iPhone 14 Pro Innovation Scorecard: Homeruns and Strikes

Apple’s flagship product launch in 2022 is on the books and our hands are now clenched iPhone 14 Pro. How does it increase this year? Let’s talk about the best – and most important – improvements in the new iPhone. Let’s also talk about what we didn’t get and what we’re still waiting for.

We should remind ourselves that despite the product’s name, this is actually the 16th generation iPhone. And over the past decade and a half, no product has had a greater impact on the world than the product. this product. So every time there is a new version, it makes sense. Innovations in the iPhone will affect millions of lives and will also affect a lot of other products – not just phones.


Beth Mauder / ZDNET

So what are the top innovations this year, and where are the missed opportunities? Let’s break them down.


1. Emergency safety feature

Apple introduced both Car accident detection and Emergency SOS via satellite. Collision Detection uses a combination of sensors to detect when you have a collision and pops up a notification to see if you need help. If you do not respond, it will automatically call emergency services on your behalf.

Emergency SOS is for when you’re out of range of cell towers in a remote area, and it instructs you to point your phone at the satellite and choose a pre-written emergency reminder to send to the emergency department. help. Hopefully you’ll never need to use either of these features, but if you do, they can certainly make a big impact on your life and the people who care about you. It’s another sign that these devices are becoming a more important part of our lives.

2. New look for notifications

In the Pro models, Apple has replaced the notch – albeit a very special one – with a black pill-shaped oval. The company also named it Dynamic island. While both of those choices caused some initial laughs, it turns out that Apple has actually done a pretty cool thing with this. It turned a previously useless area of ​​the screen into a new UI element to handle notifications, multitasking, and live updates. For example, when you’re listening to a song or podcast and you switch to another app, the cover photo turns into a small circle anchored on this black oval. If you then start the timer, it will appear as a separate circle on the other side.


Up to two quick access bubbles can live in Dynamic Island.

June Wan / ZDNET

There’s also a bunch of new animations that give you instant confirmations for FaceID, pairing AirPods, flipping silent switches, engaging wireless charging, and more. And the live activity functionality is expected to become a lot more useful as third-party apps start using it to display live sports scores, your overall trip status, Delivery updates, workout timers and other uses that no one could have imagined.

3. Professional grade camera upgrade

It’s clear that Apple is putting a lot of heart and some of its best minds into making these cameras better every year, and this year we’ve got some very promising upgrades. First, the main sensor increases from 12 megapixels to 48 megapixels. Now, most of the time, the software will do so-called pixel-binning and reduce those 48 megapixels to 12 to create a richer, sharper, and more detailed photo. However, professionals can also shoot in RAW to get all 48 megapixels and then use software like Adobe Lightroom to drill down into the details.

Also: New iPhone 14 Models Comparison: Which Should You Buy?

The front-facing camera is also better upgraded with stronger low-light capabilities and now has autofocus, which is especially useful for group selfies. The upgraded ultra-wide camera promises to make for better low-light shooting, which used to be a major weakness. And then there’s the video camera. Last year’s killer feature, Cinema Mode, is upscaled to 4K and lets you shoot at 24fps, the gold standard for filmmaking. And new this year, the video camera also has Action Mode, which is essentially next-level stabilization aimed at creating movements so smooth you don’t need a gimbal. We’ll check that out to be sure.

4. Powerful new screen

The great screen on last year’s iPhone got a big upgrade in the iPhone 14 Pro. It pushes peak brightness up to 1,600 nits, matching the capabilities of $5,000 Pro Display XDR for Mac. It can even burst up to 2,000 nits outdoors so you can still see the phone’s screen in full sunlight. At the same time, it adds a second ambient light sensor on the back of the phone to improve the efficiency and accuracy of automatically adjusting brightness levels. Meanwhile, the display’s ProMotion feature automatically adjusts the refresh rate from 10Hz to 120Hz to conserve battery life.

