The iPhone 14 Pro is official, with a big camera upgrade and slick Dynamic Island
Every September, Apple introduces a new iPhone. And every year, the real good stuff is reserved for the Pro models. This year is no different, and at Wednesday’s Far Out event Apple officially unveiled the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, which is Apple’s most impressive iPhone to date. Because of course it is; it would be weird if it wasn’t.
We’ll have a complete breakdown with every tiny little detail about the iPhone 14 Pro soon enough, but in the meantime, here are the most important things you need to know.
iPhone 14 Pro design changes
The iPhone 14 Pro comes it two sizes, the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max. In other words, the same overall sizes as the iPhone 13 Pro models.
Also gone is the “notch” for the front cameras and sensors that enable Face ID. It has been replaced, as rumored, by a pill-shaped cutout. Technically, this is a circular hole and small pill, but Apple keeps the screen area between them dark to make it one long oval that Apple calls the Dynamic Island.
The triple-camera-array on back has that same layout as before, but the whole system is much larger, with bigger circular lenses that extend further from the back of the phone. Both models are available in four colors: silver, gold, space black and deep purple.
iPhone 14 Pro camera upgrades
The iPhone’s camera gets better every year, but this year, the iPhone 14 Pro is getting some really exciting improvements.
The star of the show is the 48 megapixel qual-pixel Wide camera. For most photos, the iPhone 14 Pro will combine four pixels into one in its image processing pipeline, producing a 12 megapixel camera with greater detail than ever before. This sensor is also huge: 65 percent bigger than the Wide camera in the iPhone 13 Pro. Combined with Apple’s new “Photonic Engine” computational photography pipeline, you can get up to 2x better low-light photos than iPhone 13 Pro. The new Photonic Engine improves the other two cameras as well, producing more detail in low-light shots.
That new 48MP camera enables two other new features, too. A 2x optical telephoto mode that uses the main Wide camera, but only the center 12 megapixels of the sensor, joins the 3x optical telephoto camera (which is a separate sensor and lens array). If you want to take full 48MP shots, you can, as long as you shoot in ProRAW format.
The ultra-wide camera steps down to an f/2.2 aperture, but with a larger sensor that features 1.4 micron pixels (up from 1.0 micron). That will give those ultra-wide shots far better low light performance.
The front camera gets a wider f/1.9 aperture (the iPhone 13 Pro’s is f/2.2) and autofocus, which should make for better selfies and video calls, especially in low light.
Video is of course boosted by all these new camera features, but it gets a couple other nice new tricks. Cinematic mode can now shoot in 4K at up to 30fps, and you can select 24fps for a more cinematic feel. A new Action Mode, also available on the regular iPhone 14, applies extreme video stabilization for “gimbal-like” shots. But we’ll need to wait another year for 8K video.
iPhone 14 Pro always-on display and Dynamic Island
While Android phones have had always-on displays for years, the iPhone 14 Pro will be the first of Apple’s phone line to do so. The new ProMotion display is able to crank way down to a low 1 Hz refresh rate, dimming your wallpaper but still showing the customized clock and widgets of iOS 16.
The display goes brighter, too: up to 1,600 nits in HDR content, with a peak of up to 2,000 nits for a limited time in outdoor viewing.
But the real star of the new display is what Apple calls the Dynamic Island. The company has taken a hinderance–the cutouts used for the front cameras and sensors–and turned it into a core interface feature of the iPhone. That little pill-shaped cutout in which the TrueDepth sensors reside will expand to show background processors like timers, Live Activities (that’s the dynamic notifications coming to iOS 16 in an update), and alerts like AirPods connecting or AirDrop notifications
Apple has seemingly turned camera cutouts into a desirable interface feature, which is quite a feat. It’s one of the slickest iPhone interface improvements we’ve seen in a while—there will even be an API available for features like baseball scores.
Apple says that you can expect the same great all-day battery life despite these new display features.
iPhone 14 Pro’s new A16 processor
The new A16 chip is only going to appear in the iPhone 14 Pro models this year. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will use a higher-end A15 (the 5-core GPU version found in the iPhone 13 Pro models).
What’s new? While the company didn’t go into a lot of detail, it said the focus this year is on power efficiency, display, and camera features. It’s made with a new 4nm manufacturing process, but has what seems to be the same 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU as you’ll find on the A15, along with the same 16-core Neural Engine. Apple says that it can process nearly 17 trillion operations per second, up from 15.8 trillion in the A15, but our guess is that this is the result of a little clock speed boost rather than a design change.
There’s a new display engine too, which enables the ProMotion display to go all the way down to 1Hz and better control over brightness, for both the brighter HDR and outdoor viewing modes and the new always-on display.
Apple appears to have moved to LPDDR5 memory, though. Though it didn’t name the technology outright, it claimed over 50 percent more memory bandwidth, and it probably comes from a shift from LPDDR4x to LPDDR5.
iPhone 14 Pro price and availability
While it was rumored that the iPhone 14 Pro would get a price increase, Apple has managed to keep pricing the same as the iPhone 13 Pro. The 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro will start at $999 and the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max will start at $1,099. Both come with 128GB of storage–256GB, 512GB, and 1TB models are available at higher prices.
Preorders begin on Friday, September 9 at 8 a.m. ET (5 a.m. PT). They’ll be available to ship and in stores on the following Friday, September 16.