The wait has been long, but it's finally here: the iPhone 14.
Apple's yearly reveal event is always a showstopper. It's one of the few times when the mega-corporation ends the vow of silence and unveils some details. And after reviewing the iPhone 14 features, you might take the dive into the Apple ecosystem.
The big question is, should you buy the iPhone 14? Year after year, it may seem to outsiders that the iPhone provides only incremental updates. Minus changes to the iOS operating system, it's the same phone plus a few tiny hardware upgrades, right?
That's a fair concern, and a difficult question to answer without all the iPhone 14 specifications. Wherever you stand on the iPhone, we're here to give our final verdict.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about the iPhone 14.
iPhone 14 Features: The Tech Specifications
Let's start with the nitty gritty. Apple loves to seem indecisive about software features, but what has changed from the iPhone 13 to 14 in terms of hardware? According to the iPhone specs page, there are a few notable upgrades.
Apple has upgraded its camera for yet another year in a row, which comes as no surprise. But some exciting developments have occurred, such as the latest in its proprietary chip series. Follow along below as we detail what sets this iPhone 14 apart from its predecessors.
Apple iPhone 14 Price
The standard iPhone 14 starts out at $799 and goes up depending on how much storage space you choose. The Plus starts at $899.
The Pro and Pro Max come in at $999 and $1099 respectively. Between the standard and Pro versions, the only differences are the chipset, the camera, and the display.
Ceramic Shield is Apple's proprietary take on the popular Gorilla Glass that many of its competitor's feature. Made special for Apple by Gorilla Glass, it uses a clever blend of treated glass and ceramics. According to Apple, this process makes it the strongest glass on the market and can withstand far more than the Gorilla Glass Victus seen on competing phones.
Apple has also continued its design philosophy of glass backs. The only metal on this phone is the aero-grade aluminum that makes up the structure.
Unfortunately, while Gorilla Glass is tough, glass is glass. It's one of the most fragile substances on earth. An Apple phone is likely to shatter from any considerable drop, so you should get a case that protects it.
Flash memory capacity has stayed stagnant for the past years, and Apple is following this market trend. Cloud services mean big, beefy phone memory isn’t high on consumer priority lists.
As such, the iPhone 14 starts with the standard 128GB. Unlike Samsung and other handset makers, the best you can upgrade to is 512GB. If you plan on getting the iPhone 14, you'll probably want iCloud to back up all your important photos and files.
Weight and Screen Size
The standard iPhone 14 is 6.07 ounces, while its big brother Plus weighs 7.16. Screen size is 6.1 inches versus 6.7, respectively.
Both screens use the Super Retina XDR display, which the iPhone 13 used as well. There don't seem to be any improvements between this screen and the previous one. Both have the same HDR, True Tone, and other proprietary Apple features.
The Pro and Pro Max both include Apple's new always-on display. This feature allows the phone to display notifications on low brightness and framerate, with minimal impact on battery performance.
Something of note that we'll discuss later is Apple's Dynamic Island. This is the iconic hole punch cutout at the top of the screen. Apple has surrounded the empty space between cameras with pixels to provide a unique notification bar.
Resistance to Water and Dust
The iPhone 14 has the same IP68 water resistance like the previous model. In plain English, this means you can submerge it 6 meters underwater and the phone will resist for about 30 minutes.
Even though this feature does include dust protection, dust will get in. Whether it's the charging ports or the speaker grilles, IP68 won't help much if you drop your phone in the sand. A protective case minimizes the amount of sand and grit that gets into your device.
It's here that we see the first hardware upgrade. While this unit is the same A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13, there is a notable change: Apple bumped up the core count from 4 to 5 and added two different core types.
In layman's terms, this phone can run heavier processes with better efficiency. A higher core count can also be useful for those who multitask. This version of the A15 Bionic may also prove to run cooler, improving battery life.
The new A15 Bionic also uses performance cores and efficiency cores. Performance cores focus on tasks that require a lot of processing power. Efficiency cores allow the iPhone to run at lower voltage while performing low-intensity tasks, such as background tasks.
The market previously pushed for processors with the largest amount of cores possible.
New p-core and e-core chipsets, on the other hand, may be the solution to better efficiency and longer battery life. That approach seems to be the case here since Apple has the same battery size but a noticeably longer battery life.
The Pro and Pro Max have the A16 Bionic chip. This chip has the same core count, but improved clock speeds and efficiency.
It’s a necessary feature, as the Pro and Pro Max have larger screens and larger cameras.
Image credit: Trusted Reviews
While the new iPhone 14 does have a 12MP dual camera system, there’s a new improvement: five and seven-element lenses. To translate this Apple lingo, the lenses can better capture more light.
