Apple iPhone 13 – Marginally Better Camera, Smaller Notch, Recycled Plastic (An honest guide to the new iPhone)

The fact that you’re here reading my opinion on the new Apple iPhone 13 is a responsibility I take incredibly seriously, but I’ll be honest… a lot of times innovation just gets sugar-coated. Throwing statistics like saying an iPhone is 40% faster and 10% lighter sounds incredibly enticing, but at the end of the day, a consumer is hardly expected to sit and measure an iPhone’s screen to see how much larger it is compared to its predecessor, or simultaneously run games on both phones and see if the newer one has 20% better graphics thanks to a 5-core GPU. As much as nerdy stats sound exciting, they honestly mean nothing to 99.9% of consumers when push comes to shove. So here’s my simplified overview of the new iPhone 13 – no technical jargon, no over-complicated charts, just simple facts.

The simple reason behind why I’m choosing this format is because there’s nothing measurably better in this year’s lineup. I’ve honestly seen the climate go through more drastic changes in a single year than the iPhone has this year. (And I’m not knocking on Apple… I just think this forced tradition of launching a new phone every year is getting tiring)

Apple introduced 5G and MagSafe with last year’s iPhones, so this is almost like a placeholder year for the company as the world combats a pandemic + chip shortage, and also as Apple prepares for much higher demand next year as people who bought the iPhone 11 and 12 will want to upgrade to the iPhone 14. So what’s new with this year’s iPhone? Not much if you’re looking for major changes. The notch is now slightly smaller (yet still very noticeable), the battery slightly bigger, the chip slightly better, the cameras have night mode, and you can now shoot cinematic videos where the focus shifts from one subject to another, like in films. Oh, and the iPhone 13 also uses plastic from recycled bottles in its antenna strips.

What just about visually sets the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini apart from last year’s iPhone 12 and 12 Mini is the marginally smaller notch (although a 20% size reduction isn’t really enough to make a difference), and the new camera layout on the back. The new diagonal layout, Apple claims, adds more space between the two lenses, allowing the internal sensors to be bigger. It’s enough to make this year’s iPhone 13 camera as good as last year’s 12 Pro. Pretty cool, but it isn’t unexpected to see cameras get better every year.

The new iPhone 13 and 13 Mini run on the A15 bionic chip, come with a slightly larger battery, and house a stronger Ceramic-Shield glass on the front. The antenna strips on the side of the phone use recycled plastic (from single-use bottles) along with recycled rare earth magnets, tungsten, gold, and other materials used in the phone. Like their predecessors, they support 5G and MagSafe, are available in 5 colors, and will ship without a charger.

The iPhone 13 and 13 Mini are accompanied by the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, which come with the same shimmering stainless steel body and glass front and back. The front sports the smaller notch, while the back looks exactly the same. The Pro series come with 3 lenses, although Apple claims they’ve made major changes to all three of them, giving all of them Night Mode and the ability to shoot incredible shots no matter the lighting. A notable upgrade to the iPhone’s camera capabilities is the addition of Macro photography, which lets you now zoom in on really small subjects to capture tinier details.

The new cameras on the 13 and 13 Pro editions also support a rather interesting video feature called Cinematic Mode – which allows the camera to automatically and intelligently shift focus from subject to subject while you’re taking a video, just like in Hollywood films. Here’s a quirky little short film they shot entirely on the iPhone to show the Cinematic Mode in action.

Ultimately, the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro aren’t as game-changing as one would expect, although I partly blame us consumers for having such lofty standards each year. Yes, they’re incrementally better (as they absolutely should be), but not in a way that’s directly measurable… or warranting of an upgrade (unless you absolutely need it). If you’re looking at your iPhone 12 and wondering whether to line up outside the Apple Store for an upgrade, I’d tell you to sit this one out. Apart from a slightly smaller notch, you’re really not missing much; and if you want longer battery life, perhaps a $99 MagSafe battery pack could solve your woes?

Designer: Apple

The Apple iPhone 14’s design has already leaked online, a full year in advance… with a flattened camera bump and no notch

No camera module, no notch, and a design that feels like the spiritual successor to the iPhone 4 which would complete its 11th year anniversary on the day. That’s what the upcoming iPhone 14 will look like, proclaims YouTuber and Apple’s worst nightmare Jon Prosser.

