iPhone 13 could bring ProMotion display, camera upgrades, smaller notch

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Dickson's dummies show small changes to four possible iPhone 13 models.
More than just an incremental upgrade.
Photo: Sonny Dickson

This year’s iPhone refresh could be a lot more exciting than the incremental upgrades we’ve seen in previous years. A new report claims Apple’s next-generation smartphone lineup — which could be called iPhone 13 — will bring faster ProMotion displays, pro camera upgrades, and a smaller notch.

Apple rolled a big iPhone refresh last fall, introducing brand-new designs, the A14 Bionic chip, and new features like MagSafe. We expected this year’s refresh to be a little less exciting, like the incremental upgrades we’re using to seeing every other year, but that may not be the case.

Reliable Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman predicts big things from the 2021 iPhone lineup, including major improvements in a number of key areas.

iPhone 13 the first with ProMotion?

In addition to faster ProMotion displays — like those available in iPad Pro, which can reach refresh rates of up to 120Hz — this year’s iPhone models will bring ProRes and Portrait Mode for videos, and design tweaks, Gurman says.

“A new ProRes video-recording feature will let iPhone users capture clips in a higher-quality format that gives editors more control during post-production,” the report reads. “The format is used by professional video editors in the film industry and isn’t normally intended for the mass market.”

Portrait Mode, with debuted with iPhone 7 Plus in 2016, has become a key feature in subsequent iPhone models. It has been available only when shooting still photos until now, though iOS 15 will extend Portrait Mode to FaceTime calls as well. And iPhone 13 could extend it again to videos.

“Another feature will let users better control the look of colors and highlights in their pictures,” the report continues. “Users will be able to choose from several styles to apply to their photos, including one for showing colors at either a warmer or cooler temperature while keeping whites neutral.”

iPhone mini isn’t going anywhere yet

Gurman also predicts that the new iPhone lineup will be powered by a new A15 chip, as expected. Earlier reports suggest the chip will use a more advanced 5-nanometer manufacturing process that will result in both performance and efficiency improvements.

On the design tweaks, Gurman says the notch above iPhone’s display, which houses its front-facing speaker, FaceTime camera, and Face ID sensors, will reportedly get smaller for the first time since it was introduced with iPhone X in 2017. However, display sizes are expected to remain the same this year.

Apple “will retain the same 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch regular sizes and 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro screen dimensions, as well as their designs,” Gurman writes. That means the iPhone mini, which reportedly hasn’t sold that well since its introduction, still has a future — at least for now.

The new iPhone models are said to be codenamed D16, D17, D63, and D64. Gurman notes that last year’s iPhone unveiling was pushed back to October (rather than September) as a result of COVID-19 delays, but it’s not yet clear when we can expect this year’s lineup to appear.