There will be iPhones in 50 years

iPhone 13: features, design, price - that's coming in 2021

Simon Lohmann

iPhone 13 or iPhone 12s? What is Apple planning for the iPhone in 2021? The latest rumors revolve around the display and design. While the display is getting two new main features, a new look with minimal changes awaits us in the design.

EnlargeiPhone 13: This is how the YouTuber "Everything Apple Pro EAP" imagines it.
© YouTube / Everything Apple Pro EAP

With the line-up of new iPhones that Apple has offered us in 2020, it is difficult to imagine what we can expect in 2021. If you believe the current rumors, we actually have to wait a little longer until we see the iPhone 13 with the latest technology. Apple apparently has different plans for the iPhone this year.


EnlargeHow many models is Apple planning for the iPhone 13?

At the moment, we cannot say how many iPhone models we can expect in 2021. That depends above all on one thing: Will Apple decide to bring the iPhone 13 onto the market this year? Or maybe “just” an iPhone 12s? Even if Apple skipped the S generation in the iPhone 11, current rumors suggest that the next iPhone for Apple engineers will be "only an S version". If the rumor turns out to be true, this would mean one thing above all for users: Another year of waiting until Apple brings exciting features, which competing products have been offering for a long time, to the iPhone. There are therefore good reasons to skip the iPhone 12s in such a case and wait until the iPhone 13 is released.

Read more: iPhone 13: Why the wait is worth it

But it is still too early to speak of an iPhone 12s with absolute certainty. The current line-up consists of four devices of different sizes and technical equipment. Starting with the iPhone 12 Mini up to the large iPhone 12 Pro Max. Whether Apple will also offer four different models for the iPhone 13 (or 12s) depends largely on how the current iPhone 12 generation is received by buyers.


EnlargeWhat are Apple's plans for the iPhone 13 design?

The past has shown that Apple makes targeted changes to design. While other manufacturers, such as Samsung or Huawei, are more willing to experiment, Apple likes to stick to a similar design for several years. From the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 8 (or up to the new iPhone SE), the design has changed only minimally from generation to generation.

It took about three years for Apple to be able to part with the case design of the iPhone X, XS and iPhone 11. The iPhone 12 design with its angular design has been something new for a long time and is reminiscent of the good, old era of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5. Whatever the name of the next iPhone, it is quite certain that the 2021 -iPhone retains its angular design.

Nevertheless, Apple will change something in terms of "design" with this year's iPhone 12S / 13. As the well-known Apple YouTuber "Everything Apple Pro" reports, only minimal changes are planned. Accordingly, Apple wants to change the back so that the device is better in the hand. Similar to the Google Pixel series, the material should be softer and more grippy than before.

Design-related changes could also be expected due to technical changes. Read more about this in Technical Features.


EnlargeHow expensive will the new iPhones be?

In recent years, Apple has been able to keep the most important information a secret until the day of the keynote. The prices in particular were usually leaked beforehand. This should also apply to the next generation of iPhone. Based on the current iPhone 12 generation, however, we can deduce that the iPhone 13 will cost roughly between 780 euros and 1,500 euros, depending on the model. How the prices are, of course, largely depends on the technical features. If Apple succeeds in a revolutionary feature, the price will of course rise. What could Apple plan for the iPhone 13?


The biggest changes in the iPhone 12 generation were - in addition to the design - of technical origin: All iPhone 12 models support 5G, and all models now have a Super Retina XDR display. The camera has been slightly improved and is now also equipped with a lidar scanner. The A14 is also one of the most powerful chips in the iPhone 12 and, last but not least, Apple has introduced the new Magsafe feature.

As great as the iPhone 12 is, there are still a few features that should come to the next generation.

120 Hz

One reason many Android users don't want to switch to an iPhone is because of the lower refresh rate. Most other manufacturers already use 120 Hz for their devices, while even the iPhone 12 can only boast 60 Hz. Apple should deliver here urgently - and Apple will apparently too. As we reported, the YouTuber "Everything Apple Pro" reveals in one of his videos, citing the well-known Apple leaker Max Weinbach, that Apple will give the iPhone in 2021 the same ProMotion display technology with a high refresh rate of 120 Hz that it does is already used on the iPad Pro.

