rumors that Apple may upgrade MagSafe this year (despite some notable medical concerns).
Given the increased battery capacities on the iPhone 13 series, the move could maintain similar charge times. Both enhancements are likely to be popular with iPhone users if the reports are correct, especially after Apple abandoned plans to reintroduce Touch ID this year, despite Face ID’s struggles in a mask-wearing world. Furthermore, the recent leaks might be the cherry on top for iPhone 13 upgraders who are already anticipating a smaller notch, supersized back cameras, extreme image stabilization, and a cutting-edge A15 processor with next-generation 5G connectivity.
Yes, the earliest iPhone 14 leaks appear to be much better, but the iPhone 14 debut is still over a year away, whereas the iPhone 13 launch is rapidly approaching.
Price: The iPhone 13 might be the same price as the iPhone 12… or perhaps cheaper.
Apple’s iPhone 12 range had four phones at four different pricing points, with much more variance among carriers and storage options. The base iPhone 12 carrier model priced $799 at launch, up to $100 over the iPhone 11 in 2019, owing to 5G connectivity. Analysts foresee a similar price structure for 2021 because the iPhone 13 is not expected to have significant technological advancement.
Apple may explore cutting the price of its next phone series, according to some reports. Several competitors responded to the economic crisis by producing more affordable models in 2020, like Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE and Google’s Pixel 5: both cost the same as the iPhone 12 Mini but are around $100 less than the iPhone 12. The newly introduced Samsung Galaxy S21 also has a cheaper price tag than its predecessor, starting at $200 less.