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iPhone 13 rumors grow more certain ahead of September launch

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Apple is reportedly upping its order numbers this year

Last year’s iPhone 12 Pro.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple’s flagship 2021 iPhones will come in the same sizes as last year’s models, but with a smaller display notch, according to a new report from Bloomberg. This mirrors previous predictions from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. According to Bloomberg, this year’s phones will be an iterative upgrade over the iPhone 12 series, and will include incremental improvements to their processors, cameras, and displays when they’re announced in September.

Bloomberg reports that “at least one” of the four new devices will include an LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) display. It’s a technology Apple has previously used with its smartwatches to dynamically adjust their screen refresh rates to conserve battery. That lines up with a previous prediction from Ming-Chi Kuo, who said that both Pro iPhones coming this year would include LTPO displays and 120Hz refresh rates.

The report also casts doubt on the possibility of seeing an iPhone with an in-display fingerprint sensor this year. Although Bloomberg says Apple has tested the technology, it says it’s unlikely to appear in 2021. Way back in 2019, Kuo predicted that Apple’s 2021 iPhone models could be its first to feature in-display fingerprint sensors. The phones are also unlikely to include a fingerprint scanner in their power buttons, Kuo said in March.

Camera upgrades will reportedly include an improved optical zoom for video recording, according to the latest Bloomberg report. Kuo previously said the ultrawide cameras on both Pro models could also receive a boost this year.

One area Bloomberg’s report doesn’t touch on is charging. There have been rumors that Apple might release an iPhone without any ports in 2021, and rely on MagSafe rather than a typical Lightning port for power. But recently Kuo said Apple doesn’t think the MagSafe ecosystem is mature enough to act as the sole way of charging the iPhone, suggesting that the Lightning port is here to stay for now.

Apple is reportedly gearing up for a big iPhone sales cycle. Bloomberg says it’s ordered up to 90 million units for the initial launch period that extends to the end of 2021, up from a typical order of 75 million seen in recent years. The company appears to be banking on increased demand brought on by more people upgrading to 5G devices, but it may also be set to benefit from sanctions placed on rival Huawei, which was recently forced to delay the launch of its latest flagship. Production of the new iPhones is unlikely to be hit by the global chip shortage because Apple’s size makes it one of chip manufacturer TSMC’s biggest and most important customers.