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Apple iPhone rumor roundup: portless iPhone 13, foldables, bigger SE

Here’s everything we know about the upcoming iPhones

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Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

If you’re a long time Apple fan, iPhones, over the years, aren’t safe in the eyes and ears of tech leaksters, case makers, and supply chains of iPhone components. From the early prototypes of the iPhone, to the groundbreaking iPhone 4s, up until the “revolutionary” iPhone X, nothing has stopped insiders from leaking information to expose Apple.

Our iPhone 12 and SE rumor roundup caused some noise last year, with most of the rumors coming true. This time, we’re doing a follow-up list not just about iPhone 12‘s successor, but also with other phone advancements Apple has in mind — specifically for the year 2021 until 2022.

Disclaimer: Everything you see here are just leaks and rumors and nothing has been confirmed yet.

iPhone 13 (or 12s)

Apple’s naming scheme has been odd ever since the introduction of the iPhone X. From X, XR, XS, 11 and 12, all the way to the superlative-driven “Plus“, “Pro“, “Max“, and “Pro Max“, it’s usually unpredictable. There are even names for less expensive variants such as the “mini“, “C” and “SE“.

While most of us are expecting it to be named “13”, a Bloomberg report suggests that Apple engineers are thinking of bringing back the “S” branding as the upcoming generation will have minor changes in design and more improvements in hardware.

Same design and sizes

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Based on the Japanese blog Mac Otakara, the only design change we can look forward to is the thickness with a slight bump of around 0.26mm.

Expect the upcoming iPhone 13 (or 12s) series to look the same as its predecessors — either with the regular 6.1-inch size or a massive 6.7-inch display for the Max model. Of course, it will still have the new flat-edge design.

UPDATE: It’s also rumored that these new iPhones will feature a different matte-textured back for a slightly better grip, reminiscent of the Google Pixel 5‘s back.

Rose Gold comeback

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

iFans know that the last iPhone with a Rose Gold color option was the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus series. With other exclusive colors such as Midnight Green on the iPhone 11 Pro series, Purple on the iPhone 11, Coral on the iPhone XR, and currently the Pacific Blue on the iPhone 12 Pro series, it wouldn’t be a surprise for Apple to bring back this unique colorway to the shelves again as it was loved by a lot of users.

(Who knows, BLACKPINK’s Rosé might actually own this and call it Rosé Gold 🥁)

Adaptive 120Hz + Always-On Display

While this was previously rumored for the iPhone 12 Pro Max last year, the feature didn’t push through as they faced several compatibility issues with its display driver. But in the latest tweet posted by Ross Young, the faster display refresh rate might finally come to this year’s iPhone 13.

Different with the current OLED-based Super Retina XDR display, Apple might rather equip it with a ProMotion display that’s also found on several iPad Pro models. That rumor was reported as early as 2019.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

The new display will use LTPO technology to maximize the fast refresh rate while keeping it as low as 1Hz under static conditions to lessen its overall battery consumption. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6 are the closest Apple devices with such display tech.

The delay might have been a blessing in disguise. The longer testing duration means Apple might be able to fix it earlier and be able to bring that buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate, at least on the Pro models. Though adaptive, it’s still better than the aging 60Hz display of previous iPhones.

UPDATE: With the Always-On Display feature among LTPO-powered Apple Watches, it comes to no surprise that Apple may finally bring the Always-On display feature in this year’s iPhones.

Thinner notch

With the rise and fall of pop-up cameras, sliders, flipping and rotating mechanisms, punch-hole cutouts, and under-display cameras at its infancy stage, it shows that Apple doesn’t want to use half-baked tech just to achieve that “fullscreen” display.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

In a DigiTimes report, the notch will still be there, but it will be shrunk by re-shuffling the earpiece, sensors, and set of cameras to accommodate components in a shorter surface area.

As outdated as the notch gets, Apple’s Face ID is still one of the most secure and fool-proof biometric solutions among smartphones. With its host of components that make up Apple’s TrueDepth system, it’s understandable that shrinking the notch is still challenging.

