Apple iPhone 13: What Australians need to know
Apple's shiny new iPhone 13 is finally here and we've got all the details on this latest superphone.
At its "California Streaming" event, Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 family of devices, going from the upper-end (and expensive) iPhone 13 Pro Max all the way down to the pocket-sized iPhone 13 Mini.
The iPhone 13 sits in the middle of the pack, sharing the same size and many of the same features of the iPhone 13 Pro, just like the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro did in 2020. However, it's a less expensive option, which will no doubt be appealing to folks keen on an iPhone upgrade without the hefty price sting. So what do you get for your money?
Apple iPhone 13: Australian pricing
Apple doesn't do "cheap" iPhones – even the well-priced iPhone SE 2020 is still only a mid-range-priced handset – and that doesn't change with the iPhone 13 family.
The iPhone 13 is the middle child, price-wise, of the iPhone lineup. Here's how its pricing compares across every storage model in Australia to the rest of the iPhone 13 family:
|Apple iPhone 13 128GB||$1,349|
|Apple iPhone 13 256GB||$1,519|
|Apple iPhone 13 512GBGB||$1,869|
|Apple iPhone 13 Mini 128GB||$1,199|
|Apple iPhone 13 Mini 256GB||$1,369|
|Apple iPhone 13 Mini 512GBGB||$1,719|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro 128GB||$1,699|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro 256GB||$1,869|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro 512GB||$2,219|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro 1TB||$2,569|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max 128GB||$1,849|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max 256GB||$2,019|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max 512GB||$2,369|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max 1TB||$2,719|
How does that compare to older iPhone models? If you'd opted to buy any available iPhone 12 or earlier handset prior to the iPhone 13 launch, Apple would have charged you the following prices:
|Apple iPhone 12 Mini 64GB||$1,199.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 Mini 128GB||$1,279.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 Mini 256GB||$1,449.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 64GB||$1,349.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 128GB||$1,429.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 256GB||$1,599.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro 128GB||$1,699.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro 256GB||$1,869.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro 512GB||$2,219.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max 128GB||$1,849.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max 256GB||$2,019.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max 512GB||$2,369.00|
|Apple iPhone SE 64GB||$679.00|
|Apple iPhone SE 128GB||$759.00|
|Apple iPhone SE 256GB||$929.00|
|Apple iPhone 11 64GB||$999.00|
|Apple iPhone 11 128GB||$1,079.00|
|Apple iPhone 11 256GB||$1,249.00|
|Apple iPhone XR 64GB||$849.00|
|Apple iPhone XR 128GB||$929.00|
Apple has – as it so often does – altered availability and pricing on older models due to the existence of the iPhone 13. Here's the direct head-to-head comparison on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 pricing as it stands:
|Apple iPhone 13 128GB||$1,349.00|
|Apple iPhone 13 256GB||$1,519.00|
|Apple iPhone 13 512GBGB||$1,869.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 64GB||$1,199.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 128GB||$1,279.00|
|Apple iPhone 12 256GB||$1,449.00|
Apple iPhone 13: Availability
Apple announced the iPhone 13 at its "California Dreaming" live streamed event on 14 September in the US. As it's done for so many years now, it will go on sale first in Australia, with pre-orders opening up at 10pm on Friday 17 September 2021. Actual handset availability will be from 24 September 2021 from Apple and its carrier partners.
As yet, we're waiting to hear concrete details on carrier plan availability, but we'll update as soon as we have this information.
iPhone 13: Design
Like the iPhone 12 before it, the iPhone 13 features a 6.1-inch display, because Apple's identified that as a fairly pocket-friendly option that still allows for a lot of onscreen display at the one time. If you're still thinking that's too large, there's still the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, of course.
That does mean that the iPhone 13 has largely the same physical specifications as last year's model. It measures in at 146.7x71.5x7.65mm with a specified weight of 173g. By comparison, the iPhone 12 is 146.7x71.5x7.4mm and 162g.
