iPhone 13. Mini. Pro. Max. Same retro future chic design. Same OLED Displays, Notch, Dolby Vision Cameras, and Lightning Ports. But with way, way better battery life and 120Hz, ProRes, Macro, and 3x Zoom on the Pros. But what about iPhone 14? Well, some of that might be changing for the better… and for the worse. So, in this video I’m going to tell you if you should race out and get an iPhone 13 now, now, now, or do everything you can to wait for an iPhone 14 this fall. And the answers… never mind may — they WILL surprise you!
The iPhone 13 has the same iPhone 5-inspired design as the iPhone 12, with flat sides that look way cooler but aren’t anywhere nearly as comfortable to hold as the old curves.
The mini has a 5.4-inch display, the 13 and Pro have 6.1-inch displays, and the Max has a 6.7-inch display. All still notched, though a tad narrower.
Rumor has it, the iPhone 14 with switch from the iPhone 5-style metal wrapped design, to something closer akin to the iPhone 4-style glass sandwich. Just ever so slightly more retro, but maybe also just ever so slightly more comfortable?
On the Pro models, those bands might move from stainless steel to titanium as well, which would make the whole package a bit lighter. Combined with a more efficient A16 chipset and X65 modem allowing for a smaller battery, maybe more than a bit lighter. More on those, and the Lightning Port, in a minute.
Now, the mini is supposedly being replaced by a decidedly non-mini, but also non-Pro version of the Max. That’s right, no more 5.4-inch model, like at all, just two two tiers of 6.7-inch model. So, if you really want a mini, just go get the 13 mini right now and hold onto it for as long as you can. With all day battery life, it’s basically the platonic ideal, form mini iPhone now anyway.
But, if you’ve always wanted a 6.7-inch iPhone but simply refused to pay full-on Pro prices, and don’t care AT ALL about ultra-high end displays or cameras, you might want to wait on the 14 non-Pro Max. Unless you can find a really good deal on a 13 or 12 Pro Max.
And, yes, I’ll be doing it for every Apple product coming our way this year, so hit that subscribe button and bell so you’ll know how best to spend — and save — your hard-earned money in 2022!
If you like steel and substantial, hefty-feeling phones, you might also want to jump on a 13 Pro now, whereas if you’re all Ghetta-level in love with Titanium — or holding out, literally, for a lighter Pro phone — you may need to hold out, literally, for the 14 Pro.
Likewise, if you hate notches, multiple reports now suggest at least the iPhone 14 Pros will be switching to hole punches instead. So, Face ID sensors under the display, RGB selfie camera still cut out front and center. If you hate the hole punch more, though, grab a notch while you still can.
The iPhone 13 Pro LTPO OLED displays are literally the best in the business right now, with all the 120Hz benefits and none of the compromises that plagued earlier, competing displays. No decrease in resolution, No loss of color management or high refresh at low brightness. They’re so good, it’s legit hard to see what the iPhone 14 could do to improve on them. Maybe always-on, like the Apple Watch, if the battery life hit isn’t too severe?
It’s also hard to see what Apple could do to improve the non-Pro displays, aside from adding the 120Hz ProMotion of the Pros, and they’re just not likely to do that until the Pros go to 240Hz, which will probably take a while still.
Maybe I just lack imagination here, so tell me if I’m missing something, and hold out hope if you can wait, but if the display is what’s most important to you, and you need an iPhone now, you can go ahead and get one now.
The iPhone 13 cameras are likewise some of the best in the business, and for video, the absolute best. Period. Exclamation mark even. You’ve got IBIS, or in-body image stabilization across all the wide angles now, improved ultra wide angles, macro and 3x telephoto on the Pros, the ability to shoot ProRAW photos and 10-bit Dolby Vision ProRes videos on the Pro models, and Cinematic Mode for video focus select and depth effect on all the models.
And yeah, I’ll get into the whole ProRes over Lightning thing in a minute as well.
Point is, though, they’ve been terrific everyday cameras under ideal conditions for years now, so what Apple’s been focusing on is making them as terrific as possible under less and less ideal conditions, and even better for creative pros in general.
And it sounds like that’s going to continue with the 14 line. Especially for the Pros. With a 48 megapixel, 4x binned wide angle that’ll not only take better photos, and maybe provide slightly better zoom, but enable 8K and downsampled 4K for the first time.
I’ve got a whole entire video up diving deep into the new camera system rumors, which I’ll link in the description below the like button, but If none of that means anything to you, or it does and you just don’t care, then go ahead and grab an iPhone 13 or Pro now. If it means everything to you… well, then you might want to wait for the 14 Pro.
The A15 in the iPhone 13, and the extra, 5 core GPU version in the iPhone 13 Pro, are still a couple of generations ahead of everyone else on the planet. Qualcomm has some ex-Apple engineers that might help them out longer term. Google has the currently very Exinos-y Tensor that, if they stick with it, will get better and better every year. But for right now, Apple could cram the A15, never mind into the next SE, but the next next SE, and it’d still be world class.
