Sat, Sep

Apple Unveils iPhone 14 and 14 Pro At 'Far Out' Event

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Apple unveiled its brand new iPhone 14 lineup at a press event tagged "Far Out" on Wednesday, along with three new Apple Watch models, an update to its popular AirPods product line, and a feature that could save lives when cell service isn't available. At a closely-watched event from its headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple showcased off four new smartphones, including a larger 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus model and an updated iPhone 14 Pro that rethinks the much-maligned notch. In typical Apple fashion, the devices also offer better battery life and camera features than the year prior. Apple however reserved its biggest changes for its iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models. The new standout feature: The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max each lack a notch. In its place is a small pill-shaped screen cutout that houses a revamped TrueDepth camera unit for Face ID, selfies, and video calls. Rather than ignore the cutout, Apple built a system of moving alerts and notifications called 'Dynamic Island' that utilizes the black space around it. The feature is compelling and looks cool.

Dynamic Island, which is lacking on the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Plus, is just one of the ways Apple widened the gap between Pro and non-Pro iPhone models. Another way is price. The iPhone 14 Pro starts at $999 which is $200 more than the iPhone 14 which starts at $799. The 14 Pro costs the same price as previous Pro models and the iPhone X which debuted in 2018. But some people will be put off by the 14 Pro's price or the 14 Pro Max which starts at $1,099.

The “Dynamic Island”, will invite you to toggle DND mode, monitor the length of your phonecalls, check how much life is left in your AirPod batteries, or even pop up a sports score. It feels like a vital new part of Apple’s design language.

The box pops up with a little animation. It's smooth and pleasant in the way the best user interface animations are.

It also told you what kind of network you were connected to and whether you had Bluetooth activated or a VPN connected. You would even see a little headphones indicator when music was playing. To make room for the notch Apple moved all of that and required you to handle your phone more. You now have to swipe and flip and tap to see things you used to be able to see with a glance.

Five years ago there was no way to shrink the camera array, which included a camera, dot projector, microphone, speaker, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, flood illuminator, and infrared camera. It had to be able to handle phone calls, and do Face ID, and take really good selfies. At the time Apple had two choices: keep a big bezel that would instantly make the phone look ugly and old-fashioned next to Samsung’s offerings, or go for the notch. The notch would make the phone more expensive, as adding a notch to an OLED display increased the price.

Before now, one of the biggest pain points for iPhone users was the battery percentage. Until iOS 16 which is preinstalled on the iPhone 14 Plus there was no way to check the battery percentage on your phone at a glance. You either needed a widget, or you had to swipe down. With iOS 16, Apple finally brought the battery percentage indicator back, but the number was kind of ugly, and it meant losing a visual indication of battery level on the battery icon itself.