What are the main differences between last year’s iPhone and the latest release?
I love my iPhone and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
This year has seen me use Android for the interesting first time. Because of what I do, I thought it would give me a better perspective as I’d have that background knowledge of iOS versus Android which would help me write better stories and make more balanced content in general.
I’ve enjoyed my time playing with other phones, but at heart, I know I am an iPhone boy and doubt that will ever change. When I bought this year’s 15 Pro Max I was convinced I’d sell the 14 Pro to help pay for it. Yet a month on it’s still sitting here on my desk and somehow I think now selling it isn’t an option.
I’m not sure how often I’ll use it day to day but it’s proving useful to have if only for the reason it gives me an extra camera to take shots of the 15 Pro Max!
But then I got thinking that you may be looking to upgrade or change phones and it might help you to know the 4 biggest differences I have found in the 15 Pro Max over the iPhone 14 Pro.
Even though you can no longer buy a new iPhone 14 Pro there are plenty of models out there for sale in good condition that could just be the ticket for you and save you a tidy penny.
But before you lay your cash down – here are my thoughts on some of the highlights you get with the 15 Pro Max – whether it’s worth the extra money we’ll come back to later on.
1. The feel & design
On the face of it, they look ever so similar, yet in reality, they are very different phones.
After the event in September, I remember that nothing much had changed – but when you get your hands on the 15 Pro Max you start to feel the differences. The most noticeable of those are the rounded edges of the new phone.
I know – it sounds tiny but they make a huge difference to the comfort of using the phone. When I pick up my iPhone 14 Pro now it feels ever so unwieldy and just plain uncomfortable. It’s one of those design changes that I’d never given a thought to before or had wished for, but now having used it, seems so natural.
If you are anything like me when you are out you’ll find yourself holding your phone and it’s then you begin to notice how comfortable it is – you almost forget it’s in your hand at all.
Of course, the other thing that helps that feeling is the weight saving that’s been achieved by introducing a Titanium frame to this year’s iPhone. Although my 15 Pro Max is 15 grams heavier at 221 grams than my 14 Pro, because of a very clever shift in weight distribution it feels lighter – it’s such an odd illusion. Also the feel of the titanium is gorgeous, high-end & luxurious. The brushed matt finish is highly tactile and practical too.
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2. iPhone & USB-C
For all this was the poster pin-up feature before the event in general day-to-day use it doesn’t make that much difference.
There’s a good chance if you’re buying an iPhone you’ll have other Apple devices. The notion that a USB-C port on the phone means you’ll embrace a one-cable existence is sadly not a reality – it just isn’t the case.
I have a Mac with a Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, a trackpad, AirPods Max and also an iPad mini – all of those mean I still have to reach for the old Lightning cable. So if anything, it’s more of a pain. I charge via MagSafe so I never use the new port for charging.
One quick bit of advice though – if you have switched to an iPhone 15 already, make sure you have the correct cable in your car. I very nearly set off on a long journey with only the lightning cable which could’ve been a nightmare. Just be prepared…
3. Data transfer
Now I know this isn’t something that will affect everyone – it’s very case & user-specific.
Last year I bought my iPhone 14 Pro specifically to shoot videos with for my YouTube Channel – it turned out to be a costly mistake.
At that point, I didn’t own a camera so I invested in the 14 Pro with that sole purpose in mind. I wanted to shoot ProRes in 4K to give the videos the best possible chance to sparkle…
Last year’s iPhone just wasn’t up to the task. Sure, Apple had given us the ability to shoot ProRes, but practically it just wasn’t viable. Those files were huge and often upwards of 20 or 30 GB – massive. For files that size AirDrop wasn’t up to the task, and waiting for them to upload to the cloud for most of us would take forever. The only way I found to export the files was by using the Lightning cable and opening up Image Capture. Although it worked, it was still slow.
The other failing of last year’s arrangement was that you’d have to have plenty of available storage on your iPhone too. Even if you intend to have great file management and delete them as soon as you’ve exported and saved them elsewhere, you still need temporary storage – and we all know Apple loves to charge for storage upgrades. I went with 1TB of storage meaning last year’s phone cost a ludicrous £1700.
This year though I only went with 256 GB of storage and have plenty of remaining headroom. The huge advantage that a USB-C port offers is in file transfer. If you are trying to use your phone professionally – and it is more than capable of it – you can now record direct to an external SSD.
Where Apple missed the mark last year, this year they have got it spot on. The large video files never touch your iPhone – as soon as you plug in an SSD iPhone knows to record directly to it – it’s a brilliant solution.
Also, buying an SSD is much cheaper than paying for Apple storage. My Samsung 1TB SSD only cost around £100.
4. The cameras
Here there is not much to choose between them. In almost every way they are identical.
Both have a 48MP main camera although this year you can shoot in both 24MP and 48MP. You also get next-generation portraits now with Focus and Depth Control. The 12MP Ultra-wide lens is identical to both as is the ƒ1.9 12MP selfie-camera too.
Again the changes that you do come across in the camera set-up won’t be for everyone.
The two big changes on the 15 Pro Max are the 5x optical zoom with a 120mm lens and the fact you get to choose from focal lengths of 24mm, 28mm or 35mm on the main camera.
On the video side again all is identical – shooting 4K footage in either 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps with identical 1080p options as well on both models. The only changes come with being able to shoot Log and ProRes at up to 4K 60 fps (with an external SSD).
So as you can tell, although there are improvements on the 15 Pro Max they are not the kind of functions that everyone will use.
Which is for you?
Unless you are a creator or professional user who is aiming to use your iPhone mostly in a professional environment – I’d honestly consider looking at trying to buy a used 14 Pro. On the Apple Refurbish Store, there are also some cracking deals on the 13 Pro Max as well.
There are some great deals to be found and for most the 14 Pro has got everything you’ll ever need.
Sure the tactile design and new features help – but are they really worth the extra money? Unless you know that your specific needs require say shooting ProRes in Log then take your time and shop around. A 13 Pro Max or 14 Pro could offer you nearly all the functionality of an iPhone 15 Pro Max but at a bargain price.
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