iPhone 13 — Always-On Promotion, Portrait Video, More!

Better textured glass finish, ProMotion for both high-refresh rate and always on display, even mag-I-er… MagSafe, full-on Astrophotography, better ultra-wide camera, and, yes, oh yes, Portrait Mode Video with dynamic bokeh. That’s what the iPhone 13 Pro — or more likely iPhone 12s Pro — will be getting this fall, at least according to Max Weinbach and Everything Apple Pro, and if all that sounds too good to be true… well, it just might be.

Textured glass

Ok, so, first up, Max is saying the next Pro will have an improved matte glass finish, with Apple tweaking it towards a smoother, grippier, more Pixel-style texture.

And.. maybe, sure. I mean, Apple’s industrial design team is constantly working on new materials and new finishes, anything that’ll improve that premium look and feel. Durability too. The iPhone 12 only has Ceramic Shield on the front, but the ion-exchange glass on the back is still among the best in the industry. At least when it comes to shatter resistance.

I just really, really hope Apple gives that new texture some new friction, because since they went glass for inductive charging, the iPhone has basically been an air hockey puck — with time from even slightly angled surface to floor… measurable in minutes.

And, for me, the best kind of shatter resistance is avoiding impact to begin with. But let me know what you think. Also, after green and blue, what colors you want to see this year.


Next up, ProMotion. That’s Apple’s name for adaptive refresh. In other words, what the iPad Pro’s LCD display can do, idle around 60Hz, boost up to 120Hz for better than buttery smooth scrolling and high-refresh gaming, drop to 48Hz to show Hollywood movies at the proper 24 frames-per-second, and down to 24Hz to save power on more static interfaces and images. Only since iPhone displays are OLED, not LCD, they’ll also mimic what the Apple Watch can do, and that is bottom out even lower, maybe 10Hz, for positively power sipping always-on display.

And this has been rumored before by… pretty much everyone at this point.. because unlike last year when not even Samsung could produce enough LTPO OLED for an iPhone-sized order, especially not to Apple’s spec, which is basically the biggest and most unforgiving order in the business… this year… there should be more than enough supply for the Pro models.

Max also says that he’s hearing the always-on Lock Screen with feature time, battery, and an icon bar for apps that have notifications pending.

Personally, I’d love to see full-on Apple Watch style rich complications, but, yeah, baby-power-saving-steps, right?


Max says MagSafe will be getting stronger with the iPhone 13, which, ok, maybe that’ll help keep the wallet on better for some, but make taking the chargers off more annoying for others. I don’t know. It’d be great if this could be dynamic as well.

But what I really want to see is some — any! — evidence of MagSafe data transfer, either directly like the smart connector has been doing on the iPad Pro for years already, or wirelessly with the U1 ultra wide band and Bluetooth. Because, if previous reports are true, Apple’s working on an iPhone without a Lightning port — with not ports — maybe this year, maybe next, and this would be an important step towards that.


Next up is astrophotography, which super interesting, given the iPhone 11 launched with a version of that feature over a year ago already. Were it could extend Night Mode to 30 seconds if you stabilized with something like a tripod.

So, this sounds like… just a lot more than that. Like the ability to hold the exposure even longer but also with machine learning specifically tuned to detect, capture, and highlight celestial features like the moon and stars.

My only question is this — will Apple provide better zoom capabilities on the camera system to really take advantage of it?


Better ultra-wide

Max does say there’ll be a better ultra-wide camera on the iPhone 13. Other reports say all the cameras will be better, including the bigger, internally stabilized wide angle that was previously exclusive to the Max model.

But, I mean, a better camera system on the iPhone, each year, every year, is pretty much the safest bet in tech. It’s one of the most important features and so one of the biggest sales and upgrade drivers. So, from telephoto in 2016 to wide angle in 2019 to LiDAR in 2020, Apple keeps skipping and jumping their way to more and more capable setups.

Including a host of computational photography features that extend those capabilities far, far beyond what the optics alone would allow.

Portrait Mode Video

And this year, Max says that’ll include Portrait Mode… for video. That means using the computational photography system, the simulated lens and depth-of-field, the one that does Portrait Mode stills on current iPhones, an applying it to video. With… with the ability to use depth effect adjustments, in other words, change the amount of bokeh any time after you’ve captured the video. From no blur to… blur intensifies.

And, according to Max, also with the dynamic depth effect system that will let us change and adjust the bokeh after the fact.

Which, if true — and it’s still a big, iPhone Pro Max sized if — and if done well — this’ll be my favorite new feature. But also an incredible amount of computational power, because it’s not just one shot, it’s 24 or 30… maybe even 60 shots per second.

So, yeah, bring on that A15 Bionic. Trionic. Whatever it takes.