Apple News

The iPhone 14 Pro and Beyond

The iPhone 14 Pro enhances an already fantastic smartphone line with an always-on display, 48MP camera, and a new user interface paradigm – but the iPhone 13 Pro looms large.

The iPhone 14 Pro, the smaller of the two Pro-level smartphones for 2022, debuted as part of Apple’s annual redesign of its flagship smartphone. As usual, Apple offers various modifications to the product line, including quite a few frequently-rumored and much-needed additions.

The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are topics for another day. The iPhone 14 Pro marks the official start of Apple’s annual upgrade cycle.

Inside is Unique

The iPhone 14 Pro gives little indication that it is a new smartphone from the outside. Apple has made no significant changes to the smartphone’s appearance. The iPhone 14 Pro resembles the iPhone 13 Pro, which was inspired by the iPhone 12 Pro.

That means you have a stainless steel chassis between front and back glass, protected by Ceramic Shield glass. The back glass, like that of the 2021 models, is frosted rather than shiny.

This time, consumers will have a choice of four colors, including Space Black, Gold, and Silver, as well as Deep Purple.

The few observable alterations from the exterior are also relatively minor. It’s slightly taller and sleeker than its predecessor at 5.81 inches tall and 2.81 inches broad, but also slightly thicker at 0.31 inches.

It’s also grown in size, now weighing 7.27 ounces. However, this is not a significant change, and most people will not notice.

Apple continues to rate the iPhone 14 Pro as IP68 for water and dust protection, which means it can withstand immersion in water up to 6 meters deep for up to 30 minutes.

Always-on display

The front of the iPhone 14 Pro provides the first set of evident clues that the model is different from prior models – an always-on display.

When not in use, the display dims and becomes more muted in appearance rather than going completely black, until the iPhone is completely turned off. The screen may now stay on constantly thanks to a mix of ProMotion’s 1Hz refresh rate, automated settings for the new Lock Screen, and other variables.

It does dim, and it appears that how far down it dims is determined by how bright the screen was before it slept. It’s not a huge difference between maximum and minimum screen brightness, but it’s noticeable.

Much like the always-on Apple Watch screen, the iPhone display is handy for at-a-glance information. You may observe not only the time, but also a number of widgets.

Speaking of the Apple Watch, if you have one on and walk away from your phone for a few minutes, it will mostly turn off the screen. For this to operate consistently in a home-sized environment, we had to be as far away from the phone as possible on opposite sides of the house.

If you leave your phone at home, the screen will obviously turn off. But in that case, you’re probably carrying your phone anyway.

If this bothers you, you can disable it under the Display & Brightness control panel. There’s nothing else you can do with it in settings right now except turn it on or off, and we expect that more detailed options will be available when iOS 16 evolves or more models get the capability.

The display remains a 6.1-inch OLED-based Super Retina XDR display with a 2 million:1 contrast ratio, Wide Color (P3) compatibility, HDR capabilities, and ProMotion’s 120Hz variable refresh rate system, but there’s a lot more here.

At 2,556 by 1,179 pixels, the resolution is slightly higher than the previous generation. This just adds a few pixels in either direction, but the pixel density remains at 460 pixels per inch.

It still retains a 1,000 nit maximum brightness for regular material, but the 1,200 nits of HDR are now 1,600 nits. When used outdoors, the screen may reach 2,000 nits to compensate for the sun’s brightness.

We tried it a few times and it works very instantly. You can see the difference if you’re using your phone and step outside, and it does make the phone more useable.

It also raises the temperature of the iPhone. Given that you’re already outside and the sun is pounding down on the gadget, it’s difficult to manage the factors to see how much hotter it can get.

However, this will have an effect on your battery. We’ll see how useful it is over time and what effect frequent use has on the battery.

From notches to The Dynamic islands

The rumor mill was correct about one major front-facing feature for 2022, and that is the lack of a display notch. The much-maligned design feature has been reused and camouflaged through creative UI work.

The display still has some gaps, but it is in the shape of a pill-and-hole, which allows the TrueDepth camera array to function normally. It’s also a 31% smaller array, with a proximity sensor working from beneath the display to conserve space.

Instead of merely keeping the space above these holes black as a notch, as is customary, Apple incorporated them into Dynamic Island.

The Dynamic Island, which often takes the appearance of a small black oval encircling the cuts, can expand to the sides to provide little pop-up signals or grow in size to provide more detail or controls.

This is quite brilliant and evident in retrospect. It keeps the i-shaped cutout visible but reframes it from a permanently shown display wasteland to a more useful notification system.

It’s a fantastic piece of software-based deception. We’ve already seen a couple games that make use of it, as well as some extremely cool backgrounds.

