Apple iPhone 14: Release date, leaks, price, and more

Apple is expected to launch the new Apple iPhone 14 in late 2022, but this one got an early start on the rumor mill, with the first bits of news coming in before the iPhone 13 had even made its debut. But, as a release so far out, the little bits we have heard are likely to evolve and change over the coming year. Phones take a long time to build, and conditions like the ongoing pandemic and chip shortage could still force a change in plans before launch, so take everything here with a pinch of salt.

For now, here’s everything we expect so far from the next iPhone 14:

Cameras

apple iphone 14
XLeaks

Kuo previously shared that Apple is considering a 48-megapixel camera for the iPhone 14. The company has stuck with 12MP for the last few iPhones, so a 48MP main camera would be a pretty huge increase and allow for tricks like oversampling, which phones like the Pixel 6 and Galaxy S21 already use. A report from Bloomberg adds further color to this, clarifying Apple plans on differentiating the iPhone Pro line from the regular iPhone by limiting the newer, higher-resolution camera to the iPhone 14 Pro line.

This means the iPhone 14 and 14 Max would keep the same capable 12MP cameras that we see in the iPhone 13. Google is predicted to be doing the same thing with the Pixel 6a and reusing a smaller-resolution camera for its cheaper phone — a sensible, cost-saving measure that preserves value for the more expensive models, especially when one considers the bifurcation going on in the chipset arena as well. The 12MP cameras will be good enough for most users, and those who want the best camera possible would be buying the Pro models anyway.

That being said, Apple is likely to improve the front cameras for all the iPhones. “The front camera of four new iPhone 14 models in [the second half of 2022] would likely upgrade to AF (autofocus) [and] about f/1.9 aperture (vs. iPhone 13’s FF (fixed-focus) and f/2.2). AF support and a lower f-number can provide a better shallow depth-of-field effect for selfies or portrait mode. In addition, AF can also enhance the focus effect for FaceTime/video call/livestreaming,” Ming Chi Kuo said. A report from Korea IT News adds that these new “high end” sensors were originally planned for the iPhone 15 but are being moved forward and sourced from a South Korean supplier, with a  further one from Kuo noting that it has a six-element lens to replace the current five-element lens being used. Apple first used a six-element lens in the iPhone 7’s main camera. This would allow the iPhone’s front camera to capture more light and produce sharper selfies. There’s no word on megapixel count, a front where the iPhone still lags behind compared to the vast majority of Android phones (even acknowledging that larger numbers do not necessarily equate to better photos).

Kuo also says that the new iPhone could support 8K video, further pushing Apple ahead as a mobile videography champion. This is also probably going to be limited to the iPhone 14 Pro series if true. It’s also interesting because Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 specifically supports 8K HDR video recording and a slew of other AI-enhanced features for smartphone photography. The ball is in Apple’s court now to respond with its own in-house Bionic chips.

One other camera upgrade for the iPhone 14 is rumored to be autofocus support in the ultrawide camera. While Apple already implemented this for the iPhone 13 Pro, it would come to all models in the iPhone 14 lineup, allowing even those who purchase the cheaper iPhones to capture sharper wide shots.

The iPhone 14 probably won’t have the periscope camera we see in the Pixel 6 Pro, according to Kuo. Apple is testing a periscopic telephoto lens, but that’s likely to make a debut with the iPhone 15 in 2023.

Pricing and release date

renders purportedly showing off the pink iphone 14 and its notchless front.
Front Page Tech

As with all Apple iPhones in the recent past, the next iPhone is expected to launch in or around September 2022. Whether Apple will hold a virtual event like the past two years or have its first in-person launch in years is something we can’t say for now.

Pricing-wise, it’s not clear if Apple will keep the same pricing structure as the current iPhone lineup, or if it’ll move the regular iPhone size down a tier to fit in the rumored iPhone 14 Max. One report says that the new iPhone may be slightly more expensive than the iPhone 13 due to all-around better cameras. Particularly, the selfie camera is said to cost three times as much as the module Apple employs now. That’s almost certain to trickle down to customers one way or the other.

