Apple’s iPhone 13 is great, but these missing features are a disappointment

Apple Announcements September 14, 2021: iPhone 13, new iPads, Apple Watch Series 7 and more

iPhone 13 brings new features like better cameras and longer battery life, but it lacks some options.

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With longer battery life, better cameras, a new cinematic state and more storage space at the basic level, Apples iPhone 13 lineup has a lot to offer compared to its predecessors. (Check CNETs iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro and Pro Max reviews.) While there is a lot to love about the iPhone 13, it lacks a few features we had hoped to see from Apple’s latest smartphone. Many of these features are available on Android competitors, while others can be found on various Apple devices.

That iPhone 13, Which one can be bought, starting at $ 829 for the standard model with no shipping company discount. The Mini starts at $ 729, the iPhone 13 Pro starts at $ 999, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a starting price of $ 1,099.

Read more: Need to upgrade to iPhone 13? We compared the last five years with iPhones to find out

From a fingerprint reader on the screen to a truly borderless screen, here are the features that are missing on the iPhone 13.

USB-C support

Wouldn’t it be great if you could use the same charger for your iPhone and the other gadgets in your home? Apple’s latest iPhone, however once again missing USB-C connection. As has been the case since 2012, the latest iPhones require Apple’s proprietary Lightning cable for wired charging.

Not only does this mean you can not use chargers from other gadgets to turn on your iPhone, but it also means that chargers from other Apple mobile devices may not be compatible with your iPhone. For example, Apple’s iPad Air, iPad Pro and the recently announced iPad Mini all charge via USB-C. This means that even if you are an Apple loyalist, you need to keep track of multiple charging cables.

A fingerprint reader on the screen

Face ID works well most of the time, but it would be nice to have the option to use your fingerprint to unlock your device as well. This is especially true over the past year and a half, as Face ID may not be able to accurately identify you while wearing a face mask. If you do not have an Apple Watch, you have probably entered your password much more than usual over the past year.

Read more: New iPhone 13? How to transfer data from iPhone to iPhone

Many Android phones, such as those from Samsung, Motorola and OnePlus, have fingerprint readers built into their screens. A 2019 report by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, known for his sometimes accurate Apple predictions, said Apple would release an iPhone with Face ID and a fingerprint sensor on the screen in 2021. It turned out not to be true, but maybe we see it in iPhone 14.

Satellite connection

One of the most prominent rumors about the iPhone 13 in the weeks before launch was that it would comes with satellite connection for sending texts in emergency scenarios. It turned out not to be true, at least not yet.

Kuo and Bloomberg both reported that the iPhone 13 would be able to use satellite connectivity in areas without cell phone coverage. But Bloomberg’s report gave a little more detail, saying that this feature would primarily serve as an SOS to contact emergency services. Messages would have a length restriction, and you may need to go to a specific location to connect.

However, the Bloomberg report said the feature could be scrapped, and it warned that the iPhone 13 may not have the feature at launch, even though it has the hardware to support it.

Wi-Fi 6E support

Wi-Fi 6E is new and is not a must-have yet. But since many people buy an iPhone with the intention of keeping it for several years, it would have been helpful to see Wi-Fi 6E support in at least the Pro and Pro Max models.

Wi-Fi 6E is a special term for Wi-Fi 6 devices that give them access to the new 6GHz spectrum. As mine colleague Ry Crist says so, think of the 6GHz band as a “shiny, new seven-lane superhighway” available only for select devices. The 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands we are used to connecting on today’s routers are more like a “one-lane highway” and a “three-lane interstate”, respectively.

There are not many smartphones out there that support Wi-Fi 6E yet. But Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of them, and we’re already seeing routers from Asus and Netgear that support 6E. If you pay for the premium iPhone, it would be helpful at least to have Wi-Fi 6E connectivity as an option.

An always on screen

Mine Apple Watch have an always on screen and I only wish my iPhone could too. For years, smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus and other Android device manufacturers have had screens that are able to display information on the screen even when the screen is dormant.

It may not sound like a big deal, but I have found it surprisingly useful. Most phones with an always-on screen will display information such as the time and your next calendar event when the screen is off.

Having this information available in an instant has made it easier to see when my next meeting is without having to pick up my phone, which is helpful in avoiding distractions. If you do not own a smartwatch, an always-on screen makes it easier to quickly see small chunks of information while keeping some distance from your phone.

A telephoto lens with 10x optical zoom

The iPhone 13 series is getting bigger camera quality improvements. There is a new Cinematic mode on all four models that automatically switches focus between subjects as needed, and the iPhone 13 Pro gets the ability to take macro photos.

