Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13.
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected to headline with features such as thinner bezels and a "pill and hole-punch" TrueDepth camera array design in place of the notch, but the standard iPhone 14 models are believed to lack these upgrades. For the first time, the standard iPhone models are also expected to miss out on Apple's latest chip, with the "A16" reserved for the iPhone 14 Pro only. According to rumors so far, the standard iPhone 14 models will forgo a range of new features exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro models, including:
- "Pill and hole-punch" TrueDepth camera array in place of the notch
- Taller display with thinner bezels
- Larger corner radii for a more rounded front and rear appearance compared to the iPhone 13 Pro
- A16 chip
- 48-megapixel Wide camera with 8K video recording
Other, less likely rumors about the potential of a titanium chassis and a vapor chamber thermal system also focus on the iPhone 14 Pro models. As such, it looks like Apple is planning to continue its trend of increasingly differentiating its Pro and non-Pro iPhone models, where many new, high-end features debut on the Pro models, before trickling down to the non-Pro models at a later date. For example, the standard iPhone 15 models are rumored to feature the iPhone 14 Pro's pill and hole-punch TrueDepth camera array design.
With this in mind, what upgrades and features are the standard iPhone 14 models expected to offer later this year?
Larger Size Option: 'iPhone 14 Max'
After lackluster sales for the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini, which both feature a 5.4-inch display, Apple is reportedly planning to discontinue its small form-factor iPhone and introduce a larger model to take its place in the lineup.
The "iPhone 14 Max" is expected to sit above the iPhone 14 in the lineup and feature a 6.7-inch display like the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max. In the same way that the "mini" iPhones in recent years have offered all of the same features as the standard iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, the iPhone 14 Max is expected to offer all of the same features as the standard iPhone 14 but with a significantly bigger display.
While there will reportedly be no "iPhone 14 mini," the iPhone 14 Max will provide an option for users who want a new iPhone with a larger display, but do not need "Pro" features like a ProMotion display and the telephoto camera. As one of the most noticeable visual changes in the iPhone lineup this year, the iPhone 14 Max could take center stage in the iPhone 14's marketing.
50% More Memory
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that all of the iPhone 14 models will feature 6GB of memory, with the standard iPhone 14 models having LPDDR 4X memory and the iPhone 14 Pro models having LPDDR 5 memory.
Currently, the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 feature 4GB of memory, while the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max already feature 6GB of memory. These amounts are unchanged from the iPhone 12 lineup. Though Kuo suggested that all iPhone 14 models will feature 6GB of memory, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max's LPDDR 5 memory will be up to one and a half times faster and up to 30 percent more power efficient.
50 percent more memory in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max could enable it to keep more apps and browser tabs open in the background for faster resumption, provide developers with more headroom to build powerful, memory-hungry apps, and make the devices more future-proof in years to come.
Improved Battery Life
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max could offer improved battery life thanks to a new, more efficient 5G chip.
The iPhone 14's 5G RF chip is said to be fabricated with TSMC's 6nm process, providing a physically smaller chip with lower power consumption. The 6nm RF process enables the chip to use less power on both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G bands while still providing a high level of performance.
As well as being more efficient, shrinking the large RF transceiver component inside the iPhone is expected to free up physical space. Each additional square millimeter of volume that is reclaimed is said to create more room for a larger battery. Together, the improved efficiency and miniaturization of the iPhone 14's RF chip are believed to result in better overall battery life.
Wi-Fi 6E Connectivity
All iPhone 14 models are expected to support Wi-Fi 6E. Wi-Fi 6E offers the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates, extended into the 6 GHz band. The additional spectrum provides more airspace beyond existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, resulting in increased bandwidth and less interference.
Emergency Satellite Features
With a feature that was initially rumored for the iPhone 13 lineup, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X65 modem in the iPhone 14 lineup is expected to facilitate a number of satellite-based emergency features to allow users to send messages in emergency situations and report major emergencies in locations where there is no cellular coverage.
Specifically, Emergency Message via satellite will allow users to text emergency services and contacts using a satellite network when there is no cellular or WiFi signal available. It will purportedly be a new communications protocol alongside SMS and iMessage, will show gray message bubbles, and message length will be restricted. Another feature will let users report major emergencies like plane crashes and fires using satellite communication.
These features are still in development and are rumored to launch in 2022 at the earliest, but other estimates have placed the feature more firmly with the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 lineup.
Ultra Wide Camera Improvements
While the iPhone 14 models will reportedly miss out on the new 48-megapixel Wide camera and stick with the iPhone 13's 12-megapixel Wide camera instead, all of the standard 2022 iPhones could see improvements to the Ultra Wide camera.
The iPhone 13 Pro introduced a new ƒ/1.8, 6P (six-element lens) Ultra Wide camera with autofocus. This year, this improved ƒ/1.8 Ultra Wide camera is rumored to trickle down to both of the standard iPhone 14 models.
Front Camera Improvements
Alongside enhancements to the rear camera system, the iPhone 14's front-facing camera is rumored to feature more significant improvements.
Specifically, all four iPhone 14 models will likely feature an upgraded front camera system with autofocus and a wider ƒ/1.9 aperture. By comparison, the front camera on all iPhone 13 models has fixed focus and an ƒ/2.2 aperture.
The wider aperture would allow more light to pass through the lens and reach the sensor. Kuo has said that these camera upgrades could result in an improved depth-of-field effect for Portrait mode photos and videos, while autofocus can strengthen focus during FaceTime and Zoom video calls.
Refreshed Color Options
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max are rumored to come in a range of color options, comprising black, white, blue, red, and purple.
Assuming that rumors about the black and white options for the iPhone 14 actually refer to Midnight and Starlight, the new color lineup would mean the discontinuation of the iPhone 13's Pink and Green. Excluding mid-cycle color additions, such as Green and Alpine Green for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro earlier this year, the information suggests that the iPhone 14 will launch with the same number of color options as its predecessors.
As in recent years where the same polychrome colors across generations have been updated, the iPhone 14's blue and red color options are likely to be refreshed shades compared to the iPhone 13 models. Nevertheless, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, but will likely be trumpeted with the re-introduction of a purple shade.
A purple color option for the iPhone 14 seems plausible given that Apple introduced a Purple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini in a mid-cycle refresh in April last year to a positive response from customers, and the 24-inch iMac, sixth-generation iPad mini, and fifth-generation iPad Air are all available in Purple.