Hot Apple iPhone 14 Series

Apple is setting the trend and even non-techies are tuning in to see major new announcements like the one we got this week. The iPhone 14 series is official and already pre-ordered as of Friday. The first lucky users will have one in their hands next week.

We have extensive coverage of the event and related news that has surfaced around it (some of which revealed things Apple didn’t do). Here we wanted to share some thoughts on the new models after the dust settled.

Accurate and inaccurate price hikes

Apple has subtly increased the price of iPhones several times and did it again this year. In 2021, the cheapest iPhone (other than the SE) was the mini, which started at $700, and now the cheapest member of the premium range is the iPhone 14 at $800.

Yes, the iPhone 13 was also $800 and Apple points this out, hoping you won’t notice that the entry price has gone up with the disappearance of the mini. We have detailed pricing information for new models, if you want to take a look. The mini itself was part of a slight price hike — the vanilla iPhone 11 started at $700 in 2019, and the base iPhone 12 was also $700 in 2020. However, this was the newly introduced iPhone 12, the 6.1-inch iPhone. inches (which served as the de facto successor to the vanilla iPhone 11) rose to $800.

There was another lie during Wednesday’s event – Apple offered US prices for iPhone 14 models, suggesting that they are identical to the 13 series. And it is, although there is a “but” to come. New models cost the same as older models in many countries (including the US, Canada, and China), but have risen significantly in Europe, parts of Asia, and other regions.

iPhone 14 iPhone 14 Plus iPhone 14 Pro iPhone 14 Pro Max
we 799 USD 899 USD 999 USD 1,099 USD
United kingdom £849 £949 £1099 £1199
Germany 999 Euro €1149 1,299 euros 1449 €
India INR 79900 INR 89,900 INR 129,900 INR 139,900
China 5999 CNY 6,999 CNY 7999 CNY 8999 CNY
Japan 119,800 JPY 134800 JPY 149800 JPY 164.800 JPY

Waiting might be wrong

We’ll be talking about the Plus and mini, but while we’re on the subject of pricing, we wanted to cover the older models as well. As it does every year, Apple discontinues the old Pro series and keeps the vanilla models at a discount.

It did this year too – the iPhone 12, 13 and 13 mini are still available at a discount. Well, not quite, the sale is for the iPhone 14 series and since these prices have gone up in some regions, the cost of older models has remained the same in many countries.

Even worse, the price of the iPhone SE (2022) has gone up in some places. We know that some of you waited for the new generation to launch so you could buy an older model at a discount, but this year this strategy hasn’t worked as well as it usually does.

Plus is a welcome addition to the family

Apple has rebranded “Plus” to the new iPhone 14 Plus. It’s the same size as the 14 Pro Max (just less than a fraction of a millimeter) and claims the same screen diagonal of 6.7 inches. It has effectively the same pixel density (458 pixels per inch), which makes for a beautiful, sharp picture.

Apple iPhone 14 hot take

However, this is where the similarities between Plus and Pro Max end. For starters, it’s still a 60Hz panel and doesn’t support Always On Display (new to pros). Additionally, the Pro panels are brighter, and the Plus and vanilla iPhone 14 maintain typical brightness at 800 nits and peak at 1200 nits (versus the typical 1,000 nits and 2,000 nits peak for the 14 Pro duo).

Apple iPhone 14 hot take

There are two other major differences between the Plus and Max – chipset and cameras – but we’ll get to them later.

The iPhone 14 Plus is a welcome addition to the Apple family. Not everyone is interested in owning the best cameras, even there’s less demand at peak performance these days, but some want a bigger screen and bigger battery than the 6.1-inch vanilla iPhone offered. Previously, their only option was the $1,100 iPhone 14 Pro Max model, and now they can get the $900 Plus instead.

The iPhone lineup needed the Plus model and we think it will be a very successful. But did his birth necessitate the death of the miniature? Probably not, and it doesn’t matter anyway. According to the sales figures reported by analysts, the mini died on its own due to lack of consumer interest.

The new mini wasn’t really necessary

We know some people will protest the above statement, so let’s talk about it before moving on to the upgrades (and sometimes the lack thereof) in Series 14.

The mini is still there in the form of the iPhone 13 mini. Given the incremental upgrades for the camera, chipset, and display on the base 14 series, the default iPhone 14 mini wasn’t all that different. If you want a small (correctly small, not small Android) phone with premium build and performance, the 13 mini is still a great choice.

Pro exciting camera upgrade

Like Google, Apple has improved the camera setup and has been reluctant to make major changes. I’ve had great results for several years, but it’s time to leave the 12MP resolution and the standard Bayer filter.

Apple did a great job explaining the benefits. The new 48MP sensor delivers high image quality at 2x zoom, bridging the gap between the main camera and the 3x telephoto camera. In daylight, it can shoot detailed 48MP RAW photos, and in the dark it uses pixel binning to reduce noise. It could enable 8K video recording as well, but maybe next year.

