Apple has long prided themselves as self-proclaimed pioneers in innovation, and for good reason. Having practically introduced the world to the possibility of ‘personal computers’ and their breakthrough in the smartphone market with their very first iPhone meant that they had earned their title once upon a time.
But this is the world of technology and tech gadgets tend to age pretty fast. Take the iPhone lineup for example. When the rest of the world was shipping smartphones with hole-punch displays, the iPhone X had switched to the bathtub cutout on the top of their displays to try and keep up. That was many a years ago. Needless to say, the front of the iPhone had begun to look pretty dated — two years ago.
Anyways, that brings us to today. The iPhone 14 lineup is here! And, most of it pretty much looks the same as last year. Sad.
Thankfully, at least the thousand-dollar pro models got a visual update.
My first reaction when I saw the new iPhone 14: Classic Apple.
That pretty much summed up everything I had to say about the device.
I will be talking more about the iPhone 14 Pro lineup in this piece because there really isn’t much to talk about the regular iPhone 14. If you had not used last year’s iPhone as your daily machine, I am pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart. Of course, the ‘new’ iPhone gets an across-the-board spec refresh — most notably a brighter screen — but there really isn’t anything that sticks out. It ships with the latest iOS, which obviously older iPhones will also update soon enough, and has a few camera improvements too.
I was honestly taken aback by Apple’s workaround for the big ugly notch. They decided to shrink the cutout into a pill shape and built a host of UI features to use as a coverup for the cutout. From what little I have seen in the coverage so far — I must say that I do like it.
Did I think that the notch looked ugly? No doubt. However, it was a necessary evil for iPhone’s Face ID sensors. This workaround at least gives the display some personality. I am all for design decisions that break out from the conventional routine and adds a dash of utility to justify the swag.
Dynamic Island is the name that the company decided to give to their ‘add fancy adjective’ notch.
Basically, the pill shaped cutout in the iPhone 14 Pro’s displays will be enveloped by a UI-widget like tool that acts like a mini-notification shade, and gives you a live update on the ongoing notifications or live notifications from the apps in the background. The Dynamic Island seems to extend horizontally on either side of the cutout to act as somewhat of a widget, and like most widgets you could interact with it and open the corresponding app from the island itself. The island can also simultaneously work with multiple live notifications like say, the music app, Apple Maps and a countdown timer, all running at the same time. Hopefully, third-party applications will jump on the bandwagon pretty soon and make the most out of the novel feature, which shouldn’t be too long. Going by Apple’s track record, as far as the iPhones are concerned, changes like these have been intentional and for better or for worse, the company usually sticks to them and the masses simply come to accept these changes soon enough. So, we can safely expect these Dynamic Islands to stick around for a couple of years.
The display surrounding this new cutout has also been upgraded to an industry-leading 2000 nits brightness. The Pro line also gets an always-on display for that added bit of glanceable convenience, and adaptive refresh rates that can smoothly adjust from 1Hz to 120Hz. Add to that the new personalisation features from the latest iOS, the new iPhone looks refreshingly new even before you unlock the device.
The Pro lineup also debuts the latest A16 Bionic chip, which has a 6-core CPU, a 5-core GPU, and a 16-core neural engine, which is capable of 17 trillion operations per second. This upgrade was expected though.
In the camera department, the Pro lineup gets a brand new 48 MP sensor, albeit it’d still bin 12 MP photos by default. The added pixels would work with Apple’s new Photonic Engine image pipeline to improve picture quality. However, we will have to wait a tad bit longer to see what exactly this new camera setup is capable of. The remainder of the back facing cameras don’t get a megapixel boost, but the company claims that they updated the hardware on them too. As for the front facing 12 MP shooter, it now features autofocus.
Other interesting features on the new Pros include crash detection and satellite communication for desperate situations. The crash detection pairs the phone’s gyroscope with a new G-force sensor that can detect a high impact crash and notify the emergency contacts listed should the unfortunate accident ever happen. Also, for the back-country adventurers, the phone can push out a satellite SOS regardless of cellular connectivity. The phone would guide you to send the message out. These new safety features might not come in handy on a day-to-day basis, but would definitely help the user during a desperate situation.
That about wraps it up for the new iPhone Pro lineup — An iterative update with a handful of nifty upgrades to devices that start at $999. Keeping in mind the import restrictions for premium phones, it is difficult to say if these phones would be available locally in Nepal. Still, it wouldn’t be wrong for us to assume that they will make their way here, one way or another.