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iPhone 14 has a BIG problem!

With rumours of a massive camera improvement on its way for iPhone 14, there seems to be one problem being overlooked…

iPhone 14
image courtesy of author

Far Out

As I sit writing this today, much later than I had anticipated, it is only one week until Apple’s iPhone 14 event. Well, I call it the iPhone 14 event because, let’s face it, that is undoubtedly going to be the star of the show.

In other blogs, I have written far more extensively about Far Out, the actual event name on the invite. Apart from iPhone 14, we expect to see Apple Watch 8 and possibly, just possibly, AirPods Pro II. The event will mirror the format of WWDC in June – being pre-recorded, but with some in-person attendance from press. Seems my invite got lost in the post (again)!

In the spotlight

Front and centre on 7th September, at the Steve Jobs theatre, will be iPhone 14, though. That is what we will all be waiting to see, and find out if the rumours and leaks were accurate.

When I was chatting with renders artist, Ian Zelbo recently on my Minus Sixteen podcast, he was pretty convinced we now know just about everything there is to know about this iteration of iPhone.

The range will, in essence, be fairly simple. There will be just the two screen sizes this year, with either a 6.1-inch or 6.7-inch option. Although the mini has been axed, there is some good news. For the first time, you’ll be able to buy the largest screened iPhone for just under $1000. The iPhone 14 Max looks set to be the most popular unit this year.

What’s new inside?

This year’s iPhone 14 does look to be a fairly tame upgrade to iPhone 13. But, that said, there are some changes.

Internally, the two non-Pro iPhone 14 models look set to continue using the existing A15 chip that was introduced in the iPhone 13 series. The two Pro iPhones this year, will, however, get a new chip – the A16. Because of all the extra processing going on in the Pro phones, the new chip will be a must. It would be the first time that Apple has used faster chips in the Pro iPhones, which may be partly necessity and partly to ease the burden on chip supplies.

And, whilst talking internals, the phones will use the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 chip. This is the first 10-gigabit 5G modem, which features faster connectivity speeds along with connectivity improvements.

Apple look likely to introduce new satellite-based emergency calls as well. This will let users send texts in emergencies and report accidents where they have no cellular coverage. iPhone 14 may also offer car-crash detection as well.

The lightning port gets a stay of execution for one more year, and purple may well be added to the colour range this year. There are minor bodywork & aesthetic changes as well.

What’s new on the front

The Pro phones will get ProMotion screens, with a 120Hz refresh rate. The big change on the front, though, is to do with the Face ID hardware.

The two Pro iPhones will be the first to ship without the famed notch. In its place will a hole-punch style design made popular on many Android phones. The circular element will house the Face ID projector, and the pill-shaped cutout will include the front camera, and Face ID infrared camera.

And speaking of cameras, that is what I really wanted to talk about, and why I think there is a problem ahead.

Camera improvements

Yet again, there will be improvements here, that only the two Pro phones will receive.

These two phones will have a Sony made 48-megapixel, wide camera. To achieve the 48MP, it will utilise focus pixels and pixel binning technology.

The camera on the front of iPhone 14 will be available on all this year’s phones. The front camera will feature a wider f/1.9 aperture and improved autofocus capabilities. There will be a wider aperture too, which will allow more light to pass through the lens to reach the sensor.

Now, that all sounds great, I know. The Pro phones are getting some really meaningful camera improvements this year, with the possibility of 8K video also becoming a reality.

The devil is in the detail

So, it is all well and good shooting 4K, or even 8K ProRes on your new iPhone, but at what cost to your storage? One measly minute of 4K ProRes video eats 6GB of your phone’s storage. This why Apple already prevents 128GB iPhones from recording 4K ProRes.

Looking at iPhone 13 for a guide, bumping up your storage from 128GB to 1TB will cost an extra £500. And for any kind of meaningful shooting, you’ll be needing that TB capacity, even if you do off-load your footage as soon as it’s shot.

And this brings me to the real problem with the iPhone cameras. Not only is the file size prohibitive, but getting them off the phone is all but impossible.

Air Drop, an Apple ecosystem user’s best friend, just fails with these huge video files. It’s not that it takes ages, it simply does not work.

There is one hidden gem on your Mac though, which is the get out of jail card for your file transfer needs, and that is Image Capture. Without that app, these big video files would be stuck on your iPhone. Now that would be a concern, right?

Time to learn

The easy option, the quick-fix, would be for me to get the new iPhone. I know how to use, and set it up. But I need to be big, and grown up about this. Although I have no videography, photography, or camera knowledge, the time has come to bite the bullet.

Roughly for the same price as iPhone 14, I can get a secondhand Canon 90D. Ok, there will be a few extra quid on 50mm lens, but that camera will see me through years of service, and be fit for purpose. It will have a lovely depth-of-field to the video, and, crucially, it will shoot to SD cards. Pop the card out, straight in to the MacBook Pro, and I am ready to edit in Premiere Pro.

Smartphones cameras are incredible with all that they offer. The fact we can carry around a high-end camera in our pockets, is amazing. But now, they are getting to the upper end of what they are capable of. They have almost become too good for their own use.

Wrapping up

As stunning as the iPhone 14 Pro cameras are surely going to be, they can never match a Canon, Sony or Nikon. And, until a sensible solution is offered to get the files from the phone, there will always be an issue. A USB-C connector, with it’s faster transfer speeds may help, but even so, storage will remain a real problem. Just a thought – a micro SD card on iPhone 14? Daft or a solution?

So, for me, the way forward is this, I think. I’ll wait for iPhone 14 to be released, then buy an iPhone 13 Pro Max, as they’ll be giving them away soon enough. That will work for fantastic B-roll shots, and the file sizes will be manageable.

Then, rather than spending $1000+ on a new iPhone, I’ll invest in the future, learn how to use an actual camera, and look forward to a 4K future!

Sound a plan?

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