If it ain't broke, don't fix it – this seems to be the mantra for some of the latest products from Apple. The latest addition to this repackaging strategy is the newest iPhone lineup they announced during September's fall event.
This year's new iPhone series has four devices in the lineup with two size variants.
The new lineup now stands with a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 and its more expensive variant, iPhone 14 Pro, and the bigger 6.7-inch design is reserved for iPhone 14 Plus, which is basically a bigger iPhone 14, and this year's top-tier iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The base iPhone 14 is a spec-by-spec copy of last year's iPhone 13. It is the same slab design with two diagonally arranged rear cameras and slightly thinner bezels. The frame is made of the same aerospace aluminium, covered with a shatter and scratch-proof ceramic shield. It is pretty much the same phone as last year's, with very few, almost unnoticeable, incremental upgrades.
It also has the same A15 Bionic chip as last year's but with extra GPU cores. The audio system is also the same, along with the battery capacity and charging technology. Even the camera system includes the same 12 MP sensor with subtle changes.
This new iPhone 14 also has the same type of XDR display from last year with a few extra nits that would go unnoticed even by enthusiasts. From a distance, it feels like Apple is done innovating.
However, last year's iPhone 13 is still one of the best smartphones out there. Its slab-like flat design is being adopted by almost every other smartphone company which is a testament to Apple's outstanding design language.
Performance-wise, the A15 bionic chip paired with iOS offers one of the best smartphone experiences. The few minor changes that were introduced to the iPhone 14 are not solid reasons to upgrade from iPhone 13.
Apple incorporated a new Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via satellite in the iPhone 14 lineup. The phones include improved gyroscope, accelerometer, and GPS – all of which can detect if the user has been in a car accident. In case of a crash, the iPhone can alert authorities and text emergency contacts.
For emergencies where the user could be out of cellular coverage, Apple has added a few components that establish direct communication with satellites to alert authorities about the user's whereabouts.
Additionally, a Photonic engine is added to all new iPhones which improve low light photos.
In theory, the Photonic engine alongside Apple Depp fusion technology should produce exceptionally detailed photos. In practice, however, the difference in photos boils down to the subtle changes in colour temperature in low-light conditions.
On the front, autofocus has been added to the TrueDepth camera for better selfie shots, especially portraits with subjects at variable distances. This front camera also serves the purpose of mapping users' ears, which allows Apple to create a Personalised Spatial Audio profile for better audio consumption on-device or with the new second gen. AirPods Pro.
iPhones have always reigned over their Android counterparts in video. This time around they have introduced Action Mode, which helps record moving shots with gimbal-like smoothness.
The internals have been arranged for better thermal cooling for heavy users. Apple ditched the physical SIM tray on US variants of all devices this year. But in other countries, new iPhones will have both physical and eSIM support.
The bigger 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus has the same specs and features as the iPhone 14 but with a bigger screen and battery. Since both 14 and 14 Plus runs on the same energy-efficient A15 bionic, the bigger battery on the latter makes it a solid one-day phone or better, making iPhone 14 Plus the battery champ for this year's lineup so far.
But when it comes to sheer performance, the Pro versions take the crown, although not by a lot. Both 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max have Apple's newest A16 Bionic chip with five GPU cores.
But some improvements have been made to the familiar iPhone design. The rear camera now houses a 48 MP main camera instead of 12, which has been Apple's go-to since the iPhone 6s.
The new camera array takes full advantage of the Photonic Engine with Deep fusion and allows ProRAW at 48 MP. However, disappointing many, Apple is yet to enable 8K shooting, despite having an 8K-ready sensor.
But iPhone Pro and Pro Max's signature cinematic videography got a subtle upgrade. With the new camera, this year's Pro models can record 4K videos at 30 frames per second, which was 24 in last-gen models.
The camera bump now has a redesigned adaptive flash, which is much brighter and more dynamic to suit the environment. There is also a new dedicated 2X zoom option on the camera app.
Although the display is the same as last year's Pro, some interesting changes came to this year's models. Besides having thinner bezels, the new Super Retina XDR display now peaks at 2000 nits outdoors, making it the brightest screen on any smartphone to date.
But the biggest and most exciting upgrade to this year's iPhone is undoubtedly the addition of Dynamic Island to the pro models. In the pure Apple way, the engineers working on the iPhone turned a hardware handicap into a feature.
The Dynamic Island can come in handy when multitasking. It turns the shrunken notch into an adaptive, live, and dynamic hub for various animation and useful indicators, making it feel like more than just a cutout from the screen and part of the screen itself.
Apple also added one of Android's fan-favourite features – the Always On Display. It is perfectly lit and consumes very little energy by dropping the refresh rate to as low as 1 Hz when sitting idle.
Along with all the exclusive Apple features coming to iPhone 14 make the iPhone 14 Pro and the 14 Pro Max, two of the best smartphones for everyday use and pro photography.
With iOS and Apple's silicone, the new iPhone 14 devices are fine-tuned machines. But they might feel like an unnecessary upgrade from last year's iPhone 13 series or the 12 series from the year before that. If you are on a budget, anything from 12 or 13 lineups might be a better deal for you.
Buying iPhone 14, Plus, Pro and Pro Max
All four new iPhones can be found in online stores like Dazzle or KRY International and in their physical showrooms.
iPhone 14: Starts at Tk1,10,000
iPhone 14 Plus: Starts at Tk1,30,000
iPhone 14 Pro: Starts at Tk1,70,000
iPhone 14 Pro Max: Starts at Tk1,90,000