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Will iPhone 14 tempt you?

With another year of incremental changes, will Apple struggle with the latest iPhone?

iPhone 14
image courtesy of Ian Zelbo & author

The wait is almost over

The rumours are done and dusted – it’s almost time for us to find out exactly what iPhone 14 holds in store for us.

It has that ‘week before Christmas’ feel here – with that exciting hush about it. Why? Because it is now less than 48 hours until the Far Out event.

Although officially named Far Out, we all know the event, in reality, is actually the iPhone 14 event. If history is to be our tour guide, then we know the September event is where the newest iPhone gets released.

The rumour leakers live on this release for almost a year. Last September, Jon Prosser started the iPhone 14 leaks, with renders from Ian Zelbo, of what he thought the phone was going to look like this year. It makes content, fills view hours and generates good clicks for the creators.

So having lived, rather vicariously, over the last twelve months through these leaks, finally, we are about to see the actual unit. This close to the event, reliable sources, such as Mark Gurman, suggest we are pretty locked down on what the iPhone 14 has in store.

That notch

For some reason, which remains unfathomable to me, the notch seems to be the big news on iPhone 14.

Until the last few days, everyone was telling us we were going to have a pill and punch layout on the front of the Pro phones.

Late last week, though, leaks from the supply chain would indicate that the two-part notch will now be a single cutout – well, it will look that way at least. Technically, it is still a two-part set-up, but, visually, it will look like one, long oblong, pill shape.

The late changes make sense, and the first consideration was symmetry. Practically, you could not have placed the pill & hole design so, it appeared equally positioned, left to right on the display.

With the original layout, viewing content would have looked really awkward, with content streaming between the two shapes. The new all-in-one-pill, will appear slightly lower on the iPhone 14 display. The facial-recognition sensors will be greatly improved as well. Importantly, though, when the phone is in use, the notch will appear as a single, capsule-shaped hole.

One other neat bonus of this new design, is that those little indicator lights you get, which tell you either the camera or mic are in use, will now appear in the middle of the pill shaped notch. That sounds like a very tidy design to me.

The camera

This is always the ‘hook’ for the latest iPhone – what improvements are coming to the already awesome camera app.

The pill cutout will consist of hardware cutouts for the front-facing camera, which will also have autofocus for the first time.

The Pro iPhone’s will have a binned, 48 mega-pixel wide camera. Other upgrades to the camera will include a new sensor giving better low-light capabilities, and better telephoto & ultra-wide lenses as well.

Video-wise, it seems that 8K video will be coming to iPhone 14. Hartley Charlton & myself discussed this on the latest Minus Sixteen podcast. Hartley’s take was, that, although not many will not natively use 8K video, it gives you the option to crop and zoom with the extra pixel count available.

All that said, I still stand by my ongoing gripe, about Apple needing to address getting the files from the phone. Creating larger, pro files on iPhone 14 is one thing, but it only part of the puzzle.

The Pro’s have it

Most of the significant changes this year will only be available on the two Pro phones. All the camera improvements I have just mentioned, for example, are for the Pro phones only.

Another of those Pro only bumps will be the chip. The non-Pro phones will soldier on with the current iPhone 13, A15 bionic chip. The new A16 bionic chip in the 14 Pro and Pro Max may also have vapour thermal cooling to help handle the anticipated extra heat.

Just a thought, do you think that all this oomph in the Pro phone’s is lining up nicely to run realityOS? We know the AR/VR headset is coming, and clearly, iPhone will be central to the experience. Just a thought…

An Always-On display makes its debut on iPhone, which will dovetail neatly with the new lock screen features coming in iOS16.

Other bits & bobs

After complaints about the strength of the MagSafe magnet, I’ve heard that will be addressed and improved. The starting storage config for the Pro’s will now be 256GB and the batteries will be bigger too.

Common across the iPhone range is that Apple are dropping the titanium finish, and there are only two screen sizes available now. The mini has been dropped and for iPhone 14 there will now only be a 6.1-inch or a 6.7-inch option.

A late bit of news to break is that Apple seem keen to push eSIM’s. Providers are happy to go with Apple here and start the inevitable trend towards an embedded SIM, in place of a physical one. Will Apple go all in with the idea this year, and completely do away with the SIM tray altogether? We’ll find out in Cupertino on Wednesday, I guess.

One other iPhone related story, not yet confirmed or denied, is whether the company will roll out the Subscription Service that was first spoken about in spring this year? From a revenue and business standpoint, it makes sense, but I guess we just can’t know how far along the financial infra-structure Apple are.

Wrapping up

Make no mistake how important this event, and iPhone sales, are to Apple. iPhone represents about 50% of the companies annual turnover.

The event is at least one week ahead of its normal slot, which will give Apple an extra seven days of revenue to add to their September quarter figures. Last year, Apple’s sales were cosmetically higher, due to the post COVID sales boom.

In the light of the 2021 sales figures, investors will be keeping a close eye on how iPhone 14 figures look. It’s going to be a tough year for Apple, though, make no mistake.

The cost of living crisis, ever rising energy bills, the real possibilities of a global recession and uncertain financial markets, will all go toward selling units of the premium types of product Apple sell, tougher.

And all this comes at a point when iPhone, for the second year running, is really only going to have incremental improvements over its predecessor. More than ever, I think Apple will be relying on sales of AirPods Pro and Apple Watch to rally and support iPhone sales. Both of these two lesser priced items are expected to be seeing new models & upgrades at Far Out.

Of course, both Apple Watch and AirPods work best and in synergy with iPhone, which is the reason it would make perfect sense to push new versions at us this coming Wednesday.

What would Apple have given this year to have had a major release? They always seem to come out smelling of roses, but, when we look back, it will be mighty interesting to see how iPhone 14 was received.

Will you be tempted with iPhone 14? What do they need to offer to tempt you, and what phone would you be trading up from?

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