But the iPhone 13’s camcorder still does not have as close a zoom as Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max have 6x optical zoom range, while Galaxy S21 Ultra has two telephoto lenses that support a 3x and 10x optical zoom.

Samsung’s smartphones are known for their zoom features, which is why the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was named our favorite phone for camera zoom in 2020. But we’ll have to wait until we’ve tested the iPhone 13 Pro to see how it’s really performing compared to Samsung’s latest flagships.

A notch screen

Yes, Apple fans are probably used to the notch by now, as it has been present on iPhones since 2017. But it’s hard to overlook that when you consider the advances Android device manufacturers have made in this regard.

Most Android smartphones come with notch screens that only include a subtle hole-shaped cutout for the camera. Samsung was among the earliest to embrace this design back in 2019 with the Galaxy S10 family. But now this design is common across the Android landscape, whether you’re looking at phones from Samsung, Google, OnePlus or Motorola.

However, it’s worth pointing out that part of the reason the iPhone’s notch is so large is that it’s where all of its Face ID sensors are located. Apple’s face recognition system has generally been considered to be ahead of the competition, especially around the time it was launched.

The flexibility to control the screen refresh rate

That iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are the first iPhones to get Apple’s ProMotion feature, which increases the screen’s refresh rate to up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling and increased responsiveness. To save battery life, it throttles the screen to a slower refresh rate to preserve battery life.

Other phones like Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 give you more control and flexibility by allowing you to choose when you want to turn the refresh rate up to 120Hz instead of letting the phone decide for you. It is possible to choose between a smoother scroll option and an option for battery life in Samsung’s settings menu. However, you must be willing to sacrifice some image quality and battery life.

Faster wireless charging

Wireless charging has been standard on the iPhone since 2017, but we still haven’t seen meaningful improvements when it comes to charging speeds. If you do not use a MagSafe wireless charger, which can deliver 15 watts of wireless charging speed, you will only be able to charge your iPhone at 7.5 watts.

It is much slower than most Android phones. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 for example. supports 10 watts wireless charging, while the Galaxy S20 FE supports faster 15 watt wireless charging. OnePlus 9 Pro supports 50 watts wireless charging.

Now that wireless charging is a given thing and is no longer considered a rarity on smartphones, it would be nice to see Apple boost the iPhone’s wireless charging speeds, as it has done for the Apple Watch.

Reverse wireless charging

We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re on the bus or the train and you pull yours AirPods only to see the dreaded red light signaling that your battery is running low. If only you could rest your AirPods cover on the back of your iPhone to give it a little power boost.

This feature, widely known as reverse wireless charging, is available on Android phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S21 line and Google Pixel 5, but not on the iPhone 13. It essentially allows the back of your phone to act as a wireless charging pad for accessories like smartphones, cordless earphones and even other phones.

Although this feature is not available right now, there are hints that Apple might be thinking about it. Submissions to the Federal Communications Commission from October 2020 suggest Apple may have built the necessary technology into the iPhone, even if it is not activated.

Apple Pencil support

Apple has brought Apple Pencil support to every iPad in its series, but there is still no compatibility with the iPhone. I could especially see the Apple Pencil being useful on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro Max, both of which have almost tablet-sized 6.7-inch screens that are ideal for sketching and note-taking. Plus, adding Apple Pencil support to super-sized Pro Max phones would give Apple another way to differentiate the Pro Max from the 6.1-inch Pro and make more use of its larger screen.

Lossless sound over Bluetooth

With chipmaker Qualcomm debuts its proprietary audio format to deliver lossless audio over Bluetooth, it would have been nice to hear similar ambitions from Apple.

Lossless audio uses a different compression method that retains more detail than the process used to make Bluetooth audio files small enough to store on your phone. Qualcomm expects devices that support its lossless audio format to launch in early 2022, so there’s a chance we’ll hear more about it around CES in January.

In the meantime, use wired headphones or your iPhone’s built-in speakers to listen to lossless music from your mobile device.

Center Stage for video calling

Entry-level iPad and iPad Mini now has Center Stage, the feature that automatically frames your face when you video chat. It works automatically and has been super convenient now that many of us communicate with friends, colleagues and family members via video calls.

However, it would be more useful if Center Stage were available across all Apple products, including iPhones and Macs. In fact, I do most of my video chats on an iPhone or a Mac instead of an iPad, especially since phones are smaller and usually easier to keep at eye level in portrait orientation.

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