iPhone 14 Pro
Apple's iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have multiple significant upgrades to the cameras, display, and more. The notch has been replaced by the Dynamic Island, the Main Camera now sports a 48MP sensor, and there is now an always-on display.
● 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display sizes
● Slightly larger camera bumps
● 48MP Main Camera
● Always-on display
● Dynamic Island replaces the notch
● Lightning port
● Prices start at $999
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Apple announced the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max during its Far Out Apple event on September 7, 2022. They were revealed alongside the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, AirPods Pro 2, Apple Watch Ultra, and Apple Watch Series 8.
The iPhone lineup is more differentiated than ever, though Apple managed to keep a simple upgrade path from the bottom of the lineup to the most premium model. Upgrades in the iPhone 14 Pro models stand out as display upgrades and camera improvements set them apart.
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max Features
As with the iPhone 13 generation, Apple kept features identical across device classes. So, even though there are two sizes of pro iPhones, they have the same feature set. The only things that differentiate the two are size and battery life.
Apple's usual year-over-year upgrade cycle includes minor changes to a handful of specs and maybe a single tentpole feature. However, for the iPhone 14 Pro lineup, several aspects were updated that affect everyday use.
At first glance, most won't notice how the 2022 iPhone has changed. The device is instantly recognizable by the flat sides, curved corners, and large camera bump.
The camera bump is slightly larger this generation, if only because the lenses have all been upgraded. Cases from previous models will not fit because of the bump, but also the dimensions are slightly bigger too.
Apple did not include a SIM card slot in models sold in the United States. Customers will use the e-SIM feature instead to access cellular providers.
Button placement, speakers, Lightning port, and Face ID are all the same. The display has thinner bezels, more touchable surface area, and a small pill shape in place of the notch.
Four colors are available: deep purple, silver, gold, and space black.
Apple implemented a new, more repairable interior design for the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus but did not do so for the pro models. The increase in repairability relies on a new central aluminum core that houses all of the components, making the front and back glass separate and removable components.
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max do not have this new system, and the back glass remains fused to the frame. It isn't clear why Apple didn't introduce this new system into the more premium models, but cost, cooling, or material issues may have introduced obstacles.
Apple introduced Face ID with the iPhone X. It used a series of six sensors hidden behind a notch to perform biometric authentication.
For iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple opted for a new option called the Dynamic Island. Rumors suggested Apple would use a "pill and hole cutout" to obscure the Face ID sensors, which ultimately did come to pass.
Instead of showing these separate components in the display, Apple chose to obscure them using an interactive UI. The Dynamic Island is an animated part of the display that shows Live Activities, notifications, and more while keeping the Face ID cutout covered.
Tap on the Dynamic Island to open the current app being shown, or press and hold to see a UI overlay. For example, pressing and holding on playing music will show the play/pause and skip controls above the current interface.
Like the Apple Watch before it, the iPhone 14 Pro can now take advantage of its variable refresh rate display to keep it always on. By lowering the refresh to 1Hz, dimming the wallpaper, and using darker UI elements, the iPhone can keep information on the display at all times.
Apple has designed the always-on display to use as little power as possible while providing up-to-date information. Live Activities, widgets, and the clock will still update regularly.
Some Lock Screen wallpapers made by Apple have entirely different looks for the always-on mode. For example, the clownfish wallpaper takes on a green night vision effect.
Other wallpapers like ones made with photos will intelligently dim using machine learning. Apple says images containing people will preserve skin tones even when dimmed.
The display will turn off when the iPhone is face down or in a pocket to preserve battery power. The display can also brighten up to 2,000 nits in direct sunlight for improved visibility.
Using the Sleep Focus will disable always-on, and so will CarPlay, Continuity Camera, and Low Power Mode. Apple Watch users who step away from their iPhone will disable the always-on based on proximity.
All four cameras were updated for the iPhone 14 Pro to let in more light, plus the A16 Bionic has an improved image signal processor. Larger image sensors, a 48MP Main Camera, and the new Photonic Engine make every photo pop.
Apple reworked its image pipeline so the Deep Fusion process could happen earlier in the process. This preserves color and texture data for more lifelike photos.
Deep Fusion was introduced previously as a method to make medium light photos gain more detail. The iPhone takes multiple stills and combines them into a single well-exposed photo with sharp detail.
The feature has expanded to be used in more lighting situations, and with bigger, brighter sensors, it works in dimmer environments than before.
