Apple was never going to just announce an iPhone 14. There’s a new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max coming to market and it’s Apple’s best smartphone ever. Again. We’re almost tired of the company being this right about itself.
The phone’s design is familiar enough — it’s got a stainless steel chassis, a toughened display that uses the company’s Ceramic Shield tech, and arrived in a few shades. There’s a new Space Black (which is just… black), Silver, Gold, and then something called Deep Purple. Because Uncle Tim’s been revisiting Smoke on the Water, apparently.
Island living
The iPhone 14 Pro set features Apple’s display tech. It’ll look marvellous, obviously, but it only counts if you know why. The new Pro displays apparently match the company’s mental Pro Display XDR for peak HDR brightness. That’s 1,600 nits if you’re paying attention at home. For regular brightness, it can boost up to 2,000 nits when outdoors. That’s retina-searingly bright.
You’ll also notice a new, wide-ass notch at the top of the phone. Apple’s stashed the True-Depth camera, selfie cam, and proximity sensor under there, but it’s also turned that area into a functional gap. It’s called Dynamic Island, but it reminds us of the helpful sort of AI system that kinda creeps you out a little.
Still, it’s multifunctional, showing notifications for apps in use, media players, and phone calls, among other things. It’s actually a novel idea, which should keep your iPhone’s screen clear of missives that you click by accident while trying to do something actually useful. We wonder if anyone will actually use it, though. Probably.
Oh, yes, and that whole always-on display thing? Yeah, that’s happening. Apple’s iPhone 14 headliners will automatically dim screens (while retaining shades to a certain extent) and drop to as low as 1Hz. It should let you check notifications and widgets without actually lighting up your display.
Sweet. 16 million transistors.  
Yes, there’s a new generation Apple mobile processor in this thing. Yes, it’s called the A16 Bionic. And yes, it has 16 million transistors (more or less). We’re not sure why we’re even surprised anymore. Every year is the best year to buy an iPhone.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max feature a 4nm processor which follows a familiar pattern. There are two high-performance cores, four high-efficiency cores, a sixteen-core neural engine, and obligatory GPU upgrades. Apple reckons the result is better battery life, improved performance across the board, and enhanced photography. You know, the usual. There’s also a new addition — the Display Engine. That runs the Dynamic Island and always-on display because, apparently, they had to dedicate part of the processor to those features.
Picture this: The iPhone 14 Pro
Apple’s new Display Engine has a hand to play in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max’s camera setup as well, the way they tell it. As usual, the Pro models feature Apple’s best camera to date. As usual, it’s mostly snapping 12MP images. Unusually, it’s using a 48MP quad-pixel sensor to do so. Combining sets of four pixels makes each 64% larger than those in the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Still, it’s shooting 12MP images. Kinda.
The regular features are all present, all with a subtle increase in their capabilities. Apple’s Sensor-Shift optical image stabilisation returns and is improved, as is the camera’s low light performance. What’s new is a 2x optical zoom mode that sits between 1x and 3x. It’s supposed to be awesome but we’re going to have to play with it to find out exactly why. Telephoto something or other. But at least it’s not 300x digital zoom or something else equally loopy.
Video killed…
ProRAW shooting is still a thing, because Apple. The thing about ProRAW this time around is that users can shoot at 48MP if they wanna. The iPhone 14 Pro lineup uses a new machine learning model to reduce noise, and enhance detail. A range of cinematic video modes is included, especially something called Action mode which improves the phone’s stabilisation. It’s like a GoPro, but you don’t want to strap it to a dirt bike. Or maybe you do. We don’t know your life.
Joining the new 48MP main sensor is a new 12MP ultrawide, which also gets a computational upskill. That’s something Apple calls its Photonic Engine, a made-up word (they’re all made up, we know) for how its Neural Engine helps dumbass photographers look good. Only now it’s really good. Allegedly. The flash in the Pro and Pro Max is more adaptive. Because AI, obvs.
You want one of these, of course. Well, we can’t tell you when they land. Yet. When they do, they’ll be more expensive than the announced American prices. The iPhone 14 Pro starts at R17,300 ($1,000), and the Pro Max at R19,000 ($1,100). But, again, that’s American pricing. Odds are, we won’t see these until early October at the soonest. And they’ll do more than a little to hurt your wallet when they turn up.
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