Either way, Apple may well start the iPhone at around $700 or $800, with prices going to the mid $1,000s, depending on the configuration.

iOS 16

apple ios 16 overview of new features.

At WWDC 2022, Apple finally announced iOS 16, the software that will power the new iPhones. There’s a lot packed in this new update — even things that Apple did not spotlight. Headlining the update are updates to the lock screen and Messages app. These will delight users as iOS finally gets almost as customizable as Android with its flexible focus-mode-based lockscreen themes, interactive widgets, and repositioned notifications. Undo send and edit message will keep you from sending ill-timed messages, and TapBack spam is banished to the ether as Apple improves SMS reactions support. At the same time, system apps like Mail, Maps, and Safari see updates to bring features we’ve seen in Google’s apps complete with a privacy spin from Apple.

Sharing is also a huge focus for Apple, with SharePlay and iCloud Shared Photo Library coming to the Messages and Photos apps respectively.  Finally, new accessibility features like Live Text will make using an iPhone a lot more comfortable for people with visual impairments.

Models

iphone 13 fall 2021 lineup: iphone pro max, iphone pro, iphone13, iphone 13 mini.
Taylor Frint/ Graphic

Apple has shipped multiple iPhone models since the iPhone 5S, and the iPhone 14 is expected to be no different. Unlike the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 12 before it, however, the 14 is predicted by multiple analysts to be discarding the 5.4-inch iPhone 14 Mini model.

Instead, Apple may instead release a new iPhone 14 Max, a 6.7-inch version of the regular iPhone 14 (and equip both with the currently iPhone Pro-exclusive 120Hz ProMotion displays). This will be the same size as the current iPhone 13 Pro Max model and offer a bigger screen and a larger battery, and is perfect for those who want a large screen iPhone experience, without paying a premium for the Pro model’s better camera.

Specs

Apple is expected to be making a few quality-of-life tweaks with the iPhone 14. There’s likely going to be a new A16 chip to replace the A15 introduced with the iPhone 13 and iPad Mini, though it’s not yet clear what part of the iPhone experience Apple will prioritize with this chip.

More interestingly, Apple is said to be dividing the processor of the new iPhone between the A16 for the iPhones 14 Pro and Pro Max, with the iPhone 14 and 14 Max sticking with the tried and true A15 as per Ming-Chi Kuo.

Only two Pro models would upgrade to the A16 processor, while the 14 & 14 Max will remain the A15. All four new models will likely come with 6GB RAM, with the difference being LPDDR 5 (14 Pro & 14 Pro Max) vs. LPDDR 4X (14 & 14 Max). https://t.co/tHcszIz6gX

— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) March 13, 2022

Kuo also adds that Apple would be shipping all four devices with 6GB of RAM. This counters earlier reports that the iPhone Pro devices would ship with 8GB of RAM. This report came first from analyst Jeff Pu at Haitong International Securities before being retracted. A later rumor on Korean site Naver breathed fresh life into it. If those had turned out to be true, this would bring the iPhone up to par with Android rivals like the Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S22. Apple had frequently fallen far below rivals when it came to RAM, instead choosing to rely on the optimization of iOS to effectively manage apps. Kuo’s prediction has been backed up by reporting from 9to5Mac, making it more likely than not.

Finally, the iPhone 14 (or perhaps, only the 14 Pro) might be improving on the excellent battery in the iPhone 13 with a more energy-efficient 5G RF chip as Apple opts to source components from TSMC over Samsung.

Design

an alleged render of the iphone 14 pro in purple.
Jon Prosser / Front Page Tech

Depending on who you ask, the iPhone 14 will either feature a design revamp that will change the look Apple has favored for the last four generations of iPhones or it may simply be more of the same — it could even be both. Renders submitted by leaker Jon Prosser hint that Apple will be adopting the hole-punch design that’s preferred by Android phones. This would mean the removal of the now-iconic notch and the adoption of an in-display fingerprint sensor in place of Face ID or the implementation of under-display Face ID.

