Seems like only yesterday that I was talking about the iPhone 13. Of course, this speaks to Apple’s consistency and desire to keep up with competitors as other manufacturers seem ever keener on encroaching on Apple’s high-end Western market.
With the latest launch of the iPhone 14 however, Apple takes it a level higher delivering on their promise of consistent improvement.
Here is my review of the newest offering; the iPhone 14.
The first thing to note about the iPhone 14 is its size. With a 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display, we can clearly deduce that Apple wasn’t going for an update of the iPhone 13 mini. This year’s releases mean there are no new small phones.
The iPhone 14 does, however, draw some inspiration from its predecessor. With sharp aluminium edges, a glass back, rounded corners, a lightning port and a notch at the top of the device we see that Apple was keen on maintaining the aesthetic brilliance that made the iPhone 13 such a hit.
The company is however slightly veering off tradition when it comes to performance. For the first time ever, Apple is using different chips for its different phones. The newer A16 will power the iPhone 14 Pro Models – the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max. The less expensive new iPhones coming this fall, including the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus (again 6.1- and 6.7-inch respectively), will instead use a variation of the A15 Bionic chip Apple introduced as part of the iPhone 13 release in 2021.
VP of iPhone Product Marketing Kaiann Drance also added that the iPhone 14’s internal design is geared towards improving thermal performance. One can, for instance, play games for longer sessions without worrying about overheating.
No big surprise on the camera front as its improvements were expected. iPhone 14’s main camera is fitted with a larger sensor and faster aperture (f/1.5). The camera also features sensor-shift optical image stabilization.
I will however applaud Apple for focusing a little bit more on their front cameras rather than the rear ones. Most phone companies until recently, focus up to 95% of their camera resources on the rear camera but mostly ignored the front.
However, this is the TikTok generation, millions of users are exclusively using their ‘selfie’ cameras to share images and videos of themselves with the world. It comes as no surprise then that smartphone manufacturers are responding to this shift.
iPhone 14’s True Depth camera is most impressive in this regard. It can let in 38% more light, create more separation between foreground and background and then use real autofocus to ensure that your face stays as that foreground.
This will likely extend Apple’s lead on the smartphone market as more people choose iPhones to capture their Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram content.
Apple has also decided to completely ditch the SIM card tray for its US customers as this is seen as the next evolution of phone connectivity. International phone users will however retain the SIM tray, at least for the foreseeable future.
The big news however is on connectivity where the iPhone is one of the pioneers that will support direct- to-satellite communications. This is considered the holy grail of connectivity.
What this means is that even if you are out of range of your network’s cell tower you can connect directly via the satellite orbiting the planet. The signal is however going to be pretty weak to connect. You will need a clear sky after which your phone will show where the satellites are so that you can point at them to get a connection. This also means that you can only do things that require very small amounts of data. For now, the iPhone is restricted to purely emergency services and maybe keeping your family updated on your location in case you decide to go on a hike in the deep forest.
Moving on to display; perhaps another one of the biggest upgrades on last year’s iPhone 13 is something called the pro-motion display. Last year’s features boasted refresh rates than can go as high as 120 Hz which made the phone feel responsive to smooth while also being able to go as low as 10Hz for those static pages to conserve battery life.
This year Apple went a step further, lowering that lower limit to just 1Hz; meaning just one refresh per second. While this will result in much more battery saving, the more impressive achievement is the always-on-display.
The iPhone 14 enables you to have the screen on all the time. This means that you will be able to see any notifications from messages, calendars or emails without any extra cost to the battery life. Now I know some here will note that is not particularly a novel invention, other manufacturers, especially Samsung already have an always-on-display feature. But, these feature always come at a cost to the battery life and the phone’s functionality.
With Apple, there is neither. The phone’s always-on-display blends seamlessly with the phone so that it never looks out of place.
Still, on display, perhaps the most impressive and most talked about feature on the iPhone 14 is its impressive notch.
Apple calls it “dynamic Island.”
You have probably already of this great upgrade to the iPhone’s notch, it’s been all over the internet. While there were rumours that Apple might lose the notch, the iPhone 14 still uses it. Most manufacturers ignore their cutouts treating them more like unwanted growths or a deformity, Apple embraced it and made it a vibrant part of the phone’s operating system.
The dynamic island is designed to adapt to every requirement on hand. The Dynamic Island cutout will deliver alerts and notifications, and it will shake, rattle, and roll while the phone is in the midst of activities. When an alarm goes off, an alarm bell will shake on the island. When music is playing, you’ll see musical notes.
Also, you don’t have to worry about your touch accuracy, Apple says the Island will respond no matter where you touch it, so don’t worry about tapping on the camera instead of the screen.
Safe to say this is my favourite feature of the iPhone 14.
Starting retail price is set at $799 for the iPhone 14 and $899 for the iPhone 14 Plus. Preorders for iPhone 14 will be available from September 16 while the iPhone 14Plus will be available from October 7.