The newly-revealed iPhone 14 lineup marks a huge change for Apple. It signals a clear divide between the standard iPhone and its “Pro” counterparts, and more notably, it marks the beginning of the end for Apple’s Face ID notch. This is a glimpse at Apple’s future.
Unfortunately, you’ll only experience Apple’s future if you shell out for an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max. The standard iPhone 14 offers very few improvements over its predecessor, and it looks outdated next to the Pro models.
Note: Apple revealed the iPhone 14 lineup during its “Far Out” event on September 7th, 2022. The company also debuted its second-gen AirPods Pro, the Apple Watch Series 8, the second-gen Apple Watch SE, and the Apple Watch Ultra during this event.
There are four devices in the iPhone 14 lineup. You’ve got the standard iPhone 14, a new iPhone 14 Plus, the iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. That’s right; Apple ditched the iPhone Mini.
It seems that the iPhone Mini experiment was a failure. Customers weren’t interested in paying less for a smaller device. So, Apple figures that an iPhone 14 Plus upgrade might be more appealing.
- iPhone 14 (6.1-inch): $799
- iPhone 14 Plus (6.7-inch): $899
- iPhone 14 Pro (6.1-inch): $999
- iPhone 14 Pro Max (6.7-inch): $1,099
The new iPhone 14 Plus costs $100 more than the standard iPhone 14, but it offers a much larger 6.69-inch display and an improved battery life. In the past, you had to buy the most expensive “Pro Max” iPhone to get these upgrades. (Aside from its display and battery life, iPhone 14 Plus is identical to the basic iPhone 14.)
Note that all iPhone displays are the same size as last year’s models. Apple says that the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro use a new 6.1-inch display, while the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 4 Pro Max use a 6.7-inch panel. (In reality, Apple is rounding up. These displays are a fraction of an inch bigger than last year.)
All models of iPhone gain satellite connectivity for messaging off the grid. You need to point your iPhone toward a satellite using an on-screen guide, and the whole thing looks pretty rocky, but it’s a great start. (This feature launches in November and is exclusive to the United States and Canada. It will eventually cost money.)
Additionally, all models of iPhone 14 use eSIM. They don’t work with physical SIM cards. This makes it easier to activate your phone and switch carriers. It also eliminates the possibility of someone stealing your SIM card.
And like the new Apple Watch Series 8, the iPhone 14 lineup offers car crash detection using internal microphones, gyroscopes, and accelerometers.
After several years of whining and complaining, it seems that Apple fans are finally getting what they want. The new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max ditch the Face ID notch for a smaller, pill-shaped cutout. And crazy enough, this cutout can change size.
Well, it can’t really change size. Apple uses the new pill-shaped Face ID cutout as a “Dynamic Island.” When you use Apple Pay, for example, the Face ID cutout grows and morphs into a larger notification shade with a preview of a credit card. You can also tap the “Dynamic Island” to interact with whatever apps you’re using, like Apple Music, Maps, or a timer.
Developers can leverage the “Dynamic Island” API to take advantage of this new feature. It’s an amazing idea, and frankly, it makes the basic iPhone 14 look outdated.
Additionally, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have an upgraded display. There’s a new 2,000 nit peak brightness (which is incredibly bright), plus a new always-on display mode.
The new display mode takes advantage of an adaptive refresh rate to constantly show information without sacrificing battery life. And unlike the Apple Watch, the iPhone 14 Pro won’t turn your wallpaper green when always-on display is enabled.
These upgrades are exclusive to the “Pro” models of iPhone. But we expect the pill-shaped Face ID array and always-on display mode to come standard models of the iPhone 15—if you want these upgrades but don’t want to pay for a “Pro” iPhone, you’ll have to wait until next year. (Of course, we’re just speculating. Maybe the iPhone 15 will still use a notched Face ID array!)
In the past, the “Pro” models of iPhone offered little more than a camera upgrade. They didn’t offer a noticeable increase in performance or usability. But that changes with the iPhone 14 lineup.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max use a new A16 chipset. It provides much faster CPU, GPU, and RAM speeds than the standard A16. It also introduces speedy DDR5 memory to the iPhone lineup. Plus, improved high-efficiency cores ensure a long battery life during day-to-day tasks.
Unfortunately, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus reuse last year’s A15 chipset. While the A15 chip is still quite capable, it’s disappointing to watch Apple hold the iPhone back just to make the Pro model’s upgrade seem more significant.
All models of iPhone 14 use a new autofocus selfie lens with an upgraded f/1.9 aperture. This should boost sharpness during FaceTime calls and improve low-light performance when shooting selfies. The iPhone 14 lineup also uses a new “Photonic Engine” that supposedly doubles detail and color when taking photos in poor lighting.
The standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus also gain an upgraded 12MP main camera with an f/1.5 aperture. Apple claims that this camera will provide sharper images when subjects are in motion, plus improved low-light performance.
Additionally, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus use Apple’s six-element ultra-wide camera, which was introduced last year with the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. This upgraded camera increases sharpness and reduces noise when shooting night photography.
But Apple’s most notable camera upgrade is exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Finally, after more years than we can count, Apple is ditching its 12MP main lens for a new 48MP sensor. It’s a massive upgrade that could dramatically improve camera quality. (The iPhone 14 Pro also gets a slightly-upgraded 12MP ultra-wide lens, though the difference is quite minor.)
Unfortunately, we’ve heard rumors (via @LeaksApplePro) that the new 48MP lens isn’t ready for night photography. The larger sensor may introduce noise when shooting in low-light environments, and for early adopters, it may feel like a downgrade from last year’s camera.
We can’t say anything decisive about this 48MP lens until we review the iPhone 14 Pro. But if you regularly use the iPhone for night photography, you may want to wait and see how this shakes out.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 14 lineup begin on September 9th. Pricing starts at $799 for the basic iPhone 14, $899 for the larger iPhone 14 Plus, $999 for the iPhone 14 Pro, and a whopping $1,099 for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Units ship September 16th (however, the iPhone 14 Plus doesn’t ship until October 7th). If you buy an iPhone 14 from the Apple store, don’t forget to trade in a device to save some serious cash. You can also purchase the phone from your carrier, which may offer discounts for upgrades, trade-ins, pre-orders, and more.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus offer incremental upgrades, such as improved camera technology and slightly larger displays.
iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max
The new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce a smaller Face ID cutout with Dynamic Island functionality. They also offer an upgrade A16 chipset and improved cameras.