With the iPhone 12 lineup now out and selling like hotcakes, analysts aren’t wasting any time in setting their sights on what next year’s “iPhone 13” lineup is going to look like, and now venerable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is adding his voice to the chorus for the 2021 iPhone lineup, suggesting that it could be even more popular than this year’s iPhone 12 Pro.
In a recently released research note, Kuo outlines his expectations for what’s coming next fall, confirming some of the reports we’ve already heard that the so-called “iPhone 13” could see even more significant camera improvements. Although Kuo doesn’t quite go as far in predicting the high-megapixel counts that we’ve heard from others, he does note that the Ultra Wide camera could be in for a pretty big bump.
Firstly, Kuo notes that Apple will continue to offer four models next year, in the same sizes and designs as the iPhone 12, although that prediction doesn’t take a lot of clairvoyance — after all, Apple isn’t about to introduce a major design change for only a single year, and the new four-model lineup really does seem like the way forward for at least the next few generations of iPhone.
What’s more interesting, however, is that Kuo focuses on the newest addition to Apple’s lineup of iPhone cameras, the Ultra Wide lens that debuted with the iPhone 11 last year, noting that the higher-end “iPhone 13 Pro” models could for the first time see an improvement here, setting them apart even further from the standard non-Pro versions.
Up until now, all of Apple’s iPhone models have featured the same two base cameras, with the only major difference in the Pro models being the addition of the third 2X “telephoto” cameras (or 2.5X in the case of the new iPhone 12 Pro Max). In other words, if you bought an iPhone 11 last year, or an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini this year, the two cameras you get are exactly the same as the corresponding ones found on the more expensive Pro models.
Ultra Wide Improvements
If Kuo’s predictions are correct, however, that could be set to change with next year’s lineup, where the higher-end iPhone models would gain a significantly upgraded Ultra Wide camera, featuring a six-element lens with an f/1.8 aperture and autofocus. By contrast, while the main Wide lens on all of the iPhone 12 models is an f/1.6 seven-element lens, the Ultra Wide lags quite a bit behind that: a five-element lens, with an f/2.4 aperture and fixed focus.
So needless to say this would represent a pretty big upgrade to the Ultra Wide lens, which would add even further to the photographic capabilities of Apple’s iPhone Pro models, since Kuo predicts that the non-Pro “iPhone 13” would continue to use the same Ultra Wide lens that’s in this year’s iPhone 12.
However, Kuo does predict that better lens would eventually make its way down to the more affordable iPhones in the 2022 “iPhone 14” — although at that point the “iPhone 14 Pro” would likely get even more improvements to continue to set it apart.
At least partly on the basis of these camera improvements, Kuo predicts that next year’s “iPhone 13 Pro” will prove to be even more popular than the iPhone 12 models, although he also suggests that this could also be driven by 5G technology being much more widely available by next fall.
Other ‘iPhone 13’ Rumours
While Kuo’s research note doesn’t offer any commentary on megapixel counts, nor does he mention changes to the other cameras at all, a very early report from this past spring suggested that the “iPhone 13” could adopt a new four-camera system that would see a massive increase in megapixel counts — up to 64MP for the main lens, and 40MP for the telephoto and ultra-wide lenses.
The fourth lens, the report suggested, would be an anamorphic lens suitable for cinematic video, which doesn’t seem that far out when you consider that Apple added Dolby Vision HDR support this year as its latest step in targeting the professional cinematography market.
However, even the leaker who shared that earlier report suggested that it should be taken with a huge degree of skepticism, and we especially think the megapixel increases are dubious at best, since Apple has never chased the kind of numbers that many of its competitors do; high megapixel counts may look impressive on spec sheets, but Apple has proven time and time again that they aren’t necessary to produce fantastic photos.
Moving away from the camera systems, however, it seems highly likely that the “iPhone 13” will get new 120Hz ProMotion displays. We already saw solid evidence that Apple wanted to include these on this year’s iPhone 12 Pro, and it likely only failed to make the cut due to supply chain problems which will almost certainly be resolved by the time next year’s iPhone is released.