Picture and video capture don't seem to have any noteworthy software improvements, either. You'll find many of the same things from the last generation like cinematic mode, night mode, and continuous autofocus.
UHD 8K shooting is still absent from the iPhone lineup, so you'll have to make do with 4K until perhaps the iPhone 15.
The Pro and Pro Max include a much larger 48MP main lens, allowing for better lighting and detail.
Apple included a sapphire cover over the camera lens as well. Sapphire is superior to glass in terms of scratch and shatter resistance. However, some YouTubers have discovered that this supposed sapphire cover does scratch like glass.
Not all sapphire screens are equal, so this factor may be a case of a low-quality coating. Previous iterations of the iPhone have had the same sapphire covering and equal results. This feature may be a marketing tactic to sell more handsets.
Whatever the case, you can't afford to scratch the camera lens. That could ruin all your photos and necessitate a trip to the Apple store—known for having absurdly high repair prices.
It goes without saying that you need a case. A case doesn't just protect your delicate screen, it keeps that glass back and camera bump from scratches. Until Apple addresses this issue with scratchable sapphire, you need a phone case.
Face ID is still the king of face unlock and is the reason many consumers turn to Apple.
Here’s why. Face ID, unlike its competitors, creates a dynamic map of your face that proves nearly impossible for a hacker to spoof. It adapts to changes in your appearance, and can even recognize you with a mask on.
Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t included an under-screen fingerprint reader. Whether or not this feature will return is up for debate. In any case, most iPhone 14 owners will be content with Face ID.
The most impressive features of the iPhone 14 this year include the safety features. The iPhone can now connect to satellites to send emergency messages. It also includes a crash detection feature.
This is a landslide of a feature, as satellite connectivity is notoriously tricky. It requires a dedicated antenna that seemingly wouldn't be in the sleek curves of an iPhone.
Apple has still figured out how to implement this feature and make it easy to use. It provides an on-screen demonstration that indicates where you should point your phone to access satellites. Do note, however, that this feature is on a subscription basis and only includes two years free.
Even if you don't get lost in the great outdoors, you'll want to keep your iPhone safe and sound along the way. A rugged case will be an essential part of your kit as you go out and get some fresh air.
Crash detection, found on the Google Pixel 6, is another feature that could save your life. It uses accelerometers, gyroscopes, and GPS data to determine if you've been in an accident.
Crash detection asks for confirmation and calls emergency services in your name if you don't respond.
In an effort to be innovative (or annoying, depending on how you look at it) Apple has abandoned the SIM card.
Instead of a standard SIM card tray, US versions of the iPhone now include an eSIM. This non-removable SIM card has all the functionality of a normal SIM card, minus the tedious insertion and removal process.
Critics of the eSIM state that it limits which carriers you can choose, and creates complications during international travel. Not all US carriers support eSIM. Many carriers around the world don't support it, either.
Other critics suggest that this situation will allow Apple to keep people in its ecosystem. Since Apple has a poor track record for playing well with competitors, some fans may be concerned.
Battery, Power, and Connector
The iPhone 14 battery size is the same as the previous model.
Apple still boasts an impressive 20 hours of video playback and 80 hours of audio playback, a significant improvement over the 13. This enhancement may be thanks to the new and improved A15 and A16 Bionic chips.
The iPhone 14 will charge to 50% in just 30 minutes, provided you use a 20W charger. Apple’s latest handset has the same MagSafe wireless charging as the last generation.
Unfortunately, the iPhone 14 continues to use the Lightning cable. Rumors abound about when the iPhone will finally make the switch to USB-C. If we're lucky, the iPhone 15 may finally use this cable standard like the iPad and other Apple products.
iOS Operating System
The iPhone 14 uses the newly-released iOS 16. Other iPhone users have already experienced this operating system. It includes UI changes to the lock screen, feature additions, and improvements to messaging and security.
iPhone 14 gets all of these feature improvements, plus a few of its own unique features. We'll go into more detail on those later in the article.
What’s Inside the iPhone 14 Box?
Continuing the trend of other smartphone manufacturers, Apple still does not provide a charger block in the box. It does provide a cable. You will need to buy your own charger block to charge your handset, or use an existing charging block.
Apple, like other smartphone manufacturers, claims that this move attempts to reduce e-waste. Critics see this move as a way to get more money out of consumers, forcing them to buy a costly Apple charging brick.
Apple Software Features
For some consumers, the iPhone 13's hardware was quite disappointing. That's why many of them have stated that the iPhone 14 release was slated for software features first and foremost.