Amidst the chaos of the September 14th invite to Apple‘s launch for the iPhone 13, Prosser decided to drop a pretty big bombshell. His leak, he reiterates, isn’t of the iPhone 13… but rather, of the iPhone 14, which isn’t due till 2022. Prosser says he’s been in touch with supply chain workers who have shared images of the new phone with him and has then used those images to create renders that fully do justice to the design. The design in question, celebrates the 10th anniversary of the popular iPhone 4, with a similar flat-edge design, a flat camera module underneath a glass back, and a metal rim running along the sides. A noteworthy upgrade, however, is the presence of 3 rear camera lenses, and the disappearance of the divisive notch, which has plagued the iPhone’s design for nearly 5 years if you count the notched iPhone 13 that drops next week.

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Prosser teamed up with long-time collaborator RendersByIan to help visualize the phone. Look past that incredibly tongue-in-cheek Twitter screenshot of Prosser being blocked by Apple Executive Phil Schiller, and you’ll see a design that seems new yet familiar. Apple’s cultivated a reputation of incremental progress and upgrades (with a few absolute refreshes every decade or so), and the iPhone 14 is no different. It looks remarkably like the iPhone 4, with how flush the cameras sit on the back, the circular buttons against the metal rim on the side, and a silhouette that is just as bit iconic as it was back in 2011.

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Flip the phone over on its front and you’ll notice perhaps its biggest visual change yet. The screen on the front does away with the infamous notch, finally adopting the hole-punch camera design that’s been around on Android phones for a while now. The disappearance of the notch was even briefly foreshadowed on an episode of Ted Lasso where fans managed to catch a fleeting glimpse of a smartphone with a hole-punch camera. Now, this could easily be Apple just trying to elaborately fool us, but the most logical solution is that the company’s finally come up with a replacement for FaceID and therefore doesn’t need that massive unibrow on the top of the phone. Some speculate an in-screen fingerprint while others say the fingerprint scanner could be merged within the power button.

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Prosser’s video also deep-dives into possible color options and materials, which feels a little speculative at this point but it’s literally the only information we’ve got. He claims the images he saw were of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, so it isn’t immediately clear which other variants Apple aims at releasing and if there’s an iPhone 14 Mini too. Prosser also speculates that the phone will finally do away with the aluminum chassis and offer a new titanium variant which sounds incredibly interesting. The removal of the camera bump ties in with yet another online rumor from Ming-Chi Kuo that the iPhone 14 will be portless, which would mean the smartphone would need to rely solely on wireless communication and wireless charging, putting the phone’s MagSafe feature front and center. A flatter back panel (sans the camera bump) would go a great distance in helping the phone rest on flat chargers and wireless communication devices too. However, it’s too soon to really get into the details of a smartphone that isn’t due for approximately another 13 months. That being said, all we can really hope and pray for is that we get past the massive chip shortage we’re currently facing, so the next iPhone launch is nothing but smooth sailing!

Image Credits: Jon Prosser and Ian Zelbo (FRONT PAGE TECH)

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

Apple iPhone 14 Jon Prosser Rendersbyian

The post The Apple iPhone 14’s design has already leaked online, a full year in advance… with a flattened camera bump and no notch first appeared on Yanko Design.

The Apple iPhone 12 – the new era of 5G smartphones can’t shake off the old-era notch

I’m really tempted to buy a new iPhone, and that’s something Apple manages to pull off each year. With great features, cross-compatibility, better cameras, and hardware upgrades, the new iPhone gets me excited every year and this year’s no different… but I’m choosing to draw the line at the fact that it’s been 3 years since the first time Apple released a smartphone with a notch… and even after all that while, as companies have moved onto hole-punch cameras, under-display cameras, and literally folding phones, Apple still chooses to hold onto this weird, antiquated detail that makes even the newest of phones seem old. I love the new iPhone 12 series smartphones, but that notch is now a deal-breaker.

Here are some hard facts that Tim Cook gave us at the beginning of the iPhone presentation. Ever since its launch in 2007, the iPhone has consistently been the number 1 smartphone in the world, with literally billions of customers. Ranking at the 1st position when it comes to customer satisfaction for 13 years straight definitely isn’t a laughing matter. Apple has a track record of making phenomenal devices. Tim unveiled 4 new phones today – the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini (I’m really impressed that Apple decided to make a smaller, hand-friendly smartphone), and the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max – stating that these phones were a part of a new era for the iPhone. All four phones come equipped with 5G, making them faster, more efficient, and arguably safer too (because you don’t need to connect to sketchy public WiFi hotspots to get great coverage.

