What we want from Apple’s 2021 flagship


Apple only released its most recent array of iPhones in October, but we’re already looking ahead at what the Cupertino company could have in store for the flagship line in 2021. In this guide, you’ll find everything we know so far about the iPhone 13, along with all the specs and features we’d like to see in Apple’s next smartphone. 


Apple’s most recent line up consisted of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone Mini, with the Mini being a newcomer for the brand.

With the 12 series, Apple delivered improvements across the board with the base model, in particular, offering an increasingly Pro-level experience. The introduction of the Mini also brought along an option for those of us yearning for the days of smaller phones that can fit into our pockets. Make sure to visit our full reviews to find out what we loved most about each model, as well as where we think Apple could improve in 2021.

While its still too early to say for sure what Apple will bring to the table, a number of leaks and rumours have emerged that could give us a hint of what to expect from the company this year.

So far, we’ve heard rumour of a periscope-style lens to boost optical zoom without bulking out the body of the phone, and a return to Touch ID alongside the iPhone’s existing Face ID capabilities. The under-display fingerprint tech, which has also been reported by the Wall Street Journal, would be especially handy right now as it would give users wearing masks an alternative fast option to sign into their phones and use features like Apple Pay in shops.

Other rumours touch on the design of the iPhone 13. Both Digitimes (via Forbes) and MacOtakara and have suggested that the next iPhone will work of reducing the size of its dated notch, with the latter also reporting that the phone will be 0.26mm thicker.

More recently, Twitter tipster @MauriGHD shared the above tweet seemingly confirming that there Apple has created an entirely notch-less prototype at the expense of larger bezels. However, the leaker also indicates that Apple may not make the leap to fully notch-less until the iPhone 14 in 2022.

As far as the display goes, Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech believes that the iPhone 13 will definitely be getting LTPO displays, allowing Apple to include a 120Hz refresh rate on the ProMotion screens.

As with previous models, there are rumours Apple will finally ditch the Lightning port and go completely wireless. Prosser tweeted about a port-less iPhone 2021 last May, suggesting the phones will never adopt USB-C despite pressure from the EU to make the port a universal standard.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via Apple Insider) recently suggested that Apple is “aggressively” testing a vapor chamber thermal system to be used in the iPhone, allowing Apple to handle higher thermal loads caused by the adoption of 5G and increased CPU performance.

Read on to discover everything else we hope to see in the iPhone 13 this year…

1. A high refresh, ProMotion display

Arguably the biggest missing feature from the iPhone 12 line is a faster refresh rate display, like the ProMotion panels we’ve got on the high-end iPad Pro. Screens with a faster refresh rate than 60Hz look smoother during operation, are more responsive when gaming and they have become commonplace on Android phones at all price points.

Rumour has it some models of the 12 Pro Max were tested with a faster display, but that it was ditched to ensure strong battery life along with 5G. Whether this is the case or not, hopefully it’s something we’ll see next year.

Related: Best iPhone

2. Get rid of the notch

The notch has been dipping into the display of iPhones since the X a few years ago and while it’s easy to get used to, it’s still one of the few design elements that could be improved.

Sorry to compare to Android again, but we’ve seen phones from Samsung, Motorola and OnePlus tackle the notch and minimise its size.

Of course, with the iPhones you’ve got the small problem of FaceID which requires a bevvy of sensors to work as well as it does. If Apple can find a way to reduce the space needed for these sensors, then maybe we might see a smaller notch on the iPhone 13.

3. Give us the TouchID and Face ID combo

FaceID remains the finest facial unlocking system on any phone, as it works accurately in all manner of situations and rarely fails. It has one big issue though: it’s rubbish when you’re wearing a mask, something that feels like it’s going to be a sticking point for quite some time.

The easiest way to combat that is the reintroduction of TouchID, ideally embedded inside the lock button just like it is on the iPad Air 4. This gives you the practicality of a fingerprint sensor with the ease of FaceID.

4. Speed up MagSafe charging

We’re big fans of the new MagSafe Charger you can buy alongside the iPhone 12 (well, aside from the fact that it doesn’t come with a plug). It’s the most practical form of wireless charging as the magnets mean you can use the phone while it’s charging and the puck is incredibly small. Still, when compared to wired charging it’s about 50% slower. If Apple really does want to eventually go portless, the wireless solution needs to be a little bit faster.

The MagSafe Charger

Related: Best phones

5. USB-C?

Apple now uses the hugely convenient USB-C port on its laptop and tablets, but with the iPhone 12 we’re still stuck with Lightning.

A move to USB-C on the iPhone once seemed like a possibility, however with the rumours of a portless iPhone coming it seems like it might never happen. But, if we had our way the iPhone 13 would ditch Lightning and go for USB-C.





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