After what seems like an age, Apple finally killed the infamous display notch (for the Pro iPhone at least) and added something that felt genuinely fresh and innovative. Using a cutout to add functionality rather than take up screen space struck me as rather smart.
Now I'm in the fortunate position of being able to get the latest iPhone in for testing. But despite this, I've had no desire to upgrade; at best I'll sometimes take a curious look at Richard Priday's iPhone 14 Pro Max, but little more.
The reason for this is Apple simply hasn't done enough to warrant a no-brainer upgrade.
Look past the Dynamic Island and the design of the iPhone 14 Pro is basically the same as the iPhone 12 Pro. That's not terrible, as the flat-edge design brought in by former phone is great. But it's hardly the step change between say the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 5. With a new take on display features, Apple could have gone for a fresher design with the iPhone 14 Pro.
As for the 48MP main camera upgrade, which is a notable boost on the 12MP camera of the previous iPhone, it got my attention initially. But from further Tom's Guide testing, I'm not convinced it offers a huge upgrade over its predecessor; mainly because Apple's computational photography is so good.
The iPhone 14 Pro also outputs a 12MP image through the art of pixel binning, meaning in practical terms the photos it serves up aren't a huge step away from those of the 13 Pro. And if I wanted a high resolution camera I'd likely take out my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra as I feel it has a more versatile camera system, or simply opt for my DSLR.
Video is great on iPhone, but I'm not convinced there's a huge step up from the iPhone 13 Pro to the 14 Pro.
Speaking of steps up, the iPhone 14 Pro has Apple's new A16 Bionic chip. It's a powerhouse, but I would bet a healthy sum that no one would notice the difference between it and the iPhone 13 Pro's A15 Bionic in everyday use; the older chip is still a speed demon.
And so we come to the Dynamic Island. It looks flashy as heck and genuinely interesting. But as Priday and Content Director Mark Spoonauer have both pointed out, there's not a great deal of app support for it yet.
Seeing it in action, the Dynamic Island is slick but still seems very much a first-generation feature. I'm glad Apple did something new here, but I'll be waiting for the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro before getting all dynamic with my iPhone.
I've also seen a fair few people with the iPhone 14 Pro, and my partner has one. But I've yet to see her or others really use the Dynamic Island. It seems to me there's a learning curve or phone behavior step change that needs to be part of our smartphone vocabulary before the Dynamic Island really takes off; at the moment it just seems to be a more noticeable cutout than the notch arguably was.
Putting all this aside, my iPhone 13 Pro is also still a brilliant phone. After swapping to iPhone from Android last year, I’ve been completely sucked in by the consistent experience of iOS, the excellent camera performance, as well as the neat size and design (there's better Android hardware but really you’ll need a big 6.7-inch phone to get the most out of it).
That’s not to say the iPhone 13 Pro is flawless, far from it. But it’s so user friendly, to the extent it’s a bit dull, that I have no real desire to stop using it as my daily phone. And there's not enough on offer from the iPhone 14 Pro to warrant an upgrade. I’m also conscious of not wanting to get yet another phone when the one I have is plenty for what I need from a smartphone, as at some point we have to start considering the environmental impact of constant iterative takes on smartphones.
So for me, I’ll be waiting for the iPhone 15, with its tipped USB-C port and hopefully more dramatic upgrades. For the rumored iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Ultra we've also heard about a possible new periscope lens that could finally give the iPhone lineup a powerful zoom.