The new era of iPhones however still stick to an old-era design. The silhouette of both the 12 and 12 Pro series look exactly like the iPhone 4 and 5, and while I won’t really say much about the camera bump, given that it’s a necessity for peak performance, Apple’s still stuck to that godawful notch, which literally carves its way into the screen, eating up what could be prime pixel-estate. The reason why the notch stings even more is because Apple literally launched an iPad Air LAST MONTH with TouchID built into the power-button. It seems like with the new series of iPhones, Apple has all the right answers, but isn’t asking the right questions.

If you can look past that notch, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro series are actually really great phones! The 12 series comes in a regular and a smaller size, boasting of a dual-camera setup, the A14 Bionic chip, 5G capability, a brilliant Super Retina XDR display, and a different type of glass created in collaboration with Corning. This new glass, called Ceramic Shield, has nanoceramic crystals growing on the glass matrix. The result is a glass that’s 4-times stronger than the one on the iPhone 11, making it MUCH more resistant to cracks and shattering. The 12 Pro series comes in a regular and a Max, with a stunning mirror-finish Stainless Steel bezel. The cameras are designed to blow the competition out of the water with Deep Fusion computational photography, Night Mode built into all shots, a LiDAR sensor for better edge-detection, and the ability to capture images in a new uncompressed format called Apple ProRAW. On the video front, the 12 Pro series uses HDR Video Recording, and are the only smartphones to record and edit in Dolby Vision, creating videos that are literally cinematic.

Perhaps the most interesting feature in the new iPhones this year around was a Tuesday Throwback to one of Apple’s greatest design details… the MagSafe. The new iPhones come with a MagSafe ring built into the back, allowing them to instantly align with wireless chargers, but at the same time also seamlessly connect with Apple’s new cases (including a full-phone sleeve with a clock-cutout on the front), and even with a newly unveiled series of leather wallet-modules that let you carry your Apple Card or other payment cards on the back of your phone. Belkin is rumored to be working on MagSafe chargers too, hopefully as Apple’s way of saying Mea Culpa for the time they announced the AirPower mat but couldn’t deliver on it.

All in all, the new iPhones are great in practically every department. They’re powerful computing machines thanks to a new chip and Apple’s in-house hardware and silicone manufacturing. The display’s great, the user interface is still considered one of the finest, and the camera is touted as an industry leader. Apple’s even leading in the sustainability department, with the new iPhones being manufactured carbon-neutral, and shipping only with Lightning/USB-C cables that allow you to charge your iPhone with any charging block or laptop, helping ultimately cut down on e-waste. As a result, the new iPhone boxes are slimmer too, letting you ship more units in the same shipping container, bringing its carbon footprint down. However, the one place it isn’t leading in is its antiquated design. The notch isn’t so much a feature anymore as much as it’s a blemish. While most companies have shifted to slimmer notches, hole-punch cameras, or even sliding camera modules, Apple clings to this black bar from 3 years ago. While the notch is itself a physical obstacle, it acts as a digital one too, given that FaceID in a time where people are wearing masks isn’t really ideal… and that other smartphone companies have been using in-screen fingerprint sensors for nearly 2 years now, and that Apple’s even created an alternative – a power-button with TouchID, but for a different product. The 12 and 12 Pro are every bit a part of a new era for the iPhone… it’s just that they don’t look the part.

Designer: Apple

Apple iPhone 12 & 12 Mini

Apple iPhone 12 Pro & 12 Pro Max

MagSafe for Apple iPhone

Google Pixel 4 XL renders suggest the notch is going away

We already know what the rear of Google's upcoming Pixel 4 looks like, and renders of the other side of the XL version suggest the smartphone will ditch the widely-derided notch of the Pixel 3 XL. Tipster Steve Hemmerstoffer, aka OnLeaks, has a solid...

Watch the OnePlus 7 Pro’s pop-up camera lift 49 pounds of cement

If you can get your hands on the OnePlus 7 Pro -- one of two flagship phones released today -- one of the first things you'll notice is that it's done away with the front-facing notch camera. Instead, OnePlus opted for a pop-up camera. And to prove j...

Samsung imagines full-screen phone with a camera hidden under the display

Samsung is working on a "perfect full-screen" phone that will be 100 percent display, with no notches, bezels or cut-outs. According to Yang Byung-duk, the company's display R&D vice president, "Technology can move to the point where the camera h...