The hype surrounding Apple’s next iPhone lineup has been slowly gaining traction in the passing months. According to a new leak from EverythingApplePro and Max Weinbach, Apple will finally bring Always-On Display functionality to its upcoming iPhone 13 series. The rumor suggests iPhone 13 units will use Samsung’s 120Hz LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) displays and users will be able to have their battery percentage and time on display at all times.
There’s also talk of notifications appearing on the AOD by lighting up just a small portion of the screen. The new leak also mentions iPhone 13 will bring stronger MagSafe magnets preventing compatible accessories from unclipping. In addition to the previous camera leaks, there’s talk of an automatic Astro-photography mode which will switch on when it detects stars or other space objects in the sky.
Apple’s AirTags were also mentioned to launch in March of April and the Apple Watch Series 7 will gain blood sugar tracking.
This year’s iPhone 13 lineup will include an always-on display with a 120hz refresh rate, improved camera capabilities for astrophotography, stronger MagSafe magnets, and a finer matte finish on the back, according to leaker Max Weinbach
Always-on displays are typical in most flagship Android smartphones, and it allows users to see information on their screen at all times, without having to power on or unlock the device. Ever since the iPhone X, which was the first iPhone to feature an OLED display, many have speculated Apple will bring this feature to iPhone users.
OLED displays use less power than LCD displays, since each pixel is individually controlled, unlike LCD panels which use backlight and light up all pixels, even if it’s just to show a small piece of information on the screen. With OLED displays, Apple is able to only light up the pixels needed to show users the time, battery, or some form of indicator for app notifications, without using a significant amount of battery power.
Weinbach claims that the always-on display will look like a “toned down lockscreen,” where the clock and battery charge are always visible, and past notifications are shown through “a bar and icons.” When users receive a notification, the notification will “pop up normally except that the screen will not entirely light up.” Instead, “it will display it just like you’re used to right now, except dimmed down and only temporarily,” according to the leaker.
The leaker also “confirms” that a 120hz ProMotion refresh rate is happening on the 2021 Pro iPhone models, a feature that was widely rumored to appear on the iPhone 12. An always-on and ProMotion display would not require a change in physical design, and that yields to the fact that Weinbach reports there will be no change to the actual chassis on the iPhone 13 compared to the iPhone 12 lineup. The only possible hardware change will be a matte back with a “grippier, more comfortable” feeling, similar to the finishing on the back of the Google Pixel series.
Internally, MagSafe will be getting “considerably” stronger, according to the leak. The iPhone 12 features MagSafe on the back that allows users to magnetically attach different accessories and offers an alternative way to charge the device, however, the magnets have been criticized by some for being weak. Apple’s looking to alleviate those concerns by adding stronger magnets, although the addition is not expected to be the sole reason for a rumored increase in device thickness. As for the cameras, Weinbach reports that Apple is increasing its efforts in astrophotography.
Astrophotography, the photography of astronomy, typically requires complicated camera setups to proficiently capture the night times dark sky. The integration of the ability into the iPhone is expected to be seamless, with the leak claiming the iPhone will automatically switch to the mode when it registers a user pointing to the sky. The mode will allow the phone to detect different artifacts such as the moon and stars and adjusts settings such as exposure accordingly. Corroborating Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the leak says the ultra-wide camera across the entire lineup will be getting an improved sensor and lens.
The newest information from the leaks points towards the ability to take portrait videos on this year’s iPhone. Users have been able to take portrait photos since the launch of the iPhone 7 Plus, but it has remained entirely limited to photos. Portrait mode adds a depth feel to your photos, blurring the background and keeping the center subject fully in focus. With videos, the task becomes much harder since the subject is actively moving, making it harder to add a depth effect in real-time.
The new information joins an already long list of features we’re expecting for the 2021 iPhone. A Bloomberg report suggests that the biggest headlining feature of the lineup will be the reintroduction of Touch ID on the iPhone. According to that report, Apple is testing burying the Touch ID sensor below the display, allowing users to unlock their device if Face ID is deemed unusable, such as when you’re wearing a mask. Unlike the iPhone 12 which saw delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the iPhone 13 is expected to launch on time in September.