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iPhone 13 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Buyer’s Guide: Should You Upgrade?

The iPhone 14 Pro and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max are expected to replace the iPhone 13 Pro and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max at next week’s Apple event, but how different are the two successive “Pro” iPhone generations rumored to be?

In 2021, Apple unveiled the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ as the successor to the popular iPhone 12 Pro, with ProMotion displays, improved rear cameras, the A15 Bionic chip, and more. As the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ look set to share a large number of features, should you consider buying or sticking with the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ to save money?

While we can only present a tentative picture of what to expect from the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ lineup based on reliable reports and rumors from over the past year, our guide may help you to form a preliminary buying decision. Customers should, of course, wait for a full breakdown of the differences between the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ once the latter has been officially announced. This buyer’s guide will be updated as soon as we know more.

Comparing the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro

As successive ‌iPhone‌ generations, the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ are expected to share many key features and the two devices are likely to share most of their design elements. That being said, the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ is still anticipated to offer a large number of key upgrades over the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌, including the A16 Bionic chip and significantly improved cameras.

Differences

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

  • 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display sizes
  • Notch containing TrueDepth camera array
  • A15 Bionic chip
  • 6GB of LPDDR 4X memory
  • 12-megapixel Wide camera with Focus Pixels
  • 6-element Telephoto lens
  • Ultra Wide camera with 1.0µm pixels
  • 4K video recording
  • 12-megapixel ƒ/2.2 Wide front-facing camera with fixed focus
  • Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
  • MagSafe
  • 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage options

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

  • Taller 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display sizes with thinner bezels
  • “Pill and hole-punch” TrueDepth camera array in place of the notch
  • Always-on display mode optimized for iOS 16’s redesigned Lock Screen
  • A16 Bionic chip
  • 6GB of LPDDR 5 memory
  • 48-megapixel Wide camera with Focus Pixels and pixel-binning
  • 7-element Telephoto lens
  • Ultra Wide camera with larger 1.4µm pixels
  • 8K video recording
  • 12-megapixel ƒ/1.9 Wide front-facing camera with autofocus
  • New, more efficient 5G chip that could prolong battery life
  • Wi-Fi 6E connectivity
  • Satellite-based emergency features to allow users to send messages in emergency situations and report major emergencies
  • Stronger MagSafe magnets
  • 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB potential storage options

Read on for a closer look at each of the upgrades the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ is expected to boast based on what we know so far from reputable sources.

Design and Color Options

A broad variety of plausible design rumors, including CAD renders and specific dimensions, leaked schematics, images of accessory production molds, early cases, and other information, provide a fairly clear idea of what to expect from the iPhone 14 Pro’s design.

iPhone 14 concept render by Ian Zelbo based on purported leaked information
The ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ is expected to feature the same stainless steel frame and frosted glass back as the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌, with only a small number of subtle differences between the designs.

The most striking change at the back of the device is a substantially larger rear camera array, which contains a new 48MP camera system with a 57 percent larger sensor and 8K video recording capability. The larger camera plateau is naturally more noticeable on the 6.1-inch ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ than it is on the 6.7-inch ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max.

The ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌’s corners are expected to feature larger radii for a more rounded appearance. Apple may have been compelled to change the corner radius of the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ because of its larger rear camera array.

The rear camera arrays of the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max broadly matched the corner radius of each device’s frame, but when Apple increased the size of the camera arrays with the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max, neither device matched its corners. While the difference between the ‌iPhone 12 Pro Max‌ and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max’s camera arrays are minor, the difference between the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ is significant.

It seems plausible that with another increase in size this year, the incongruence between the curves of the camera plateau, lenses, and corners of the stainless steel frame itself became too severe on the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌, leading Apple to amend the design. The new, larger corner radii still do not exactly match the rounded corners of the rear camera array plateau, but are significantly closer. This correction also bears a somewhat noticeable change on the front of the device.

For the high-end models, the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max will apparently feature a similar selection of colors to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max:

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

  • Graphite
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Sierra Blue
  • Alpine Green

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

  • Graphite
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Blue or Green
  • Purple

This would mean that the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s Sierra Blue and Alpine Green would not be carried over this year. For its “Pro” models, Apple also usually offers an all-new color alongside its standard Graphite or Space Gray, Silver, and Gold at launch. For the iPhone 11 Pro, ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro, and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌, this included Midnight Green, Pacific Blue, Sierra Blue, and Alpine Green, and this year it looks like Apple plans to continue the trend of offering some standout colors.

Recently shared images of iPhone 14 Pro dummy models showed similar Gold, Graphite, and Silver color options from recent years alongside two other color options that would be new to the current “Pro” ‌iPhone‌ lineup: a dark purple and a blue.