In-display Touch ID

Using Face ID in public has been tough especially in this pandemic. For the record, the latest Touch ID-equipped Apple devices are the M1 MacBook Pro and Air, as well as last year’s iPhone SE and the 4th-generation iPad Air.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

While the iPhone SE sticks with the traditional home button implementation, the new iPad Air and 2016-2020 MacBook models have fingerprint sensors embedded into the power button. Unfortunately, this feature didn’t make it to the latest iPhone 12 series.

Based on my Galaxy S21 Ultra review, Samsung’s ultrasonic sensor is faster and more reliable than an optical-based sensor. For now, we just have to wait and see Apple’s special in-depth Touch ID system based on a larger optical image sensor as seen in this patent.

Same (yet different) camera setup and design

In a recent GadgetMatch article, the popular leakster Ming-Chi Kuo stated that Apple might not upgrade the cameras until 2023 — which is a strategy that’s not totally new. Google has been doing this for quite a while with the Sony IMX363-equipped Pixel 3 up until the latest Pixel 5. All camera improvements come from computational imaging, AI (artificial intelligence), and added software algorithm.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

That report might be limited to the wide and telephoto lenses, though. In another article, Kuo also claimed that there’s a major Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) lens upgrade among Pro models with a larger sensor, better lenses (from 5P to 6P/six-elements) and wider aperture (from f/2.4 to f/1.86). These changes will greatly improve ultra-wide night shots and better Depth of Field (DoF). Anyhow, there’s no word if it will have a wider Field of View (FoV) than the usual 120-degrees.

Other than that, the camera design might have some changes — from the trio-rrific circular camera bump to a cleaner design with Sapphire Glass (or maybe Ceramic Shield, who knows?) covering all lenses for better protection from scratches and unintentional cracks. Those issues occurred in some owners of the iPhone 11 Pro and 12 Pro models.

One thing’s for sure: this new design will solve the dilemma of people with trypophobia (or the fear of seeing clusters of holes).

Sensor-Shift OIS + LiDAR Scanner on all models

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

The “Pro camera system” barrier between the regular and Pro models might be gone in the iPhone 13/12s series. It was reported that regular models will also feature LiDAR Scanners just like on the newer iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro series. Meanwhile, Sensor-Shift OIS (which is currently a 12 Pro Max-exclusive) might be present in all 13/12s models as well — or at least in the smaller Pro variant.

LiDAR Scanners are helpful for better AR experience and more precise autofocus in low-light situations. On the other hand, Sensor-Shift is an OIS technology where stabilization happens within the sensor which results to more stable video clips. Usual phone cameras rely on lens-based OIS and/or software-based EIS (Electronic).

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

With these latest reports, the report where iPhone is rumored to have a quad-camera setup with the inclusion of a 64-megapixel anamorphic lens might just stay as a myth that needs to be debunked.

Astrophotography Mode

If you’re a fan of astronomy and everything celestial, this new camera feature might be for you.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Astrophotography mode is the ability to shoot photos of the night sky under a longer period — even longer than Apple’s existing Night Mode feature. Although this isn’t necessarily a new feature as this has already been around for years starting with the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL, it’s still a great addition for those who want it without leaving iOS and the Apple ecosystem.

8K Video Recording + Portrait Video Mode

Back in October 2020, a deleted tweet by @macintoshleak states that the next iPhone might feature native 8K video recording — either in 30 or 45fps (frames per second).

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Although it’s uncertain and the leaker already deleted his account, this might still be a possibility as Apple pioneered its Bionic and Silicon chips. It’s not far from happening as the latest Snapdragon, Exynos, and Kirin chipsets are capable of capturing 8K videos.

UPDATE: A prominent YouTuber and leakster EverythingApplePro reveals that the upcoming iPhone might also have a Portrait Video Mode where background blur is enabled when shooting videos. The user will also have the ability to adjust the blur strength after taking the video, just like how Portrait Mode works in existing iPhones.

Even better A15 Bionic Chip

The A14 Bionic Chip is one of the best around — but its built-in 5G modem from Qualcomm has some serious battery draining issues as reported by most iPhone 12 users in the Apple Community.