The Main Camera, formerly referred to as the Wide Camera, has a 48MP sensor with an f/1.78 aperture. This is a big jump from the 12MP sensor used previously, though photos will still be 12MP after processing, thanks to pixel binning.
48MP images are very large, both when printed out and in the file system. Users who generally look at photos on the web or their smartphone won't need such large image files, so Apple uses pixel binning to provide crisp and bright 12MP images instead.
There are multiple advantages to using a large megapixel sensor beyond pixel binning. A 2x zoom has been added as a crop of the sensor but still provides better specs than Apple's previous 2x telephoto.
Pro users can take advantage of the full 48MP when taking ProRAW images, but this may require better-than-average lighting for optimum performance. Taking photos using this method will produce huge image files of 50MB or greater, but it gives the photographer maximum data for editing while preserving the Photonic Engine pipeline.
Ultra Wide Camera
The Ultra Wide Camera was updated with a larger sensor that allows 3x more performance in low-light conditions. When combined with the Main Camera, it uses its autofocus to take macro photos.
The effective focal length of this lens is 13mm. Apple still calls it 0.5x in the Camera app software, but it is slightly more than half of the Main Camera's 24mm focal length.
The Telephoto Camera wasn't updated, but the Photonic Engine and improved ISP enables up to 2x low-light performance. This translates to better low-light zoom, improved portrait mode, and better video.
Apple also threw in a new focal length, 2x or 48mm. This lens is purely digital and exists as a crop of the 48MP Main Camera. Despite being a crop, it is still a better camera than the dedicated 2x lens found on previous pro iPhones.
Even the selfie camera was updated with 2x low-light performance improvements, autofocus, and an f/1.9 aperture. Autofocus means group shots will look much better as the camera adjusts for more faces.
Autofocus also works with the True Depth sensors to focus faster. The 12MP sensor, combined with other improvements, will make close-up selfies and other photos look sharper and brighter than ever.
Emergency SOS via satellite
Apple developed specialized hardware to enable any iPhone 14 model to connect directly to a satellite in an emergency situation. People who find themselves in the middle of nowhere without a cellular signal can make limited contact with emergency services as long as they have a view of the sky.
A UI guides the user through connecting to a satellite, then a short set of questions gathers the necessary data for emergency services to keep communications short. Messages can take anywhere from 15 seconds to several minutes to send, depending on signal strength, foliage density, and other factors.
Satellite communications are free until fall 2024, according to Apple. It isn't clear how the service will work after the free period.
The feature can also be used to update friends or family with a location marker in non-emergency situations.
Emergency SOS via Satellite was launched to all iPhone 14 users in November 2022.
The iPhone 14 lineup, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra have purpose-built sensors and algorithms for Crash Detection. If the user is in a severe car crash, the iPhone or Apple Watch will contact emergency services.
If both devices are present, they will work in tandem to determine if a crash has occurred. The technology isn't foolproof, however, and can be triggered by non-crash events like when riding some roller coasters.
Crash Detection utilizes an upgraded high dynamic range gyroscope, high g-force accelerometer, barometer, GPS, microphone, and advanced motion algorithms to determine if a severe crash occurred. Apple designed the algorithm to detect front impacts, side impacts, rear-end collisions, and rollovers.
If the user doesn't dismiss the alert in ten seconds, another ten-second timer starts. After that, emergency services are contacted.
An automated message with an estimated location and search radius will be played to the emergency services on a loop. Each replay will play back quieter to give the user a chance to speak to emergency services, and a button can be pressed to stop the recorded playback.
After hanging up with emergency services, a call will be placed to emergency contacts. A ten-second timer will appear that can be dismissed before the call goes out.
Minor collisions will not trigger Crash Detection. The accelerometer can detect up to 256G of force, and it uses the data collected from other sensors to determine if a crash occurred.
Some users have reported false crashes have been detected on roller coasters, but the results are varied. Apple says that there isn't a "silver bullet" description that nails down exactly when Crash Detection activates since the algorithm has so many factors.
Ports and battery life
The Lightning port returns for at least one more update, but the "iPhone 15" is rumored to get USB-C. Nothing was changed between generations, as it still fast charges using a 20W adapter.
MagSafe wasn't changed or updated in any way, either. The magnetic accessory and charging system is backward compatible and still charges at a 15W speed.
Apple says the battery life isn't affected by the new features. The iPhone 14 Pro is rated for 23 hours of video playback, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max is rated for 29 hours.
