iPhone 14 Pro
The "iPhone 14 Pro" and "iPhone 14 Pro Max" are expected to use the A16 processor and feature a cutout for the selfie camera and Face ID sensor array. While a radical redesign was previously rumored, updated leaks show few changes to the external appearance for the next iPhone models.
● 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display sizes
● Slightly larger camera bumps
● 48 megapixel camera
● Always-on display
● Pill and hole-shaped cutout for True Depth array
● Lightning port
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Apple is expected to refresh the entire iPhone lineup during its annual September Apple event. The standard "iPhone 14" and "iPhone 14 Max" will be announced alongside the "iPhone 14 Pro" and "iPhone 14 Pro Max" with more features to differentiate the two tiers.
Leaks and rumors began for the 2022 iPhone lineup before Apple announced the iPhone 13 series. However, rumors shared that early tend to be unreliable as Apple may not have finalized anything at that point.
Diagrams and CAD files shared in March 2022 paint a more clear picture and show modest refinements across the products with one exception — the notch may disappear on the pro models.
"iPhone 14 Pro" Features
Apple may be differentiating its lineup more than ever with the "iPhone 14 Pro." For a few years, Apple has separated its standard and pro models with additional cameras, material differences, color options, and GPU core binning.
The gap between the models will be more apparent this generation, as design aspects like the notch and processor choice will depend on standard or pro models. Also, Apple is expected to drop the iPhone mini in favor of an iPhone Max, so customers will no longer need to buy the pro phone for a large display.
For the first time since the iPhone X, Apple may sell two tiers of iPhone with different designs. At the time, it was incredibly unusual for Apple to offer the iPhone 8 with a Home Button and Touch ID alongside the iPhone X with a notch and Face ID.
Rumors suggest that Apple will be making another split lineup with different designs in 2022. The standard iPhone 14 models would retain near-identical aspects when compared to the iPhone 13, but the "iPhone 14 Pro" models would have a hole punch camera instead of a notch.
A leaked image of the "iPhone 14" display panels showed that the pro models would have slimmer bezels and a taller aspect ratio compared to the standard models. 3D-printed models also showed that the display corners would be more curved than existing devices.
Android devices pioneered the hole punch as a solution to increase the screen-to-body ratio while keeping the selfie camera uncompromised by the display. Apple has been long rumored to adopt the method, but more than the selfie camera residing in the notch would need to be addressed.
The notch obscures the sensor housing used for Face ID, including sensors like a dot projector and a flood illuminator. However, these components likely cannot be hidden behind the display, at least not in an economical way, so Apple is expected to adopt a "pill and hole" cutout design.
The pill-shaped cutout would host the sensor array for Face ID, while the cutout would have just the selfie camera. This cutout would be large, at least larger than Android cutouts, but take up much less space than the existing notch.
Rear camera bump
The camera bump on an iPhone exists out of necessity thanks to the physics required to take quality photos. The further the lens can be from the sensor, the better.
Some rumors have stated that Apple will get rid of the camera bump and utilize telescoping lens systems to maintain sensor distance. However, these rumors haven't been substantiated and would still require Apple to increase the device's thickness to accommodate the new internal structure.
For example, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn't appear to have a camera bump but instead just small rings around each lens for protection. This was accomplished in part because the device is 8.9mm thick — that's 1.25mm thicker than the iPhone 13 lineup.
Leaked diagrams also show that the camera bump area will be larger on the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch models. Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the larger and thicker camera bumps exist to accommodate a larger wide camera sensor.
There are four cameras on Apple's pro iPhones — selfie, wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto. Apple has kept the specs relatively close across each camera, so photos taken on any of them will have similar color accuracy and brightness.
However, Apple is expected to introduce a 48MP sensor for the wide camera, which would be a significant departure from its years of using 12MP sensors in every camera. But, that doesn't necessarily mean users will be taking 48MP images.
Apple could use a technique called "pixel binning" to utilize the entire 48MP sensor to capture a 12MP photo. This means a group of four pixels will combine their image data into one, allowing for much better low light performance and color accuracy.
Samsung already utilizes this technique for their 108MP shooter, which combines nine pixels into one. When forced to take a full 108MP image, performance drops significantly, and a lot of noise is introduced.
Apple could get crafty with its computational photography and use different combinations of pixels to get different results based on lighting. For example, Deep Fusion could be used in much darker environments with entire groups of pixels focused on detail capture.
There haven't been many rumors regarding the other cameras on the iPhone. Apple could introduce a longer telephoto lens, push 5x from 3x, or make the ultra-wide autofocus perform better.
There's some chance the selfie camera could get an ultra-wide sensor for Center Stage. However, it isn't clear if there is enough space in the iPhone for the feature or its practicality in a handheld device.
A rumor shared in late April 2022 suggests that Apple could improve the selfie camera with a wider aperture of f/1.9, up from f/2.2. The company could also add in autofocus for better focus tracking in video and FaceTime calls.
The iPhone 13 Pro has a Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion — meaning a color-accurate display with a high pixel density and variable refresh rate up to 120Hz.