It’s rumored that Apple might ditch Qualcomm in favor of an in-house 5G chip currently in the works. This makes sense considering Apple acquired Intel’s 5G division two years ago.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

With the slow and steady expansion of 5G connectivity across several nations and borders, Apple might also pick either between the mmWave or sub-6GHz band to reduce production costs. Previously, Apple equipped both, depending on one’s region.

There’s also a rumor for Wi-Fi 6E support. Barclays Analysts are confident that this new 6GHz Wi-Fi band will help achieve faster speeds and lessen latency.

Portless iPhone Pro (+ 1TB option)

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

As early as 2020, it was reported that Apple has envisioned an iPhone without any ports. With the introduction of MagSafe on iPhones, it’s pretty clear what path they’re trying to take.

Although the current MagSafe charging isn’t as fast as conventional wired charging, the portless model will still rely on it anyway. Other than that, physical buttons will be replaced by capacitive ones, and the physical SIM slot will be gone in favor of e-SIM.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

This type of form factor might also introduce better water and dust resistance. Although there are still components with openings such as the microphone, speaker grilles, and earpiece, this might also make it the first smartphone that’s capable of shooting under deeper water depths. However, this will be a disaster for future repairs.

Other than that, another prominent leaker Jon Prosser said that Apple will eventually add a maxed out 1TB storage option to the Pro lineup — that will cost you another fortune. Meanwhile, the regular models will come in a larger 128GB base storage option instead of the measly 64GB.

UPDATE: It’s also said that the upcoming iPhone will have stronger magnets for an improved MagSafe charging and attachments.

Reverse Charging

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

This technology isn’t particularly new — especially among Android flagships. Reverse wireless charging made one of its first appearances with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro in 2018. Samsung also did it through “Wireless PowerShare” with their Galaxy S10 lineup.

In a tweet by Mark Gurman last October 2020, it was revealed that Apple submitted an FCC filing where there’s a “hidden” reverse charging feature for iPhones. Though there’s no workaround in the latest iPhone 12 series, the iPhone 13 might actually have it built-in. It might also be extra handy if the upcoming AirPods would come with MagSafe so it magnetically snaps onto the back of the iPhone.

The mini might be gone for good

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Bad news for fans of everything mini, Apple might just scrap the smaller model for good. ICYMI, Apple has currently reduced the production of the iPhone 12 mini due to low sales and demand. Other than the smaller display, battery drain issues might also be a reason. We’re still hoping that they’ll make a successor of the same size but with improved battery life.

Foldables: Is this the future of iPhone?

In last year’s rumor listicle, Apple had no early plans of announcing a foldable iPhone. But with the continuous developments of devices with foldable displays from major brands such as Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi, motorola, and even smaller brands like TCL and Royole, Apple’s R&D department might be gearing towards the goal of launching one (or two) folding devices in 2022 to be able to catch up with the current foldable race.

iFold = iPhone and iPad in one?

In a patent submitted by Apple last November 2020, it reveals an illustration that looks like a folding iPad. Another patent also reveals how Apple tried to create self-healing displays that might be helpful for the continuous wear and tear of flexible displays over time.

To make the plan closer to reality, it was reported that Apple has partnered with Foxconn and New Nikko for the hinges. For the flexible displays, it will obviously be supplied by Samsung. Moreover, it was seen in a Foxconn plant in China that they were done with the hinge durability tests for two Apple foldable prototypes.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

This new form factor opened the possibilities of owning a foldable within the reach of the consumer’s pockets. This is the most iconic (yet the most expensive) foldable — it’s a large phone when shut but transforms into a bigger tablet when unfolded. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Z Fold2 are the pioneers of this form factor. Other than those two, Huawei also has the Mate X and Xs in its portfolio.

UPDATE: Another insider reveals that the foldable iPhone (or iPad) may have an Apple Pencil support right out of the box. This makes sense considering the latest iPads support the first and second-generation Apple Pencils.

Weird iPhone Flex, But Okay

“Weird flex, but okay” is a phrase you hear among younger Gen Zs who love flexing their parent-bought luxuries — including the iPhones they use.

With the latest clamshell offerings like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip and the motorola razr, it would be appealing (or maybe appalling for some) to see a clam shell iPhone.

