The Two Tiers of iPhone 14
In early September 2022, Apple introduced their latest flagship phone, the iPhone 14. The update is generally reliable for users who are already satisfied with the iPhone 13. It retains what is quickly becoming an iconic design and, somewhat shockingly, the A15 Bionic processor from the previous year (which, to be fair, is a wickedly powerful CPU in its own right), but it does not advance the state of the art in a way that enables Apple to keep up with its rivals.
This marks the first time in quite some time that there are two distinct levels of iPhones: the standard tier, which consists of the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus, and the premium tier, which is comprised of the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The A15 Bionic chip was installed in all of Apple's iPhones in 2018, including older models. This year, Apple will equip the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus with the A15 Bionic processor, while the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be equipped with the brand-new A16 Bionic processor. It is also important to note that the iPhone 13 small was not given an upgrade, which indicates that it is likely nearing the end of its existence as a pint-sized device.
Price and Availability
The price of the base 128GB variant of the iPhone 14 remains the same as it was for the iPhone 13, coming in at $799/£779/AU$ 1,399. This should not come as a surprise considering how similar the iPhone 14 is to the iPhone 13. Preorders for the iPhone 14 will begin on Friday, September 9, and offers on the iPhone 14 will be available beginning September 16.
Design, Materials and Display
The design of the iPhone 14 is virtually identical to that of the iPhone 13, however it may pale in comparison to the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, both of which feature the new Dynamic Island, a mutable zone that houses both the TrueDepth module and display information.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 14 is essentially a small slice of electronics wedged between two sumptuous slabs of glass that may or may not be Gorilla Glass Victus. Ceramic Shield is still there on the cover screen, providing an additional layer of protection.
The approximately 75.1mm x 146.7mm x 7.65mm (0.30 inch) body is held together by a smooth aluminum band weighing 173g. The iPhone 13 retains the same button, microphone, and speaker grill positions as the iPhone 13. The larger power/sleep/Siri button is on the right, while the quiet slider and volume controls are on the left.
Located between the speaker grill and microphone holes on the base is what may be the last lightning port. While the European Union is pressuring Apple to switch its device ports to USB-C by 2024, Apple is staying with lighting for this model. Existing cables will be delighted.
This is the first iPhone to eliminate the actual SIM card slot in favor of an eSIM-only system. It is odd to see a smartphone without the easily recognizable panel and the hole for the required tool to pop out the SIM tray.
The camera array on the back of the iPhone 14 appears unaltered from the iPhone 13. One of the 12MP cameras is wide-angle and the other is ultra-wide.
Apple has mostly maintained the iPhone 13's 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display on the iPhone 14. It still boasts a resolution of 2532 x 1170 pixels at 460 ppi and the notch that supports the upgraded TrueDepth module with all the AR sensors and a 12MP camera.
Cameras and Battery Life
The iPhone 14 has a total of three cameras, including the 12MP wide and 12MP ultrawide cameras on the rear, as well as the 12MP TrueDepth camera on the front.
Apple said it increased the primary camera's low-light capabilities by increasing the aperture to /1.5 and the pixel size to 1.9 m. The 12-megapixel wide-angle lens remains unaffected. However, the front-facing TrueDepth camera now enables focusing.
Additionally, there are additional camera modes. Cinematic Mode may now record in 4K at 30 and 24 frames per second. There is also a brand-new Action Mode, a type of electronic gimbal that smooths out choppy footage by cropping it intelligently on the fly.
The phone still supports wireless MagSafe charging. Apple seldom discusses the battery, but I expect it will be durable.
Performance and Software
The iPhone 14 utilizes Apple's one-year-old A15 Bionic processor. It is quite disappointing to not see the most recent silicon here, but the A15 Bionic is still the industry-leading mobile CPU. Performance-wise, the 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU perform admirably across a wide variety of workloads.
Apple has upgraded the cooling system of the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, which may result in battery and performance improvements.
Emergency satellite communications and crash detection are two exciting new capabilities of the iPhone 14 line that are featured with the base model.
The phone's satellite communication capabilities are integrated. In a press release, Apple said the phone uses its existing antennae and strong algorithms to manage what is typically a very low-bandwidth connection (you have to be outside and have a clear view of the sky). It compresses text messages and provides easy-to-use communication templates to ensure that you can transmit the fundamentals when necessary. The service begins with a free trial period, but eventually payment is required.
Crash detection, which was also featured on the Apple Watch 8, will swiftly notify you if your vehicle is involved in an accident.
Many of us have been using the iOS 16 public beta for months, and while it retains iOS's signature design flourishes, it does include a number of noteworthy upgrades.
First and foremost is the redesigned Lock Screen. As the first thing you see when you wake up your iPhone (or at least it was before the always-on display), the Lock Screen serves as the iPhone's calling card, expressing its intentions to you and the world.
It has a bold new appearance thanks to new fonts and sizes, and the picture segmentation feature that allows you to place a section of your image on top of the clock is a spectacular effect. Additionally, the lock screen is more useful thanks to customisable widgets.
Owners of the new iPhone 14 will find improved notifications (no longer overwhelming the lock screen) and the possibility to use several lock screens, each with a unique focus mode.
They will be able to establish multi-stop instructions on the new maps, edit and retrieve text messages after sending them, and drag and drop image subjects directly from photos into apps and communications.
There is much to discover in the new platform, all of which might profoundly alter your iPhone 14 experience.
The entirety of the iPhone 14 lineup is 5G and launching into a world where 5G coverage is significantly more pervasive.
While the iPhone 14 does not represent a significant advancement, I still enjoy the device's design and feel. The iPhone 14 is marginally more powerful than the previous generation, at least in a few lenses, and may maintain a raw performance advantage over some new Android phones.
However, it will be difficult to view the iPhone 14 without glancing sideways to the sleek new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max with their notch-free displays and 48MP cameras.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Maina Wilson