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One of the great things about this year’s 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro is that it’s once again the equal of its larger 6.7-inch “Max” sibling in every way, but unfortunately, this may come with a cost.
Last year, the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max gained a noticeably better camera over its 6.1-inch counterpart. This included a 2.5X zoom, a 47 percent larger sensor that could capture more light, and sensor-shift optical image stabilization.
The price of all of these bonuses, however, was that the iPhone 12 Pro Max also had the largest camera bump ever, and it’s easy to understand how Apple may have been reluctant to bring that to the smaller 6.1-inch model.
This year, it’s decided that it’s more important that both of the iPhone 13 Pro models differ mostly in size. This means that, despite rumours that the iPhone 13 Pro Max would still have the best camera, both of the new iPhones Pro can now take photos and videos with the same specs.
For iPhone 13 Pro Max users, it’s a nice boost over the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but for iPhone 13 Pro users, it’s a massive leap over the prior 6.1-inch Pro model.
Both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max gain a 3x optical zoom, a 6-element Ultra Wide lens with autofocus and an f/1.8 aperture that lets in 92% more light, plus the main wide lens jumping to a 1.9-micron sensor that pairs up with an f/1.5 aperture to more than double the low-light performance.
The downside, however, is that this also means that the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro gains the same gargantuan camera bump that spans just over half the width of the iPhone.
With the iPhone 12 Pro lineup, Apple seemed more concerned about keeping the camera bumps proportional to the size of each model, but of course, this also meant holding back the camera on the 6.1-inch iPhone and reserving all the best camera features for the 6.7-inch Max version.
This year, Apple has decided that it’s more important to bring the better cameras to both iPhone 13 Pro models, resulting in the same size camera bump on both. Of course, since the iPhone 13 Pro is physically smaller than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the larger camera bump takes up much more space.
The new camera bump on the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro is so large that it raises the possibility of compatibility problems with MagSafe and MagSafe-compatible accessories.
While Apple’s perfectly round MagSafe Charger likely won’t present a problem, the camera bump could get in the way of other MagSafe chargers and mounts that have a larger surface area — including Apple’s own MagSafe Duo.
The possibility was first pointed out by Alejandro Parra, a reader of Spanish Apple blog La Manzana Mordida, who has already received the official leather case for his iPhone 13 Pro in advance of the actual iPhone.
Since the iPhone 13 Pro camera bump is not only larger, but also deeper, the new cases include a rather prominent raised “lip” surrounding the camera bump, which means that an iPhone 13 Pro won’t lay completely flat on any surface, even when it’s in one of Apple’s leather or silicone cases.
This same raised edge could potentially get in the way of MagSafe charging, as Parra discovered when he attempted to set his new case down on his MagSafe Duo charger.
It’s possible that Apple has lowered the MagSafe ring on the iPhone 13 Pro to account for this, but evidence suggests that it remains in the same place as before — centred around the Apple logo on the rear of the iPhone.
Although we couldn’t find any official images on Apple’s website of an iPhone 13 Pro with a MagSafe charger to know for sure, Apple’s official cases also include a ring of MagSafe magnets designed to line up with the MagSafe ring on the iPhone.
These are normally fairly visible from the inside of most of Apple’s cases, but they’re most prominently shown in Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Clear Case with MagSafe, which also clearly illustrates exactly how close the edge of the MagSafe ring is to the camera bump.
While Parra notes that he’ll have to wait until he has an actual iPhone 13 Pro in his hands before he knows for sure, it certainly looks like it could be a problem, especially when using the case. Even without the case, however, it looks like the camera bump will still be likely to get in the way of charging on the MagSafe Duo, and it could likely affect other MagSafe-compatible mounts and chargers as well.
Notably, Apple’s more recently released MagSafe Battery Pack does appear that it will just fit. The MagSafe ring in this case is so close to the edge that we think Apple must have had the new iPhone 13 Pro in mind when it designed it.
The good news, however, is that any of these compatibility problems are likely to be unique to the iPhone 13 Pro, since it’s the only iPhone 13 model with a disproportionally larger camera bump.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is already large enough that the bump shouldn’t get in the way any more than it did last year, and the standard iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini camera bumps remain largely unchanged from their predecessors.
It remains to be seen whether Apple will release an updated MagSafe Duo Charger to account for this. FCC filings revealed earlier this month suggested Apple has a new MagSafe Charger in the works, but there were indications this is an update to the standard MagSafe Charger, rather than the MagSafe Duo.
Since no schematics and photos of the actual charger have been released, it’s difficult to know for sure what Apple is working on here. However, the filings do show a diagram of the label location, which is on the USB-C end of the cable. This means that whatever it is, it will have a fixed USB-C cable, which the current MagSafe Duo lacks, opting for a standard Lightning to USB-C cable instead.
The bottom line, however, is that if you’re planning to get an iPhone 13 Pro, you’ll want to be a bit more careful about any MagSafe accessories you plan to pair it up with. Of course, this shouldn’t affect non-MagSafe wireless charging, since perfect alignment isn’t required to use a normal 7.5W Qi wireless charger, but you won’t get faster charging speeds unless your MagSafe charger can lock in on the magnetic ring.