In the latest YouTube video by Jon Prosser, Apple might actually launch this first over the other with several dazzling colors in tow, closely targeting the younger audience. But unlike the previous claim, Prosser believes this will be launched as late as 2023.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Imagine, a large-screen iPhone folding into a smaller factor that fits right in your jeans’ pocket — that would be useful for most who dislike the absurdity of phablets. For the sassier ones, shutting the phone to ignore someone’s call might actually be another form of the “iPhone Flex”.

The Dual-Screen Approach

Based on the same Foxconn report, the first prototype is a dual-screen model. This form is the most cost-efficient by having two flat displays connected by a hinge mechanism like what you find in most laptops. Again, this isn’t a new type of foldable as there are devices like LG’s V60 ThinQ 5G and Velvet Dual Screen, as well as Microsoft’s Surface Duo.

Concept by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

There was a prototype that came out in the news as early as June 2020 with hints of the multi-link hinge patent — similar to a metallic watch band. Another hinge patent was also submitted as recent as January 2021. This time it’s made out of a Fabric Composite Friction material.

Is this a more practical approach towards iPhone’s first foldable device? Or would you rather pick those with flexible displays?

iPhone SE 3: Better late than never?

The leaks about the next-generation iPhone SE are uncertain. Last year, it was rumored to have a bigger form factor than the current SE — either with a 5.5-inch Retina Display a la iPhone 6, 6s, 7, and 8 Plus or a full 6.1-inch screen just like on the iPhone XR and 11.

While the latest report from Mac Otakara and Kuo state that it will be launched sometime in April 2021 together with the new AirPods Pro, Ross Young denies the rumor by saying that it will be delayed until Q1 2022.

The generation between the first and second-generation iPhone SE took four years, but with Apple selling the latest iPhone SE like hot pancakes, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see an updated SE after a year.

Concept by Vincenz Lee

Several renditions show that it might be based on the iPhone 12 mini’s form factor with a 5.4-inch punch-hole display. But knowing Apple, they want their phones to look as streamlined as possible. Although it’s given that the Face ID will be ditched for cheaper costs, the notch will most likely stay. And unlike the in-display Touch ID of the upcoming iPhone 13/12s series, this might have an embedded one instead.


We’ll update this article with every new leak and/or rumor on the Apple iPhone 13/12s, as well as the foldable iPhones and SE 3.

Computers

The global chip shortage could last till 2023

Put your plans for a PC build on hold!

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The Coronavirus pandemic prompted everybody to leave the “normal” behind and adopt a completely new lifestyle. With everyone moving to the work-from-home model, the demand for new computers, phones, and other gadgets skyrocketed, bringing another crisis to our doorstep — global chip shortage.

The world’s largest chipmaker TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), announced its quarterly results this week, posting a profit of almost US$ 5 billion. This marks a 19 percent rise in profit when compared to the previous quarter. The announcement is good news for the investors, but it also highlights how long the shortage will continue.

TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said that the company hopes to offer more capacity and meet the demand by 2023. That’s two years away. And that’s after gearing up to spend a whopping US$ 100 billion in the next three years to ramp up production.

American chipmaker Intel has been plagued with production issues for the last few years and recently disclosed that it would spend US$ 20 billion to set up two new facilities in Arizona, US. However, these production sites take time to come up and can’t be just switched on in a few months.

Things aren’t looking good

Even Nvidia isn’t very optimistic about a recovery from the chip shortage anytime soon. “Overall demand remains very strong and continues to exceed supply while our channel inventories remain quite lean,” the company said in its press release. “We expect demand to continue to exceed supply for much of this year.”

Nvidia also has a brand new challenge — the demand for GPUs has skyrocketed ever since Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies started their bullish run in 2020. Cryptocurrency evangelists are constantly on the lookout for new gear, further amplifying the chip shortage.

The current state of component availability looks grim, affecting everything from the availability of new graphics cards to processors to next-gen PlayStations and Xboxes. The ripple effects of the shortage are being felt by every technology company, including giants like Apple.

