But in 2022, it seems that Apple is finally learning the importance of the upsell: the iPhone 14 Pro looks like it’ll be a marked improvement over the basic iPhone 14.
Here are the five reasons you should consider going Pro when the iPhone 14 launches in September, and check out our iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro preview for even more info.
The power of A16 Bionic
This could be one of the biggest differences this time around. In the past, all iPhones — from the entry-level SE to the priciest Pro Max — have used the same A-series Bionic chip, giving them performance that’s nearly identical.
Not this year, if the rumors are to be believed. Back in March, the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed that while the iPhone 14 Pro will get the new A16 Bionic chip as per usual, the regular iPhone 14 models will stick with the same A15 processor used in the iPhone 13 and iPhone SE 3. Other reports have since backed up Kuo’s view.
To be clear, the A15 is no slouch, and it’s still faster than Qualcomm’s fastest Android chip. But when it comes to A16 Bionic vs A15 Bionic, it really should be no contest.
Farewell to the notch
The notch has been an Apple signature since the iPhone X in 2017, even cropping up in its high-end MacBooks.
But it’s never been popular with buyers who, at best, don’t mind it. If you want to be rid of the notch in 2022, then you’ll want to go Pro, according to various sources (opens in new tab).
That said, what’s expected to replace the notch also seems a matter of button. We’re hearing that the iPhone 14 Pro series will use a punch hole for the front camera and a pill-shaped cutout for Face ID tech. Whether you think a dual punch-hole look is better than a notch is very much down to personal preference.
A smoother screen with an always-on display
While the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro both use OLED screens, only the latter has ProMotion — the 120Hz refresh rate that makes things feel that bit smoother, and opens the door to games moving beyond 60fps.
That difference is expected to persist with the next generation, but the iPhone 14 Pro will also reportedly get an always-on display for the first time. This has been a staple of Android phones (and, indeed, the Apple Watch) for some time, and allows details like the time and notifications to be displayed even when the phone isn’t awake.
For iPhone 14 Pro, the always-on display is even expected to include wallpapers, as the image above shows. So you may get the same iOS 16 lock screen widgets — just at a dimmer brightness.
A big 48MP main camera
Apple has stuck with 12-megapixel sensors for its rear cameras since 2015’s iPhone 6S, but the iPhone 14 Pro is reportedly set to change that with a 48MP lens.
Yes, some dispute that report, but as more CAD leaks have emerged, it’s pretty clear that the camera bump on the back of the iPhone 14 Pro models is larger than in previous generations.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will reportedly record 48MP images but use pixel binning to deliver 12MP images for those who want to save on space. Regardless, the level of detail should be greater. Plus, this sensor will reportedly also enable 8K video recording, which would be a first for iPhones.
The analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that’s to make room for the enhanced image sensors.
Telephoto zoom still Pro exclusive
A 3x optical zoom is another feature that, so far, has been exclusive to Pro iPhones, and there’s no indication that that will change with the iPhone 14. Indeed, it seems pretty likely it won’t, given Apple’s desire to upsell.
We’ve not heard of an enhancement beyond the 3x optical zoom offered by the iPhone 13 Pro (the best camera phones offer up to 10x) which won’t be enough for some. And there are rumors that Apple will embrace a periscope zoom camera for the iPhone 15 in 2023. But if you’re deciding between new iPhones this year, this will be as good as it gets.