Apple held its ‘Far Out’ launch event on September 7 at the Apple Park Campus in Cupertino, California. Apple’s latest big-ticket event saw new hardware in the form of the launch of the new iPhone 14 series, alongside upgraded AirPods, and new Apple Watches, as well as services and software like iOS 16.
The all-new iPhone lineup has four models, the regular iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Plus, the iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The ‘Mini’ model has been axed in favour of an entry-level large-screen iPhone, the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus. The iPhone 14 Pro line-up features major, substantial updates such as a new dramatically smaller notch design, a new camera setup, better battery life, and Apple’s new A16 Bionic chipset.
Should you buy a new iPhone 14 Pro or is last year’s iPhone 13 Pro still a good buy? Let’s find out:
A tale of two notches
On the design front, one of the biggest changes is in the notch up front. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a new front design with a smaller pill-shaped cut-out instead of a large ungainly notch. The TrueDepth and Face ID components have been redesigned to be 30 per cent smaller than before. 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.
The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max still feature the old notch that dates back to 2017’s iPhone X. Yes, the notch got a little smaller with the iPhone 13 series but it still is an extremely outdated design that is more than 5 years old. Besides the notch, the iPhone 13 Pro and 14 Pro look quite similar – with matte glass backs, stainless steel bodies, and flat edges. Both the 13 Pro and 14 Pro feature IP68 dust and water protection and are stuck with Apple’s age-old Lightning connector – still no USB Type-C.
Plenty of power inside
The new Pro iPhones are powered by Apple’s latest and greatest A16 Bionic chipset which features 16 billion transistors – the most ever in an iPhone. Built on a 4nm process, Apple claims the 6-core A16 Bionic is the fastest chip in a smartphone – more than 40 per cent faster than the competition. The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max on the other hand are powered by the advanced variant of the A15 Bionic with the 5-core GPU. On paper, the newer processor on the iPhone 14 Pro sure looks enticing, but Apple is so far ahead of the game when it comes to its silicon that even the A15 Bionic will be more than powerful enough for even the most demanding users.
One of the biggest talking points of the iPhone 13 Pro series was its stellar battery life – the best yet on an iPhone. With the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple has not stated any numbers or improvements over last year’s models. It simply stated an “all-day battery life” at the launch event.
Always On Display
The iPhone 14 Pro and 13 Pro have a 6.1-inch OLED display and the iPhone 14 Pro Max and 13 Pro Max have a 6.7-inch OLED display. The displays on the iPhone 13 Pro and 14 Pro series are more or less identical with one crucial difference. With the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Apple is finally bringing an Always On Display (AOD) to the iPhone. The AOD on the iPhone 14 Pro series is made possible by a number of new technologies that make the display power efficient – the panel can lower its refresh rate to as low as 1Hz and intelligently dim when required. The AOD will allow you to not only see the time and date but also view information like weather, battery level, and various activities.
Huge bump in optics
On the imaging front, the new iPhone 14 Pro series has received significant upgrades. The 12MP primary rear camera on the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max has been replaced with a 48MP sensor on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. This sensor is 65 per cent larger than the one on the iPhone 13 Pro and has an aperture of f/1.78 and a 24m focal length. It groups every sensor into one large quad sensor resulting in 12MP images. The ultra-wide sensor and the telephoto sensor have also seen minor improvements.
Other changes include a new ‘Photonic Engine’ which allows for dramatic improvement in low light performance across all four cameras in the iPhone 14 Pro – up to 2x better with the TrueDepth (selfie), 48MP main, and 12MP telephoto sensor, and up to 3x better with the ultra-wide sensor. Another feature introduced with the new Pro series is a new advanced stabilisation mode called ‘Action mode’, which utilises the full sensor with more overscan and roll correction for much better stabilization.
Pricing and availability/ Verdict
As of the writing of this article, the iPhone 13 Pro can be found on Flipkart starting at Rs 1,19,900 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max starting at Rs 1,29,900. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will go on sale in India from September 16 at a starting price of Rs 1,29,900 and Rs 1,39,900 respectively.
In a nutshell, if you can get a good deal on the iPhone 13 Pro or the iPhone 13 Pro Max and are not too concerned with having the best of the best, both smartphones are indeed still worth a buy in late 2022. They will be supported for years to come and have stellar battery life, good performance, and capable- if now not cutting-edge – cameras. If imaging and videography really matter to you, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, with their massively updated 48MP primary camera and advanced computational features like the ‘Photonic Engine’ are no-brainers. The new much smaller pill-shaped notch is also an attractive proposition and so is the much-awaited Always On Display feature.