Apple iPhone 14 hot take

Either way, the new iPhone Pro’s camera is more versatile. The other side of the stable has little to show for it. The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus cameras bring a larger sensor and brighter aperture to the main camera, plus they take advantage of the new Photonic Engine. However, they are starting to feel really outdated now because it has only been frequent improvements since 2019.

Vanilla models get a larger sensor in the main camera (1.9 µm vs. 1.7 µm)
All four have AF on selfie cameras

Vanilla models have a larger sensor (1.9 µm vs. 1.7 µm) • All four models have autofocus on selfie cameras

One change we applaud is the addition of auto focus to the selfie camera, and this can (and usually has) a huge impact on the quality of selfies. But how long will we have to look at notches and pill-shaped holes before the cameras under the screen reach the iPhone?

AOD and dynamic island

The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max screens are some of the best OLED panels on the market – 1-120Hz LTPO, sharp, remarkably bright, HDR10 and Dolby Vision support, durable glass and now with Always On mode to boot. It’s hard to find fault with the displays themselves.

Apple iPhone 14 hot take

That’s not the case for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, which don’t bring any upgrades since the 13 series and aren’t really different from the iPhone 12.

We’ll be back to the pros for a look at the first major redesign of the TrueDepth camera. It’s the biggest hole we’ve seen yet, but Apple decorated it with a so-called dynamic island.

Dynamic Island pops up icons from apps that want your attention, displays indicators (for example showing that the camera or microphone is active), and can even be expanded to show a new notification.

We have to give it to Apple, the animations are super smooth and the marketing is neat, but Dynamic Island doesn’t do anything a typical status bar can’t. Of course, with a pill this wide, there’s no room for a proper status bar.

Apple’s tireless progress on the chipset is slowing down

Apple was distinguished not only by having the best mobile chipset, but also by using it on all smartphones of a certain generation – even the iPhone SE (2022) has the Apple A15 chip. There was a small gap as the A15 has two trim levels, one with a quad-core GPU (used in the iPhone 13, 13 mini, and SE) and one with a five-core GPU (used in professionals).

There is now an even bigger gap between the vanilla and Pro models as the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus still use the A15 chipset. It’s the more powerful five-core GPU version (which Apple says will provide 18% more GPU performance), but we’re not sure it’ll have much of an impact when the target is 60fps.

Apple iPhone 14 hot take

We think one change Apple didn’t talk about would be more beneficial – all iPhone 14 models have 6GB of RAM (no change for the pros, but the mini 13 and 13 have only 4GB). Even people who multitask moderately should get a better experience.

As for the new Apple A16 chip, Apple compared it to the three-year-old A13 chip, but that was mostly to show how fast it was (the company claimed the A13 is faster than the best Android chip of 2022, but that could only be true with a lot of fine print ). Early reports suggest that Apple overclocked the CPU – at 3.43GHz, which is the fastest core for smartphones – but the actual performance improvements are minimal if no.

While it’s true that Apple has the fastest mobile chipset, the competition isn’t far off, and the A16 is about to take on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is coming in a couple of months.

T-Mobile and SpaceX stole Apple’s satellite thunder

This is a bit like science fiction – a small pocket phone without an external antenna that can connect to a satellite and send distress. There’s no arguing that it would be invaluable if the worst happened and you found yourself in trouble far from being rescued.

However, Apple left some things unsaid. iPhone 14 buyers will get a free two-year subscription — but only in the US and Canada, where beta testing begins. But how much will it cost after that? Will it be a monthly subscription or pay-per-use? Also, in some areas, you need to get search and rescue insurance. You will continue to save even if you don’t, it will cost you a lot.

Apple emergency SOS and satellite location sharing
Apple emergency SOS and satellite location sharing
Apple emergency SOS and satellite location sharing
Apple emergency SOS and satellite location sharing

Apple emergency SOS and satellite location sharing

And how can location sharing through Find My Work if connecting to a satellite requires the user to carefully point their iPhone at the satellite (with the on-screen orientation)?

In any case, the timing of the T-Mobile and SpaceX partnership is crystal clear. Two weeks ago they announced that by late next year they will have satellite-connected smartphones.

Unlike Apple’s solution, this will work with existing phones and will be available for public conversations (SMS, MMS, even some third-party chat apps), not just SOS and location sharing. Google is already working on satellite support for Android 14. If T-Mobile and SpaceX can pull it off, Apple’s new Emergency SOS feature will look like old hat a year after launch. Of course, iPhone users (including those with older models) on T-Mobile will benefit from this as well, but Apple won’t get any revenue from it.

CDMA lessons not learned

The new iPhone 14 models launched in the US will not have a SIM slot, but will rely exclusively on an eSIM. While an eSIM is undoubtedly a useful thing, it is completely under the control of the carriers.

This was the case with CDMA phones, but at the time switching carriers meant getting a new number. Things have improved a lot since then and users are free to switch phones without making it a carrier business. This is a step back with quite a few benefits that we could see – iPhones already have an eSIM and are some of the best waterproof phones on the market. How does removing the physical SIM card tray benefit consumers?