The latest iPhone 14 rumors indicate that the iPhone 14 Pro will have yet another advantage over its lower-priced counterpart. And at this point, a month or so before the new phones arrive, it seems like the iPhone 14 Pro will have an edge over the standard model in almost every way.
Korean news outlet The Elec (opens in new tab) reports that the iPhone 14 will use an older generation of OLED panels, leaving the latest OLEDs reserved solely for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Additionally, this report adds further confirmation that the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max will join Apple's iPhone lineup in the fall. The article refers to both a 6.1- and 6.7-inch display for the base tier of the iPhone 14. We've been reporting for some time that the iPhone 14 Max will likely replace the iPhone 14 mini, this is more evidence that Apple is turning to a larger display for it lower-priced models.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro display disparity
Samsung Display, a subsidiary of Samsung, has been making the OLED display panels for Apple’s OLED iPhones and will make displays for four upcoming phones in the iPhone 14 series. The Elec article 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 M12 series will be reserved for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Max.
LG Display, a subsidiary of LG and a rival of Samsung Display, will also provide OLED displays for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro Max, according to reports. They had previously provided OLEDs for the iPhone 13, so this use of multiple suppliers seems to be standard practice for Apple.
In practical terms, this means that the iPhone 14 base model will turn to less impressive panels, most likely as a way to keep costs down. The impact of inferior pixels on user experience may ultimately be negligible for consumers, but it shows that Apple is prioritizing its Pro models when it comes to its latest smartphones.
Of course, it's not uncommon for Apple to make some distinction for its Pro lineup. One of the many iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 13 Pro differences is that the Pro models have screens with higher peak brightness plus adaptive refresh rates. All four iPhone 13 models use Super Retina XDR OLED panels, though.
Is Apple pushing customers intentionally away from its base model?
If the current rumors for the iPhone 14 and its higher-end counterparts are any indication, Apple may be positioning the base iPhone as its more affordable alternative to the pricey iPhone 14 models.
That doesn't mean they'll be cheap — the base iPhone 14 is still rumored to be $799. But for an extra $300, you should be able to get an iPhone 14 Pro in the fall with some serious upgrades.
The Pro is rumored to feature the new A16 Bionic chip, while the iPhone 14 will likely stick with a modified version of the A15 that's in current iPhones. (Here's an A16 Bionic vs. A15 Bionic comparison that talks about how those differences might manifest themselves on the new iPhones.) In addition, the iPhone 14 Pro could get rid of the notch on its display and it may be in line for a a better 48MP camera. Add all that up, and now the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Max/Plus look like significantly less value for your money.
To be fair, there is a lot we still don’t know about the iPhone 14 lineup. While the iPhone 14 Max/Plus may have a bigger screen, that screen may drain battery life quicker. The new A16 Bionic chip may be awesome, or it may be a marginal upgrade that may not be worth $300. But given the indications we have that the iPhone 14 will only be a marginal upgrade compared to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, this feels like an intentional move by Apple to push consumers toward more premium models — or at the very least, to set those models apart.