Fast charge either device at 20W for 30 minutes to get 50% battery.
Processor, biometrics, wireless
The A16 Bionic has a 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU with a Neural Engine that performs 17 trillion operations per second. These specs translate to a faster iPhone that is also more efficient.
Apple stuck with Face ID for the biometric authentication system. It uses a more compact sensor stack with the proximity sensor placed behind the display.
WiFi 6, U1 Ultra Wideband, and 5G remain identical. Apple did upgrade to Bluetooth 5.3, which offers higher bandwidth. AirPods Pro 2 also use Bluetooth 5.3, but the benefits of both devices using this standard aren't yet known.
iPhone 14 Pro Review
The iPhone 14 Pro is a significant upgrade from the iPhone 13 Pro. The always-on display, Emergency SOS via satellite, Crash Detection, and the 48-megapixel camera are great additions on top of performance improvements.
There isn't much difference externally between the new and old model. External dimensions are nearly identical, though the camera bump is bigger.
We like how Apple hid the display cutouts using software called Dynamic Island. Live Activities like now playing music or the Face ID indicator animate using the cutouts as a backdrop. The overall effect is enjoyable even if it is mostly passive.
The range of camera improvements centers around the new 48-megapixel sensor and the Photonic Engine. Every photo from every camera is noticeably improved, plus there's the 48MP ProRAW shooting option for maximum control.
The iPhone 14 Pro is the best iPhone in Apple's 2022 offering. It is the best balance of power and hold-ability in the range for most users.
Read the full iPhone 14 Pro Review from AppleInsider and see why we gave it a 4.5 out of 5.
iPhone 14 Pro Max Review
Apple took its popular flagship phone and made it even better with the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Like the smaller pro, it has an upgraded camera system, the Dynamic Island, and an always-on display.
These updates in a larger form-factor with a longer battery life make this the best big iPhone yet. We love how the Dynamic Island changes things up with an always-available view of Live Activities.
While the always-on display can sometimes feel a little too "on," it is a welcome new feature. At-a-glance information through widgets and Live Activities make the iPhone useful even when it's laying on a table.
There's not much to say about the larger model that hasn't been said about the smaller one. They have the same feature set with different screen sizes, so everything is here.
The 48MP Main Camera is a game changer, especially for those who are great with a camera. The brighter display, longer battery life, and emergency features are also welcome additions.
Our fingers are crossed for a USB-C charging port and better waterproofing in the "iPhone 15" for next year. For now, this is the best pro iPhone lineup yet.
Read the full iPhone 14 Pro Max Review from AppleInsider and see why we gave it a 4.5 out of 5.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max
Samsung has gone all out with its flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra with a big 6.8-inch display and multiple powerful cameras. A lot of how the product performs will come down to ecosystem preference and user opinion, but this is a highly competitive product.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 6.8-inch OLED display with a 3,088p by 1,440p resolution giving it a pixel density of 500 PPI. By comparison, the 2,556p by 1,179p resolution of iPhone 14 Pro and the 2,796p by 1,290p resolution of iPhone 14 Pro Max have equal densities of 460ppi.
Using Geekbench 6, the Galaxy S23 Ultra manages to get 1,817 single-core and 4,831 muli-core. By contrast, the iPhone 14 Pro's 2,333 single-core is 28% better than the Samsung, and the 5,107 multi-core score is 5.7% better too.
Samsung's impressive camera system with its 200MP Main Camera competes well with Apple's 48MP Main Camera, though both use pixel binning to produce crisp 12MP images. Samsung has a leg up for zoom, offering up to 100x zoom with algorithm-enhanced results.
Both cameras produce excellent photos, but user taste and preference will affect how they feel about the product.
Check out the full review with benchmarks, thoughts about the S Pen, and biometrics: iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra - compared
The 2022 iPhone production cycle went through quite the dramatic upheaval thanks to China's zero covid policy. Employees at a Zhengzhou Foxconn plant rioted after poor conditions during lockdown.
Production lines were subsequently shut down as employees left the company and hiring slowly filled the holes. It took until January 2023 before production stabalized and iPhone 14 Pro saw regular ship times.
Estimations place the impact on Apple's December quarter at about 13 million fewer iPhone units shipped year over year. This is an estimated 15% impact on profits.
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max pricing
Both models are available in deep purple, silver, gold, and space black. Storage can be configured to 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB.
The iPhone 14 Pro starts at $999 and the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at $1,099. These devices began shipping to customers on September 16, 2022.