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News

TCL shows-off a 3-in-1 concept phone that can fold and roll

Said to have a budget-friendly price tag

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The last two years were all about folding phones, and Samsung has pretty much dominated the segment. Huawei and LG tried their luck but with limited success. Though, we often forget that TCL, too, has been in the race since the beginning and still has a lot of tricks up its sleeve like a rollable phone.

Alongside a slew of affordable phones, it unveiled a concept phone that can fold and roll, and it’s literally called — Fold n’ Roll. At first glance, it looks like an ordinary phone with a 6.87-inch screen, but it can be unfolded to reveal a much bigger screen measuring 8.85-inches diagonally. Finally, if you need more screen space, you can roll out another screen from the phone’s housing to deliver an immersive 10-inch tablet.

Being a concept phone, the brand hasn’t delved deep into its specifications, raw capabilities, and software integration yet. However, it did mention that it could sport a hinge mechanism that we haven’t seen in a smartphone before.

Although considering the design’s complexity, it’ll be hard to make the phone commercially available anytime soon. While LG has also shown off a similar rolling design, it’s improbable we’ll ever see it publicly now since the company has entirely left the smartphone market.

TCL no stranger to foldables

TCL has previously unveiled multiple folding concepts, and none of them have actually made it to the mass market. The brand is constantly working on new ideas and is keen on sharing them with the world. While it’s a long journey, TCL seems to be on the right track with its overall portfolio.

The budget and midrange segment is highly lucrative due to scale, ensuring that sales continue growing. Experimenting with new technology is usually an expensive venture, but it gradually pays off in the longer run. Xiaomi has previously followed a similar strategy with the Mi MIX series, and even though it didn’t work out immediately, the brand gained valuable experience for future premium offerings.

Watch: Rollable display smartphones are coming NEXT!

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Laptops

Huawei MateBook 2021 laptops are here and they’re nice

With 11th Gen chips and up to 16GB RAM

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MateBook
File photo: MateBook D 14

We all know Huawei’s struggles in the mobile department, but their other devices are still well-made and leading the charge now are their notebooks. The Huawei MateBook 2021 lineup, in particular, has plenty for people to choose from.

Here are some of what you’re in for.

Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen

The Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 features a 15.6-inch IPS FullView display with a TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification and TÜV Rheinland Flicker Free Certification. It also has a 180-degree hinge and is equipped with DDR4 RAM to support the 11th Generation Intel processors.

In terms of connectivity, the Huawei MateBook D 15 comes with Wi-Fi 6, a USB 2.0 port, a single USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB type-C port, and Bluetooth 5.1.

Huawei MateBook 14 2021 11th Gen

The Huawei MateBook 14 2021, on the other hand, also comes powered 11th Generation processor, paired with 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM and 512GB of internal SSD storage.

This variant has 2K FullView display with 90 percent screen-to-body ratio and TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification. It also equips a 56Wh battery capacity for 11 hours of long battery life and 65W super-fast charging support.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021

MateBook X Pro 2021 is a high-end variant in its lineup. It features 3.9-inches IPS FullView touchscreen display with a 3K resolution, 3:2 screen ratio that creates panoramic viewing effect, and offers remarkable 91 percent body ratio.

The design of MateBook X Pro has a premium metallic lightweight of about 1.33 kg with 14.6mm thickness, brings a fingerprint reader on the power button. Huawei MateBook X Pro is also able to provide up to 11 hours of regular work on a single charge and comes with ultra-light 65 W pocket charger.

All these MateBooks carry legacy smart features like the Multi-screen Collaboration, FreeTouch, and the recessed camera.

Pricing and availability

All three MateBooks are available for pre-order. Customers who will purchase via the Huawei Store, Lazada or Shopee will also get a free Huawei GT 2e (Green) worth PhP 6,990 from April 16 until April 22, 2021.

Pricing are as follows:

MateBook D15 2021

11th Gen 16GB 512 SSD — PhP 52,999
10th Gen 16GB 512 SSD — PhP 42,999

MateBook 14 2021

11th Gen 16GB 512 SSD — PhP 64,999
10th Gen 16GB 512 SSD — PhP 46,999

MateBook X Pro 2021 — PhP 89,999

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