The moment you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived: Apple has announced the iPhone 13! After months of speculation, rumours, leaks and hearsay, we finally know all the details of what’s sure to be one of the standout smartphones of the year.
But of course the iPhone 13 isn’t just a phone – it’s four. Just like the iPhone 12 before it, the iPhone 13 range comprises four models, with differences in screen size, power and photographic abilities. Broadly speaking, the bigger the iPhone, the more power it has (and unsurprisingly, the more expensive it is).
Wondering what all the fuss is about? How does the iPhone 13 differ from the iPhone 12? And how much will the new models cost? Read on, and we’ll bring you everything you need to know about the iPhone 13.
iPhone 13 models: four familiar faces
Does the iPhone 13 family look familiar? No wonder – it features the same variants as the iPhone 12 family, with the same screen sizes and near-identical designs.
These are as follows:
Why would you buy an iPhone 13 handset when they look almost exactly the same as the iPhone 12? There are some important differences, mostly on the inside.
For a start, there’s a new processor. The A15 Bionic has up to 50% more power than the leading competition, according to Apple. There's also a bigger battery, and a notch that's 20% smaller than that seen on the iPhone 12. And of course, there are a few more improvements too...
iPhone 13 screen: the new normal
The iPhone 12 range was the first to offer OLED screens on every model (previously, only the pricier iPhones had OLED, while the cheaper had LCD screens). Apple has stuck with this for the iPhone 13, but added an important upgrade: a higher refresh rate.
A higher refresh rate means the screens are more capable of rendering fast-moving content like games, sports and action movies without any blur, juddering or pixellation. Screens on the iPhone 13 handsets have a refresh rate of 120Hz – double the 60Hz refresh rate of the iPhone 12. So you should see a real improvement with certain types of content.
This feature only comes on the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max.
iPhone 13 camera: upgraded snaps a gogo
The iPhone features one of the best cameras ever found in a smartphone – it’s one of the biggest selling points of the device, and one of the most commonly used features on the phone. Apple hasn’t rested on its laurels, by choosing to upgrade the iPhone 13’s camera significantly.
The iPhone 13 and 13 mini have dual 12-megapixel sensors – one a wide-angle, and one ultra-wide angle. The wide camera has 47% more light and the same image stabilisation tech as seen in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, while the ultra-wide is ideal for landscapes.
There's also a new cinematic mode that lets you shift focus to different subjects in the frame for a more dramatic effect.
The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have even better cameras onboard. Its rear camera array comprises three snappers: a 77mm telephoto lens that's ideal for portraits, an ultra-wide that lets in 92% more light (ideal for macro photography), and a wide-angle lens.
For the first time, all of these cameras have night mode, making for much better low-light performance.
iPhone 13 5G: super speed as standard
As expected – and as seen on the iPhone 12 range – all members of the iPhone 13 family come with 5G connections as standard. That means you can connect to a 5G service, where available, for much quicker browsing, downloading and streaming speeds.
iPhone 13 battery: long life
One of the main criticisms of the iPhone 12 mini was the battery life, so it's good news that the iPhone 13 mini will last on average 90 minutes longer before needing a recharge.
The iPhone 13 also benefits from a bigger battery, squeezing out an average of 2.5 more hours before giving up the ghost.
This extra is extended to the pricier iPhone 13 models, too. The iPhone 13 Pro will also give you an extra 90 minutes compared to the 12 Pro, while the 13 Pro Max delivers an extra 2.5 hours. Impressive.
iPhone 13 box contents: no headphones or plug
Also as expected – and also in line with the iPhone 12 – the iPhone 13 does not come with headphones or a plug in the box. Remember, the iPhone doesn’t have a headphone port. So if you are buying headphones, you’ll need either a wireless pair, or some with a Lightning connection or adaptor.
iPhone 13 storage: more, more, more
The new phones come with new storage options. Apple has culled the entry-level 64GB model from the iPhone 12 family – the new minimum is 128GB. The iPhone 13 and 13 mini also come in 256GB and 512GB options, while the 13 Pro and Pro Max come in those sizes plus a new 1TB model.
1TB is an insane amount of storage. It will fit around 250 HD films, or about 250,000 photos.
iPhone 13 colours: fresh new hues
The iPhone 13 comes in five fresh new colourways, while the 13 Pro and Pro Max come in four new colours.
iPhone 13 price: bigger screen, bigger bucks
The iPhone 13 mini is the cheapest of the bunch, costing £679 SIM-free. The iPhone 13 is next, at £779, while the iPhone 13 Pro (which is the same size as the iPhone 13 but with a better camera) price is £949. The daddy of the family, the iPhone 13 Pro Max, also has the biggest price tag, setting you back £1049. Ouch.
iPhone 13 release date: coming soon
All iPhone 13 models were announced today, and they're all available to pre-order tomorrow. They all go on sale on 24 September.
iPhone 13 early verdict
Our expectations were high, but once again Apple hasn’t failed to impress. The new iPhones offer more power, better screens and swisher cameras, all wrapped up in the typical Apple package we know and love. Look out for a full review soon.
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “The evolution of mainstream smartphones has hit a plateau in recent years, with every premium handset boasting a pin-sharp full-screen display, wireless charging, and more cameras than the Met Gala’s red carpet.
“Folding handsets are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, but it is getting harder for manufacturers to make their most popular devices stand out, which made this Apple launch event intriguing to watch.
"Apple will be hoping that its hardware allows it to stand out, with the release of the A15 Bionic chip included in the iPhone 13 delivering better performance and allowing 15.8 trillion operations per second. The new chip also improves battery life, which is at the top of people’s wishlist for the new handset.
“With four variants of the iPhone revealed today, Apple is increasingly offering a handset to suit every user’s needs and, more importantly, their budgets.
“The reduced ‘selfie camera’ notch at the top of the screen is 20% smaller and makes the handset even more attractive to gamers and those who watch video content on their smartphone, as it enhances the viewing experience by creating a wider display. 50% faster graphics in the Pro version give this a real boost for users.
“Improved 3x optical zoom for video recording make the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera setup even more solid than the iPhone 12, which had an amateur level zoom with low quality detail.
“The new macrophotography feature in the iPhone 13 Pro improves performance in the camera, and further improvements to low-light conditions allow you to take photos of the night sky, but it’s hard to see this being a star attraction for the average user.
“Some ten million consumers say they are planning to upgrade to the next generation of iPhone in the coming year. By keeping its pricing the same, Apple will be hoping that these upgrades are enough to entice buyers to part with their money.
“The design changes are minimal on the iPhone and the same can be said for the new Apple Watch Series 7.
“The faster charging will be welcome news for those who also use their watch for sleep tracking and find it difficult to find the time to charge it.
“While many of the health features have stayed the same, the wider display allows users to have a more enjoyable experience when using the apps on offer.
“Apple fans are notoriously loyal, but the big question is whether there is enough that’s new and exciting in this update to entice them to upgrade once again. Fans will expect Apple to take the next evolutionary leap forward, but what that looks like is yet to be determined.”
Pre-orders for the new iPhone 13 range are now live, check out our handy [iPhone 13 buyers guide]9iPhone 13 Pro Max deals) for all the details.