This year’s iPhone 13 should finally gain a bigger battery than the current iPhone 12 models, which have smaller batteries than their predecessors, though the move will come at a cost.
- iPhone 13 to use space-saving technologies.
- The battery size will increase as a result.
- A bigger battery will make the phone heavier.
- Most users should accept that trade-off.
Stepping up the iPhone 13 battery life
There’s no denying the fact that the iPhone 12’s battery life was reduced slightly compared to the previous iPhone 11 family. That’s because 5G components took up valuable space so Apple was forced to make the battery a bit smaller in the iPhone 12 models. Thankfully, the company is looking to revert that trend by stepping up the battery life of the next iPhone.
Apple’s engineers have reportedly used several space-saving techniques to make that happen, according to a research note by TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, seen by MacRumors.
“The new 2021 iPhone models feature a larger battery capacity than the iPhone 12 series, thanks to the space-saving design of many components,” reads the note, adding that the iPhone 13 models are also “slightly heavier” than the iPhone 12 series.
The new space-saving design entails these engineering decisions, according to Kuo:
- Integrating the SIM card slot with the motherboard
- Making the notch narrower
- Decreasing the number of battery board layers
- Shrinking active cell components
- Utilizing a lower power consumption LTPO LED panel
These techniques should help offset the reduced battery life on the iPhone 12 models.
The space-saving design of the iPhone 13
On all iPhones to date, the SIM card slot is a separate component that connects to the motherboard. The next iPhone should save space by integrating the SIM card slot directly with the motherboard. As for making the notch smaller, Kuo says Apple will achieve this by reducing the thickness of the TrueDepth camera array that’s required for Face ID.
Coincidentally, Kuo in an earlier research note obtained by AppleInsider claimed Apple would change the Face ID camera lens cover from glass to plastic, thereby helping reduce the overall thickness of the Face ID module. Again, any extra space gained by the aforementioned techniques would permit Apple’s engineers to increase the size of the battery.
Lastly, additional energy efficiency upgrades on the next iPhone could stem from the improved performance of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X60 5G modem thought to be used in the iPhone 13. As a matter of fact, DigiTimes reported that the iPhone 13 will use the new Qualcomm modem, with Samsung said to handle the manufacture of the chip.
The iPhone 12 battery life takes a hit
There’s no denying the fact that the iPhone 12 battery life was reduced slightly compared to the previous iPhone 11 family due to the slightly smaller batteries. The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max feature batteries that are 295 mAh, 231 mAh and 282 mAh smaller than those in the iPhone 11 devices, respectively.
Kuo predicted in November 2020 that the iPhone 13 could utilize soft board technology for the charge-controlling circuitry attached to the battery itself, taking up less space and reducing costs. In an earlier note issued to clients in August 2020, Kuo speculated that Apple would redesign battery technology for the iPhone 13 to make it less complex and cheaper to produce.
Would you buy a heavier iPhone?
Some Apple fans and members of the press have been challenging Jony Ive-led pursuit of thinness at Apple. Apple’s obsession with thinness has been on display for years now, and we can see it in engineering failures such as the butterfly keyboard.
It would be a welcome change for Apple and its fans if the next iPhone stepped up its battery life, even if it meant making the phone slightly heavier. One can easily sense the 20-gram difference between the iPhone XS Max and iPhone 12 Pro Max, but one does not see customers or technology publications complaining about it all the time.
You definitely cannot have both longer battery life and a thinner device, that just goes against the laws of physics and battery technology. So in that regard, the iPhone 13 will test the popular theory that many users would accept a heavier iPhone if it improved battery life.
When will the iPhone 13 launch?
The next iPhone is expected to ship without delays, unlike the current family which arrived a few weeks later due to global issues with the supply chain caused by the COVID situation. Which is to say, expect the iPhone 13 sometime in September 2021.
The rumor-mill is expecting the same three screen sizes as this year’s lineup.