The iPhone 12 ushered in a well-received update to the notched iPhone X aesthetic, borrowing the flat edges from older models for a slim, sleek look that is distinctive in the modern smartphone space.
Given Apple’s tendency to use its phone designs for 3-4 years with only minor changes, we don’t expect any huge visual differences this time around. Bloomberg reports that “Apple isn’t planning major changes for this year’s iPhone line” given all of the 2020 changes, and that the company considers it an S-like revision model, like the old iPhone 6s and previous versions that brought only slight changes.
Still, there should be tweaks in tow. A smaller notch has been rumoured each year since the release of the iPhone X, but mounting evidence suggests 2021 could finally be the year we see it. Mac Otakara references supply chain sources in saying that the iPhone 13 will be 0.26mm thicker (the iPhone 12 is 7.4mm thick, FYI), and that a redesigned notch will reposition some of its tech to make for a smaller overall result. TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has since echoed the note about a smaller notch, along with Barclays and MySmartPrice – so the evidence is growing.
In fact, analysis of design sketches shared by Twitter leaker DuanRi suggests the notch on the iPhone 13 will be almost 25% narrower than the cutout seen at the top of the iPhone 12. The body of the handset itself will only grow in thickness by 1.4%, but – if the schematic proves accurate – the camera bump on the iPhone 13 Pro could be more than a third thicker than the one on the iPhone 12 Pro.
Unbox Therapy posted a hands-on video with a mock-up dummy unit of the purported iPhone 13 Pro Max (above), based on leaked specs, and it shows what’s expected to be a roughly half-sized notch. A recent report from Digitimes (via 9to5Mac) suggested that Apple’s suppliers have shrunken the Face ID chip by up to 50%, leading to the smaller expected notch.
Leaker Max Weinbach (via MacRumors) suggests that the iPhone 13 will have a matte backing with a “grippier” texture, perhaps akin to the Pixel 5. The iPhone 12 Pro models already have a frosted matte backing, but it’s not significantly textured, while the iPhone 12 and Mini are glossy. It’s unclear whether he expects all iPhone 13 models to have a matte backing or just the Pro editions.
Apple has recently been rumoured to release a pink model of the iPhone 13, which doesn’t seem like such a stretch after the recent debut of a purple iPhone 12. We’ve also heard rumours in recent weeks about a bronze-like “Sunset Gold” version of the iPhone 13 Pro models that could have an orange-ish allure to it.