iPhone 14 Pro Innovation Scorecard: Runners Up and Splits

Apple’s flagship product in 2022 is on the books, and now we’re holding hands iPhone 14 Pro. How do you measure up this year? Let’s talk about the best and most important innovations in the new iPhones. Let’s also talk about what we didn’t get, and what we’re still waiting for.

We have to remind ourselves that despite the name of the product, this is actually the 16th generation iPhone. And over the past decade and a half, no product has had a greater impact on the world than this one. So every time there is a new version, it means something. The innovations in the iPhone will affect millions of lives and will also have an impact on many other products – not just phones.


Beth Moder / ZDNET

So what are the major innovations this year, and what are the missed opportunities? Let’s break them down.


1. Emergency safety features

Apple provided both Car accident detection And the SOS emergency via satellite. Fault detection uses a combination of sensors to detect if you have a collision and a message pops up to see if you need help. If you don’t answer, it automatically calls emergency services for you.

Emergency SOS is for when you are out of range of cell towers in a remote area and instructs you to point your phone at a satellite and select a pre-written emergency prompt to send for assistance. Hopefully you’ll never need to use any of these features, but if you do, they can certainly have a huge impact on your life and the people who care about you. It is another indication of how much these devices have become a more important part of our lives.

2. New interface for notifications

On the Pro models, Apple replaced the slick – though distinct – notch with a black bean-shaped oval. The company also named it dynamic island. While both options sparked some initial laughter, it turns out that Apple has already done something interesting with this one. It has turned a previously useless area of ​​the screen into a new widget to handle notifications, multitasking, and live updates. For example, when you listen to a song or podcast and switch to another app, the cover art turns into a small circle affixed to this black oval. If you then start the timer, it pops up in a separate circle on the other side.


Up to two quick access bubbles can live within the dynamic island.

Jun Wan / ZDNET

There’s also a whole host of new animations that give you instant confirmation indications of FaceID, connecting AirPods, turning on the silent switch, using wireless charging and more. The Live Activities functionality is expected to become even more useful as third-party apps begin to use it to display live sports scores, your ride-sharing trip status, delivery updates, workout timers, and other uses that nobody imagined until now.

3. Professional camera upgrades

Apple clearly puts a lot of energy and some of its best minds to work on improving these cameras every year, and this year we’ve had some very promising upgrades. First, the main sensor goes from 12MP to 48MP. Now, most of the time, the software will do what is called pixel binning and compress 48 MP to 12 to create a richer, sharper, and more detailed image. But, professionals can also shoot in RAW for 48MP and then use a program like Adobe Lightroom to dig into the details.

also: New iPhone 14 Models Comparison: Which Should You Buy?

The front camera also got a nice upgrade with stronger low-light capabilities and now autofocus, which should be especially useful for group selfies. The ultrawide camera is getting an upgrade that promises to improve its low-light ability, which was a major weakness. Then there is the video camera. Last year’s killer feature, Cinematic Mode, got an upgrade to 4K and lets you shoot at 24 frames per second, the gold standard for filmmaking. New this year, the camcorder also gets a motion mode, which is basically a next-level stabilization that aims to create movements so smooth that you don’t need a gimbal. We will definitely test it.

4. Powerful new screen

The excellent screen on last year’s iPhone got a major upgrade in the iPhone 14 Pro. It pushes peak brightness to 1,600 lumens, which matches the power of $5,000 Pro Display XDR for Mac. It can burn up to 2000 lumens outdoors so that you can still view the phone screen in full sunlight. At the same time, it adds a second ambient light sensor to the back of the phone to improve efficiency and accuracy when automatically adjusting the brightness level. Meanwhile, the on-screen ProMotion feature automatically adjusts the refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz to conserve battery life.

This combination of power and efficiency is what enabled Apple to deliver an always-on display on the iPhone this year. and with the New custom lock screen And the UI elements in iOS 16, the always-on display are implemented very effectively. It just needs more developers to take advantage of it so that there are more lock screen tools to choose from.


The new always-on display uses the ambient sensor to dim itself in dark environments.

Jun Wan / ZDNET

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1. No 10x optical zoom

As a camera, the iPhone continues to improve — and this year has seen even more leaps forward. But she’s still missing something big. I’ve talked about the fact that since 2010, I’ve been carrying an iPhone as my personal phone and an Android as my work phone. And in the past several years there has been one kind of shot where I don’t take out the iPhone but always pull out the Android. (In 2022, that’s precisely Samsung S22 Ultra). And that shot is anything more than 10 or 20 feet away, which is all the iPhone can handle with its 3x optical zoom.

The S22’s 10x optical zoom can capture amazingly sharp images on subjects up to 50-60 feet away. If these were lenses on a DSLR or mirrorless camera, the iPhone 14’s 3x zoom would be around a 77mm lens while the S22’s 10x zoom would be around 230mm. Samsung will launch the fourth generation of 10x optical zoom in the next six months. In the meantime, we’ll have to wait at least another year before we see its iPhone equivalent.

2. Physical SIM Card Disappeared

If you bought the iPhone in the US, it will no longer have a SIM tray or a physical SIM card. All US iPhone 14 models are now available eSIM only. And while this has some benefits for ease of activation, ease of switching between carriers and ease of adding secondary numbers, it also has some big drawbacks. First and foremost is privacy. With a physical SIM, there are still instances where it can be anonymous and difficult to trace. With an eSIM, this is much more difficult.

The eSIM restriction can also make it more difficult to travel internationally to countries like China that don’t support eSIM. And it could limit your access to low-cost wireless carriers like Ting, which doesn’t support eSIM yet. That’s why Apple will still have physical SIM cards in international versions of the iPhone 14. While expanding eSIM support makes a lot of sense — and perhaps even moving toward making it the default — it’s not a consumer-friendly option. To completely remove the physical SIM.

more: The worst thing about eSIM-only iPhone 14

3. Still need a case

The use of stainless steel in the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max continues to make it one of the heaviest phones on the market. If Apple used titanium similar to what is in Apple Watch Ultra And – and it’s much lighter than I expected – the iPhone 14 Pro models will be much easier to handle. But the current heaviness combined with the sliding of the steel straps around the edges makes it very easy to slip out of your hand. Most people will still need to put condition on this phone. And it will still be true that many of the world’s ugliest cases will end up on some of the most beautifully designed devices in the world.

iPhone 14 pro camera shot

Jason Henner/ZDNET

4. We keep waiting for USB-C

The iPhone 14 continues to use Apple’s own Lightning connector for charging and data transfer – although it is technologically inferior to USB-C. Even Apple’s iPad Pro tablets have been using USB-C since 2018. The reasons are obvious: faster charging, data transfer, and the ability to connect to more accessories including cameras, power banks, monitors, and more. Plus, with so many other devices from laptops to headphones to the Nintendo Switch now using USB-C, it makes it very easy for the consumer to charge them all using the same connector.

The iPhone 14 Pro itself adds another reason why USB-C is a very welcome feature this year. With the ability to capture 48MP ProRAW photos and video in ProRes, the new iPhone can take professional-level photos and videos, which then need to be transferred to a computer for editing. But file sizes can be huge. The maximum data transfer rate for Lightning cables is 480Mbps, while USB-C can do 4 times at 2Gbps and beyond. It might be Apple in the end European regulators forced to switch to USB-CBut for now, the wait continues.

More is coming

ZDNET will continue to place all new iPhone 14 models in many different real-world scenarios in the coming weeks and months. We’ll have reviews, videos, comparisons, and deep dives into specific features. Stay in touch. Here are some links to get you started:

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