For me, it's not a case of deciding whether or not I'll be buying the iPhone 14. That's a given, because I need to stay current for my job and as someone deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem iPhones are the best smartphones for me. The question is which iPhone 14 I'm going to buy – and this year that decision will be more interesting than before, because some interesting things are happening to the iPhone line-up. The iPhone 13 Mini is gone, replaced by a new iPhone 14 Max, and the difference in spec between the Pros and the other iPhones is going to be bigger than in previous years. So here's what I'm thinking.
iPhone 14: does size matter?
Unless the rumour factory has been really badly informed this year we're looking at four different displays: 6.1 inches for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, and 6.7 inches for the iPhone 14 Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max. It's possible that all four models will get the same 120Hz ProMotion display as my current iPhone 13 Pro. I hope so; it's a really nice screen.
My current phone, the Pro, is 6.1 inches and I don't feel the need to go bigger: as it is my iPhone is a little too big to comfortably reach some bits with one hand, and as much as I enjoy having a reasonably big screen – I read a lot on my phone – the Max screen is just too big for me. If I were a filmmaker or photographer I'd appreciate the bigger canvas but as a reader the Maxes are hardbacks when I'd rather have the more pocketable paperback.
The other consideration here is the notch, which I hate. I much prefer the hole punch and pill rumoured to be in the Pro; the notch messes with things like pull to refresh and tapping the top of apps to return to the start.
iPhone 14: cameras are crucial
We're expecting beefier processors across the range, and possibly more RAM too. But the big difference between the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max is the cameras on the back. The Pro models are getting a significant boost from 12MP to 48MP and may also get periscope lenses for better zooming. The other models are likely to get some camera improvements, but nothing so dramatic.
That means the decision is pretty much made for me already: I take a lot of photos – last time I checked, my Photos library was nearly 250GB – and while the cameras in my iPhone 13 Pro are pretty good there's still room for improvement, especially with longer range photography. Getting good shots at gigs is still an issue for me, and having higher resolution images would enable me to get better results without having to resort to the whims of the iPhone zoom controls, which often produce annoyingly jaggy shots: they don't always switch lenses, so for example you might select the telephoto lens but be overruled by your phone, which may decide to use the wide lens plus digital zoom instead.
iPhone 14: other key features
The rumoured upgrade of the iPhone 14 Pro battery to a somewhat unlikely 5,000mAh would be nice, and could take the battery life from "disappointing" to "okay, I guess". I'd really like to see USB-C in there too so I can stop playing the "which cable?" game: so many of my Apple and other devices are USB-C now and I'd rather not have to deal with multiple kinds of connectors. My iPad Air is already USB-C, and so is my MacBook Pro.
The final consideration is price. While the standard iPhone 14 is expected to come in at the same price as the iPhone 13, the Pros are expected to cost $100 more than this year's models – so the gap between iPhone and iPhone Pro is going to be $300, and the gap between my trade-in and my new iPhone will probably be around $650. I try to buy SIM-free these days because it saves me a fortune, so I'm hoping the promised iPhone subscription service will launch at the same time to soften the financial blow a little bit.
So for me, the iPhone 14 Pro is the one for me: no notch, better cameras, big enough to read but not so big it hurts my thumb. If it weren't for the cameras I'd be much less keen to upgrade a phone that's still only months old, but I think this year's upgrade is going to be worth the financial hit.