The regular iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 non-Pro Max, and more on that in a minute, are still supposed to be getting their notches on this year. Same narrower notches as last year. But the iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max, well, rumor has it, Apple’s gonna be replacing those notches with cutouts.
Not a hole punch, that’s so last month, not even a pill punch because that’s so last week. But a double punch, a left jab, right cross. An exclamation punch! Now, it’s not that Apple is changing their minds about the shape, not this late in the product development cycle, but more so, the early human leaks probably never described the entire actual shape or shapes.
Well, now we’re starting to see potential part leaks that show it off in all its glory or gory. Depending on how you particularly feel about it. Why a dot and a dash instead of just one or t’other? Almost certainly because the iPhone houses just so many cameras and sensors up to the top of the display, and they just won’t work well enough if they’re paved over with OLED sub-pixels with only machine learning left for the cleanup. At least not anytime soon. So the RGB selfie camera is still exposed, for sure. And then whichever parts of the face ID system like the IR camera, also need to stay out in the open are just gonna stay out stuck in the open.
But hey, if we nerds get our battery percentage indicator back, we’ll take it, right? Moving from the exclamation mark upfront to the surprise face emoji, the startled Pikachu on the back. I’m excited about this one because, for the last few years, Apple stuck with a 12-megapixel sensor and focused with little pun intended, on making those individual pixels as large and sensitive as possible, just quality over quantity.
But now reports are saying Apple is finally getting ready to add some of the quantity, but still all in the name of quality. It takes those 12 megapixels and divides each one up by four resulting in 48 megapixels. Then it makes each of those smaller divided up pixels, just a tiny bit bigger, and then merges them back together like Devastator, bins them or down samples everything back into groups of four to give us. Wait for it! 12 megapixels again, but a better 12 megapixels for at least still photography.
So why not just leave it at 48 megapixels then? Because those pixels are so small, they don’t pull in a good enough image for anything less than absolutely ideal circumstances and conditions. Then why not just leave it at 12 megapixels and make those pixels even bigger? Because 48 still gives some extra flexibility for things like zoom and they can stack and bracket frames from both the 48 and the 12 megapixels and try to get as much detail with as little noise as possible, but also for 8K video.
Yes, first we had 4K, then 4K with interleaved extended dynamic range, then 4K with non interleaved EDR, then 4K HDR and Dolby Vision, then 4K ProRes 422 HQ, in other words, 4K with better and better data, year after year.
But now it sounds like Apple is ready to give the people more. 8K more, which is four times the quantity because it doubles the size horizontally as well as vertically, which is why they need a sensor that’s also four times the size just to capture all of that data, both for 8K and downsampled 4K.
The question now why go 8K? Well, because we climbed the 1080P mountain and we crossed the 4K ocean, and 8K is just what’s next! It’s our lunar landing. It’s what we do. It’s where our TVs and pro workflows are headed. And yes! most people won’t need it on a phone camera, but most people don’t need ProRes on a phone camera either.
Now I am just super happy about this one in particular as well. Because the current iPhone Pros have six gigabytes of RAM, in part to help handle those 4K Dolby Vision ProRes 422 HQ files. But since iOS has no concept of swapping or paging to disk, it also means more apps and browser tabs can be left alive at the same time without being jetsam. Or without being yoted to free up memory for newer thirstier apps and tabs.
So why go to eight gigabytes then? With the potential for 8K video on the iPhone 14, rumors around eight gigabytes of RAM would certainly help handle all those even bigger frames. Likewise, a two terabyte storage option. And recently we only just got one terabyte last year on the iPhone 13, but those 4K ProRes 422 HQ files are already six gigabytes per minute. So going to 8K ProRes 422 HQ is like carrying the one divided by zero a lot. Up to 24 gigabytes per minute, a lot, a lot. And that means two terabytes is gonna be a necessary, coveted option for anyone intent on using their iPhone 14 as a primary ProRes camera.
Furthermore the A15 bionic added more performance efficiency cores, more efficient performance cores, way faster graphics cores, as well as a fifth GPU core and ProRes accelerators for the Pro all on Taiwan’s semiconductor second-generation five-nanometer process. And it was pushing the thermal limit of the iPhone enclosure. But the A16 may be still bionic, well that’s reportedly going on TSMC’s next-generation four or three-nanometer process. And yes, those are all just marketing names. But what it means is, either the same amount of performance at even less power draw or even more performance at the same power draw or more likely, depending on how Apple spends a transistor budget, a good balance of both. And some of that will go to driving new and heavier computational imaging. Some will be overhead for the next five or so years of iOS updates. And some might even be used to reduce the weight of the battery again, will just provide for even longer battery life at the same capacity. And yes, just sign me up for any of that. All of it, same with the Qualcomm X65 modem, which is next in line after this year’s X60 Modem in the iPhone 13, and sure, in a couple of years, Apple might do what they did with their Arm license and move from just licensing the chips to licensing the IP for their custom chips.
But for now, X65 is faster offering up to 10 gigabits, if you can find it, but also more efficient. So like the A16, it could either let Apple reduce the size and weight, while maintaining battery life or provide even longer battery life at the same size or weight and all of that without a SIM card slot and a physical SIM, at least on some models and in some regions,
according to some new reports.
In other words, eSIM only, or more specifically dual eSIM only because we all know how Apple just loves deleting physical hardware features like 3.5-millimeter headphone jacks and Home buttons. And if they can’t take out the charging and data port this year, they may as well just take out that SIM card slot.
For now, though, X65 might let Apple include some limited form of satellite connectivity. Why satellite? For emergencies, specifically SOS, maybe even some limited texting functionality if you’re in trouble, but of the cellular network, as well as a disaster reporting system, if there is just a whole lot of trouble and no functioning network, because Apple’s been ladling those life-saving features onto the watch for years and this along with reports of an automatic car crash reporting system, they’re starting to add them to the iPhone as well.
And I am just so very much here for it. Something that has me just Miles Finch level psyched about that iPhone 14 is that it may be more iPhone 4 like than the current iPhone 5 like the design of the iPhone 13, meaning less slab and more sandwich, still aluminum for the regular models, but with the Pro model switching from steel to titanium. And regardless of what Apple does with battery efficiency versus capacity, that could at least save a tiny bit of weight on what have become the by far heaviest iPhones ever, especially if the other big design rumor is true.
The one about Apple just flattening out the back, which would be great for stopping the current teeter-totter bump when you put them down on the table. But depending on what exactly Apple fills all that extra thick, SIM fixed space with, maybe not be so good for that already very hefty Max. Especially since Apple is reportedly just doubling down on the Maxes here, first by discontinuing, deleting, end of living, murder death killing the Mini, and second by introducing a non-Pro Max.
So the new lineup is supposed to be iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. In other words, no more 5.4, but two 6.1 inches and two 6.7 inches. And maybe you could blame that on the last couple of years, keeping people out of stores, they couldn’t fully appreciate what the Mini looked and felt like or an Apple splitting the original cheap and small iPhone SE market into a cheap SE2 and small Mini market, or an iPhone’s just increasingly becoming primary computing devices where bigger display means better productivity.