Held at the famed Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park Campus in Cupertino, California, Apple’s latest event saw the launch of the new iPhone 14 series, alongside upgraded AirPods, new Apple Watches, and much more. The all-new iPhone lineup has four models, the regular iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Max, the iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The iPhone 14 line-up, specifically, the Pro models feature major updates such as a new notch design, the Apple A16 Bionic chip, 48-megapixel triple rear cameras, and better battery life. Here is a rundown of what impressed us the most at Apple’s big event, as well as what disappointed us:
Five things we loved
Finally, the notch is (sort of) gone
Finally, the age-old iPhone X era notch is gone! Both the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature a new front design with redesigned TrueDepth and Face ID components – up to 30 per cent smaller than before. This has allowed Apple to finally get rid of the notch and in its place, we have a much smaller pill-shaped cut-out.
The pill-shaped cut-out leads to a new notification UI called ‘Dynamic Island’ which expands to notify you of alerts and also gives bite-sized information in apps such as Maps and Music. Notifications pop out of the notch in an animation. Apple claims “Each alert has its own personality and has been designed with its own character.” While we are looking forward to playing with the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max to know more about how this works and its use case, we think it is a nifty addition.
Always On Display finally!
Finally, the iPhone 14 Pro models support Always On Display, a feature that has been available on competing Android smartphones for years. Apple has developed new technologies that make the display more power efficient. These include an upgraded version of Apple’s LTPO OLED display allowing the display refresh rate to go to as low as 1Hz. The display can also intelligently dim when it has to while preserving the skin tones in your lock screen wallpaper. The Always On Display will allow you to not only see the time but also view information like weather, various activities, and the battery level. The Always On Display is only available on the iPhone 14 Pro models.
Apple Watch Ultra – a durable Apple Watch
To give the Garmins of this world some competition, Apple has launched a new rugged version of the Apple Watch designed specifically for exploration, adventure and endurance. It features a 49mm aero grade space titanium case with sapphire glass covering the display. There is also an additional action button which is customisable to provide greater flexibility. The Apple Watch Ultra has an additional speaker as compared to the regular Apple Watch and also has three advanced microphones. It also has an in-built 86db siren which can be activated by the action button.
The Watch Ultra features the biggest battery of any Apple Watch, providing 36 hours of battery life under regular use and up to 60 hours with a new optimization setting which will be coming later this fall. As the watch is meant for a more active lifestyle, it features precision dual-frequency GPS, twice the water resistance as the Apple Watch Series 8 with a WR100 rating and it is also certified for MIL-STD 810 military grade certification
Cheap(er) big screen iPhone
The axing of the iPhone Mini has given way to a new larger 6.7-inch base iPhone variant called the iPhone 14 Plus. This is the first time that the regular iPhone has got a bigger brother. Now, users don’t need to splurge for the iPhone Pro Max just to get a bigger display
The iPhone 14 Plus has a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display with 1200Nits of brightness and Dolby Vision support. It is powered by the A15 Bionic – the same chip found in last year’s iPhone 13 Pro. The 12MP main camera has an aperture of f.1.5, OIS, and 1.9micron pixels. Apple touts a 49 per cent improvement in low light performance as compared to the iPhone 13. Up front, the iPhone 14 Plus has a 12MP front camera with an aperture of f/1.9 and autofocus – a first for the iPhone line-up. The smartphone will be offered in five colours – Midnight, Starlight, Blue, Purple, and Product Red and will start at Rs 89,900.
Better entry-level Apple Watch
The new Apple Watch SE is better than its predecessor in almost every way whilst retaining the same price tag in India. The second generation SE is swim-proof and features emergency SOS, fall detection, and the same motion sensors as found on the more expensive Apple Watch Series 8. It has a 30 per cent larger display than the first-generation SE and is 20 per cent faster thanks to the new S8 processor – which also powers the Series 8.
The Apple Watch SE 2 is offered in colours like Midnight, Starlight, and Silver, with prices starting at Rs 29,900 for the base GPS-only model.
Five biggest disappointments
Still no USB-Type C
It is 2022 and Apple is still sticking with its proprietary lightning port for the iPhone 14 series. This is not only infuriating for those living in a multi-platform world with other Windows and Android-powered machines, but also for Apple users themselves. Apple has implemented USB-C in its range of iPads and MacBooks, but the company is still refusing to put the more universal connector on its iPhones.
No 120Hz high-refresh-rate screens in iPhone 14
The new non-Pro iPhone 14 models still do not support any high refresh rate – not even 90hz, which can be found on cheap entry-level Android smartphones. The iPhone 13 Pro line-up finally got 120Hz high refresh rate displays last year and some rumours claimed that high refresh rates will trickle down to the base iPhone 14 this year. But alas, that did not happen and only the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have high refresh rate displays.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a new front design with a smaller pill-shaped cut-out instead of a notch. The pill-shaped cut-out leads to a new notification UI called ‘Dynamic Island’ which expands to notify you of alerts and also gives bite-sized information in apps such as Maps and Music.
Sadly, the regular iPhone 14 as well as the new cheap large-screen model, the iPhone 14 Plus, still support the old notch that dates back to 2017’s iPhone X. Yes, the notch got smaller with the iPhone 13 line-up but it still is an outdated design that is more than 5 years old and looks incredibly dated.
Old processor in iPhone 14
The new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus use the same A15 Bionic chip as the previous generation iPhone 13 line-up. Although it is the advanced variant of the A15 Bionic found in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max with the 5-core GPU, it is still an older generation chip. The new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max on the other hand use the new 6-core A16 Bionic chipset, which Apple claims is the fastest chip in a smartphone – more than 40 per cent faster than the competition
This marks another clear deviation in hardware between the Pro and non-Pro Models extending beyond just the cameras and battery life.
No iPhone 14 Mini
Fans of the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 Mini will be disappointed as Apple has omitted a ‘Mini’ model this time around thanks to reportedly poor sales of the past two Mini iPhone models. This is a major blow to those seeking a compact iPhone with the latest design and hardware. The 4.7-inch iPhone SE is still being sold but it features an old outdated design and weaker cameras and battery life.