A later report from South Korea’s The Elec pins Samsung and LG as candidates to supply the displays for notch-less iPhones, and they’ll be iPhone Pro-exclusive. This will be a visual differentiator between the iPhone 14 Pro/iPhone 14 Pro Max and older or cheaper iPhones, if true. Given The Elec’s track record with supply chain reports, this does make it more likely than not that Apple would be adopting a novel design for the iPhone 14 Pro.

The iPhone 14 could also keep the squared-off edges and elongated buttons Apple introduced with the iPhone 12, and there may be no camera bump at the rear for the first time. Prosser’s renders are backed up by earlier reporting by reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who also claimed that Apple would be dropping the notch on 2022 iPhone models. A further report from Mark Gurman in his January Power On newsletter corroborated that the iPhone 14 series would have a cut-out for Face ID on the top, with this and a report from Dylandkt adding that the punch-hole would be pill-shaped. This shape would be a differentiator from Android devices, which often have a simple circle, allowing iPhones to retain a distinct silhouette.

Going even further, Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), says that Apple would be putting both a pill and a circle cutout side by side. This would be a first in modern smartphones, with even Android phones that have similar aesthetics choosing between one or the other. You won’t be confusing the iPhone 14 for another iPhone — or any other smartphone — if true.

We now believe Apple will have a hole + pill design on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. The smaller hole will not be invisible…The two hole concept will be unique to Apple, like the notch, not similar to all the pill models from Huawei…Let's see those new renders pic.twitter.com/Udt8cTKzPZ

— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) January 12, 2022

Renders from 91Mobiles have emerged purporting to show off the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14. If these renders prove accurate, the iPhone 14 would be a lot like the iPhone 13, contradicting renders from Prosser. The 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max would be, in contrast, a little taller than the iPhone 14 and 14 Max to accommodate the Face ID components that would typically have resided in the absent notch. It would be the first time since the iPhone X and iPhone 8 that Apple would release a pair of iPhones with different form factors. Videos later emergeed online from leaker Sonny Dickson, showing off what claimed to be dummy models of the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro.

Display

oneplus 9 pro in hand
Andy Boxall/

Aside from the changes to the notch already mentioned, reports say that the company will be bringing the ProMotion display from the iPhone 13 Pro to the iPhone 14 and 14 Max. This means all phones in Apple’s flagship range will now support 90Hz or above, rather than just the most expensive ones.

Apple is also rumored to be bringing an always-on display to the iPhone for the first time. A report from Ross Young noted that Apple was likely using LTPO panels for the iPhone 14 Pro that would be capable of dropping down to a 1Hz refresh rate, with an Always On Display expected. A follow-up from Bloomberg’s PowerOn newsletter claims that Apple would be bringing an always-on display to the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro Max.

“iOS 16 builds in future support for an always-on lock screen, something Apple was originally planning for last year’s iPhone 13. This would allow the iPhone to turn down the frame rate significantly on the lock screen and display quickly glanceable information — similar to newer Apple Watches,” the report said. When iOS 16 finally dropped in preview form after WWDC 2022, code for an always on display was finally spotted. Preview code does not mean that a feature will certainly arrive, but it’s a huge hint of what is coming. An always-on display had been a staple on Android flagships from the late 2010s, and Apple is a bit late to the game. Still, it is better to be late than never show up, if it does arrive.

Anything else?

There have been whispers here and there about Apple dropping Lightning for USB-C. With the EU bearing down on the company to make its phone more interoperable, that’s not an impossible scenario. Apple has invested a lot in the Lightning ecosystem, but the company has already started to move to USB-C on the rest of its products, from iPads to MacBooks to HomePods. The iPhone stands out as a holdout, and the sooner the transition is made, the better. Apple may also finally be putting that long-reported satellite communication feature into the iPhone 14, according to 9to5Mac. A report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman backs that up as well, what the publication adding the company would work on allowing the iPhone to handle emergency texting of an SOS response in situations where regular cellular connectivity would fail. As with the iPhone 13, Apple may skip shipping it this year as well, so it’s more of something that could possibly happen rather than something that will probably happen. Aside from iPhones, this is also expected to come to Apple Watch as well.

Aside from that, there’s a lot still up in the air about the iPhone 14, but we’ll be updating this piece frequently as new leaks, rumors, and other information comes out, so check back periodically.

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