At its California Streaming event tonight (14 September) Apple announced its new iPhones for 2021. And about a million other products.
In this article we round up absolutely everything you need to know about the iPhone 13 and its mini, Pro and Pro Max siblings. Once the devices go on sale you'll find the lowest prices in our roundup of the best iPhone deals. For buying advice we have iPhone 13 series: Which new iPhone should you buy?
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What are the new iPhones called?
The new handsets are called the iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro and 13 Max. We thought Apple might pander to the more superstitious members of its fanbase and go for a less unlucky number like 12s, but the company has decided to keep things simple.
How much do the new iPhones cost?
The 13 mini, 13, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max start at prices of £679/$699, £779/$799, £949/$999 and £1,049/$1,099 respectively. (UK buyers will be pleased to note a small drop in those entry-level prices. The US prices remain the same as last year.) Pre-orders begin this Friday, and the phones will go on sale on 24 September.
Note that there's a new one-terabyte storage option - Apple's never offered that before on a phone.
iPhone 13 mini prices
- 128GB: £679/$699
- 256GB: £779/$799
- 512GB: £979/$999
iPhone 13 prices
- 128GB: £779/$799
- 256GB: £879/$899
- 512GB: £1,079/$1,099
iPhone 13 Pro prices
- 128GB: £949/$999
- 256GB: £1,049/$1,099
- 512GB: £1,249/$1299
- 1TB: £1,449/$1,499
iPhone 13 Pro Max prices
- 128GB: £1,049/$1,099
- 256GB: £1,149/$1,199
- 512GB: £1,349/$1,399
- 1TB: £1,549/$1,599
iPhone 13 design
As expected, the new iPhones are externally similar to last year's models. Apple very rarely makes significant design changes two years running.
One external change that is noticeable, however, is the reconfiguration of the twin rear lenses on the iPhone 13 and 13 mini: these are arranged diagonally, rather than vertically as on the iPhone 12.
And the dimensions have changed very slightly: the width and height of the new devices are exactly the same as their direct predecessors, but all four are both thicker (by just a quarter of a millimetre) and heavier (by anywhere from 6g to 24g) than their 12-series equivalents.
- iPhone 12 mini: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm; 135g
- iPhone 13 mini: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.65mm; 141g
- iPhone 12: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm; 164g
- iPhone 13: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm; 174g
- iPhone 12 Pro: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm; 189g
- iPhone 13 Pro: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm; 204g
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4mm; 228g
- iPhone 13 Pro Max: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.65mm; 240g
Note that the differences in dimensions means that iPhone 12/Pro cases are not compatible with the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro
There have been some changes to the colour finishes available.
The iPhone 13 and 13 mini come in pink, blue, Midnight (seemingly a very dark blue/black), Starlight (silvery white) and (Product)Red.
The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max come in graphite, gold, silver and Sierra Blue.
iPhone 13 specs and new features
We can split the new features and spec upgrades into two sections: the ones that apply to the 13 and 13 mini, and the more exclusive stuff that applies only to the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max.
iPhone 13 and 13 mini
The upgraded feature set for the 13 and 13 mini includes the following:
- New Super Retina XDR screens are 28% brighter than the previous generation. Max outdoor brightness is now 800 nits, while peak brightness is 1200 nits. Yet the screens are also claimed to be more power-efficient - of which more in a moment.
- Super-fast A15 Bionic processor. Like the A14 in the iPhone 12, it features 6 CPU cores (2 performance for high speed and 4 'efficiency' for power management) and 4 GPU cores; there are nearly 15 billion transistors. Apple is a little vague about performance here, but says that for processing the A15 is "up to 50% faster than the competition", and up to 30% faster for graphics.
- More accessible 5G support in more countries. "The customised hardware design in the iPhone 13 lineup features more 5G bands, allowing it to work in more places on 5G for greater coverage and performance," Apple says.
- Longer battery life: up to 1.5 hours more for 13 mini compared to 12 mini, and 2.5 hours more for iPhone 13 compared to the 12. (Interestingly, that doesn't quite match Apple's estimated battery life figures on the product pages. There the company estimates 19 hours of video playback for iPhone 13, up from 17 on iPhone 12, and 17 for the 13 mini, up from 15 on the 13 mini.)
- The cameras have been upgraded. Apple promises improved low-light camera performance, Smart HDR 3 has been replaced by Smart HDR 4 - we'll have to test that out - and there's a new Photographic Styles feature that lets you customise and save settings, based on preset templates, for future shots.
- There's also a new Cinematic video mode designed to use shallow depth of field to create movie-like effects. Note that this is limited to 1080p and 30fps. And sensor-shift optical image stabilisation for video is new, too.
- Whereas the iPhone 12 offered dual-SIM capabilities provided one was hardware and the other an eSIM, the iPhone also lets you use twin eSIMs.
iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max
On top of the above, the Pro models add some further incentives:
- Following widespread complaints when it didn't appear last year, the Pro models feature displays with ProMotion adaptive refresh rates. The screens can offer rates of up to 120Hz when required, but this will drop when the extra smoothness isn't required in order to preserve battery life.
- Redesigned camera lenses. In terms of apertures, telephoto goes from f/2.0 to f/2.8; wide from f/1.6 to f/1.5; and ultra wide from f/2.4 to f/1.8. There's now optical zoom up to 6x (up from 4x last year) and digital zoom up to 15x (up from 10x), and 4K 30fps ProRes video.
- The A15 Bionic chip gets access to 5 GPU cores, up from 4 on the iPhone 12 Pro (and on the 13 and 13 mini).
- Again, they both offer improved battery life: the 13 Pro lasts 1.5 hours longer than the 12 Pro, and 13 Pro Max 2.5 hours longer than the 12 Pro Max.
- As mentioned above, there's a new one-terabyte storage option that's never been offered on an iPhone before.
That's all the key info about the 13-series iPhones. But if you'd like to know what else Apple's been up to lately, read about the new iPad, new iPad mini and new Apple Watch which were also announced tonight.
For our thoughts on the products likely to roll out of Cupertino before the year is out, check out our guide to the new Apple products coming in 2021. And don't forget to keep one eye on the latest bargains with our roundup of the best Apple deals.