Apple iPhone 14 launches with better cameras, satellite connectivity, and 5G

Apple’s new iPhone 14 series has arrived, with a plethora of new safety features, satellite connectivity, and 5G.

iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max

Both the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max use a new Super Retina XDR display with Pro Motion, which dynamically switches the screen’s refresh rate between 120Hz and 1Hz. Apple uses the ultra-low refresh rate to incorporate a full-screen always-on display that uses minimal battery. The screen also now hits 2,000 nits at its peak, twice as bright as the iPhone 13 Pro.

The Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Image credit: Apple

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max get the latest and greatest Apple A16 Bionic system-on-chip (SoC). The chip comes with a new six-core CPU, comprised of two performance cores and four efficiency cores. Its 5-Core GPU increases the memory bandwidth by 60 per cent, and the 16-core Neural Engine can perform 17 trillion operations per second.

With the iPhone 14 Pros, Apple has massively upgraded the main camera to use a new 48MP sensor. The sensor merges (or “bins”) four pixels to act as one, increasing the pixel size to the equivalent of 2.44um to capture more light in dim environments. Combined with the Photonic Engine image processor, Apple says the hardware and software advancements improve image quality by 2x on the main camera compared to the previous generation.

The two other cameras, a 3x telephoto camera and True Depth camera, also benefit from the Photonic engine, uplifting the image quality by up to two times compared to the previous generation. The iPhone 14 Pro still supports dedicated shooting modes like Night mode, but also offers ProRes and Dolby Vision HDR recording, as well as 4K video at 30 frames per second.

The notch is still there. Apple’s FaceID is too entrenched in its user experience, and the camera has to go somewhere. In this generation, the notch has shrunk into its own cutout, and Apple has made it a part of an interactive process called Dynamic Island. The island provides more context and controls, expanding and shrinking in shape according to the information displayed. It’s unclear if Apple is working on putting the front cameras behind the display as Samsung did with the Galaxy Fold4, but it wouldn’t surprise us if they do in the near future.

But it isn’t just about the hardware upgrades this time around, Apple literally wants the iPhone 14 to save your life. With crash detection, the iPhone can detect when a car crash happens (which the company says often involves just one vehicle) and dial emergency services on the driver’s behalf (the driver has a brief window in which to cancel the call if emergency services aren’t needed). In conjunction with gyroscope changes, the iPhone 14 also factors in cabin pressure changes, and the loud noise generated in a crash. By triangulating data from multiple sensors, there’s a higher chance that the phone can get it right. Apple says it built the system on an AI system trained using “millions of hours” of real-world driving and crash record data.

The iPhone 14 series support satellite connectivity for emergencies. Image credit: Apple

Adding to its safety features is the Emergency SOS via satellite. Apple says it enabled this by combining deeply integrated antennas and software to allow the phone to directly connect to a satellite, enabling messaging with emergency services when cellular or Wi-Fi services are not available. The initial questionnaire and follow-up messages are then relayed to centres staffed by Apple-trained specialists who can call for help on the user’s behalf. This service will be available to users in the U.S. and Canada in November. Apple says the service will be free for two years, but did not announce how much it will cost after the “trial” expires.

To access the satellite feature, Apple says the user would launch the application, which would automatically guide the user to point the phone towards the spots with the best signal.

Also, the company has decided that the time is right to finally include 5G. But gone is the SIM tray for the U.S. models. While Apple says the internal eSIM will make switching carriers easier, it’s going to be a pain when users travel abroad, especially to Asia and Europe, where pre-paid plans are commonplace. A single eSIM can support multiple carriers, but only two can be active at a time.

The removal of the SIM tray appears to only affect the U.S. model. Canadian models of the iPhone 14 will still get a SIM tray.

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be available in deep purple, silver, gold, and space black in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage capacities. The iPhone 14 Pro can be pre-ordered starting at CA$1,399, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at CA$1,549. Pre-ordering is available now and the devices will ship on Sept.16

iPhone 14 and 14 Plus

The iPhone 14 now comes in a new 6.7-inch form factor. It also gets the same safety features and an improved camera, albeit not as beefed up as in the Pro version.

Let’s take a look at the core hardware first. The 6.1-inch iPhone 14 and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus continue to use the A15 Bionic system-on-chip, so performance should be relatively the same compared to the last gen. That’s not to say it’s sluggish, however. With a six-core CPU and a five-core GPU, the A15 Bionic is still speedy by today’s standards and can handily process intensive multitasking.

Apple iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Image credit: Apple

The iPhone 14’s OLED display supports 1,200 nit brightness. Its refresh rate is still 60Hz, but it boasts a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 thanks to the increased brightness. The screen is covered with Ceramic Shield, which Apple says is tougher than smartphone glass.

There’s a new camera, too. The main camera has been updated to a new 12MP sensor with larger 1.9um pixels. Generally speaking, larger pixels can capture more light, which is usually good when shooting in low light. Complementing the new sensor is the Photonic Engine, an image processor designed to enhance mid to low-light performance. Apple boasts that the software and hardware improvements double the image quality on the telephoto camera, and up to 2.5 times on the main camera. The flash is 10 per cent brighter and has more uniformity to preserve skin tone.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus sports improved rear cameras. Image credit: Apple

The front TrueDepth camera has been improved as well. In addition to a larger aperture, it now features autofocus for faster focus in all lighting conditions.

There are also new shooting modes. Action mode automatically stabilizes motion to “gimbal-like” stability, good for sporty shots. Cinematic mode is now available at 4K.

Like the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus also get new safety features, satellite emergency messaging, and 5G.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will be available in midnight, blue, starlight, purple and Product Red in 128, 256, and 512 GB storage capacities. The iPhone 14 starts at CA$1,099, while the iPhone 14 Plus starts at CA$1,249. Pre-order is available now. The devices will ship on Sept. 16.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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