The new feature in this year's iPhone model that you may spot straight away is the redesigned camera notch. Apple's kept a big upper notch for some years now as competitors have adopted teardrop or punch hole style notches for their cameras. That's due to Apple's use of its biometric "FaceID" system that requires additional camera hardware that Apple refers to as "TrueDepth".
We have tested the cameras on all four iPhone 13 models and you can see the results for yourself right here.
FaceID is still very much part of the iPhone experience, but Apple's been able to shrink down the camera notch some 20%, giving you back a small quantity of screen space as a result.
While Apple does now offer high refresh rates on iPhone models – a feature it calls "ProMotion", because there's nothing that Apple won't stick a fancy marketing name on – it's an exclusive feature for this year's iPhone 13 Pro models. The iPhone 13 is stuck with a 60Hz display, so if you do want that faster refresh rate, you'll need to opt for the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Around the back of the iPhone 13, Apple has slightly tweaked the camera array. It's still a dual camera set-up, as it was on the iPhone 12, but the cameras are angled diagonally. While it's still a set-up of wide and ultra-wide lenses, you do get sensor shift stabilisation on the primary lens, a feature that was exclusive last year to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
While we'd still strongly suggest getting a case for your iPhone 13 for protective purposes, many won't. If you don't, you'll be able to show off your shiny new iPhone 13 in Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight and Product (RED) hues. This is one area where the iPhone 13 gets an advantage over the pricier iPhone 13 Pro, because the pricier phone follows the iPhone 13 Pro Max colour schemes of Graphite, Gold, Silver and Sierra Blue only.
All up, however, the design changes from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 13 haven't been massive.
iPhone 13: Cameras
Apple differentiates its smartphones from the rest of the field in many ways, and camera quality is one of them. One of the big advantages that Apple has in this regard is that it has absolute control over every aspect of production, from hardware to software. Apple doesn't build camera modules itself, having reportedly used multiple OEM suppliers to fill that need, but it can fine-tune how the cameras work at every level to get results you simply can't get from the same technology in standard Android phones.
That being said, Apple wants the photo pros to lean much more heavily towards the iPhone 13 Pro and especially the larger iPhone 13 Pro Max. Those phones get fancy features such as upgraded ultra-wide cameras and telephoto lenses, which leaves the iPhone 13 in a comparatively weaker position in terms of overall camera technology.
What you get is an 12MP f/1.6 wide lens, matched up with an 12MP f/2.4 120-degree ultra-wide lens, which doesn't seem that fancy for a phone that still sits in a premium price space. Apple leaning heavily on its AI-led camera software here, offering up a new "Cinematic" mode with rack focus available when shooting video.
In 2020, the iPhone 12 was our pick of the best of the bunch for value overall, because while the iPhone 12 Pro Max could capture images at better quality, for most users the iPhone 12 was more than enough. There's nothing to suggest that this might not still be the case in 2021. And here's what our preliminary iPhone 13 camera shootout results have to say about it.
iPhone 13: Performance
Over the past few years, Apple has simply rocketed past its Android competition in straight-line processor performance. That's down to some seriously smart chip design, but also that absolute integration between its software and hardware. Where Android has to cover everything from the lowest-power cheap chips to the heavy duty models, Apple typically only has to address a handful of chip designs it knows very well indeed.
For the iPhone 13 family, the new chip on the block is the Apple A15 Bionic, but there is a difference this time around in the exact chip you get between the Pro and standard models. For the iPhone 13, it's a 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU chip, where the Pro models get a 5-core GPU. The A15 Bionic on the iPhone 13 is up to 50% faster "than the leading competition" in CPU speed according to Apple. The A15 Bionic on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini has a 4-core GPU which is up to 30% faster than its competition, although it's not clear how much of a jump that will really be compared to 2020's iPhone 12 handsets.