Of course, the A16 coming with the iPhone 14 will be even better. The A15 is fabricated, or fabbed, on TSMC’s second generation 5 nanometer process. But A16… that should be on their next-generation 4 or 3 nanometer process. Which means even better performance with even better efficiency. How much of each will depend entirely on how Apple spends and saves that new transistor budget. But if they go heavy on the efficiency, especially on the GPU side, then it could be real good news for hardcore iPhone gamers, given the tiny thermal envelope of even the non-minis. Likewise, the Neural Engines could see an extra boost thanks to ARMv9 matrix multiplication improvements. Which’ll be great for anything Machine Learning related.
So, if you love Apple chips even more than you love Pringles or… I dunno… Doritos, well… you probably buy every new iPhone every new year anyway. But this iPhone 14 year could be something extra special. Otherwise, again, the iPhone 13 is going to be better than everything else on the market for good while still. So buy at will.
The iPhone 13 has Qualcomm’s X60 5G cellular modem, which is slightly more efficient than the previous X55. Thank goodness. And battery life. Also, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and a U1 ultra-wide-band spatial positioning chip.
The iPhone 14 should have Qualcomm’s X65 5G modem, which will be even slightly more efficient again. Maybe Wi-Fi 6E, which includes 6GHz capabilities. But Apple, who usually jumps on new wireless standards faster than JJ Abrams on beloved sci-fi franchises, has been uncharacteristically slow about going to 6E. So, at this point, I’ll believe it when we see it.
Bluetooth isn’t getting much better in general these days, but there are fresh rumors about Apple super-setting it again for lossless audio on AirPods. Even if it makes Nilay’s head explode. Or maybe specifically TO make it explode? And there’s always a chance they’ll go from U1 to U2, even if nobody could take all the potential jokes they’d incur on that. Nobody.
So, if you’re super into radio nerdery and have the towers and routers and everything else ready and waiting to actually get any benefit from the newer modems, it’s worth waiting to get that benefit. If not, most people won’t see much if any real difference for another generation or few.
When it comes to Biometrics, the iPhone 13 is Face ID-only, like the iPhones 12, 11, XS, and X before it. There have been persistent reports about Apple testing in-display acoustic or ultrasonic finger print readers, and they’ve even shipped power-button Touch ID on the iPad Air and iPad mini… but common case designs often cover the power buttons on iPhones, and there’s still nothing to suggest in-display is imminent.
So… despite us now entering year 3 of the world ending, many places masking up and locking down again, and Apple Watch being the only workable workaround for the current version of Face ID being less authentication and more frustration, it’s even odds as to how or even if Apple will address any of it with the iPhone 14. I mean, unless they figure out a form of facial geometry scanning that can get sufficient data points to guarantee security without having to include the nose or mouth…
But at this point, I’m only going to expect that when I see it. Or unlock with it. Whatever!
Apple replaced FireWire with the 30-pin Dock Connector in 2003 only to kill it for the much better 8-pin Lightning Connector in 2012, just under 10 years later. September of 2022 will mark exactly 10 years for Lightning, so a lot of people are hoping Apple’s about ready to repeat history — Kill Lightning and replace it with something much better again on the iPhone 14. But what exactly?
One possibility is Lightning 2. Same plug that fits millions of existing iPhone accessories, nowhere near the complexity of USB-C, but still with much faster charging and data transfer speeds. The EU would hate it, but it’s be seamless for the vast majority of actual mainstream iPhone users. And their CarPlay systems.
Another possibility is USB-C. Same plug as the Mac and now, most iPads, never mind almost every other modern gadget not made by Apple. And, yeah, USB-C isn’t getting any younger either, and speeds and power delivery potentials are still a laughing crying mess boomer emoji of a mess, but it kicks the connector can down the road for another half decade at least. And if Apple can somehow cram a Thunderbolt lane and controller into A16, every Pro trying to pull 4K ProRes off their iPhone might just have reason to celebrate, never mind 8K ProRes if that turns out to be true.
Then there’s wireless. Because of all the persistent rumors around Apple deleting all the ports on an upcoming iPhone, or all upcoming iPhones, in the near future. Sure, that future is always coming but never quite arriving, but it’s probably going to happen one day. And, according to some more recent reports, Apple’s already testing a new, ultra-fast wireless connection for the Watch, which lost its diagnostic port last year.
But there’s plenty a slip twixt a leak and a ship, so this is also all just stuff I’d never base a buying decision on at this point. Like, pretty much fanfic. So, I mean, if you’re desperate for something faster than Lightning, which is still stuck at USB 2 point nothing speeds, it might be worth waiting. But if you’re paranoid that Apple might take away your hardline, then you might want to buy now.