The iPhone 13 has some major camera upgrades while most everything else stayed similar to the iPhone 12. Is it worth spending those hard-earned commission dollars to buy it?

There are so many work-related gadgets for real estate agents today. Here, Inman’s Craig Rowe weighs the cost versus benefit for the typical agent’s day-to-day life so that you only spend your hard-earned money on tools that will actually help your bottom line.

It’s all about the camera.

As a writer, this next line isn’t easy to write: Today’s online content is visual. Pictures connect us to each other, compel us to take action and inspire us to go places.

So, make no mistake, Apple’s 13th iPhone iteration will make buyers even more apt to pose, snap and record — faster. Good news for agents with listings bound to go under contract a few hours after hitting the market.

All that said, this isn’t a major update from the last one. If you have a 12, you’re good. Those of you out there still clinging to something around a 6 or 7 will want to pay special attention.

Here’s what you should know

Apple launched the iPhone 13 in four models:

  • Standard iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • The Pro
  • The Pro Max.

Let’s focus on the standard model to avoid getting waist-deep in technicalities.


All of them have the same A15 Bionic processor, now considered the fastest chip in any smartphone.


It’s best to go into your due diligence knowing that as iPhone sizes vary, so does cost, battery stamina, available storage, screen size and display speed or refresh rate (a GHz measurement of the rate and quality at which motion is rendered on a digital display).

Rear camera

They’ve bettered the lenses and sensors on the iPhone 13’s rear camera, improving the wide angle and shutter speed. The new chip pulls in close to 50 percent more light, which can make dark rooms and dusky exteriors look terrific.

If you’ve used the night mode on a recent iPhone iteration, then you know what to expect. It’s pretty amazing.

Image stabilization

To help you stay steady when capturing low-light scenes, Apple enhanced the digital image stabilization, too. (Note: Manual stabilization remains critical when taking photos.)


You can now apply four different filters (Vibrant, Rich Contrast, Warm and Cool) to images in-lens, meaning as you’re taking the picture. What’s cool here is that these aren’t playful, artsy filters, but rather subtle overlays to proactively enhance an image where needed.


For comparison’s sake, the camera you get on the Standard 13 offers the same resolution and quality offered in the iPhone 12 Max Pro.

Cinematic mode

If you’re comfortable on video, you might have noticed Apple’s commercials promoting “cinematic mode.”

The thrust of this video feature is automatic focus on multiple subjects. The camera senses multiple faces to apply focus on the person looking at the camera, and it can switch back and forth to coincide with dialogue or visual emphasis. You can also tap the screen’s graphical face-recognition box to shift the focus.


iPhone 13 dimensions. source:


This is a pretty remarkable feature in a smartphone camera as it really is a tactic used by professional cinematographers, and now, real estate agents.


The iPhone 13 models have OLED, “ceramic shield” screens. The base model and Pro are 6.1″, the Mini is 5.4″. Upgrading to the Pro Max gets you a 6.7″ screen. The new covering offers more dust protection and durability against moisture and being dropped.


All four phones have new shade of pink available, too.


The newest operating system, which I installed on my iPhone 12 Mini, comes standard on iPhone 13 models. It has some sharp features.

Text scan

Agents will dig iOS 15’s ability to OCR scan static (image-embedded copy) text for inclusion in texts, emails, etc. There’s a new icon next to the “Paste” pop-up that when tapped, opens the camera and offers tips on how to grab text from documents.

I envision this being highly useful for pointing out questionable contract clauses and notating documents during negotiations and so forth.


A lot of the physical characteristics remain intact, such as the squared-off edges, impressively thin form factor, Mag-safe embed, wireless charging and charge port styles. The iPhone 13 is heavier across the board, however. This is likely because of the larger battery.

iPhone color models. source:


The iPhone 13 starts at $799 for 128 GB storage. The Mini at $699, also with 128 GB. Prices jump for more GB  (128, 156, 512) as you climb up the models, respectively, all the way up to $1,599 for a terabyte of storage in the Pro Max. Of course, many mobile providers offer plans to rent equipment and roll it into your bill. That might be worth investigating.

If you for some reason backed off of the iPhone 12 and still manage to run your business on anything older than an iPhone 8, then yes, it’s time to buy the 13, any of the models.

Apple made the Mini models for people like me. I hate things in my pockets but love to think about just how much tech something called “mini” can hold. And the iPhone 12 Mini remains an impressive device.

If you’re an iPhone fan a few years behind, the 13’s camera upgrades are well worth the upgrade. It’s time.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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