That combination of power and efficiency is what has allowed Apple to finally bring an always-on display to the iPhone this year. And with New custom lock screen and widgets in iOS 16, always-on visibility is implemented very effectively. It just needs more developers to take advantage of it so there are more lock screen widgets to choose from.


The new always-on display uses an ambient sensor to dim itself in darker environments.

June Wan / ZDNET

The misses

1. No 10x . optical zoom

As a camera, the iPhone just keeps getting better – and this year sees many leaps ahead. But it’s still missing something big. I talked about the fact that since 2010, I have carried an iPhone as a personal phone and an Android as a work phone. And in the last few years, there’s been a pattern where I don’t pull out my iPhone, but always pull out my Android. (In 2022, that is Samsung S22 Ultra). And that photo is anything more than 10 or 20 feet away, which is all the iPhone can handle with 3x optical zoom.

The S22’s 10x optical zoom can capture impressively sharp images on subjects up to 50-60 feet away. If these were lenses on a DSLR or mirrorless camera, the iPhone 14’s 3x zoom would be a 77mm lens while the S22’s 10x zoom would be a 230mm lens. Samsung will release its 4th generation 10x optical zoom in the next six months. Meanwhile, we’ll have to wait at least another year before we see the same thing on the iPhone.

2. The real SIM card is no longer available

If you buy an iPhone in the US, it will no longer include a SIM tray or a physical SIM card. All US iPhone 14 models are currently eSIM only. And while this has some benefits such as ease of activation, ease of network transfer, and ease of adding extra numbers, it also has some major drawbacks. First and foremost is privacy. With a physical SIM, there are still cases where you can remain anonymous and difficult to track. With an eSIM, it’s much more difficult.

This limitation of eSIM can also make it more difficult to travel internationally to countries like China that do not support eSIM. And, it can limit your access to low-cost wireless carriers like Ting, which don’t yet support eSIM. That’s why Apple will still include a physical SIM card in the international versions of the iPhone 14. While expanding support for eSIMs makes a lot of sense – maybe even moving towards making it optional choose the default – but it’s not a consumer-friendly option. to remove the physical SIM completely.

Than: The worst thing about the eSIM-only iPhone 14

3. It still needs a case

The use of stainless steel in the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max continues to make it one of the heaviest phones on the market. If Apple uses a titanium similar to what’s in Apple Watch Ultra – much lighter than I expected – the iPhone 14 Pro models are much easier to handle. However, the current heaviness combined with the slippery steel bands around the edges make it very easy to slip out of your hand. Most people will still need to book one case on this phone. And it will remain true that many of the world’s ugliest cases will end up with some of the most beautifully designed devices in the world.


Jason Hiner / ZDNET

4. We keep waiting for USB-C

The iPhone 14 continues to make serious use of Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector for charging and data transfer – although it’s technologically inferior to USB-C. Even Apple’s iPad Pro tablet has been using USB-C since 2018. The reasons are obvious: faster charging and data transfers, and the ability to connect to more accessories including cameras, rechargeable batteries backups, screens and more. Plus, with so many other devices from laptops to headphones to Nintendo Switch now using USB-C, being able to charge them all with the same connector is very consumer-friendly.

The iPhone 14 Pro itself also adds another reason why USB-C will be a very welcome feature this year. With the ability to take photos in 48MP ProRAW mode and record videos in ProRes, the new iPhone can take professional-grade photos and videos that need to be transferred to a computer for editing. But the file size can be very large. Lightning cable data transfer speeds max out at 480Mbps, while USB-C can quadruple that at 2Gbps and more. Apple can finally forced to switch to USB-C by European regulatorsbut now the wait continues.

More to come

ZDNET will continue to put all new iPhone 14 models through a variety of real-world scenarios over the coming weeks and months. We’ll have reviews, guides, comparisons, and dives into specific features. So wait a moment. Here are some links to get you started:

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