Here's one thing Apple's doing to make the iPhone 13 notch smaller

Here's one thing Apple's doing to make the iPhone 13 notch smaller
Rumor has it that Apple will implement a smaller notch on the iPhone 13 without removing Face ID. Now, a report sheds some light on how the Silicon Valley-based company plans to do that.

Apple is shrinking a key Face ID component

Supply chain sources speaking to DigiTimes (via MacRumors) have revealed that Apple is developing a significantly smaller Face ID system to be used in upcoming iPhone and iPad Pro models starting late 2021, which strongly hints at an iPhone 13 debut.

To achieve the new compact size, Apple won’t be removing any components or downgrading the Face ID setup. Instead, it’ll be using a redesigned VCSEL chip for Face ID image processing that’s around 40-50% smaller than before.

That change, coupled with the expected repositioning of the in-ear speaker, is what’s believed to be behind the noticeable smaller notch design that’s leaked several times in recent months, including on an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy unit.

DigiTimes notes that Apple’s redesigned VCSEL chip will help reduce costs too. By halving the size of the component, Apple is also halving the number of wafers needed for production. Apple might be able to integrate new functions as well, but DigiTimes didn’t specify any features.

The iPhone 13 Pro should also offer a 120Hz ProMotion display

In addition to updating the Face ID system and notch on the iPhone 13 series, Apple is rumored to be planning important display upgrades for the Pro models. Namely, the introduction of 120Hz refresh rate support.

Every iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro model runs at a static 60Hz refresh rate, whereas most Android flagships now offer 120Hz. So, Apple will be playing catch-up with the iPhone 13 Pro.

Expect Apple’s 120Hz feature to be marketed as 'ProMotion' and automatically adapt the refresh based on the content that's being shown. When an image is being shown it could drop down to 10Hz and when a game’s being played it might jump to 120Hz.

All of that will, of course, be paired with the next-generation A15 Bionic and 128GB of storage as standard. If the M1 iPad Pro is anything to go by, there might be a RAM upgrade too.

Completing the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max packages should be an improved camera setup. Information is scarce right now, but Apple’s sensor-shift stabilization tech and 2.5x telephoto camera should be present on both devices this year.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro announcement, release date, pricing expectations

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will probably be announced in early September. If history is anything to go by, we can expect Apple to hold a press conference on Tuesday, September 7.

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If that date sticks, shipments should kick off on Friday, September 17. The Apple Watch Series 7 could be announced and shipped on the same dates, and the same might even apply to the next-generation iPad mini.

There's no concrete data about iPhone 13 Pro pricing at this stage. However, every premium iPhone series has kicked off at $999 since 2017 and it'd be odd to see Apple change things so many years later, especially in what many would consider an 'S' year. 

With that in mind, Apple could retain its existing structure and price the iPhone 13 Pro as follows:

  • iPhone 13 Pro — $999
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max — $1099
The usual 256GB and 512GB models should be available too, and rumor has it that an extra 1TB version might even make an appearance.

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