The iPhone 14 series recently arrived, and there’s not a whole lot that it brings to the table. In the case of the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus, you barely get any upgrades from the iPhone 13. And in the case of the 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max, you get a newer chipset, newer camera hardware, an Always-On Display… and that’s about it. If you live in the U.S, you lose physical SIM support as well, so on that front, it’s a downgrade.
Honestly, the problem with the iPhone 14 series is that, as an iPhone 13 Pro owner, there’s just nothing great enough about the new series that makes it worthwhile for me to upgrade.
Why upgrade to more of the same?
If you’re an iPhone 13 owner, ask yourself this: why would you even want to upgrade? Taking into account the best trade-in deals, Apple’s own website will only let you knock off up to $720 off of the total price, and that’s if you trade in a good condition iPhone 13 Pro Max. Assuming that’s what you’re trading in, you’ll be getting, at minimum, an iPhone 14 Pro, or else it’s almost certainly a downgrade. At that price, though, you’re gonna pay $180 to go from your iPhone 13 Pro Max to the iPhone 14 Pro. Are there any upgrades? Well… In terms of tangible differences, there are very few.
There’s really not a lot of reason to upgrade, is there? The iPhone 14 Pro has the all-new “Dynamic Island” that everyone has been raving about, but it doesn’t bring a whole lot new to the table, really. On top of that, device owners are reporting problems like the camera violently shaking in apps such as TikTok. The new camera hardware also doesn’t bring in the noticeable edge that one expects a big jump like this to bring in. The Always-On Display is way too bright and distracting and widely believed to be a battery drainer. All in all, it doesn’t come off as a year-on-year upgrade that anyone really needs.
However, even thinking about outside of the United States for a moment, prices have risen drastically elsewhere. The iPhone 14 Pro starts at €1339 in Europe, an increase from €1179. Similar price rises are seen across the world, with the U.S. seemingly being one of the few unaffected nations. Nevertheless, if you were to upgrade, you’d be spending a lot more money for basically no beneficial reason.
Waiting for the iPhone 15 makes more sense
Given that the iPhone 14 series is really not much of an upgrade, it makes zero sense to make the jump if you already have last year’s model. Why spend money, go through the difficulty of a trade-in, and deal with teething software issues, all for the sake of saying that you have the latest Apple device? The cameras aren’t all that improved, and no amount of marketing around the “photonic engine” can convince me otherwise. As for the A16 Bionic, the fact that Apple compared it to the A13 rather than last year’s A15 should tell you pretty much all that you need to know.
This entire debacle highlights the problem with year-on-year upgrades in particular, even though nobody would recommend getting a new device that frequently. Nobody needs to upgrade that frequently. Admittedly, though, there are sometimes big improvements to be had. For example, the iPhone 12 Pro to the iPhone 13 Pro introduced a higher refresh rate, improved cameras, a much more power-efficient SoC, and a brighter display. With a trade-in included, maybe it’s worth a couple of hundred dollars in that scenario. Here, though? It’s simply hard to justify.
Thinking about what the iPhone 15 is expected to bring as well makes it even more of a no-brainer to wait. With an expected switch to USB-C in the future (that may actually happen with the iPhone 15 this time, thanks to the EU), a potential design change again, the A16 coming to the lower-tier models (at minimum), and any other changes that may actually trickle down… why would you upgrade from an iPhone 13 now? Most people don’t upgrade year-on-year, but a sizeable number of enthusiasts, influencers, and social media managers might. This time around, it just makes no sense to me.
If you’re coming from an iPhone 12, there’s a lot more reason for justification. Upgrading every two years for some people is still excessive, but at least you’ll get all the improvements of the iPhone 13 series with the extra little bits from the iPhone 14, too. As for me, I think anyone with an iPhone 13 Pro (as I have) would be crazy to upgrade.