Six months later, iPhone 14 is Apple’s worst update ever: Tim Cook’s big apology – the new iPhone 15!

It’s now been six months since the iPhone 14 (and iPhone 14 Plus) were released, which means it’s time to check in on how Apple’s most affordable flagship phones are aging. In addition, the six-month mark in the phone’s life cycle is crucial for users who want to buy the latest iPhone or wait another six months for a new one. However, this story is not meant to be an iPhone 14 review or the definitive iPhone buying guide, but where I get to talk about the iPhone 14 in the context of every other iPhone update in history. In other words, while the iPhone 14 is an excellent device on its own, it might not be the most impressive new iPhone for those looking to upgrade from an older model.

Actually, not to spoil the verdict, but let’s just say that The iPhone 14 is at the bottom of my list when it comes to iPhone updates over the years. Of course, there is also the big brother of the iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 Plus, which might actually be the most overlooked iPhone in history…

The iPhone 14 is easily the least impressive update in Apple’s history: less impressive than the iPhone XS

If we don’t count the different versions of the same release and the SE (Special Edition) iPhone, there are exactly 14 different iPhone flagships in history – despite all the “S” models, the upcoming iPhone (15) should really be the 15th version of the legendary device. In nearly 15 years of making 15 different flagship iPhones, Apple has learned the meaning of “slow innovation,” which might as well be Cupertino’s actual motto — although “Think Different” is also a pretty good company that plans to remove all the buttons from your phone.

That’s why there have been a lot of relatively small (at least on the surface) updates over the years…

  • iPhone 4S (from iPhone 4)
  • iPhone 5S (from iPhone 5)
  • iPhone 6S (from iPhone 6)
  • iPhone 8 (from iPhone 7)

But with that in mind, the only iPhone update that comes to mind when I try to think of a possible iPhone 14 competitor for “smallest iPhone update” might be iPhone XS. Being an “S” model, it’s already clear that the iPhone XS looks exactly like its predecessor (iPhone X), but it’s the inside that counts.

First, the iPhone XS delivered a new A12 Bionic chip built on the 7nm standard (compared to the 10nm of the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic). Coupled with 4GB of RAM (versus 3GB on the iPhone X), this was a significant upgrade (at least on paper) over the iPhone XS. Apple has also moved from IP67 water and dust resistance to IP68.

However, most notably (and few will remember) the XS, while looking exactly the same as the iPhone X, was one of the biggest changes to the way Apple approached photography on the iPhone. Little did we know that the iPhone XS’s aggressive HDR processing would (re)define the way iPhone photos look for years to come. (including X vs XS HDR image). This alone makes the iPhone XS one of the biggest iPhone camera updates of all time, thus (automatically) giving the title of “most pointless iPhone update ever” to the one and only iPhone 14.

The iPhone 14 took two big steps in a very controversial direction

  • 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB
  • Slight camera improvements (f/1.5 aperture vs. f/1.6), slightly better details in low light photos

The above is more or less the updates you can expect when switching from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 14, proving once again that this is the most trivial update we’ve ever seen come out of Cupertino. But the iPhone 14 wasn’t just a minor upgrade — it was also a pretty controversial upgrade.

One reason has to do with that fact Apple (for the first time ever) decided to reuse an old chip for a new phone, giving the iPhone 14 the same SoC we saw in the iPhone 13 (Pro) from 2021. This was met with a huge backlash online, and while it’s unlikely to have a big (negative) impact on sales, it only makes it harder to recommend the iPhone 14.

Another controversial move? The iPhone 14 became the first iPhone to ship without a physical SIM card tray (only in the US, but only for now), and six months later, this is as disruptive a change as it was on day one.

Apple’s decision to do away with the physical SIM card tray caused an uproar on social media, with tweets to this day from disgruntled iPhone users who have found themselves in an awkward situation trying to swap SIM cards (most of them traveling abroad).

Despite offering excellent hardware, good battery life and (still) the longest software support of any flagship, the iPhone 14 still earns the well-deserved title of “least exciting update ever” – perhaps also the most “controversial” (in my book) becoming the hardest iPhone to recommend .

However, with this in mind, the iPhone 14 sets the bar iPhone 15 about as low as possible, which means that Apple’s chance of “sorry” is quite good!

The iPhone 14 Plus is part of Apple’s failed plan; Whatever you do, don’t buy the iPhone 14 unless you’re getting a great deal

Finally, it’s worth touching on why I said (in one of the headlines) that the iPhone 14 is a modern iPhone XS story. One reason, of course, is that the iPhone 14 is an “S” upgrade in disguise (we’ve found out why), but the other is called… the iPhone 14 Plus. Yep, this iPhone exists! Remember?

You might not immediately remember, but there was actually something that (literally) made the iPhone XS a huge upgrade over the iPhone X, and that “feature” was the iPhone XS Max. In the same way, with the 14 series, Apple tried to please everyone with something new major iPhone – iPhone 14 Plus. In short, the poor iPhone 14 Plus sales figures tell us that the plan didn’t quite work, and it’s not too hard to see why…
  • Many (smart) people choose the iPhone 13 over the iPhone 14 because the former is cheaper and… almost the same device
  • The global financial crisis means that the majority of people upgrading their phones are in a better financial situation, making them more likely to choose the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max over the iPhone 14/14 Plus.
  • The more functional iPhone 13 Pro can be found for the same price as the iPhone 14 Plus

Want to buy a new iPhone? Six months after the release of iPhone 14, the only sensible choice is to wait for iPhone 15 or iPhone SE 4

So what do you do if you need a new iPhone?

  • Wait for the new one iPhone 15 – Dynamic Island, 48 megapixel primary camera with 2x optical zoom, more comfortable (curvy) design and USB-C (!) are features that can change the way you use your iPhone.
  • If your current phones allow it, and if you’re looking for the cheapest new iPhone, wait iPhone SE 4 – this is expected to be the iPhone 14 at a much lower price – the catch here is that this is expected to arrive in Spring 2024

Finally, I have a question for Cupertino… What’s your plan for the vanilla iPhone model, Apple?

  • Bring back the “S” model so people are less likely to unknowingly buy an iPhone that isn’t new?
  • More exclusive features for the Pro/Ultra models that make the vanilla iPhone even less attractive ( additional sales strategy)?
  • Semi-annual release for vanilla iPhone? Why not!

I guess we’ll never know. Until we do. Anyway, what do you think the future holds for the regular iPhone? Remember, it’s Apple’s most popular phone.

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