However, it is currently somewhat scarce. It’s also quite inactive, serving primarily as an information display from another app on top of the one you’re currently using. This is fortunate, because if those interactions were required, the device would become a two-handed device, with all of the accessibility issues that entails.

All of this being said, we’re excited to see how developers may fully utilize it in the future. And, like practically everything else on a Pro iPhone, it will eventually make its way to other iPhones.

The mastermind behind it all. A16 Bionic Chip .

Apple has switched to the A16 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 14 Pro, which is unsurprising considering that this happens every year. However, because the iPhone 14 reuses the version of the A15 seen in the iPhone 13 Pro models, it is possible that the 2023 non-Pro iPhone will have the same technology.

The A16 is equipped with a six-core CPU with two performance and four efficiency cores, as well as a five-core GPU. This is the same configuration as the A15, but with a faster CPU with approximately 16 billion transistors and a GPU with 50% greater memory bandwidth.

In terms of speed, you may have seen certain benchmarks circulating around from the event day. Benchmarking on the day of an event is done on the fly by attendees and should not be relied upon given the circumstances.

The good news is that the A16 Bionic is a significant improvement over the A15. While the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 14 non-pro variants is slightly faster than the A15 in the iPhone 13, the A16 outperforms them all.

The iPhone 13 Pro scored 1,723 and 4,658 on the single and multi-core Geekbench 5 tests, respectively. The new iPhone 14 Pro outperformed the previous-generation chip with 1,880 single-core and 5,317 multi-core performance while both were running iOS 16.

Geekbench also has a graphics test. The iPhone 14 Pro scored 15,739 in the graphics-focused Compute benchmark, outperforming the iPhone 13 Pro’s 14,401.

When comparing the two devices in the Antutu benchmark, the iPhone 14 Pro scored 897,708 versus the iPhone 13 Pro’s 767,863. Antutu recorded the greatest gains in the GPU, memory, and UX areas, with the CPU showing only a minor boost in this test.

The Pro camera system gets massively more Pro.

The most significant news regarding the iPhone 14 Pro is that Apple has finally begun to move away from 12-megapixel camera sensors. At least, for one of them.

The Wide camera, now dubbed “Main,” contains a 48-megapixel sensor, which is four times the resolution of the 12-megapixel sensors found in the Telephoto and Ultra Wide cameras.

The main camera employs a “Quad-Pixel” sensor, with pixels grouped in quads of identical color-sensing components. This provides benefits such as each quad serving as a large pixel in a 12-megapixel image or acting more normally in a 48-megapixel image.

In addition, the Main lens has a seven-element lens as opposed to the others’ six-element versions, as well as a second-generation Sensor-Shift OIS system. Telephoto lenses have OIS as well.

Despite the presence of three cameras and lenses, the typical three optical zoom levels of 0.5x, 1x, and 3x are joined by a fourth, 2X, thanks to the huge sensor. By utilizing the lens’s middle 12MP area, it matches the fourth zoom level while still qualifying as an optical zoom because it is essentially a crop of a larger image.

There’s also Apple’s new Photonic Engine, an image pipeline improvement that places Deep Fusion computational photography smarts much sooner in the process, saving more data in the image.

As a result, Apple claims that the iPhone’s Main and Telephoto cameras are twice as good in low-light photography, with the Ultra Wide camera being three times better. That is more difficult to see in the real world.

Night Mode, Portrait Mode with Portrait Lighting, Photographic Styles, Macro, and Apple ProRAW are among the features available for photographs.

We’ll be performing more extensive work and individual camera demonstrations in the future. There are improvements that may be seen year over year, but they are minor for the most part.

In most cases, Apple’s software performs the most of the work, converting 48MP photographs to 12MP images, and you can toggle this in Apple’s camera app for some usage and instead export huge ProRES files at around 100 gigabytes per image. The majority of users will be fine with this, but camera apps that employ the full 48 megapixels are already available and ready to go on day one.

However, if you use a wired connection, those photos will load quite slowly. Lightning is still limited to slightly faster than USB 2 rates. Use a decent Wi-Fi connection or be patient.

Overall, we recommend starting with Apple’s Photonic Engine and Deep Fusion. If you need more than a simple point-and-shoot experience, you can easily upgrade to a third-party software that offers you more direct control of the entire system once you’ve figured out what you want and don’t.
The enhancements do not stop with photographs. There is still 4K footage at 60fps available, as well as ProRes at 30fps and HDR at 60fps, but the Cinematic Mode now includes 4K HDR at 30fps.

Slo-mo video at 1080p at 240 frames per second is still available, as is Time-lapse video with stabilization, audio zoom, stereo recording, and sensor-shift OIS, but Action Mode is now included.

