Apple iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: expectations


For the past couple of years, Apple has made it a habit to launch a total of 4 new iPhones every September — two “regular” models and two bearing the “Pro” moniker. We expect the same to happen in 2022 and, as ever, customers will face the dilemma — “Do I go with the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro?”.

See, they are typically the same size and shape and share the same basic features down to the processor inside. What the Pro models have is an extra camera on the back, a LiDAR sensor, 120 Hz refresh rate for the screen and a stainless steel frame. The non-Pro models are made of lighter aluminum and come in all sorts of fun colors, plus they are noticeably cheaper.

So, is the iPhone 14 or the iPhone 14 Pro the right one for you? Let’s talk about their design, cameras, performance, and battery life, see if we can help you make up your mind.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro in a nutshell:

  • Same shape and size
  • iPhone 14 to come in vibrant, fun colors, Pro models are usually more muted and classy
  • iPhone 14 to be lighter, Pro to have a heavier stainless steel frame
  • 60 Hz on iPhone 14, 120 Hz on iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro has telephoto lens and LiDAR sensor
  • Battery life should be about the same

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

Same screens, but one is smoother

We expect that both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro will have similar dimensions, the former sporting a 6.1″ screen and the Pro having a slightly larger 6.12″ one. Mostly, they will be the same — OLED panels, built to Apple’s spec. But, as we know, the Pro will have a 120 Hz refresh rate for super-smooth animations, where as the non-Pro will stick to 60 Hz, as per the rumor mill.

Leaks have pointed to the Pro getting rid of the notch… sort of — the Face ID sensor array will now reside in a sideways i-shaped punch hole in the top center of the screen. The non-Pro iPhone 14 will still have the slimmed down notch that we are currently familiar with.

Another difference may be the inclusion of always-on displays — supposedly, the Pro may have an LTPO OLED screen, which would allow it to always show a dimly-lit widget, even when the phone is in standby. However, reports are conflicted on whether this is true or not.

Both the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro will have the flat sides, as before, and glass backs — obviously. Again, the difference here is that the iPhone 14 will have a matte-finished aluminum frame and a glossy back, while the Pro will have a shiny stainless steel frame (or even a titanium one, say leaksters) and a frosted glass back. Both models will be IP68 water- and dust-resistant, as is customary, and will have the Lightning port for charging and data transfer — possibly for the last time.

On the back, we expect to see the square-shaped camera module on both phones. Obviously, the iPhone 14 will only have two lenses there, while the Pro will have its stove-like trio and a black LiDAR sensor to boot.

But, for all intents and purposes, both phones will look and feel unmistakably iPhone. It’s up to you to decide whether you want a lighter and brightly-colored, fun iPhone 14, or a more serious iPhone 14 Pro, with a heavier build and more muted, mature colors. Though, rumors suggest that the iPhone 14 Pro might come in Purple this year, so that’s exciting!

As for contents in the boxes, we expect an iPhone and a USB C to Lightning cable. Nothing more, nothing less (hopefully).

Performance and Software

Different chips, for the first time?

Thus far, main iPhone models that launched together always had the same chip inside — Apple priding itself in giving better value to lower-priced models. However, some rumors suggest that the iPhone 14 may stay on the Apple A15 Bionic (the 2021 chip), while only the Pro models would be upgraded to a new Apple A16.

The A16 is expected to be built on a new, 4 nm process, which sounds about right — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is already a 4 nm SoC. This would bring slight productivity and efficiency benefits over the 5 nm Apple A15 Bionic.

In other words, if this turns out to be all true, it seems that the Pro models will truly be differentiated in terms of performance and projected future-proofing this year around. We suspect this isn’t what Apple intended, but the global chip shortage doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and everyone is feeling its stranglehold.

The iPhone 14 Pro is also expected to come with 8 GB of RAM, which is the most an iPhone has gotten thus far. The regular iPhone 14 will most probably have less, but we don’t know if it will be 4 GB like in the iPhone 13 or 6 GB.


A small step for the Pro, no leaps for the non-Pro

Another place where the two might be different is the camera module. Analysts say that Apple is preparing a 48 MP sensor to fit under the main wide-angle lens of the iPhone 14 Pro. By default, it will bin pixels in groups of 4 to produce 12 MP photos just like before. Supposedly, Apple will use these big pixel clusters for better night time photography.

The iPhone 14, as per the reports, will stick to the same old 12 MP sensor we are so familiar with. While it’s definitely good, it is generally falling behind the competition in 2022.

Of course, the iPhone 14 Pro will also have a telephoto lens with a 3x relative zoom, making for a great portrait camera. And the ultra-wide lens, will — of course — make a return.

The non-Pro iPhone will have that same ultra-wide, but no optical zoom.

And, of course, the iPhone 14 Pro will have that LiDAR sensor, which helps for virtual measurements of the real world. The Ruler app is more accurate, AR apps can take advantage of it et cetera. It has been on iPhones since the 12 series, but we still haven’t seen a major breakthrough with them, so we can’t say it’s a strong selling point.

Audio Quality and Haptics

Apple has been on the top of their game with audio and haptics on iPhones for years now. Usually, the Max models get the best sound, which is easily explained by the fact that they provide more acoustic space for the speakers. We expect the same sound quality from the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, as they will have very similar dimensions and most probably share the same speaker setup.

As for haptics, the Taptic engine on iPhones is doing a fantastic job as it is, so we don’t see it getting any better (or worse).

Battery Life and Charging

Consistency is key

Apple always aims for that “All day battery life” statement — about 10 hours of mixed usage and tons of standby stamina is what you should expect from your iPhone. And we expect nothing different with the iPhone 14 series.

The iPhone 13 Max shocked us with a really impressive battery endurance last year, so we do hope to see more of that in this year’s Max. However, for the non-big models, we would guess we will get the same 10-12 hour endurance under battery tests.

Specs Comparison

Summary and Final Verdict

As you can see, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the iPhone 14 series, but from what little leaks we have — plus some educated speculation — we can conclude that this year’s Pro model will actually offer a few proper upgrades over the non-Pro. With the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series, it was kind of hard to justify going for the Pro, unless you really, really wanted that telephoto lens. In 2022, the Pro may actually earn its price bump.

Speaking of price bump, here’s some bad news — the iPhone 14 Pro may end up touching that $1,100 mark that was reserved for the Pro Max in prior years. Ouch! That’d explain the introduction of the non-Pro iPhone 14 Max — it’s there to bridge that gap between the $800 model and the $1100 one… maybe.

We do hope this rumor turns out to be false, but with crazy factors like the inflation and less-than-stellar supply chain stability, it sounds quite plausible.

We find the rumors about the iPhone 14 staying with the old Apple A15 Bionic most curious and even somewhat hard to believe. If this is truly the case, that would mean the iPhone 14 will have the same processor, same camera, same notch as the iPhone 13. Soooo… just go for the iPhone 13 and save some cash?

The iPhone 14 Pro, on the other hand, will bring some exciting upgrades, such as the 48 MP camera sensor, the… i-shaped punch hole, and maybe — possibly — a titanium-alloy frame. For the 14 series, it seems like that would be the iPhone to get, when looking for a balance between new features and price.

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