Always-on display

An always-on display would also be a very nice thing. Anyone who owns the Apple Watch Series 5 knows about the advantages of this function. Important information such as time, battery level or messages are displayed despite the deactivated display. Since Apple is now using an OLED display for all of its iPhone devices, an always-on display would theoretically even be possible in the current iPhone 12 generation. Of course, Apple wanted to save a few features for the next generation. Max Weinbach claims that the time will finally come this year. Accordingly, the always-on feature resembles a weakened lock screen. The clock and battery charge are always visible, notifications seem to be displayed with a bar and icons. Read more about this here .

Reverse charging

We already know this feature from various Galaxy smartphones from Samsung: The back of the phone can be used to inductively charge accessories (such as headphones or a smartwatch). Quite useful if you've forgotten the charging cable for the Bluetooth headphones and or if you don't have a power outlet within reach.

Apple has not yet brought this feature to the iPhone. As it now turned out, this is theoretically possible even in the current iPhone 12 generation. We think it is unlikely that Apple will unlock this feature for iPhone 12 users in the near future. We tend to believe that Apple has saved this feature for the upcoming iPhone.

Read more about this: Notes on reverse charging and hybrid displays on the iPhone 12

Finally USB-C? No way, but ...

For years, iPhone users have been longing for a USB-C connection. But Apple persistently refuses. The well-known Apple leaker Jon Prosser is also certain: Apple will not switch to USB-C in the future either. Not because with the new Magsafe technology introduced on the iPhone 12, it goes one step further in the direction of “portless” - an iPhone without connections. Prosser believes that Apple's iPhone 13 line-up includes at least one iPhone that will only rely on wireless charging. However, he does not yet know which model it should be.


The camera in the iPhone 12 has been further improved, the sensor in the iPhone 12 Pro Max is bigger than ever and now the iPhone 12 Pro devices (just like the iPad Pro) also have a lidar sensor. And yet there is still room for improvement.

Especially when it comes to the zoom. Up to 12x digital zoom is the greatest feeling on an Apple device and only if you have the most expensive model with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Other manufacturers are also setting higher standards in the field of cameras. 50x digital zoom is standard on many devices. Some even offer a 100x digital zoom, which admittedly doesn't allow you to take really nice pictures. But at least you would have the option of capturing a distant subject with a smartphone. If we wanted an upgrade for the camera, it would be an improved zoom.

According to current reports from DigiTimes, the iPhone will not be equipped with a periscope camera until 2022, with which even 10x optical zooming would be possible - the well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also assumes this. This would be an indication that Apple may only plan an update of the iPhone 12 for 2021, but is saving the next big generation leap for 2022 or later.

Read more about this: iPhone 13 & 14: The iPhone 12's camera remains for the time being

The main camera usually calculates the zoom factor. This would mean that Apple could integrate an iPhone with a focal length of around 260 mm at 10x optical zoom. If you can even believe a report from The Next Web, Samsung can already supply such a lens, so that it could be installed in iPhones as early as 2021.

However, periscope zoom lenses have long been found in devices from other manufacturers, such as Samsung, Huawei or Xiaomi. With periscope technology, the light is directed to the sensor via mirrors, which means that the lenses specially developed for smartphones can remain correspondingly small.

Touch ID on the screen / K (l) a notch?

In the meantime you can really ask yourself the question: Why is Apple so persistently reluctant to have a fingerprint sensor on the screen? Here, too, the competition has long been ahead. Sure, Face-ID is perhaps more secure, but the year 2020 showed us that unlocking a smartphone using Face-ID is not always that easy. For many, the notch is also a reason against an iPhone. While other smartphones use a much less noticeable punch-hole design, the notch actually looks very prominent.

But maybe this will change with the next generation of iPhone. As Apple proved this year with the iPad Air 2020, Apple is ready to do without Face ID. Instead, there is space for a fingerprint sensor in the power button. An alternative for the iPhone 13? Maybe. It is quite conceivable that Apple will remove the Face ID from an iPhone 13 Mini or iPhone 13 and instead use a Touch ID in the power button. The notch would certainly not go away, but it could be smaller because the Face ID technology does not have to be installed.

The Japanese technology blog "Macotakara" provides us with initial indications of a smaller notch. Accordingly, the iPhone 13 is slightly thicker, but the notch is smaller. You can read here what effects this has on Face ID:

iPhone 13: Same design with a smaller notch