In general, we advise beginning with Apple’s Photonic Engine and Deep Fusion. If you require more than a simple point-and-shoot experience, you can easily upgrade to third-party software that provides you with more direct control over the entire system once you’ve determined what you want and don’t want.
The improvements do not end with photographs. There is still 4K film at 60fps, ProRes at 30fps, and HDR at 60fps accessible, but the Cinematic Mode now offers 4K HDR at 30fps.

Slo-mo video at 1080p at 240 frames per second and Time-lapse video with stabilization, audio zoom, stereo recording, and sensor-shift OIS are still available, but Action Mode is now incorporated.

The TrueDepth camera also receives some changes on the front, including a new autofocus mechanism that allows multiple subjects to be focused on at the same time. According to Apple, the larger aperture allows 38% more light to be collected, decreasing noise and boosting low-light images.

In terms of low-light performance, the new Adaptive True Tone flash redesigns the standard light-producing element to make it more useful. The flash can fire in different ways depending on the focus length of the shot, thanks to an array of nine LEDs in various patterns.

The end effect is a flash that is twice as bright on Telephoto photos and more uniform light on Ultra Wide shots. Again, this is wonderful, but as with every other new feature on the iPhone camera, what can be squeezed out of it is heavily dependent on the photographer’s expertise.

In case of emergency

An iPhone, of course, has communication technologies. “Phone” after the I implies it.

Wi-Fi is the same speed as the iPhone 13 Pro, and while Bluetooth 5.3 is available, there’s not much it can do that Bluetooth 5 couldn’t. However, this will most certainly become more significant later in the iPhone’s lifecycle.

Outside of conventional wireless, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, there are two headline things in Apple’s announcement linked to safety communication.

The first is Emergency SOS via Satellite, which is self-explanatory. If you go into danger anywhere in North America without cellular coverage, such as an off-grid cabin on a mountain, you can call for help with your iPhone.

This isn’t StarLink, where satellites pretend to be cell towers. This is point-to-point connection between the iPhone and the satellite.

Instead of a phone call or a complete text message, the iPhone will ask you questions about the issue before instructing you to point it at a satellite. When a connection is established, the answers, as well as the iPhone’s location, Medical ID, and battery level, are transmitted to the satellite.

This message is then sent to an emergency service provider, but if they don’t accept text messages, it is routed to an Apple-operated emergency relay center, which will make the call on the user’s behalf.

The physics behind this are obviously complicated. Even at that brief moment, you’ll need to move the phone in a small arc to keep it aligned with the satellite. According to some quick orbital math, users will need around a 2-degree traversal of the phone while the message is sent, and a 5-degree traversal in obstructed situations like a tree canopy.

This isn’t full-fledged satellite calling, but given that it’s only for emergencies and uses a very low-bandwidth method, it’s still preferable to being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no connectivity at all.

Keeping with the concept, Crash Detection is a feature that will send an emergency SOS response if it detects a serious car accident. If onboard sensors detect barometric changes, changes in speed and direction, loud noises, and other variables, the iPhone will respond.

Again, this is a feature for hopefully uncommon circumstances. It’s one you hope you never need but will be grateful for if you do.

We anticipate hearing about life-saving rescues facilitated by the technology shortly after its release.

No tray for the entire day

The iPhone 14 Pro has a large battery, as is customary. In terms of utilization, it can handle up to 23 hours of video playback for footage stored locally, but only 20 hours if the movie is streamed. Audio playback time can be extended to 75 hours.

Our tests put us in this ballpark. You’ll have an all-day lifespan without even trying.

To recharge the lithium-ion battery, you can still use MagSafe up to 15W, Qi up to 7.5W, or the Lightning port with a power adapter.

This is the fastest choice of the three, with Apple claiming that the iPhone 14 Pro can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes when using a 20W or higher charger.

While Lightning will be available for another year, the SIM tray is no longer available in the United States. Instead of a physical SIM card, Apple anticipates that the iPhone 14’s dual eSIM capability will be used.

This may be inconvenient for folks who are used to swapping actual SIM cards, especially if they travel abroad, but since most users don’t touch the SIM after it’s installed, it’s definitely a nice feature to overlook.

We’ve been evaluating the iPhone 14 Pro since Tuesday, using the same testing facilities as before. Even with almost no load from a slew of iPhones arriving on Friday, we had some problems activating the eSIM through T-Mobile.

The carriers are still straining a bit under the load a day after release, on September 17, with a range of unexplained variables affecting how difficult the migration is for you. T-Mobile appears to be having the most issues, while AT&T appears to be having the fewest.

Regardless of provider, expect a SIM to eSIM transfer to take a few more hours than desired. We anticipate that problem will be resolved in due course, however early adopters should be prepared to wait.

Models sold outside of the United States continue to support one physical SIM and one eSIM. Given the continued use of eSIMs and the ability to switch them electronically, this may not be the case for much longer.