If Apple moves from a notch to a cutout, it would mean more vertical screen real estate for users. While it won't add much to the active content area — everything below the notch — Apple can add more data to the status bar or change how notifications are presented.
The ProMotion display enables the iPhone to shift from 120Hz to 10Hz based on the content being shown. So, a fast-moving mobile game might take advantage of the high refresh rate, while static text in a book ramps the refresh rate down to preserve battery life.
Apple could take this technology one step further by lowering the base refresh to 1Hz like the Apple Watch. This would enable an always-on display capable of showing static information without impacting battery life.
The new customizable Lock Screen available in iOS 16 hints at an always-on display via its design and underlying code. For example, the backlight management frameworks make references to Springboard, which manages the Lock Screen and Home Screen on iPhone, not Apple Watch.
Cables and connectors
The Lightning connector was first introduced in the iPhone 5 in 2012. The move from the 30-pin connector was controversial since users worldwide had accumulated docks and accessories for the old cable.
The connector was described as the "connector for the next decade" by Phil Schiller. That may not have been a literal timeline, but the decade is nearly up, and rumors suggest Apple is ready to move on.
A portion of Apple's customer base has asked if USB-C is the next step, while others postulate that Apple would remove the port entirely. There isn't any evidence that this port transition would occur in 2022, but it could happen as soon as 2023 in the "iPhone 15."
To reduce reliance on the physical port, Apple could improve aspects of the iPhone's wireless functionality in the "iPhone 14." For example, Apple could add data transfer via MagSafe.
Since the camera bump is getting larger, Apple may need to relocate the MagSafe magnets in the rear of the iPhone to accommodate the change. Some MagSafe accessories may no longer attach correctly or lose compatibility altogether.
Rumors haven't been clear about the port, and nothing specific has leaked about MagSafe yet. However, if Apple expects to ditch the port in 2023, customers should soon expect signs of that transition.
Face ID is expected to stick around for the "iPhone 14" and "iPhone 14 Pro" with little to no changes to its functionality. Even with a new cutout for sensors, the face scanning and 3D depth mapping should be identical.
Early rumors suggested that Apple would add Touch ID back to the iPhone via the Side Button or under-display sensor. This would mean Face ID and Touch ID working in tandem on a single product — something Apple hasn't done before.
Rumors shared in January 2021 suggested that Apple was working on in-display Touch ID, but Ming-Chi Kuo shared that the project had slipped by one year in September 2021. He didn't provide a reason for the slip but said it is being tested for the 2023 "iPhone 15."
In the meantime, Apple provided users with two methods of using Face ID while wearing a mask. One utilizes the Apple Watch to authenticate the user when trying to bypass the lock screen, and the other is an alternate version of Face ID that scans only the area around a person's eyes.
These measures offer more convenience to the user during the pandemic but are seen only as half-steps to something more comprehensive like multiple biometric systems.
Apple introduces a new A-series processor for its flagship iPhone lineup each year. The iPhone 13 has the A15, and in normal circumstances, the "iPhone 14" would have the A16. However, rumors say that Apple may depart from this annual upgrade cycle.
The next-generation A16 processor would be reserved for the "iPhone 14 Pro" and "iPhone 14 Pro Max." If rumors are true, the standard "iPhone 14" and "iPhone 14 Max" models would get the year-old A15 processor.
This differentiation would further widen the gap between pro and standard models and may drive more customers to the high-end if they want a more significant upgrade. Casual users who buy an iPhone on a long upgrade cycle won't notice this change. But for those who want the latest and greatest will no longer be able to look to the non-pro devices to save some cash.
This would also mean Apple could sell the iPhone 13 mini alongside the "iPhone 14" lineup without much issue. The spec difference would be minimal enough that users who want a smaller device, upgrading from the iPhone 12 or earlier, could still get a good-enough modern iPhone.
Just days before the iPhone 13 was set to be revealed by Apple, notorious leaker Jon Prosser shared renders of the supposed "iPhone 14." These renders showed a radical departure from Apple's current design elements in several aspects and offered a hybrid style between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 5.
These renders showed Apple would ditch the notch, have the rear camera flush with the case, and move to round volume buttons on the sides. The camera cutout was centered and didn't show the pill shape for the Face ID sensor housing.
To nix the bump, Apple would need to make the iPhone thicker, employ telescoping lenses, or downgrade the camera quality significantly.
No leaks have reproduced this design, but the hole punch camera has been corroborated across the industry. The latest renders have been generated based on designs leaked in March 2022.
Apple tends to keep prices the same across generations with a few exceptions. The "iPhone 14" is likely to occupy the same starting price at $799 and the "iPhone 14 Max" at $899 for its larger display. The increased gap in features may warrant a price increase for pro models, but that may be a tough barrier to cross for Apple since it wouldn't want the sticker shock of a pro phone starting over $1,000.
The "iPhone 14 Pro" could start at $999 and the "iPhone 14 Pro Max" at $1,099, but Apple may use the opportunity to charge more or increase the starting storage amount at this level. The new "iPhone 14" lineup is expected to be announced during an Apple event in September 2022.