All the rumored differences between Apple’s flagships

Apple’s new iPhone is expected to make its debut in September and, although the iPhone 13 could have a few new features and an upgraded design, is it worth the trade-in? For some, last year’s iPhone 12 or even the iPhone 11, iPhone SE or the rumored iPhone SE 3 may be the right choice when picking their next smartphone. But, if you’re eager to get your hands on the latest from Apple, the iPhone 13 may be for you. We don’t know the iPhone 13’s exact specs yet, but here’s how rumors compare to the iPhone 12. 

a cellphone on a table: The iPhone 13 could be arriving this September to dethrone the iPhone 12. Sarah Tew/CNET

© Provided by CNET
The iPhone 13 could be arriving this September to dethrone the iPhone 12. Sarah Tew/CNET

The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, released last year.

© Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, released last year.

Read more: Should you still buy an iPhone 12? What about an iPhone 11 or an iPhone SE?


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It might feel like the iPhone 12 only just arrived, but we’re getting fairly close to the next Apple event and the release of the iPhone 13, which we expect to see in September. (Even the new purple version of the iPhone 12 is several months old already!) We’ve collected all of the early rumors around the iPhone 13’s specs, including price, cameras, display size and resolution and the four models that could be arriving soon, to help you plan your potential purchase. 

Here are the rumors we’ve heard so far about the iPhone 13 specs, and how they might compare to the iPhone 12. Just note that none of the iPhone 13 specs have been confirmed by Apple. Plus, here’s how the iPhone 12 compares to the iPhone 11 and all the iPhones you can buy in 2021.

We could see four iPhone 13 models

Like the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 will come in four models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo: the iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 Mini, the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

Different phone and camera sizes

The iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models may end up being thicker than their iPhone 12 predecessors, according to a May MacRumors report. Both of the new models are expected to be 7.57mm thick, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. However, that’s a pretty small difference that most people probably won’t notice. 

More sizable could be a change to the camera bump, MacRumors reported: While the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have camera bumps around 1.5mm to 1.7mm, the iPhone 13’s bump will be 2.51mm, and the 13 Pro’s will be 3.56mm. The increased size will prevent the lenses from sticking out as much as they do on the older phones. 

a row of cell phones: The iPhone 13 may be a bit more thick than the iPhone 12. MacRumors

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The iPhone 13 may be a bit more thick than the iPhone 12. MacRumors

A similar price

The iPhone 13 isn’t expected to be a major technical upgrade from the iPhone 12, which was the first to include 5G support. Because of this, analysts are predicting that the iPhone 13 will cost around the same as the iPhone 12, the base version of which starts at $799. It’s also possible that Apple may lower the price of the iPhone 13, as Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE and Google’s Pixel 5 did in 2020. The newly released Samsung Galaxy S21 also boasted a lower price tag, starting at $200 lower than its predecessor.

Here’s the iPhone 12’s US pricing, for reference: 

Improved refresh rates

Most phones (including the iPhone 12) refresh at 60 frames per second, or 60Hz, but some, like the Galaxy S21 and the OnePlus 8 Pro, refresh at 120Hz. There is speculation that the iPhone 13’s display will have a 120Hz refresh rate (and an always-on OLED display). The higher the refresh rate, the faster and smoother a phone feels when scrolling through apps and websites. While this was rumored for the iPhone 12 as well, it seems more likely to happen this time around.

New and enhanced cameras

The iPhone 12 camera array includes regular, ultrawide and selfie cameras, night mode photos on all cameras, improved HDR mode, a telephoto lens (on the Pro and Pro Max models) and 2.5x zoom (on the Pro Max only).

As is typically the case with new iPhones, you can expect the iPhone 13’s cameras to be upgraded over the iPhone 12. We’ve heard rumors of an added periscope camera to improve zoom, an improved ultrawide-angle lens for night mode photography, and lidar technology on all models, instead of just the Pro and Pro Max, as was the case with the iPhone 12.

The return of Touch ID

The iPhone 13 could bring back Touch ID for the first time since the iPhone 8, with a big difference: It might be embedded under the screen, instead of as a separate button that takes up phone real estate. Some were expecting this to happen with the iPhone 12, but had also said it could get pushed to the next model. Alas, the iPhone 12 lineup lacks a Touch ID button. It’s worth noting that Apple’s 2020 iPad Air integrated a Touch ID button onto the side of the device. This would be a great addition this year in particular, since Face ID doesn’t work when wearing a mask (unless you have an Apple Watch and iOS 14.5, that is). 

A Lightning port, but no headphone jack

The iPhone 12 doesn’t have a headphone jack, and we don’t expect any iPhone 13 models to have one either. But the Lightning port may be another story, now that Apple has introduced MagSafe charging capabilities. Kuo predicts that the iPhone 13 models will still include Lightning ports, with the exception of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which could be completely portless. The iPhone 12, by contrast, featured a Lightning port on all four models.

Read more: The best ways to sell or trade in your old iPhone

Until Apple formally announces the iPhone 13 this fall, all we can do is speculate how it could compare to the iPhone 12. In the meantime, here’s how the iPhone 12 compares to the iPhone 11, whether you should buy an iPhone 12, iPhone 11 or iPhone SE and everything coming in iOS 15. You can also check out the other rumored Apple products we’re expecting like the Apple Watch 7, AirPods 3 and iPad mini 6

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