In recent years, Apple has made it a habit to launch a total of 4 new iPhones in September – two “regular” models and two nicknamed “Pro”. We expect the same to happen in 2022 and, as always, customers will be faced with the dilemma: “Do I go for the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro?”.
Look, they are mostly the same size and shape and share the same basic functions right down to the processor inside. What the Pro models have is an extra camera on the back, a LiDAR sensor, 120 Hz refresh rate for the screen and a stainless steel frame. The non-Pro models are made of lighter aluminum and come in all sorts of fun colors, plus they’re noticeably cheaper.
- Same shape and size
- iPhone 14 comes in vibrant, fun colors, Pro models tend to be more muted and stylish
- iPhone 14 gets lighter, Pro has a heavier stainless steel frame
- 60 Hz on iPhone 14, 120 Hz on iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro has telephoto lens and LiDAR sensor
- Battery life should be about the same
Design and display quality
Same screens, but one is smoother
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iPhone 14 Pro Max, 14 Pro, 14 Max, 14 (Image Credit – Phone Arena)
We expect both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro to have similar dimensions, with the former having a 6.1-inch display and the Pro a slightly larger 6.12-inch display. Usually they will be the same: OLED panels, built to Apple’s specifications. But as we know, the Pro will have a 120Hz refresh rate for super smooth animations, while the non-Pro will stay at 60Hz according to the rumor mill.
Leaks have hinted that the Pro is taking away the notch… sort of – the Face ID sensor array is now housed in a sideways i-shaped punch hole in the top center of the screen. The non-Pro iPhone 14 will still have the slimmed-down notch we know today.
Another difference could be the inclusion of always-on screens – presumably the Pro has an LTPO OLED screen, which allows it to always display a dimly lit widget, even when the phone is in standby. However, the reports are contradictory as to whether this is true or not.
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iPhone 14 Max, 14, 14 Pro Max, 14 Pro (Image Credit – Phone Arena
On the back, we expect to see the square camera module on both phones. Obviously the iPhone 14 will only have two lenses there, while the Pro will have its stove-style trio and a black LiDAR sensor to boot.
As for the contents of the boxes, we expect an iPhone and a USB C to Lightning cable. Nothing more, nothing less (hopefully).
Performance and software
Different chips for the first time?
Until now, the main iPhone models launched together always had the same chip in them – Apple prided itself on giving cheaper models better value for money. However, some rumors suggest that the iPhone 14 may remain on the Apple A15 Bionic (the 2021 chip), while only the Pro models would be upgraded to a new Apple A16.
Phone 14 Pro in purple (Image Credit – Phone Arena)
The A16 is expected to be built on a new 4nm process, which sounds about right: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is already a 4nm SoC. This would provide slight productivity and efficiency benefits over the 5nm Apple A15 Bionic.
In other words, if all of this turns out to be true, it looks like the Pro models will really be differentiated this year in terms of performance and projected future-proofing. We suspect this is not Apple’s intention, but the global chip shortage seems to be going nowhere and everyone is feeling its stranglehold.
The iPhone 14 Pro is also expected to come with 8GB of RAM, which is the most an iPhone has gotten to date. The regular iPhone 14 will probably have less, but we don’t know if it will be 4 GB like in the iPhone 13 or 6 GB.
One small step for the Pro, no leaps for the non-Pro
Another place where the two can be different is the camera module. Analysts say Apple is preparing a 48MP sensor to fit under the iPhone 14 Pro’s main wide-angle lens. By default, it will place pixels in groups of 4 to produce 12 MP photos, just like before. Presumably, Apple will use these large pixel clusters for better nighttime photography.
Of course, the iPhone 14 Pro will also have a telephoto lens with a 3x relative zoom, making for a great portrait camera. And the ultra-wide angle lens will – of course – return.
The non-Pro iPhone has the same ultra-wide, but no optical zoom.
And of course the iPhone 14 Pro has that LiDAR sensor, which helps with virtual measurements of the real world. The Ruler app is more accurate, AR apps can use it et cetera. It’s been on iPhones since the 12 series, but we still haven’t seen a major breakthrough with it, so we can’t say it’s a strong selling point.
Audio quality and haptics
Apple has been at the forefront of audio and haptics on iPhones for years. Usually the Max models get the best sound, which is easily explained by the fact that they provide more acoustic space for the speakers. We expect the same sound quality from the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, as they will be very similar in size and most likely share the same speaker setup.
As for haptics, the Taptic engine on iPhones does a great job as it is, so we don’t see it getting better (or worse).
Battery life and charging
Consistency is key
Apple always strives for that “All day battery life” statement – about 10 hours of mixed use and tons of standby endurance is what you can expect from your iPhone. And we expect no different with the iPhone 14 series.
The iPhone 13 Max shocked us with some really impressive battery life last year, so we hope to see more of that in this year’s Max. However, for the non-large models, we’d get the same 10-12 hour endurance in battery testing.
Summary and final verdict
As you can see, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the iPhone 14 series, but from the little leaks we’ve got – plus some well-founded speculation – we can conclude that this year’s Pro model actually has a few good ones. will offer upgrades over the non-Pro. With the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series, it was kind of hard to go for the Pro unless you really really wanted that telephoto lens. In 2022, the Pro may earn its price hike.
We hope this rumor turns out to be untrue, but with crazy factors like inflation and less-than-stellar supply chain stability, it sounds pretty plausible.
We find the rumors about the iPhone 14 sticking with the old Apple A15 Bionic to be the most curious and even somewhat hard to believe. If this is really the case, that would mean the iPhone 14 will have the same processor, camera, and notch as the iPhone 13. Soooo… just go for the iPhone 13 and save some money?
The iPhone 14 Pro, on the other hand, will bring some exciting upgrades, such as the 48MP camera sensor, the… i-shaped punch hole and maybe – possibly – a titanium alloy frame. For the 14 series, it looks like that would be the iPhone, if you’re looking for a balance of new features and price.