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iPhone 14 Max could be phone of the year — biggest rumors so far

iPhone 14 Pro render
(Image credit: Unbox Therapy)

The iPhone 14 Max has all the makings of phone of the year, and that's saying a lot given how good the competition has become among the best phones from Apple's biggest rivals.

The Nothing Phone (1) is turning heads with its see-through back and flashy lights. The Google Pixel 6 Pro is big on value, with a next-gen model on the way. And the Galaxy S22 series has generally impressed, not to mention the new Samsung foldables slated to release soon, too.

But all of these phones will likely be shoved aside in terms of buzz once the new iPhone 14 Max (or iPhone 14 Plus) debuts.

Why? For one, the iPhone 14 Max is tipped to replace the iPhone mini in Apple’s lineup. So it would be a completely new model, not to be confused with the iPhone 14 Pro Max. And it will presumably offer a big screen for less money than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, so you could see why other phone makers are probably nervous.

Here are the top 5 iPhone 14 Max rumors so far.

iPhone 14 Max size and design

iPhone 14 case leak

(Image credit: Weibo)

The iPhone 14 Max is tipped to feature a 6.7-inch display, which would be the same size as the rumored iPhone 14 Pro Max, or the larger version of the iPhone 14 Pro. This is key because Apple has not offered a larger screen than 6.1 inches beyond the Pro lineup. 

As you can see in the above iPhone 14 case leak, the iPhone 14 Max will allegedly feature two rear cameras, compared to three lenses for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. So you should expect a wide and ultra-wide camera, but not a telephoto.

Up front, the iPhone 14 Max is rumored to get the same design, which means the notch should be making a return. 

iPhone 14 Max price

According to multiple sources, the iPhone 14 price rumors have the iPhone 14 Max coming in at $899. If the reports prove accurate, that would be $100 more than the regular iPhone 14. And with the iPhone 14 Pro series tipped to get a $100 price hike — so, a $1,099 iPhone 14 Pro and $1,199 iPhone 14 Pro Max — the iPhone 14 Max could look like even more of a bargain.

By comparison, the 6.6-inch Galaxy S22 Plus costs $999 and the 6.7-inch Google PIxel 6 Pro costs $899. Assuming the regular iPhone 14 starts at $799, I can picture a lot of shoppers jumping up to a $899 iPhone 14 Max just to have a bigger display. 

iPhone 14 Max cameras

Green iPhone 13 and Green iPhone 13 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

The front cameras on all four iPhone 14 models are rumored to be getting a welcome upgrade (opens in new tab). According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the selfie camera on the iPhone 14 Max and other new iPhones will offer auto-focus, which should result in sharper photos. In addition, the front cam may get a 6-part lens instead of a 5-part lens in order to minimize distortions and artifacts in images. And you can also expect a wider f/1.9 aperture, which should let in more light. 

We haven't heard much about the back cameras for the iPhone 14 Max or regular iPhone 14. While the iPhone 14 Pro series is rumored to feature a new 48MP main wide camera, the iPhone 14 and 14 Max will reportedly continue to offer 12MP wide and ultrawide lenses. 

iPhone 14 Max specs

This might sound weird at first but we've seen multiple reports saying that the iPhone 14 Max and iPhone 14 will stick with the current A15 Bionic chip. Only the iPhone 14 Pro series could see an upgrade to the newer A16 Bionic. 

On the surface, this seems like a bummer, but the iPhone 13 is already the fastest phone we've tested— even among the best Android phones — so keeping the same chip for another year doesn't sound like a huge deal. This is especially true because the iPhone 14 Max is tipped to move from 4GB to 6GB of RAM, which should boost performance. 

Another downgrade that may be featured on the iPhone 14 Max is a less quality OLED display. A recent report from The Elec says that Samsung Display will use its older M11 series of OLED displays for the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 and the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max/Plus. The newer generation M12 series displays will be reserved solely for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. This may not be a huge difference, but with a bigger screen, you would likely it to be as nice a screen as possible.

iPhone 14 Max battery

This will likely be a key selling point of the iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Max. A leaker has tipped the iPhone 14 battery sizes, and the iPhone 14 Max could have 4,325 mAh of capacity, which would be a sizable jump from the 3,279 mAh pack in the iPhone 14. 

The iPhone 14 Pro Max would get a 4,323 mAh battery, which is roughly the same size. The reason why we're hopeful is that the iPhone 13 Pro Max lasted a very strong 12 hours and 16 minutes on our iPhone 13 battery testing of all four models. The regular iPhone 13 lasted 10:33. So a jump up in endurance to the iPhone 14 Max would be quite welcome. 

iPhone 14 Max: Outlook

iPhone 14 Pro design vs iPhone 14 design

(Image credit: EverythingApplePro/YouTube)

At least based on the reports and leaks thus far, the iPhone 14 Max could be the runaway hit for Apple when it's announced at the rumored September Apple event, which has been tipped for September 13. That same event could also see the launch of the AirPods Pro 2 and Apple Watch 8

Personally, I wish Apple would include a telephoto zoom lens for the rumored $899 price, but otherwise this flagship could wind up being the best iPhone for those who want a big-screen experience without the Pro premium. 

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.