I wasn’t in the habit of upgrading my iPhone every year, but I did for the last three years: iPhone 11, 12, and 13. I fully expect the iPhone 14’s camera improvements to continue this trend.
A new look never hurts, and this year’s Pro models will have a pill-shaped cutout. I made use of a simple yet clever way to preview this on my own phone…
Ian Zelbo came up with the idea to preview the class. Just upload his pictureShow it full screen and turn your phone upside down.
I don’t see much practical benefit. The amount of usable display space lost is the same in both cases. In fact, when the class extends further down, you lose in some ways more From the screen this approach.
But I like two things about it. First, simply the novelty value. There comes a time when you look at the same thing so many times over a long period that you get bored of it no matter how attractive the design is. Cutting the pill is not betterin my opinion, but it at least Different.
Secondly – assuming the reports are correct – I like the idea of having the camera and microphone alerts in the middle of the hole. This seems to be a much neater and logical place to put it.
Some have criticized them as “fake LEDs” and questioned why Apple didn’t use real ones instead. With my pedant hat on, I’d argue that they are in fact real: real OLED. But using virtualization provides greater flexibility. For example, if only the microphone is used, Apple can center the orange LED vertically, for a neater look. It can also do the same with the location indicator. (I do not know whether will Do this, but you better have the option.)
I will not upgrade to a new phone Just For this. And I’m not interested in the reported new colors. Gadget rule #1 applies: All gadgets must be silver or black.
But I would expect the camera improvements to sell to me. I don’t now routinely carry a stand-alone camera, even while traveling, so the importance of camera features has grown exponentially to me.
One of the things that has just improved with each generation is the capabilities of shooting in low light. The iPhone 12 was another big leap here, with night mode photos.
The iPhone 13’s main camera feature – cinematic video – excited me, but it didn’t quite live up to its billing. However, ProRes video recording was definitely a worthwhile feature, and the slightly wider apertures meant there was at least a slight boost for low-light photos.
What we think we know about the iPhone 14 on the front of the camera is:
- 48MP sensor (will likely be set again to 12MP in low light)
- 8K video recording
- Front camera autofocus
The 48MP sensor per se doesn’t excite me – I’ve always preferred fewer and bigger pixels to lots of smaller pixels. But I fully expect Apple to use a four-cell merging output mode to achieve better quality 12MP photos, at least in low light. Every improvement here is welcome.
8K video recording is the definition of luxury for me. I currently shoot in 4K for 1080p output, allowing plenty of digital panning and zooming options when editing. I can’t see myself switching to 4K output anytime soon, but shooting in 8K will create more editing flexibility, so it will definitely be interesting to play with.
I don’t make much use of the front camera. I’m not the type to take selfies, but I do have friends, and because I usually have the best camera, my iPhone is used to take group selfies, so any improvements here will be helpful at least some of the time.
The big question for me is whether Apple will manage any improvements to Cinematic Video. We’ve seen Portrait mode still photography get better and better, and I’m sure the same will happen here. Cinematic video has huge potential for improvement through both hardware and software, and I hope some of the additional processing power of the iPhone 14 will be directed in that direction.
Overall – and just based on what we think we know so far – I don’t think this year’s iPhone lineup is as exciting as some suggest. At least, not unless Apple can keep “something else” up its sleeve.
But since I primarily rely on my iPhone as my primary camera 99% of the time, I’m willing to pay for camera improvements every year, whether they’re bigger or smaller. I’ll apply the usual “monthly usage cost” formula (and use normal US pricing for easier reading):
If the rumored storage upgrades are right, and this year’s models start at 256GB, I’d buy the base model iPhone 14 Pro Max for $1,200, I think. I should be able to net a minimum $600 for my current phone, and that gives me:
($1,200 – $600) / 12 = $600 / 12 = $50 per month
That’s a price I’m willing to pay for always having the best camera in my pocket.
what about you? If you tried a preview drawing, what were your impressions? And if you plan to upgrade this year, what sells it to you? Please share your thoughts via your comments.
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