On Wednesday, Apple announced the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, and maybe the most surprising thing is that there were very few surprises. Apple pretty much revealed what everyone had already expected. That's sort of how it goes in a day where most of the features are rumored in advance. This year was no exception.
As far as changes, there's no longer an iPhone mini. Instead, Apple introduced a larger version of the non-pro version, calling it the iPhone 14 Plus. I guess the name was a bit of a surprise, but other than that, it's what you'd expect.
iPhone 14 Features
The iPhone 14 keeps the A15 bionic processor from last year, but I suspect most people who are looking to upgrade their iPhone this year don't have an iPhone 13. If you do, there's probably little reason to upgrade. If you're using something older, the A15 bionic will be a huge improvement.
It also got a better 12MP main camera, along with an improved front-facing camera that now has autofocus. Considering that the two reasons most people upgrade their iPhones are the camera and the battery, new cameras are a must.
More interestingly, Apple announced the rumored satellite connectivity. If you're in an area without cellular coverage, all of the 2022 iPhone models are capable of finding and connecting to satellites in order to send emergency messages. That's cool, and in a way--it's sort of Apple's way of saying that it believes the iPhone is more than just a thing you use to take photos, send messages, and watch TikTok videos.
The same goes for the new crash detection feature (which is also on the Apple Watch Series 8). Apple says it is able to tell when you are in a vehicle accident and will contact emergency services and your emergency contact.
iPhone 14 Pro Features
The Pro got more significant updates, starting with the display--which is now "always on." Whether that's a good thing or not depends on whether you like the idea of sitting at a table with a bunch of iPhone screens lit up.
To be fair, the "always-on" display is pretty dim. Unlike a lot of Android smartphones with this feature, however, Apple shows you a dimmed version of your entire display. It goes along with the new Lock Screen design coming in iOS 16, which allows you to add widgets so you can quickly get information without having to pick up or tap your display.
The most obvious change is the fact that Apple finally got rid of the notch on the Pro model. Instead, it has what is called a "Dynamic Island," which is really strange name for a really cool feature. It might, in fact, be my favorite thing from the entire announcement.
The front-facing camera and FaceID sensor are now a small pill-shaped area surrounded by pixels. The part that makes it cool is that it's interactive and can change shape and size in order to provide information, notifications, or even interactive features. Apple says third-party apps will be able to integrate with it.
The iPhone 14 Pro models also get Apple's new A16 system on a chip. Apple made a point of throwing shade at its competition saying they're still trying to catch up with the A13, which is mostly true, but also highlights the fact that the only thing you need to know is that Apple's Pro phones are the most capable smartphones you can buy.
The reason it matters is because it allows the iPhone Pro to do some pretty wild stuff, especially when it comes to photography. For example, the iPhone 14 Pro is that it now has a 48MP main camera sensor that it calls a "quad pixel sensor."
Basically, that's a fancy way of saying that Apple is binning pixels down to a 12MP finished image. That allows it to get far better detail and low-light performance without eating up the storage on your device. Of course, if you really want to, you can shoot full-resolution images using Apple's ProRaw format.
iPhone 14 Design
One thing that is interesting is that we didn't get an overall form-factor change. The iPhone 14 looks almost exactly the same as the iPhone 12 and 13 before it. There are a few subtle differences, but if you didn't know what you were looking at, I don't think most people would have know the difference.
The iPhone 14 Pro, on the other hand, is more noticeable since it loses the notch and gains always on. That alone is interesting in that Apple is widening the gap between the two devices, both in terms of features and performance, as well as design.
In some ways Apple is making it easier not to buy the iPhone Pro Max, since you can get a bigger regular version. I'm pretty confident that--considering how much people like giant screen smartphones, and considering this one starts at $899--Apple will sell ridiculous numbers of the iPhone 14 Plus.
iPhone 14 Price
The iPhone 14 starts at $799, and $899 for the iPhone 14 Plus. The iPhone 14 Pro starts at $999, or $1099 for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Apple says that preorders start Friday September 9, and it goes on sale September 16.