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iPhone 14 – will the sleek new look be for you? Is it going to be a big HIT or miss?

It is getting to that time of the year, when all trained Apple eyes, are focusing on the fall, and the release of iPhone 14. But the current reception seems very mixed…

iPhone 14 (Ian Zelbo)
image courtesy of Ian Zelbo

End of this super-cycle

When iPhone 12 was released, Apple reverted to a three year super-cycle. A super-cycle, simply put, is a period of elevated sales. It kind of makes sense. When the iPhone 12 was first released, sales were strong, as it was a major re-design from iPhone 11. As the cycle moves along, however, the changes become far more incremental from the original model, and it’s basically, just given a yearly facelift. This three-year cycle, gives the company, the chance to recoup all their original set-up costs and research overheads.

That seems to be currently playing out, doesn’t it; iPhone 13 was pretty similar in basic design to iPhone 12, and from what we are being fed by the leakers, iPhone 14 will not look radically different either.

With iPhone 15, it seems certain that, in a rather timely fashion, USB-C will make it’s first appearance on an iPhone, and so will trigger of the next three year super-cycle.

It is normally around now, in the quieter summer months, that the rumours start to get fleshed out. Actually, by event day, we have a pretty good idea of what the new iPhone will hold for us, and actually look like.

This year, though, the clamour seems ever so subdued. Have we become just too accustomed to our iPhone? Has the economic pinch had an effect on us wanting to trade-up? Or, is what’s on offer, simply not tempting enough?

What are we getting?

iPhone 14
image courtesy iUpdate

Right after this year’s WWDC, dummy units started to appear on some YouTube channels, such as the above image, on iUpdate. Out of the gate, you have to say, from a physical design view point, there really are only very minor changes to either iPhone’s 12 or 13.

The headline changes are;

  • No mini models
  • Only two sizes will be available, a 6.1–inch model, and a 6.7–inch version
  • The Pro models will be free of the notch, replaced instead by a pill & hole camera cut-out
  • Pro and non-Pro models to have different processors
  • 48MP camera with a larger bump (again – Pro phones only)
  • Smoother radius corners
  • Pro models to get a titanium frame
iPhone 14
image courtesy Appletrack

That, really, is about it from what we know right now. The always-on display is getting some attention, but, you’ve guessed it…it will only be for the Pro models and almost certainly software locked to the newest iPhones. One other feature that a few seem keen on, at least, is the rumoured satellite function. This is a highly niche option, though.

Are you noticing something of a pattern here? There really does seem to be a thick line drawn in the sand this year between the Pro and non-Pro models. ProMotion screens with the desirable 120Hz refresh rate, will be another feature, which if launched, will be for the Pro phone users only.

Pricing

iPhone 14 (Ian Zelbo)
image courtesy of Ian Zelbo

As mentioned, with no mini in this year’s lineup, it appears that the entry point will be $799 for the iPhone 14 regular. Next up will be the 14 Max at $899, the Pro will come in at $1099 and, finally, the Pro Max at $1199.

I am sure that Apple’s marketing team are all over it, but the non-Pro users are being given a lot less! Yes, there is a price bump, but this year, the extra, premium features on the Pro line-up, do make it seem, kind of good sense, no?

A titanium frame, always-on display, ProMotion, better camera…and the A16 chip all make for a pretty tempting offer. Will it be enough though?

Availability

iPhone 14 (Ian Zelbo)
image courtesy of Ian Zelbo

This year, availability is the hot topic. The chip shortage, as we have seen, is a very present and real danger.

The MacBook Pro, I bought this year, was the only one available in the UK with the specs I wanted. And that ended up, not coming directly from Apple. I would actually still be waiting for it to be delivered, if it were coming from them. The same is true also for my Studio Display.

MacBook Air 2022 (Ian Zelbo)
image courtesy of Ian Zelbo

Bring it forward to June and WWDC, when the new MacBook Air was announced. Great as it looks, and as high in demand as it will be, no release date is yet posted on their website. Indeed, anything but the base configurations, in any Mac right now, has a very lengthy lead-time.

This must be of concern to Apple regarding iPhone 14. There are varying reports on-line right now. Jeff Pu has reported that iPhone 14 Max is facing delays of around three weeks. These delays are blamed directly on recent, and continued, outbreaks of COVID-19 in China.

Countering that, however, is the ever reliable Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes everything is under control. Suppliers, he suggests, will soon be able to work longer hours, and play catch-up.

Whilst I think it likely that all iPhone models will be simultaneously released this September, the pressure-point, will be the demand and uptake for iPhone 14. I guess, my best suggestion would be, if you are in the market for iPhone 14, then make sure to be at the front of the queue on release day. Whilst there may be some models available, the higher spec’d phones could well be in short supply.

Ironically, the potential lack of clamour, for iPhone 14, may yet play in to Apple’s defence.

Is it for you?

iPhone 14 (Ian Zelbo)
image courtesy of Ian Zelbo

So, with such a differentiation in Pro and non-Pro models, the lack of any major aesthetic design changes and the possibility at least, that the model you may want could be hard to buy, is iPhone 14 for you?

I am torn. I currently run an iPhone 12. There is nothing wrong with it, and it still performs well. Equally, I am out of contract with my service provider before the end of the year.

Whatever happens, I don’t think I will take a new phone, on contract, from them. Either, I will get a data-only plan and stay with my current phone, or buy a 14 Pro Max outright (with that data card). Over the course of the two years, I will make most of that money back by not being on contract. Moreover, at the end of that two-year period, I will have an unlocked iPhone to sell as well. Oh…and I would get great mileage out of it, with plenty of blogs and YouTube videos on it. Daft as that sounds, that may yet be the reason I change!

Even then, is it something I am tempted by? I really don’t know. The biggest attraction, for me, could be the ability to shoot in ProRes and 8K video (the Pro phones are reported to be getting 8K). But, the old problem of getting those files from the phone remains. So, is it’s the biggest attraction, also highlighting its most fundamental flaw.?

On that point, is there room to put an SD card slot in the body of an iPhone? The phone will be thick this year. Apple also seem intent on making the camera ever more professional with the ProRes and 8K functionality. Even if the USB-C port does come to iPhone next year as expected, getting 8K files off will still be painful.

On second thoughts…

Maybe I’d be better off keeping the iPhone 12 and buying a camera. Anyone want to teach me how to use one?

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