- Apple's "Far Out" fall iPhone event is on Wednesday, September 7th.
- We expect new cameras, new screen tech, and more.
- The regular, non-Pro model may not even get a new chip.
The iPhone 14 is coming on September 7, and it will be full of surprises.
Apple’s fall iPhone event is almost upon us, and the rumors and leaks point to an odd mix of old and new. For example, Apple usually keeps the iPhone body’s design around for two years before changing it, so this year should see a new shape (after the iPhones 12 and 13 shared a design). But that’s not going to happen. The focus this year will probably be on the screen and the cameras.
“I am most looking forward to the periscope camera, photography enthusiast and software developer Stavros Zavrakas told Lifewire via email. “Photography being my side hobby, a higher quality resolution is essential. With the periscope camera on the iPhone, I can avoid paying for a high-end camera.”
We expect the iPhone 14 Pro to get an all-new screen design. It'll ditch the notch in favor of a pill/hole punch design to contain the front-facing cameras, which may look like a fat exclamation point laid on its side. This will probably seem super weird at first, but we'll get used to it, just like we did with the iPhone X's notch.
“I’ve seen a number of tweets expressing concern that hole punches are more obstructive than the notch. I’ve been using Android phones with hole punches for years, and here’s what I think,” writes UI designer and Apple blogger Matt Birchler on his blog. “After spending more time with phones of both style, I have completely changed my position, and now I think hole punches are better in every single way.”
Like recent Apple Watches, the iPhone 14 Pro will also almost certainly have an always-on display. Instead of powering off the screen when the phone is sleeping, you’ll see the time and any widgets you’ve chosen to show using iOS 16’s new lock-screen widget feature. This will make information glanceable and may end up making iPhones less (or more) distracting.
The Apple Watch keeps its display on all the time by dropping the screen's refresh rate to just 1Hz, or one update per second while sleeping. The iPhone 14 Pro will probably do the same, with a variable refresh rate like that in the iPad Pro. The Pro iPhone already ramps the refresh rate up to 120Hz while moving and lowers it when the screen is static. This would be an extension of that.
The other significant change we expect is the camera. Apple may jump from the 12MP sensor size it has preferred for years up to 48MP. However, this won't mean you'll fill up your iPhone's storage with photos four times as fast. Instead, the camera app will take those 48 million pixels and use their data to develop higher-quality 12MP images. This will be especially useful in low light, reducing noise and increasing detail.
We may also see a new periscope camera design in one or both iPhones. Currently, lens size is limited by the phone's thickness, which is why we have camera bumps. A periscope camera lays the lens on its side and uses a mirror (or prism) to reflect (or refract) light 90 degrees before it hits the sensor. This would allow for longer telephoto lenses.
Initial rumors said this would first be seen on 2023’s iPhone 15, but fingers crossed for this year.
14 vs 14 Pro
Another departure this year is that we expect the non-Pro iPhone 14 to keep using the same A15 system on a chip (SoC) that the iPhone 13 uses today, with only the Pro model getting a new A16 chip.
And… who cares? The A-series chips have been more than fast enough for years now. They’re so fast that Apple now uses a more complex variant in its Macs. Nobody needs their phone to be faster or more powerful. We want better cameras, longer battery life, and, well, that’s it, really. That’s what makes us upgrade our phones, especially in years without new shape designs to get us excited.
If this happens, we can assume that the regular iPhone will always lag a year behind the iPhone Pro in SoC terms. This will make Apple more money, as older hardware is cheaper and easier to build, but it might also mean that the Pro models push things a little harder because the costs can be absorbed.
It’s shaping up to be quite an exciting iPhone launch, despite the lack of a new shape. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts, right?