The vanilla iPhone 14 is undoubtedly one of the most underwhelming launches for 2022. The upgrades are very iterative and, in most cases, negligible. The iPhone 14 Pro models got relatively better treatment, with a new 24mm 48MP 1/1.28″ sensor with 2X near-lossless sensor crop in, an upgraded ultra-wide angle lens, improved processing thanks to the Photonic Engine, better low light shots from the new sensor, etc. The Pros also got a new front design with a cutout that now houses the front camera and Face ID module that Apple has famously dubbed “dynamic island”.
In contrast to the significant upgrades made to the Pro models, the vanilla 14 models got almost nothing. They use the previous year’s A15 Bionic chip from the Pro models with a 5 Core GPU, which is useless because the screen refresh rate is still stuck at 60Hz. The primary sensor has been upgraded to a larger one, and the sensor on the iPhone 14 shares the sensor on the iPhone 13 Pro, and the 14 now has the Photonic Engine for better processing. These are the only upgrades aside from crash detection and Emergency SOS satellite connectivity.
Considering that the updates to the vanilla 14 were trivial, should you get the 13 instead, buy the 14 anyway or wait for the iPhone 15? This article attempts to answer that question.
iPhone 15 leaks and rumours so far
There will probably be no Mini-sized iPhone again in 2023, so we can expect an iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. The entire iPhone 15 lineup will likely feature the new display cutout, making this the first iPhone lineup without a notch. However, the rear design will mostly remain the same diagonal camera array. This speculation aligns with reports that the iPhone SE lineup will move to the notch design. So far, no reports of an under-display fingerprint scanner have surfaced.
The entire iPhone 15 lineup is also said to feature solid-state (non-physical) buttons that simulate actual buttons by using a combination of precisely delivered and tuned haptic feedback, made possible by the taptic engine used on iPhones. Standard 15 is expected to feature this year’s A16 Bionic chip based on TSMC’s 4nm fabrication process. Though it’s a significant bump from the A15 used on the iPhone 14 models, the A16 will be a one-year-old chip by then, and the A17 Bionic will mostly be a much more efficient and powerful 3nm chip.
The iPhone 15 will probably take the 48MP sensor from the iPhone 14 Pro, enabling it to have the 2X near lossless sensor crop in, finally giving vanilla iPhones at least some zooming capabilities. The iPhone 15 Pro Max or iPhone 15 Ultra is said to launch with a 5X or 10X periscope zoom lens, finally allowing Apple to catch up in the zoom game. The Ultra is also said to launch with a titanium build, improving the phone’s durability.
- Read Also: iPhone SE 4: Everything We Know So Far.
Should you buy an iPhone 14 right now?
The most significant reason people pick competing phones or spend extra for the Pro models is that the vanilla models are stuck on the standard 60Hz refresh rate. They lack valuable features compared to the Pro models, like natively shooting RAW photos from the main camera app or ProRes videos. The iPhone 14 has no zoom lens, so portrait shots are not particularly remarkable; the phone has no significant improvements to HDR performance.
So, should you buy an iPhone 14? It is a purely personal choice that varies with requirements, operating system preferences, and the choice of an ecosystem. Mainly, this choice rests on which phone you currently own. If you own an iPhone 11 or below, the iPhone 14 offers a significantly better screen, way better battery life, a better primary camera and a better chip that also supports 5G, so the upgrade from an iPhone 11 and below will be noticeable.
To iPhone 12 users, the decision is on the fence since the 14 offers a significantly brighter screen, better battery life, better video recording and software features like action mode, photographic styles, and cinematic mode. It also has a newer and more efficient chip than the 12. If these features matter to you, then the 14 is a worthy upgrade over the 12.
Provided your current phone is the iPhone 13, then purchasing the 14 is pretty much pointless since you get the same chip with one extra GPU core and 2GB more RAM and a different primary sensor. That’s about it, none of which is noticeable in real-life use. Battery life ratings are the same for the two phones. If you currently own an Android phone and are willing to jump ecosystems or want to try iOS out, spending a little more on the Pro models will be a better overview of iPhones than using the base models.
If the iPhone 14’s offerings satisfy you at the 799$ price tag and you are OK with the compromises, like a 60Hz screen and no zoom lens, then it’s probably the right choice for you if you don’t want to wait another year. It hasn’t even been two months since the 14 series launched, so people probably cannot wait nearly one full year to get the new model, so the time factor might be a significant reason to consider the iPhone 14.
Another big reason to get the 14 now is if your current phone has subpar battery performance, and you might need your phone to last longer. It’s an excellent choice to wait another year if there are no significant issues with your current device since the updates, according to leaks, look more substantial than the little bump-up done to the iPhone 14 from the iPhone 13.
In the case of the Pro lineup, iPhone 14 Pro looked like a solid upgrade over the iPhone 13 Pro since it had the new software feature- dynamic island. It had a substantial bump up to primary sensor size, along with the new chip and several camera features, with a 2000 Nits screen with Always On Display. These features are significant enough to even some existing 13 Pro users, but the 14 Pro and 13 Pro are nearly identical phones to others. However, the upgrades will be noticeable if you have an iPhone 12 Pro and move to a 14 Pro since you get a much brighter display with a new design, way better cameras overall, a new chip, 120Hz, and more.
Reasons to Wait for the iPhone 15 Series
- Dynamic Island will likely be present in the vanilla iPhone 15.
- iPhone 15 lineup is expected to arrive with USB-C ports.
- Significant camera improvement in iPhone 15 Ultra.
- iPhone 15 Pro may pack 8GB of RAM.
- A 3nm A17 Bionic Chip will likely power iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra.
- Vanilla iPhone 15 could be powered by an A16 Bionic chip (Currently available on iPhone 14 Pro models only).
- iPhone 15 Pro models may Feature Solid-State Buttons.
- iPhone 15 Ultra could feature a Titanium frame.
Apart from the above reasons, a big reason to wait for the 15 is that the 14 Pros might drop in price later, and those will be a much better buy than the iPhone 15 vanilla models. The iPhone vanilla 14 models and even the 13 will drop in price, making them terrific deals.
To summarize, it depends on how long you can hold on to your current phone and your budget and requirements. If the iPhone 14 feature set satisfies you and you are OK with paying 799$ for it, then it’s a good choice. However, if you are willing to wait for the iPhone 15 to see a more significant change in the core iPhone experience, it’s better to wait for nearly another year instead of getting the 14 now. So far, except for a titanium build, solid-state buttons and a periscope lens, the 15 Pros do not look significantly upgraded from the existing 14 Pro models. Provided you are looking to upgrade to the Pro models; there is no better time to do it than now unless you want a periscope on your phone.