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Despite being the most expensive of its siblings, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has been the second-most popular over the past year. Now, Apple is targeting those who desire a larger display but don’t need (or are unwilling to pay for) the Pro models’ premium features. The new iPhone 14 Plus is an obvious upsell, designed to entice iPhone buyers and upgraders to spend a bit more than they otherwise would.
In some countries, Android phones with screens larger than 5.5 inches now account for more than 50 percent of the market, so it makes sense for Apple to offer a large phone at a lower price point. This is one of the ways in which Apple has lagged behind Android since the iPhone 5’s release.
There is no replacement for the iPhone 13 mini, but given that not much has changed between generations and that its price has been reduced, it continues to serve the same demographic. iPhones typically receive software updates for more than five years, which satisfies entry-level buyers and those who want a small phone because they are accustomed to older models.
What’s new about the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus?
There is little smartphone manufacturers can do at this point to make their products feel new and exciting. The iPhone 14 is a competent incremental improvement over the iPhone 13, but it does not break new ground and will not inspire consumers to rush out and purchase it. The iPhone 14 Plus, on the other hand, represents an entirely new offering, and if you can afford it, you may be tempted to upgrade.
My favorite feature of the iPhone 14 Plus is that it is significantly lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, at 203g compared to 240g. If you were turned off by how cumbersome and unwieldy the flagship models were, you may find this new option to be a welcome compromise. The iPhone 14 remains one of the lightest and most manageable devices in its category.
What’s more, the iPhone 14 Plus boasts the longest battery life of any iPhone to date. It can outperform its premium siblings in this regard because its display and other hardware are less demanding.
The enhancements to the camera system include a larger sensor and an f/1.5 aperture for the new 12-megapixel primary camera. Autofocus has been added to the front-facing camera, allowing for more creative self-portraits. All cameras’ low-light performance is said to be at least twice as good as the iPhone 13 series, which was already excellent. Between the camera hardware, processor, and iOS, Apple’s “Photonic Engine” provides a new set of capabilities.
This essentially means that HDR processing, which combines information from multiple exposures to create the final image, now occurs much earlier in the capture and processing pipeline. Apple claims that by working with uncompressed data, focusing is faster, colors are more accurate, and detail is greatly enhanced. Apple says the results are comparable to using a gimbal. Action Mode is a new video stabilization option that uses the sensor area beyond the frame of what you’re shooting and then crops each frame to compensate for motion.
Crash detection is a new feature enabled by the iPhones of this generation’s more advanced accelerometer and gyroscope. It is able to detect sudden deceleration and recognize sounds, initiating a call to emergency services and your trusted contacts in the event of an emergency. Currently, satellite-based emergency SMS communications are restricted to the United States and Canada, and use Apple’s hardware and software to locate satellites without a bulky antenna. It is extremely slow and functionally limited, but could save your life if you ever find yourself stranded without cellular network coverage. It will be a paid service, but the price has not yet been determined, and the first two years are complimentary.
The Starlight and Midnight color options are carried over from the previous year, and a much brighter (Product) Red option has been added. The new colors for this year are a light, denim-like Blue and a very pale lilac Purple.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus: What’s missing?
With its fancy iPhone 14, Apple believes that the hardware from last year’s iPhones is still suitable for this year’s iPhones. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus utilize the A15 Bionic SoC, but it’s the slightly more capable version that last year’s Pro models had, with one additional GPU core, so it’s still an improvement. This is the first time Apple has stratified its Pro and non-Pro models with entirely different SoCs; this could be due to supply chain and manufacturing issues, or it could be an indication that we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns in terms of CPU power for smartphones.
The 120Hz ProMotion display feature from last year’s Pro models has not trickled down to this year’s iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, which is a major letdown. The resolution, brightness, and color capabilities are identical to those of the previous year. Neither the cool new Dynamic Island functionality nor the always-on display is included. In addition, Apple has reserved its 48-megapixel primary camera sensor and second-generation sensor shift stabilization for its premium models.
In the United States, Apple has abandoned the SIM tray in favor of eSIMs. This is not necessarily a positive development, but Android manufacturers will likely follow suit. The iPhone 14 has the same glass back, Ceramic Shield front, and aluminum frame as the iPhone 13, despite being slightly thicker. There are no new durability claims, MagSafe or wired charging speed enhancements, or USB Type-C ports.
The iPhone 14 Plus is likely to sell well due to the fact that it is a larger iPhone that is less expensive than the Pro Max models. However, the iPhone 14 in its most basic form is likely to have a smaller audience because it does not offer any significant new features.
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