- The iPhone 14 Pro has proven itself to be reliable and capable with its Dynamic Island and 48MP main camera, although app integrations for Live Activities took time.
- Battery life on the iPhone 14 Pro has been satisfactory while satellite connectivity and eSim-only cellular connectivity have been inconspicuous.
- The iPhone 15 Pro is expected to feature a USB-C port and Action button, but dull colors and either a major or minor camera update.
Apple rarely makes a misstep with its iPhone product line. To that point, the iPhone 14 Pro has proved to be reliable and capable over the last year. As Apple prepares to debut its new iPhone 15 series on September 12, 2023, it’s worth looking back at how the premium phone performed over the past 12 months and what it means for the upcoming mobile phones.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro
From the Dynamic Island to the new 48-megapixel primary shooter, the 14 Pro offers the best of Apple’s iPhone technology.
- A16 BIONIC CHIP
- 6.1‑INCH OLED DISPLAY (2556 X 1179)
- 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
- UP TO 23 HOURS OF VIDEO PLAYBACK
- Operating System
- IOS 16 (SHIPPED WITH)
- Front camera
- 12MP CAMERA
- EMERGENCY SOS VIA SATELLITE; CRASH DETECTION
- Micro SD card support
- TEXTURED MATTE GLASS BACK AND STAINLESS STEEL DESIGN
- Main Camera
- 48MP: 24 MM, Ƒ/1.78 APERTURE
- Wide-Angle Camera
- 12MP ULTRA WIDE: 13 MM, Ƒ/2.2 APERTURE, 120-DEGREE FIELD OF VIEW
- 12MP 2X TELEPHOTO: 48 MM, Ƒ/1.78 APERTURE
iPhone 14 Pro: Pluses and Minuses
Probably the biggest reveal of the iPhone 14 Pro was its Dynamic Island. It promised to be able to keep updated information front and center using Live Activities. As a whole, this has been true. It showed when music was playing and offered quick access to those controls out of the gate, but other items took much longer to come to the phone.
Unfortunately, iPhone developers did not adopt Live Activities as quickly as I would have hoped, so it took half a year to get more solid app integrations. MLB and Flighty are some of the best app uses I’ve found so far.
The always-on display has been a bit controversial in general, but personally, it now seems strange that my phone’s screen wasn’t always on. Of course, it did take several months to fully get acquainted with seeing my phone’s wallpaper constantly, but it has felt like the benefit I hoped it would be.
The iPhone 14 Pro got an upgrade to a new 48MP main camera with a quad-pixel sensor. In hindsight, more megapixels haven’t had quite the impact I expected. Sure, the iPhone has still been great for shooting pictures. I continue to use the iPhone as my only camera for taking pictures of reviewed products. But there haven’t been many times I’ve thought the results were significantly better than in the past. Access to all of those raw pixels is trapped in the settings and through third-party camera apps.
One quirk I have noticed is the further focal length of the main camera. It’s caused me to take pictures a few inches farther away than previously. Mostly, it’s been annoying rather than a problem or significant issue. On the flip side, the added 2x button in the camera app has mostly made up for distance versatility. Overall, the cameras have been a win.
Battery life on the iPhone 14 Pro has been as expected. Some days it performs better than others, but on the whole, I have been satisfied with its duration—while also keeping the screen on constantly.
During the phone’s announcement, Apple spent a long time talking about satellite connectivity in its series 14 iPhones. As I suspected, however, I never found myself in a situation where I needed it, so I still can’t comment on its functionality. For some people, however, it has literally saved their lives.
Similarly, the eSim-only cellular connectivity has been invisible. Once my phone got connected to my account, it has just worked since.
iPhone 15 Pro Expectations
If the Dynamic Island expands to all iPhone 15 models, as rumors suggest, then hopefully even more apps will adopt Live Activities for the pill-shaped cutout at the top of the display. A subtle but still meaningful benefit for the 15 Pro.
The 15 Pro’s always-on display will pay off even more for new owners with the debut of StandBy mode in iOS 17. This will be a huge boom for nightstands and ambient living room chargers.
Apple replacing its Lightning port with a more non-proprietary USB-C port will surely be controversial in some way, but this should be heralded as a huge win for everyone. Although a new port probably shouldn’t be the sole reason to upgrade a phone, it will make traveling with fewer cables much more convenient.
In fact, there might be a wave of refreshed accessories accompanying a new iPhone, too. The MagSafe Duo is ripe for a USB-C port replacement.
Another sleeper addition might be the appearance of an Action button. Much like the Apple Watch Ultra, the iPhone 15 Pro could get a user-customizable button that replaces the mute switch. It should still be able to handle muting duties, but the possibility of it extending quick access to the camera or third-party apps is intriguing. Qi2, the next-generation wireless charging technology, won’t be unique to Apple, but as a bunch of new Apple-related products launch, the new iPhones should support faster wireless charging from more manufacturers—upping the previously limited 7.5W speed.
Instead of steel, the Pro phones seem poised to get titanium frames, which should lower the overall weight. The material also has the ability to look better and resist casual damage better.
Less exciting are the dull rumored colors of the Pro phones. Apple, give us vibrant phone colors! The latest rev of the system on a chip (SoC) might be equally as boring. Apple’s processors are so good and have been for so long that they’re now boring. Improved Wi-Fi would be welcomed, but nothing to write home about.
Will the iPhone 15 Pro be Worth Buying?
With where things stand right now, the real wild card for the iPhone 15 Pro is seeing what camera system it sports. The cameras on iPhones get better each year, but if it’s only a minor spec bump for the Pro phone this year, then the other enhancements might not be enough to warrant upgrading from the iPhone 14 Pro. On the other hand, if the iPhone 15 Pro does get a periscope-style camera, resulting in big gains in optical zoom capabilities, then the urge to make the jump might be stronger.
Unfortunately, the rumors about the camera system have been inconsistent, with some saying only the iPhone 15 Pro Max (or an iPhone Ultra) will get a significant camera upgrade this year. Then again, the prospect of faster transfer speeds and only needing one cable for a MacBook and iPhone with a new USB-C port might be all the excuse someone needs to plunk down cash for the new phone.