Apple has unveiled its all-new iPhone 14 series, which includes two handsets with improved cameras, supercharged selfies, and colorful new cases. There’s also a new handset with a larger 6.7-inch display size for those who want more screen real estate (and don’t mind stretching their thumbs to use their iPhone).
The new iPhone models were revealed during the latest Apple Event, teased with the tagline “Far Out”, which also saw the company announce second-generation AirPods Pro, Apple Watch Series 8Apple Watch Ultra, and iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
But back to the iPhone 14. The entry-level iPhone 14 sports the same 6.1-inch screen size found on its predecessor, which we praised in our iPhone 13 reviewbut the all-new iPhone 14 Plus lands with a pocket-busting 6.7-inch size – that’s the same size previously only found in the Pro lineup. Apple hasn’t used the “Plus” moniker for its bigger handsets since the iPhone 8 Plus, with the company still referring to the largest phone in the “Pro” lineup as the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Alas, all of this change means there’s no new “mini” handset from Apple this time around. If you prefer a smaller form-factor, you’ll need to get your hands on the iPhone 13 mini from last year, or bag the iPhone SE (2022) released earlier this year.
Aside from the expansive new screen size on the iPhone 14 Plus, there’s very little to denote these new handsets from their predecessors. Apple will offer five colours: Midnight (that’s Black to you and me), Starlight, Blue, Purple, and Product (RED) which are very similar to those on store shelves last year. In fact, the iPhone 14 range is still powered by the same A15 Bionic chipset found inside the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, so don’t expect any huge performance gains compared to last year.
However, Apple points out that its custom-designed A15 system-on-a-chip is still much speedier than most rivals, like those developed by Samsung and US chipmaker Qualcomm, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
But don’t let these similarities fool you, there are plenty or upgrades tucked inside the latest iPhones.
iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are the first handsets to ditch the physical SIM tray in favor of eSIM technology baked directly inside the handset. Apple already relies entirely on eSIM for its cellular-enabled iPad tablets. Instead of using a small metal tool to pop-open the tray, place the minuscule SIM on the tiny tech gurney and slide it back into the iPhone … everything is handled via software within the Settings app. The removal of the physical tray means iPhone owners can swap to new SIM-only deals without hunting around for a SIM tray tool.
Likewise, when traveling abroad it is possible to sign-up for a contractless deal with a local network to avoid extortionate roaming charges – all with a few taps within the Settings app. iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are able to juggle multiple digital SIM cards at the same time, so you don’t need to worry about ditching your current mobile plan to take advantage of a new deal from a local carrier.
iPhone 14 and 14 Plus boast a new crash detection feature that uses the sensors dotted around the handset to determine if you’ve been in a car crash. If the worst should happen, your iPhone can automatically alert emergency services with up-to-date location data. Your iPhone can also contact loved ones.
Apple is also relying on satellites circling the planet to enable its new SOS feature even when you’re miles from mobile signal or a Wi-Fi network. Dubbed Emergency SOS, the feature will send critical information, like your location data and whether anyone is seriously hurt, to the relevant emergency services via a series of quick Q&As developed with the police, coastguards, mountain rescue, and more. Emergency SOS will be available for two years with each iPhone 14 purchase so, presumably, Apple will charge an extra subscription fee (or bundle the service as part of its Amazon Prime-esque Apple One subscription) in the coming years …although there’s no word on pricing or a release date for that yet.
Of course, both of these incredible engineering feats aren’t the sort of thing you ever want to use.
The upgrade that you’ll notice every day in the iPhone 14 series is the camera system. That’s because Apple has fitted its new handsets with a dual-camera system made up of an ultra-wide lens and a new 12-megapixel main camera with f/1.5 aperture and sensor-based stabilization. That stabilization enables something called Action Mode, which smoothes out your video footage as you jog or sprint…like using an accessory like a gimbal or an action-focused camera, like GoPro.
Apple says its new cameras offer 49% improvement in low light image quality and that Night mode, which ekes out details from the gloom without relying on a blinding LED TrueTone flash, now takes photos twice as fast as last year.
On the front of the iPhone 14, Apple has fitted a new 12-megapixel TrueDepth camera, which boasts autofocus for the first time. That should really speed up any selfie shots as there’s no need to tap the touchscreen to get the camera to focus on your faces. The Deep Fusion image processing system that has long enhanced photos from the rear-firing camera system will be applied to any shots from the front-facing camera – a first for the iPhone and a huge boon for selfie-aficionados.