Apple iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max aren’t exactly incremental upgrades
Cupertino, California: Apple iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, successors to last year’s iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, are not what we logically expected. The list of upgrades and new features certainly puts this in the category of an extensive, not incremental, annual upgrade. For starters, Apple finally made a more deliberate differentiation between the iPhone 14 Pro series and the non-Pro iPhone 14 models.
Key changes include a new A16 Bionic chip, while the iPhone 14 series still uses last year’s A15 Bionic, but with improvements, especially to the image signal processor. That means iPhones still have to upgrade to Apple Silicon, the M-series chips that now power iPads and MacBooks, for example.
It’s also the first time the iPhone has moved from the main 12-megapixel camera, which has served its purpose for many years now, to a more up-to-date 14-megapixel camera. There are also more algorithm improvements. Both phones’ screens are the new Super Retina XDRs, 6.1-inches and 6.7-inches respectively.
In terms of footprint and overall shell, the two iPhone 14 Pro models are no different from the iPhone 13 Pro phones they succeed. Even the new 48-megapixel camera finds a new home in similar camera module outlines, like the outgoing 12-megapixel Troika. However, it’s the notch replacing the pill cutout on the front that catches your eye.
Apple calls this island dynamic, because there’s a usable display all around (including the top). This means that the notch, which protruded from the top bezel, is now relegated to non-Pro iPhone 14 models. The way Apple envisions it, and has developed its own apps in iOS 16, is to be able to use this space for active widgets. It will be quick access to background tasks and notifications for example, without having to switch applications each time.
Application developers will play a critical role in preparing their applications to use this dynamic space more effectively. How many will, in the weeks and months to come, remains to be seen. An example of the utility is that while you’re working with other apps while music is playing in the background, just tap on that island to bring up the music controls. Without having to leave the current application. This is an important practical aspect, so all applications can start using it better.
The Always-On Display has been on Android phones for a while now, and is finally making its way to Apple iPhones. Although Apple has a different view. Unlike Android phones which use a dark background with information overlays, iPhones will continue to display a wallpaper in the background. It will be darkened, of course, and if the wallpaper contains a person, the skin tones will probably be retained as well.
The biggest, however, has to be the 48-megapixel camera. It’s been years, and Apple has proven its point with 12-megapixel cameras over the years. We’ve reported on the need for more megapixels for smart software to work with more photo data, and the iPhone 14 Pro models are the first (and only) to get this much-needed upgrade. It is a quad pixel sensor – this means data from a group of 4 pixels is combined into one large pixel.
The photos you end up with will still be 12 megapixels, but there will be more data for the algorithms to work with. One of them is the new Photonic Engine upgrade, which now steps in to start processing images for output, from the uncompressed stage itself. This will likely mean more real data for the final image, in terms of detail and color accuracy.
The iPhone 14 Pro series displays are now on par with the latest generation iPad Pro displays. The maximum outdoor brightness is 2,000 nits, which is significantly more than the last generation Samsung Galaxy phone screens, which exceed around 1,500 nits. The iPhone 13 Pro displays had a 1000 nit cap in similar use cases.
US iPhone 14 models will not have a physical SIM slot. This means eSIMs only. Multiple eSIMs are possible on the same device. Overall, the SIM slots remain, but the clues are there for a possible change.
The iPhone 14 series also benefits from satellite connectivity, for Emergency SOS. This will be useful in situations where users need assistance but are not in the coverage area of a mobile network (and of course, a Wi-Fi network). The phone will tell you which direction to point to a satellite and, once connected, allow users to send a message or connect to a helpline. Messages sent in an emergency will be compressed before sending, in order to reduce the size and therefore the sending time for the transfer.
This service is live in the US and Canada at this time – no word yet on global availability. Two years of subscription come with new iPhones. How much will it cost later will be revealed in due course.
The iPhone 14 series, just like the Apple Watch Series 8, has the collision detection function. The new hardware, which includes a dual-core accelerometer capable of detecting G-force measurements of up to 256G and a new high dynamic range gyroscope, will be able to detect whether the iPhone user has been involved in a car accident. The barometer will detect changes in cabin pressure while GPS data will be used to calculate changes in speed. The iPhone will allow users to manually call for help or automatically notify the authorities.
Apple says the algorithms were trained on 1 million sets of crash data, to understand different crash scenarios and vehicle movements and responses.
Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max go on sale September 14, with pre-orders starting September 9. India, as has been the case for the past few years, is among the first wave of countries where new iPhones will be launched. The iPhone 14 Pro prices start at Rs1,29,900 while the iPhone 14 Pro Max price tags start at Rs1,39,900. Deep Purple is the new color, though Silver, Gold, and Space Black are the familiar carryovers.