In one fine swoop, Apple has updated three important product lines. The new iPhone 14 series, a wider Apple Watch range and AirPods Pro wireless earbuds, which particularly was overdue a newer generation. While the ‘Far Out’ keynote didn’t have that ‘one more thing’ surprise element, the purpose was more than evident.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro series: Islands, et al
Without changing the design, Apple has bestowed the iPhone 14 Pro with a set of upgrades that aren’t exactly incremental. The A16 Bionic processor designed on the extremely power efficient 4 nanometer architecture, makes it tougher for Qualcomm and MediaTek and therefore the entire Android smartphone ecosystem, to compete on performance and battery life metrics. Perhaps the M series switch happens next year?
The new display allows for a more elaborate take on the Always-On display mode, which is essentially dimming your phone’s home screen – while reducing refresh rate to as low as 1Hz.
Also Read: Apple iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max aren’t exactly incremental upgrades
The Dynamic Island cut-out replaces the notch. There’s a visible display all around it, and Apple intends for it to be usable space too. iOS 16’s own apps use this space with active widgets, scrolling or popping out info – music control and new messages, for instance. Developers will have to take the initiative to update their apps to use this newly opened space.
And after many years of service, the 12-megapixel camera troika has finally been replaced. A 48-megapixel camera takes over duties for the main camera. Moreover, the Photogenic Engine image processing algorithms will have more pixel data to work with, and Apple confirms to us that it’s has been designed to step in earlier in the computational photography process to collect uncompressed data.
Largest iPhone that’s not Pro
The iPhone 14 Plus is the largest ever screen size in an iPhone this side of the $700 price point. That’s the same 6.7-inch real estate as the iPhone Pro Max, but with a much lower price tag (Prices start ₹89,900). There is a growing preference for larger screens among consumers, as a sweet spot for productivity and media viewing use cases.
Does this signal the end of the iPhone Mini? Apple tells us that is not the case. Considering the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus run the same A15 processor as the iPhone 13 Mini from last year, that can be considered an extension to this line-up. Three distinct screen sizes, with largely the same beating heart.
Rugged Apple Watch, but then what?
Garmin should be worried. Their flagship watches, the Epix 2 (costs ₹1,11,990 onwards) and Fenix 7X ( ₹1,39,990 onwards) now have competition from the Apple Watch Ultra, which comparatively, could offer better value at ₹89,900. Considering the fact that watchOS software is more intuitive too.
Even before we consider the ruggedness aspect, the Watch Ultra is a unique proposition – an upgrade within the portfolio, like never before.
It is designed for the extreme fitness audience, complete with a rugged titanium case and stronger sapphire crystal display. The 49mm size may seem too big, but a big screen is what is ideal for quick glances on the metrics while in the middle of outdoor activity. But then again, it looks as much a style statement.
Sensors, satellites and virtual SIMs
There is focus on expanded connectivity, with the iPhone 14 series integrating sensor-based features, digital SIMs and satellite connectivity. While the Apple Watch is following the same path.
Emergency SOS satellite connectivity service will be handy when there is no mobile network connectivity, to call for help. This goes live in US and Canada for now – no word yet on global availability. Two-year subscription is free.
Accident Detection uses a dual-core accelerometer that can detect G-force measurements of up to 256Gs, a new high dynamic range gyroscope, barometer for cabin pressure and GPS to calculate speed changes – that’s a lot of sensors at work to call for help in case the user has a car accident. Apple confirms the algorithms have been trained on 1million crash data sets.
The US models of iPhone 14 will no longer have a physical SIM slot – it is eSIM only. Multiple eSIM are possible on the same device. Globally, SIM slots remain but the hints are there, for an eventual change.
New iPhone prices in India
Apple iPhone 14: ₹79,900 onwards
Apple iPhone 14 Plus: ₹89,900 onwards
Apple iPhone 14 Pro: ₹1,29,900 onwards
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max: ₹1,39,900 onwards
Lit up: Apple iPhone 14’s new display has peak brightness rated at 2000 nits, which is twice as much as before, and more than any Android phone, for now.
A16 Bionic: 4 nanometer architecture comprises 16 billion transistors that can handle 17 trillion computations per second.
Green: iPhone 14 Pro cameras, for the first time, use 100% recycled gold wire in the assembly
Merging data: The 48-megapixel camera will merge data from 4 pixels into one, for better detailing
Block the noise: Apple has claimed to achieve 2x better noise cancellation with the new AirPods Pro, and they say the repositioned mics and newer eartips play an important role