New iPhones are in the news! Apple’s September crop has ripened, and the company once again picked a basket of new and updated hardware for us. At its Far Out event on September 7th, Apple unveiled four iPhone 14 models, three new or updated Apple Watch models, and the second-generation AirPods Pro.
After the announcement, Apple said that iOS 16 and watchOS 9 would be available on September 12th. iPadOS 16.1 and macOS 13 Ventura are set to arrive in October. As we’ve said before, wait a week or two before installing iOS 16 and watchOS 9 on essential devices to avoid any last-minute bugs. Regardless of when you upgrade, make a backup right before, in case something goes wrong and you need to erase and restore.
Let’s look at each of the new products. (Stay tuned to the next blog for details about the new Apple Watch and AirPod Pro models.)
New iPhone 14 Models Show Both Evolution and Innovation
With the new iPhones, Apple made a clean split between the regular and Pro models. On the lower end, Apple has the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 and the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus. There is no iPhone 14 mini. On the high end, Apple pulled out all the stops for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, again in those 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch sizes. Design-wise, the models are extremely similar to the iPhone 13, with squared-off sides and only very slight size changes.
For the most part, the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus aren’t meant to be technologically exciting, relying on the same A15 Bionic chip as last year’s iPhone 13 models. As it usually does, Apple put more attention into the cameras, switching to a new rear-facing 12-megapixel main camera with a larger aperture for better low-light performance and a new front-facing TrueDepth camera that boasts autofocus for the first time. Apple also introduced a new Photonic Engine that leverages hardware and software to improve mid- and low-light performance for all its cameras. On the video side, a new Action mode provides advanced stabilization for smoother action videos, and Cinematic mode now supports 4K video at 24 fps and 30 fps.
New iPhones: Innovations
More innovative—and present in both the regular and Pro models—are a pair of technologies we sincerely hope you never have to use. Crash detection relies on a variety of sensors in the iPhone to detect the changes in acceleration, air pressure and sound that accompany car crashes. In the event of a crash, the iPhone’s Emergency SOS feature offers to call emergency services and notify your emergency contacts.
Even more technologically impressive is Emergency SOS via satellite, which enables very low bandwidth text message communication with emergency services using satellites when there’s no cellular coverage. The feature will help you point your iPhone at fast-moving satellites overhead, and it asks vital questions to distill key facts for emergency responders because even short messages may take over a minute to get through.
More commonly, you’ll be able to manually share your location via satellite using Apple’s Find My system when you’re without cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity. All this is coming in November 2022 and will be available only in the U.S. and Canada at first.
Apple’s final change to both the regular and Pro models—at least in the U.S.—is a switch to eSIM. None of the iPhone 14 models sold in the U.S. will have SIM slots. Most carriers support eSIM at this point, and when traveling to other countries, U.S. iPhone 14 users will need to find roaming plans that support eSIM instead of buying and installing a local SIM card.
New iPhones: iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max boast more exciting changes. The most obvious change is the switch to an Always-On display, much like recent models of the Apple Watch. You’ll be able to view the new Lock screen imagery and widgets at all times without even touching your iPhone. Thanks to a 1 Hz display refresh rate and intelligent dimming of wallpaper, it won’t hurt battery life. And when you’re actively using the iPhone 14 Pro, the screen will be brighter than ever for easier reading in direct sunlight.
Apple also shrunk the Face ID and TrueDepth camera sensor package that occupies a notch on the regular iPhone 14 models and older iPhones. On the iPhone 14 Pro, it’s now a small black lozenge at the top of the screen that can’t display anything but is integrated into a new feature called the Dynamic Island. Alerts and notifications, and a new dynamic notification type called Live Activities, appear to zoom out of and back into the black lozenge, and Live Activities appear on either side. It’s a clever design trick to make you think that portion of the screen is being used.
The Dynamic Island and Always-On displays are made possible in part by Apple’s new A16 Bionic chip, which offers more performance and better efficiency than any other smartphone processor. The A16 Bionic handles the most demanding workflows and graphics-intensive games, and it also powers the iPhone 14 Pro’s computational photography features, performing up to 4 trillion operations per photo.
On that topic, the iPhone 14 Pro introduces even more powerful cameras. The main rear-facing camera is now a 48-megapixel camera with a quad-pixel sensor that combines four pixels into one for most photos, improving low-light capture and reducing file size to the equivalent of a 12-megapixel camera. However, the iPhone 14 Pro can also shoot ProRAW photos with the full 48 megapixels to capture unprecedented detail for later processing. The quad-pixel sensor also enables a 2x optical zoom in addition to the improved telephoto camera’s 3x optical zoom. The new 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera provides sharper macro shots, and the new front-facing TrueDepth camera offers better low-light performance and autofocus for improved selfies. Apple also enhanced the Adaptive True Tone flash to change its pattern based on the focal length, distributing the light where it’s most needed. Finally, the iPhone 14 Pro gains the same Action mode and Cinematic mode video improvements found in the other iPhone 14 models.
New iPhones: Storage and Price
All four iPhone 14 models start at 128 GB of storage, and the Pro models offer a 1 TB tier for those shooting a lot of ProRAW photos or video. Here are the 128 GB prices—add $100 for 256 GB, $300 for 512 GB and $500 for 1 TB:
- iPhone 14: $799
- iPhone 14 Plus: $899
- iPhone 14 Pro: $999
- iPhone 14 Pro Max: $1099
You can pre-order now, with delivery and in-store availability on September 16th, except for the iPhone 14 Plus, which ships on October 7th. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus come in five colors: midnight, blue, starlight, purple and Product(RED). The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max come in deep purple, silver, gold, and space black. The third-generation iPhone SE ($429), iPhone 12 ($599), iPhone 13 mini ($599) and iPhone 13 ($699) remain for sale as well.
Generally speaking, we wouldn’t recommend upgrading from an iPhone 13 that’s serving you well unless you’re switching to the iPhone 14 Plus to get a larger form factor or to one of the Pro models for the ultimate in-camera capabilities. It’s easier to recommend an upgrade from an iPhone 12 model or earlier, given the improved camera capabilities.
Watch for our next newsletter with information about three Apple Watches and new AirPods Pro.
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