Dummy models usually do not represent the exact tone of Apple’s options with a high level of accuracy since they are often made of plastic, but the selection of colors on show could provide a basic overview of what to expect. Dummy models are used to display, demonstrate, and test accessories like cases, so they strive to provide a relatively accurate overall substitute for the actual physical device. As such, it is reasonable to expect the color options to be based on legitimate information.

It is also of note that the antenna bands of the Gold and Purple dummy models contrast with the frame due to being white, unlike iPhones in previous years.

A separate recent rumor suggested that instead of blue, the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ will continue to be available in Green like the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌, but dummy models or other evidence to support this colorway has yet to be seen.

Display

The front of the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ is believed to feature a centered pill-shaped and circular TrueDepth camera array in place of the notch and slimmer bezels around the display, resulting in a significantly different look for the front of the device. There is also said to be slightly larger display that partially adds to the device’s height.

iPhone 14 Pro concept render by Ian Zelbo based on purported leaked information

Images from Chinese social media site Weibo seemingly revealed a close-up, real-world image of the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌’s “pill and hole-punch” TrueDepth camera array cutouts that are expected to replace the notch.


Apple is purportedly planning to enlarge and realign the status bar’s items to account for the new “pill and hole-punch” TrueDepth camera array design, such as repositioning the cellular signal, Wi-Fi, and battery indicators slightly lower and to the right.

The pill and hole-punch is expected to be functionally the same as the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s notch and it is not known if there will be any accompanying new features or improvements to Face ID.

The display is expected to offer always-on functionality to display the time and widgets on iOS 16’s redesigned Lock Screen, much like the Apple Watch Series 5, 6, and 7.

A16 Bionic Chip

The ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ is expected to feature the A16 Bionic chip, with the standard iPhone 14 and ‌iPhone 14‌ Max models sticking with last year’s A15 Bionic chip. The A16 is expected to continue to be based on TSMC’s 5nm process, but it is still likely to bring sufficient performance and efficiency improvements to justify being branded as a whole new chip.

As the third iteration of Apple’s 5nm ‌iPhone‌ chips, the A16 is unlikely to deliver a massive performance delta over the previous A15 Bionic and A15 Bionic chips. As such, the A16’s improvements are expected to come from minor enhancements to the CPU and GPU. One rumor indicates that the chip will have better thermal management than the A15 Bionic.

Memory

Currently, the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max feature 6GB of LPDDR 4X memory. These amounts are unchanged from the iPhone 12 lineup. For the ‌iPhone 14‌ lineup, reports indicate that all models will feature 6GB of RAM, but the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max’s LPDDR 5 memory will be up to one and a half times faster and up to 30 percent more power efficient.

Rear Cameras

The 48-megapixel camera is the most widely rumored ‌iPhone 14‌ camera feature. As a result of the increased number of megapixels, the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌’s Wide camera pixels will be smaller, purportedly measuring at 1.22µm, according to a detailed rumor coming out of Asia. This is a reduction of 0.68µm compared to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max.

iPhone 14 concept render by Ian Zelbo based on purported leaked information

The new Wide sensor is believed to be a Sony unit, like the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌. Despite the change in pixel size, the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ will allegedly feature the same Dual Pixel Auto Focus (DPAF) system, marketed by Apple as “Focus Pixels,” that the ‌iPhone‌ has offered since the ‌iPhone‌ 6 in 2014, and the same ability to record 16:9 HDR video at up to 60 fps.

The device’s sensor is said to be 1/1.3-inches in width, a 21.2 percent increase over the 1/1.65-inch sensor width of the Wide camera on the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max. This translates to an approximate sensor area increase of 57 percent compared to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌.

This increase in sensor size requires a larger lens to capture more light, leading to a noticeably larger rear camera array. The 1/1.3-inch sensor size is the same as Samsung’s 50MP GN1 sensor, which is used in the Google Pixel 6.

Overall, the information suggests that the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ will offer larger, higher-resolution images with finer details, but at the risk of poorer low-light performance and images that are more susceptible to noise.

To address this, the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ models are rumored to support both 48-megapixel and 12-megapixel output, which would likely be achieved with a process known as pixel binning. Already in use on some Android smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, pixel binning merges data from multiple smaller pixels on the camera’s image sensor into one “super-pixel” for improved low-light sensitivity.

Pixel binning is beneficial because simply increasing a smartphone camera’s megapixels while maintaining the same camera sensor size results in smaller pixels, which generally capture less light, leading to lower-quality low-light photos. Pixel binning would allow ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ models to shoot high-resolution 48-megapixel photos in bright conditions and 12-megapixel photos in low-light conditions that are still of high quality.

