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What just happened? The new iPhone 14 receives some of the yearly generational upgrades we've come to expect from Apple, but not all the bells and whistles, which are reserved for the most expensive Pro models. However, considering the iPhone 14 may be the more mainstream and popular model most people intend to buy, here's what is new and what made/didn't make the cut for this year's model.
Unlike the iPhone 14 Pro models, the standard iPhone 14 doesn't feature any major design changes. However, new in the lineup is the iPhone 14 Plus – a new standard model with a larger 6.7-inch display, which Apple will offer alongside the standard 6.1-inch screen as last year's model. The iPhone 14 series no longer offers a mini variant, but getting a phablet-sized screen and improved battery life no longer requires upgrading to a Pro.
The iPhone 14 retains last year's A15 Bionic chip, but Apple claims that a new thermal design should improve performance in certain intensive tasks, like gaming. Also, this year's phone represents a full shift to eSIM, replacing traditional SIM cards. The switch could make SIM data safer if a phone is lost or stolen since eSIM can't be removed. Additionally, the process for setting up an eSIM card should be faster than with a traditional SIM card, and doesn't require a Wi-Fi connection.
Apple's event was titled "Far Out," which the company meant to be a teaser of the iPhone 14's new capability to connect to satellite networks in emergencies. The iPhone 14 contains hardware and software that can guide users to point to satellites to send messages or indicate their location if they get lost. This service will be offered for free for two years following an iPhone purchase, after which it will cost extra.
Another new safety feature is crash protection. The iPhone 14's new accelerometers, gyroscope, and machine-learning algorithms can detect drastic increases in gravitational force, and then automatically contact emergency services.
The iPhone 14 doesn't feature the Pro's new 48-megapixel camera, but its front camera comes with a new, wider f/1.9 aperture for sharper photos and better depth-of-field. The new front camera will also support autofocus while taking photos and making video calls. Furthermore, the standard iPhone 14 gets the iPhone 13 Pro's ultra-wide ƒ/2.4 aperture lens. The new Photonic Engine image pipeline should make for better low-light photos in all iPhone 14 models.
When recording video, the iPhone 14's new action mode adds improved stabilization. Videos taken while running or during other kinds of intense movement should now appear clearer.
Long-time rumors have suggested that Apple is moving toward an iPhone that uses USB-C, but the company isn't ready for the switch yet. Hence, the iPhone 14 still uses the company's proprietary Lightning cable. Users and government regulators have demanded Apple make the change, and next year's model may finally comply.
The iPhone 14 launches September 16, with pre-orders starting on September 9, starting at $799. The iPhone 14 Plus arrives on October 7, starting at $899. Apple will offer the iPhone 14 in five colors: blue, purple, midnight, starlight, and red.