It’s now been six months since the launch of the iPhone 14 (and iPhone 14 Plus), which means it’s time to check how Apple’s most affordable flagship phones are aging. Furthermore, the six-month limit in a phone’s life cycle is critical for users who are hesitant to buy the latest iPhone or wait another six months for the new one. That said, this story isn’t really meant to be an iPhone 14 review, either ultimate iPhone buying guide, but one where I’m going to talk about the iPhone 14 in conjunction with every other iPhone upgrade in history. In other words, despite being a great device in isolation, the iPhone 14 might not be the most impressive new iPhone for those looking to upgrade from an older model.Actually, not to spoil the verdict, but let’s just say that The iPhone 14 is at the bottom of my list when it comes to iPhone upgrades over the years. Oh, of course there’s also the iPhone 14’s big brother, the The iPhone 14 Plus, which might actually be the most ignored iPhone in history…
The iPhone 14 is easily the least impressive upgrade in Apple history: Less impressive than the iPhone XS
Despite looking exactly the same as the iPhone X, the iPhone XS brought massive upgrades to the iPhone camera treatment. Just see the difference in this photo courtesy of MactechNews.
If we don’t count different versions of the same release, and the SE (Special Edition) iPhone, there are exactly 14 different iPhone flagships in history – despite all the “S” models, the upcoming iPhone (15) will actually be the 15th version of the legendary unit. So in nearly 15 years of making 15 different flagship iPhones, Apple has learned the importance of “slow innovation,” which might as well be Cupertino’s actual motto—though “Think Different” also holds true for the company by removing all the buttons from his phone.Therefore, there have been lots of relatively small (at least on the surface) upgrades over the years…
- iPhone 4S (from iPhone 4)
- iPhone 5S (from iPhone 5)
- iPhone 6S (from iPhone 6)
- iPhone 8 (from iPhone 7)
But with that in mind, the only iPhone upgrade that comes to mind when I try to think of a potential iPhone 14 contender for “smallest iPhone upgrade ever” might be iPhone XS. As an “S” model, it’s already clear that the iPhone XS will look exactly the same as its predecessor (iPhone X), but it’s what’s inside that matters.
First, the iPhone XS arrived with a new A12 Bionic chip, built on the 7nm standard (versus 10nm for the A11 Bionic on the iPhone X). Coupled with 4GB of RAM (vs. 3GB on the iPhone X), this was a notable upgrade (at least on paper) to the iPhone XS. Apple also went from IP67 water and dust resistance to IP68.
But most notably (and few will remember), despite looking exactly like the iPhone X, the XS was one of the biggest shifts in the way Apple approaches photography on the iPhone. Little did we know that the aggressive HDR processing of the iPhone XS would (re)define the way iPhone photos look for years to come. (include X vs XS HDR image). This alone makes the iPhone XS one of the biggest iPhone camera upgrades ever, thus (automatically) giving the title of “the most insignificant iPhone upgrade ever” to the one and only iPhone 14.
If we all agree that the iPhone X represents the most significant iPhone upgrade we’ve seen from Apple, the iPhone 14 is the least notable.
The iPhone 14 took two big steps in a very controversial direction
Can you see a difference?
- 6 GB of RAM instead of 4 GB
- Slight camera improvements (f/1.5 aperture vs f/1.6), slightly better details in low-light photos
The above is more or less what upgrades you can expect when switching from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 14, which again indicates that this is the most insignificant upgrade we’ve ever seen come out of Cupertino. But the iPhone 14 wasn’t just a minor upgrade — it was also a pretty controversial one.
Apple’s decision to do away with the physical SIM card tray sparked an outcry on social media, with tweets to this day from disgruntled iPhone users who have found themselves in a difficult situation trying to swap SIM cards (most of them travel abroad). ).
Despite offering excellent hardware, great battery life and (still) the longest software support of any flagship, the iPhone 14 still earns the well-deserved title of “least exciting upgrade ever” – perhaps “the most controversial” (in my book) it will be hardest iPhone to recommend.
iPhone 14 Plus is part of Apple’s failed plan; Whatever you do, don’t buy an iPhone 14 unless you get a great deal
The iPhone 15 (right) is expected to bring meaningful improvements over the iPhone 14.
Finally, it’s worth getting into why I said (in one of the headlines) that the iPhone 14 is a modern iPhone XS story. One reason, of course, is that the iPhone 14 is an “S” upgrade in disguise (we’ve established why), but the other is called… iPhone 14 Plus. Yes, this iPhone exists! Remember?
- Many (smart) people choose the iPhone 13 over the iPhone 14, as the former is cheaper and… pretty much the same device
- The global financial crisis means that the majority of people upgrading their phones are in a better financial situation, making them more likely to choose the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max over the iPhone 14/14 Plus
- The more capable iPhone 13 Pro can be found for the same price as the iPhone 14 Plus
Want to buy a new iPhone? Six months after the launch of iPhone 14, the only sensible choice is to wait for iPhone 15 or iPhone SE 4
So what do you do if you need a new iPhone?
- Wait for the new one iPhone 15 – the dynamic island, a 48 MP primary camera with 2x zoom in optical quality, a more comfortable (curved) design and USB-C (!) are features that can change the way you use your iPhone
- If your current phones allow it, and if you’re looking for the most affordable new iPhone, wait iPhone SE 4 – this is expected to be an iPhone 14 at a much lower price – the catch here is that this is expected to arrive in spring 2024
Finally, I have a question for Cupertino… What’s your plan for the vanilla iPhone model, Apple?
- Bring back the “S” model so people would be less likely to buy an iPhone that isn’t really new without knowing?
- More exclusive features for the Pro/Ultra models to make the vanilla iPhone even less appealing (the additional sales strategy)?
- A semi-annual release for vanilla iPhone? Why not!
I guess we’ll never know. Until we do. Anyway, what do you think the future of the standard iPhone is? Remember, this is Apple’s most popular phone.