Apple's iPhone 13 has a smaller notch and bigger battery

·Deputy Managing Editor
·3-min read
iPhone 13

Apple isn't worried about 13 being an unlucky number. The company just unveiled its latest generation of smartphones, the iPhone 13, and is giving us the rundown on all the changes to this year's models right now. Unsurprisingly, it looks nearly identical to last year's iPhone 12, but our first glimpse of it showed a 20-percent smaller notch on the front for Face ID as well as a redesigned back camera module — but by and large, it's visually nearly identical to the iPhone 12.

More crucially, the iPhone 13 also has a bigger battery, something that should be welcome for both phones, particularly the iPhone 13 mini. Yep, Apple is keeping the smaller phone around this year. Both phones also have 28 percent brighter screens, but Apple says most iPhone 13 mini users will get an extra 1.5 hours of usage, while the standard iPhone 13 will last 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12. Given that battery life was probably one of the biggest downsides of last year's iPhones, this should give users a little relief. The screen sizes are identical to last year: 6.1 inches for the iPhone 13, and 5.4 inches on the iPhone 13 mini.

As usual, the new iPhone features Apple's latest A-series chip, and this year it's the A15 Bionic processor. It's a 5nm chip with nearly 15 billion transistors that Apple says is 50 percent faster than its competition. It has two new high-performance cores, four new efficiency cores, a faster four-core graphics processor (again, compared to undefined competition), and a faster neural engine, its dedicated neural networking processor.

As for the cameras, Apple has a new wide camera sensor and lens; Apple says its the largest camera sensor it has ever put into a dual-camera system on its phones, and it has bigger pixels than the prior phone. The iPhone 13 is also getting the sensor-shift optical image stabilization system that first came to the iPhone 12 Pro Max last year — having this system available on a much more inexpensive phone will be a nice boost. There's also a new ultra-wide camera sensor, as well.

Apple has made a video a big focus in recent years, and that's the case with the iPhone 13 as well. The company is showing off a new mode called "cinematic mode," but they haven't said exactly what that's all about yet. We did get to see it in action in a clip they showed, and it seems that it lets the camera move focus seamlessly between the foreground and background. As Apple says, focus transitions will move focus automatically and follow character's attention so that it knows where to direct your attention. Naturally, you can still tap to change focus at any time.

5G support for the iPhone 13 has been expanded, as well — the antenna system works on more carriers than ever. By the end of the year, Apple says 5G will work on 200 carriers in 60 countries.

As for pricing, Apple kept things the same this year: the iPhone 13 mini starts at $699, while the iPhone 13 starts at $799. Both phones come with 128GB of storage (doubled from a year ago), which is another major upgrade over last year's model. This year's colors are black, silver, red, blue and a new pink finish. Preorders open on Friday, and the phones will be available on September 24th.

Follow all of the news from Apple’s iPhone event right here.

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