Critics saw this move as a lazy release to justify pushing out an iPhone release on the normal Apple schedule. Others called this approach a perfection of the iPhone 13. Many phone manufacturers release an improved version of their current phone later on.
It's up to you to decide whether these upgrades merit dropping a cool $799 or more.
Let's take a dive into the main improvements for this generation of the iPhone 14.
Image credit: TechCrunch
The name sounds wonky to some people. But goofy marketing naming conventions aside, the dynamic island is a game changer.
The camera cutout has been the bane of phone makers ever since phone displays expanded to their outer edges. Solutions did present themselves. The under-screen camera is the most notable example.
While cool in theory, the under-screen camera is plagued with issues. It requires an absurd amount of post-processing to get a halfway decent picture without overblowing it. Despite these efforts, photos still aren’t on par with standard selfie cams, leading manufacturers to shy away from them.
In other words, the selfie cutout is here to stay. And what Apple has done to deal with the ugly black dot is incredible.
Think of the Dynamic Island as a sort of adaptive notification and background process bar. The best way to understand it is through an example.
Managing Multiple Background Processes
Say you open your music app, then you move to another app. In previous iPhones, and other handsets, the only way to access the music without going to the app would be through the notification drawer.
This process requires a long pull to access notifications, and only then can you pause the music or press Next.
Not the case with Dynamic Island. That little useless pillbox cutout? It now becomes the home for a live notification tile.
Without opening the notifications drawer, you can control your music from any screen. This feature is a game-changer for productivity and ease of use.
Not only that, but Dynamic Island can house multiple background processes at once. You could, for example, have a timer running in the background at the same time as you're listening to music.
A More Functional Notification System
The Dynamic Island also manages to make the hole cutout seem like it doesn't exist. When notifications arrive, they expand outwards from the black camera notch. Once they've timed out, they contract back into the notch.
The result is that the notch becomes a helpful feature, rather than a hindrance that robs you of screen space. Apple has gone to great lengths to ensure a lot of touch sensitivity surrounds the cutout. Even if you tap the dead area that is the camera, the surrounding screen is guaranteed to read your touch.
Dynamic Island does require app developers to support it, however. Luckily, many major apps like Spotify pushed out updates to support it. If an app doesn't support Dynamic Island, then you will have to access it as you would normally.
Always-On DisplayAlways-on displays are nothing new. They've been a staple in flagship phones for years already, and many smartphone owners
now expect them.
With always-on, the screen dims to its lowest level and reduces to its slowest framerate. It then displays the time, notifications, and other system information.
The Always-On display allows you to keep track of notifications without waking the screen. It's a nifty feature if you leave your phone on the desk and just want to take a quick glance to see what's going on.
Unfortunately, the always-on display will be a battery drain. Even with coming updates, the battery drain could prove to be a dealbreaker unless you make heavy use of this feature.
Further, Apple does not allow any customization of the always-on display. You can only activate or deactivate it. That means no options to change the clock, notification display settings, or anything else.
Should You Buy the iPhone 14?
Now the question you've been waiting for. Apple has hyped up this release no differently than past iterations, but is this one truly worth the price?
As with all things in life, there's no easy answer.
If you've never purchased an iPhone before and want to make the switch from Android, this is a great time to do so. The same goes for those having a much older version of the iPhone, such as the iPhone 12 or earlier.
The iPhone 14 is a polished version of the 13 that adds a few nice features and quality of life improvements on top. The cameras have new improvements like action mode, and the Dynamic Island could change the way you use your phone.
That said, this new line might be a disappointment if you already own the iPhone 13. Side by side, the iPhone 13 and 14 are practically the same handset with only a handful of improvements. Most of these improvements won't make a big difference in your everyday usage.
And considering that iOS updates are consistent across devices, older iPhones
often get new features. Most of the features that come standard on an iPhone 14 running iOS also exist on the 13 and 12.
Buying the iPhone 14 for Niche Features
Whatever phone you have now, this might be a great upgrade if you're looking for safety features. Parents who are concerned for the safety of their children would love the crash detection software or the satellite messaging feature.
These perks could be lifesaving features if you or someone you love gets in a dangerous situation.
People who need the maximum productivity possible may benefit from the Dynamic Island. If you listen to a lot of music while doing other tasks, this small feature could make the price well worth it.
The iPhone 14 may also be for those who were unhappy with the screen size of previous iPhone SE models. Now, the baseline iPhone 14 comes with a 6.1-inch screen for the same retail $799 price. If you want more screen real estate but can make do without premium features, this might be the iPhone for you.
Keep Your iPhone Protected
The iPhone 14 is Apple's latest in the lineup, but some consumers may question whether the iPhone 14 features merit purchasing a brand-new handset.