Apple has announced its new smartphone range, and the iPhone 13 is almost certain to be the most popular of them all.
But how does this new phone compare to its predecessor, the iPhone 12? We haven’t got a chance to test the new device yet, but we have full details about its specifications.
Here’s how the two phones stack up.
- Apple has also announced the Apple Watch 7
- There are two new tablets: the new iPad (2021) | New iPad Mini (2021)
- Here’s Everything That’s Coming to the iPhone 13 with iOS 15
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Price and Availability
The iPhone 13 will be available in stores on September 24, 2021. That’s less than a year from the iPhone 12, which landed on October 23, 2020.
Pricing is similar to the iPhone 12, but there are some changes due to storage provisions and changes in currency markets.
You’re looking at a starting price of $799 / £799 / AU$1,349 for the entry 128GB model, climbing to $899 / £879 / AU$1,519 for the 256GB and $1099 / £1079 / AU$1,869 for the 512GB.
At launch, the iPhone 12 starts at $799 / £799 / AU$1,349 for the 64GB model, goes up to $849 / £849 / AU$1,429 for the 128GB and $949 / £949 / AU$1,599 for the 256GB.
As you may have noticed, after the initial prices remain roughly the same, prices for higher storage capacities vary slightly. But then, those storage capacities have gotten a boost with the introduction of a new 512GB top tier.
Also, UK prices have benefited from Apple’s recent currency rebalancing, meaning British buyers are getting a little more for their money this time around.
Another important note: Apple is keeping the iPhone 12 for the second year around, and has slashed pricing accordingly.
The price of the 64GB model is now rising to $699 / £679 / AU$1,199 for the 64GB model, $749 / £729 / AU$1,279 for the 128GB and $849 / £829 / AU$1,449 for the 256GB.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Design
Apple phones had become a bit more familiar until the arrival of the iPhone 12. Suddenly, for the first time since the original 2016 iPhone SE, the sharp industrial edges curve backwards.
Given last year’s angular overhaul, it’s no surprise to see the iPhone 13 sporting a similar design to the iPhone 12.
According to Apple’s design playbook, we probably won’t see an entirely new iPhone design for a few years.
They are also equally proportional, but not identical. While the iPhone 12 measures 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm, the iPhone 13 comes in at 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm – hence a bit thicker. It is 10g heavier than the 164g iPhone 12.
Both phones have aluminum rims and glass surfaces, but the colors are slightly different. The iPhone 13 is set to come in Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red, while you can get the iPhone 12 in Black, White, Red, Green, Blue, and (eventually) Purple.
The most noticeable difference, other than those new colors, is the switch to an diagonally oriented dual-camera module. The iPhone 12 went with a vertical stack.
Both phones share Apple’s nano-crystalline Ceramic Shield screen technology, which makes these displays four times stronger than the previous phones.
There’s also an IP68 rating on all sides, which means both phones can be submerged in six meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
Rumors of a possible Touch ID return proved widespread. You get Face ID with the iPhone 13, just like with the iPhone 12. Still, at least the notch is smaller than 20%, so more screen is visible.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Display
These phones sport a very similar 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen, with the same 1170 x 2532 resolution.
It seems the main difference here is that the iPhone 13 can hit a peak brightness of 800 nits like last year’s iPhone 12 Pro, making it 28% brighter than the iPhone 12’s 600 nits. Both are capable of hitting the same 1200 nits in HDR conditions.
Apple also claims that the iPhone 13’s display is more efficient than before. However, there’s still no advanced refresh rate, with the iPhone 13 stuck at 60Hz as the iPhone 12. Unlike last year, there could be a very good reason to go pro at the end of 2021.
Overall, it’s a holding pattern year on the display front – though you also get that smaller, less aggressive notch.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Cameras
Both these phones pack dual 12MP cameras – one wide, one ultra-wide. But the iPhone 13 system has improved significantly, at least on paper.
The 12MP-wide sensor can suck up 47% more light than before, and captures chunky 1.7µm pixels, compared to the iPhone 12’s 1.4µm.
You also get the sensor shift stabilization system that made shots strangely stable on last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max, which is an impressive addition. We are expecting the low-light shots to be much better on the iPhone 13 as compared to the iPhone 12.
The new phone’s ultra-wide sensor has also seen improvement, with a wider f/1.8 aperture than its poky f/2.4 iPhone 12 counterpart. Again, this promises to be a step up in low light conditions.
As always, Apple’s camera software is just as important as its camera hardware – perhaps even more so.
This year, the iPhone 13 gains a rack focusing ‘Cinematic Mode’ when shooting video, which can intelligently choose and move your focal point for cinematic results.
The way it automatically changes focus when subjects do, and anticipates when a subject is going to enter the frame, feels like borderline witchcraft. It will be interesting to see if it works in practice.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Specs and Performance
A new year, a new Apple A-series processor. It is as predictable as it is relentlessly impressive.
With the iPhone 13, that means a bump from the iPhone 12’s A14 Bionic to a new A15 Bionic. They’re both 5nm chips, but the A15 has received a healthy performance boost.
We’re looking at a 6-core CPU that is 50% faster than the leading competition (possibly something from Qualcomm or Samsung – Apple didn’t say), and a 4-core GPU that is 30% faster than the competition.
Its neural engine is capable of performing 15.8 trillion operations per second compared to the A14 Bionic’s 11 trillion operations per second.
Again this year, there’s more of a difference between the iPhone 13 and its Pro sibling. The A15 Bionic on the iPhone 13 Pro has an additional GPU core, which gives a considerable boost to graphical performance.
Apple also claims that the iPhone 13 supports more 5G bands than before. To be honest, we can’t see many people caring unless they work for a network operator.
We’ve already mentioned this, but let’s celebrate the fact that Apple has finally phased out the 64GB entry storage provision, which seems to be out of date for some time now.
You’re given a choice of 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage with the iPhone 13, while the iPhone 12 gave you 64GB to start with and bumps up to 256GB.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Battery
The iPhone 12’s 2,815 mAh battery represents an unfortunate rollback from its predecessor.
Thankfully, the iPhone 13 reverses the slide, packing in a bigger battery. Apple hasn’t confirmed yet how big it is, but there are rumors that it’s a 3095mAh cell.
Whatever the size, Apple is making bold claims to the stamina of the iPhone 13. Apparently, most people will get 2.5 hours more on a single charge from the iPhone 13 than the iPhone 12. This is impressive, if true.
MagSafe returns for another spin, although there was no word on any improvements to the second generation. We’ll test it in our review, but the wireless charging rate remains at 15W.
Once again, it looks like you’ll have to source your own 20W wired charger for the iPhone 13.
We’ll need to spend some quality time with the iPhone 13 to be sure, but it looks like a solid upgrade over the iPhone 12.
Because of that shared design, it’s unlikely to make such a big impact as its predecessor, but we weren’t expecting anything else.
Beyond that, there are some worthwhile improvements here, mainly in the form of a better camera system and significantly longer battery life.
Add in a smaller notch and higher storage capacity, and we’re confident the iPhone 13 will be a worthwhile upgrade for anyone with a pre-iPhone 12 device.
We doubt any iPhone 12 user can rest easy for at least another year, though. It may prove to be little more than the iPhone 12S, but only.
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