iPhone 13 and 13 Pro: The five most important things you need to know
These are the biggest features that make iPhone 13 a big upgrade over iPhone 12.
By Macworld staff
Apple has officially announced the iPhone 13 line. Like the iPhone 12, it will be available in four sizes: iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. They’re quite similar to the iPhone 12 line in overall design, but there are quite a few changes that make the iPhone 13 a substantial upgrade. Here are the standout features of the iPhone 13.
Updated 09/14/21: We’ve changed this guide from its earlier list of rumors to a compilation of confirmed features, now that the iPhone 13 has been unveiled by Apple.
The cameras are improved
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini now have the larger wide camera sensor found in last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max. That means a 1.7 micron pixels that capture 47 percent more light, for better low-light performance. The ultra-wide camera has similar specs to last year’s model, but Apple says it is new as well. Of course, the A15 Bionic means better image processing.
To that end, Apple is introducing a new Cinematic Mode for shooting video. It shoots in Dolby HDR and allows for a slick new automatic (or manual) rack focus mode that lets you change focus even after shooting. A new Photographic Styles feature lets you choose and customize one of four different styles that will get applied during the image processing pipeline, rather than a post-processing filter.
The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have even more improvements. The new telephoto camera has a 3x zoom (77mm) and now supports Night Mode. The UltraWide camera has an f/1.8 aperture and autofocus, which Apple says improves low light performance by 92 percent. The standard 12MP wide camera is even bigger with 1.9-micron pixels and an f/1.5 aperture, which combine to a 2.2x improvement in low light, according to Apple. The new lens array focuses as close as 2cm, which allows for greatly improved macro photography.
Later this year, Apple will introduce ProRes recording to the iPhone 13 Pro, enabled by new hardware-accelerated encoding in the A15 Bionic. You’ll be able to capture ProRes video up to 4K at 30fps.
The displays are brighter, and the Pro has ProMotion
The regular iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have a new OLED display that matches the performance of the iPhone 12 Pro from last year. The brightness goes up to 800 nits (up from 625 in the iPhone 12) and with HDR content, up to 1200 nits (the same as before). Apple says the improved power utilization of these new displays means they can hold peak brightness longer.
In the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, the standard display brightness goes up to a maximum of 1000 nits (up from 800 in the iPhone 12 Pro). The iPhone 13 Pro models also now support ProMotion like the iPad Pro, with variable refresh rates from 10Hz to 120Hz.
The A15 is really fast
Apple says the A15 is the fastest processor ever in a smartphone but doesn’t directly divulge performance metrics. It still has a 6-core CPU, with two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, which Apple says are up to 50 percent faster than the fastest competing smartphone processor. The 5-core GPU is, Apple says, up to 30 percent faster than any competing smartphone chip. Note that the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini only have a 4-core GPU, so graphics performance will be a bit better in the Pro models.
There’s still a 16-core Neural Engine, but it now performs up to 15.8 trillion operations per second, while the Neural Engine in the A14 could do 11 trillion. Apple also briefly mentioned faster bandwidth and storage throughput, which suggests to us that the A15 uses LPDDR5x RAM.
The battery lasts longer
Apple doesn’t divulge the exact battery capacity for the iPhone, so we won’t have comparison figures until someone does a teardown. But Apple did say that all iPhone models have new larger batteries and that the A15 Bionic is more energy efficient.
As a result, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 Pro will get, on average, 1.5 hours more battery life in a typical day than the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max do even better, with a claimed improvement of 2.5 hours more battery life.
Apple likes to give battery stats in terms of hours of typical video playback. To give you an idea of how the new models compare with the iPhone 12, here are Apple’s typical video playback battery life figures, compared to the relevant iPhone 12 model:
iPhone 13 mini: 17 hours (up from 15)
iPhone 13: 19 hours (up from 17)
iPhone 13 Pro: 22 hours (up from 17)
iPhone 13 Pro Max: 28 hours (up from 20)
Storage starts at 128GB, Pro goes up to 1TB
With the iPhone 13, every model now starts at 128GB with 256GB and 512GB options. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have 1TB options as well. By comparison, the iPhone 12 models started at 64GB, with options for 128GB and 256GB. The iPhone 12 Pro doubled all of those storage amounts, with 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models.
iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 specs
Wondering how the iPhone 13 compares to the iPhone 12? Here’s a comparison of the most popular models—the standard iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro.
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