As always, benchmarks are only part of the story, because you really need applications that can push those engines hard. We'll have to wait and see just how much better the Apple A15 Bionic actually is than prior models to get a better feel for that.
While the Apple iPhone 13 features the same Apple A15 Bionic processor as the more expensive Pro models, it's quite likely that it will feature less RAM than those handsets. That's a differentiation feature Apple has baked into prior models of their devices. Annoyingly, Apple never lists those kinds of specifications on its own product pages, so we'll have to wait to test units to find out for sure.
The Apple iPhone 13 is also 5G capable, but while Apple talked up the wider array of 5G carrier partners at the launch of the iPhone 13, it's still not clear if the models sold in Australia will have mmWave compatibility, or just sub-6GHz 5G, as was the case for the iPhone 12 family. Apple's shown it can do dual 5G for models sold in the US, but we're keen to find out if it'll go international for best-in-breed 5G speeds.
iPhone 13: Battery
Just as it does with other more techy aspects of its iPhone specifications, Apple is always reluctant to talk solid battery figures when it comes to its handsets.
If you want to know the precise specifications of an Apple iPhone battery, you've always got to wait until somebody has the opportunity to tear one apart to find out what's on offer.
However, it takes no detective work at all to say that the iPhone 13 has a smaller battery than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, probably the same battery as the iPhone 13 Pro and a larger battery than the iPhone 13 Mini. That's just a function of the space within the phone body that can be allocated to battery capacity. For what it's worth, 2020's similar-sized iPhone 12 has a 2,815mAh battery on board.
Rather than talk battery capacity, Apple instead favours talking about expected battery life for different scenarios. For the iPhone 12 that the iPhone 13 is effectively replacing in Apple's lineup, Apple estimated up to 17 hours of local video playback, dropping to 11 hours if streamed and up to 65 hours of audio playback.
Apple seems confident in the A15's processor performance and a slightly thicker body on the iPhone 13, bumping those figures up to 19 hours of local video, 15 hours of streamed video and 75 hours of music playback.
Those figures alone don't really tell you enough about likely battery performance, especially for 5G handsets where battery draw can be extreme in our experience. Apple's broader claim here at launch is that typical users should see up to 2.5 hours more battery endurance over a typical day compared to the iPhone 12.
When it comes time to recharge the iPhone 13, you're still going to be using Apple's familiar Lightning connector in a plugged sense. That's good news if you have lots of Lightning cables and chargers, and annoying if you were hoping for a jump to USB C, as Apple has already done for the iPad Pro line. Apple rates the wired charging capability of the iPhone 13 at up to 50% of battery capacity in 30 minutes from a 20W or higher capacity charger.
However, that will need to be a charger you buy separately. Like the 2020 iPhones, the iPhone 13 does not ship with an included charger.
That also opens up the possibility of opting for a wireless charger. The iPhone 13 supports Qi wireless charging as a standard at up to 15W, as well as Apple's own MagSafe magnetically connected chargers and accessories.
Apple iPhone 13: Specifications
If you're pondering the Apple iPhone 13 as the hot new thing, or whether you can score a better deal on the still impressive Apple iPhone 12, it's worth knowing the differences between the 2 models. Here's how they compare at a specifications level.
|Model||iPhone 12||iPhone 13|
|Display size||6.1 inches||6.1 inches|
|Resolution||2532 x 1170||2532 x 1170|
|Pixels per inch (PPI)||476||476|
|Dimensions||146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.4mm||146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.65mm|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax|
|Processor||Apple A14 Bionic||Apple A15 Bionic|
|Water resistance rating||IP68||IP68|
|Charging||Lightning, no charger supplied||Lightning, no charger supplied|
|Wireless charging||Yes, MagSafe compatible||Yes, MagSafe compatible|
Buy iPhone 13
As mentioned, the iPhone will be available to pre-order from 10pm AEST on Friday 17 September 2021. In the meantime, you can scoop up some great deals on previous iPhone models. Here are a few deals that caught our eye.
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