The 48MP camera system is expected to be limited to the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ models and allow for 8K video recording, offering a significant upgrade over the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s 12MP camera and 4K video recording capabilities. High-resolution 8K videos recorded with the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ are also said to be be suitable for viewing on Apple’s long-rumored AR/VR headset.

The ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌’s Ultra Wide camera is expected to feature larger pixels to deliver improved light capture and decreased noise in low-light images. The ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s Ultra Wide features 1.0µm pixels, while the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ is expected to boast 1.4µm pixels. The Telephoto camera is also expected to see improvements thanks to an additional lens.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that he believes that the camera quality of the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ models will “elevate mobile phone camera photography to a new level.”

Front Cameras

Earlier this year, Kuo said that all four of the ‌iPhone 14‌ models, including the ‌iPhone 14‌, ‌iPhone 14‌ Max, ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌, and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max, will feature an upgraded front-facing camera with autofocus and a wider ƒ/1.9 aperture. The component is expected to cost Apple three times more.

A wider aperture would allow more light to pass through the lens and reach the front camera’s sensor on the ‌iPhone 14‌ models, resulting in enhanced image quality. Kuo said these camera upgrades could provide a better depth-of-field effect for Portrait mode photos and videos, while autofocus can improve focus during FaceTime and Zoom video calls. By comparison, the front camera on all of the iPhone 13 models has a fixed focus and a smaller ƒ/2.2 aperture.

Improved Battery Life

The ‌iPhone 14‌ and ‌iPhone 14‌ Max could offer improved battery life thanks to a new, more efficient 5G chip.


The ‌iPhone 14‌’s 5G RF chip is said to be fabricated with TSMC’s 6nm process, providing a physically smaller chip with lower power consumption. The 6nm RF process enables the chip to use less power on both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G bands while still providing a high level of performance.

As well as being more efficient, shrinking the large RF transceiver component inside the ‌iPhone‌ is expected to free up physical space. Each additional square millimeter of volume that is reclaimed is said to create more room for a larger battery. Together, the improved efficiency and miniaturization of the ‌iPhone 14‌’s RF chip are believed to result in better overall battery life.

Wi-Fi 6E Connectivity

All ‌iPhone 14‌ models are expected to support Wi-Fi 6E. Wi-Fi 6E offers the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates, extended into the 6 GHz band. The additional spectrum provides more airspace beyond existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, resulting in increased bandwidth and less interference.

Emergency Satellite Features

With a feature that was initially rumored for the iPhone 13 lineup, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X65 modem in the ‌iPhone 14‌ lineup is expected to facilitate a number of satellite-based emergency features to allow users to send messages in emergency situations and report major emergencies in locations where there is no cellular coverage.

Specifically, Emergency Message via satellite will allow users to text emergency services and contacts using a satellite network when there is no cellular or WiFi signal available. It will purportedly be a new communications protocol alongside SMS and iMessage, will show gray message bubbles, and message length will be restricted. Another feature will let users report major emergencies like plane crashes and fires using satellite communication.

These features are still in development and are rumored to launch in 2022 at the earliest, but other estimates have placed the feature more firmly with the ‌iPhone 14‌ and Apple Watch Series 8 lineup.

Storage

The exact storage configurations that the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ lineup will offer have been a source of disagreement between reports. Some indicate that the device could start with 256GB, double the offering of the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s current 128GB base model, while others suggest that the device could offer as much as 2TB – the most ever in an ‌iPhone‌, and double the top-tier 1TB option of the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ is shaping up to be a fairly significant upgrade over the ‌iPhone 13‌, with new features and improvements across multiple key areas. Providing the above enhancements are delivered as expected, some ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ users could justify upgrading to the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌, while customers coming from an older model could have good reason to preference the latest “Pro” model over the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌.

The replacement of the notch with the “pill and hole-punch” results in a fairly different front appearance, while the 48-megapixel camera, always-on display, upgraded front-facing camera, and emergency satellite features could offer meaningful changes. This comes in addition to a large number of smaller improvements to the device’s performance, memory, battery life, Ultra Wide and Telephoto cameras, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

While the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ models could see a slight price increase this year, the new models offer significant upgrades and price rises could be justified if the devices start with more storage.

Apple is reportedly planning to unveil the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ models at an Apple event on Wednesday, September 7 with the tagline “Far out.” Pre-orders for the device will likely begin later that week, with the first devices probably arriving to customers around Friday, September 16. As such, there is now not long to wait for the new “Pro” ‌iPhone‌ models.

The ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max are likely to be discontinued upon the release of the new models, which will subsequently slash prices with third-party resellers – so it is clearly preferable to avoid purchasing either of these devices at the current time.Related Roundups: iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 14 ProBuyer’s Guide: iPhone 13 Pro (Don’t Buy)
This article, “iPhone 13 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Buyer’s Guide: Should You Upgrade?” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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