Apple looks set to finally kill the notch with the iPhone 14 Pro, as well as usher in some solid upgrades. And having moved from Android to iOS lately, I’m now excited for the next pro iPhone. But that’s not what this article is all about.
Rather, I’ve been chewing over the standard iPhone 14 rumors thus far. And I’m worried.
No thrill from the iPhone 14 rumor mill
Now, I’ve come to expect incremental upgrades for smartphones, as many of the best phones are now so good and capable we’re getting to the point where big improvements generation-to-generation can’t really be expected. However, there are some rumors that have the iPhone 14 not only looking like its predecessor but offering little in the way of upgrades.
The notch is expected to remain. The camera upgrades, if any, are set to be minor with the phone’s rear array sporting two lenses. The display may stick to a sluggish 60Hz, which is poor by 2022 standards. And the chipset could be the same A15 Bionic as that on the iPhone 13 range, allegedly with a little more RAM.
In isolation, this isn’t terrible, although I’m an advocate for high refresh rate displays. And iPhones have been less about specs and more the smartphone experience they deliver.
But if these rumors come to fruition, then the standard iPhone 14 will do little to move what'll likely be the most affordable flagship-grade iPhone forward.
Compared to the best Android phones in a similar price range, the current iPhone 13 is a little lacking in terms of fresh features or display tech. And a pair of rear camera for $799 now seems a little stingy. The Galaxy S22 offers a trio of rear cameras and a 120Hz display off the same price, while the Google Pixel 6 drops the camera count but still has a 90Hz display with a small punch hole camera cutout.
So if there are no big upgrades for the iPhone 14, then Apple would be in the same position as it is with the iPhone 13. And I reckon that’s a bad thing.
This may not be the case for Apple, which will likely sell a load of phones this fall. But for Apple fans and consumers, this could set a worrying standard.
It would say that if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, the only way you can get features Android fans have been enjoying for a while is to fork out $999 or more. And at a time when the close of living is going up, this could leave a sour taste.
iPhone? More like why-Phone
It’s also a little frustrating from a tech fan's point of view. Apple may not have been first to a lot of the tech it makes, but it tends to be one of the best. Yet, increasingly I’m not seeing this.
Rather Apple puts on fantastically slick presentations to show us products that are incremental or have features that have been used to great affect in other devices by other brands.
Sure the Apple M1 chip was a minor revolution, and the Mac Studio in an intriguing machine for creators. But look at the lack of a new MacBook Air, touchscreen macs or an iPad running macOS as an example of Apple seemingly against any real innovation.
And yes, I get that Apple is a business and it’s designed to sell products, not keep tech journalists on their toes. But the Cupertino company is worth a trillion dollars and has vast cash reserves, so it could afford to mix things up.
If Elon Musk can throw billions at buying Twitter, surely Apple can make a standard iPhone without a notch and a fast refreshing display?!
Ultimately, I hope the rumors are wrong and the standard iPhone 14 is a revolution. If not, I worry what this says about Apple and its old “think different” ethos.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.