Q: Should I Upgrade to the iPhone 14? A: Maybe, But Probably Not

Should I Upgrade to the iPhone 14

The iPhone 14 family is out from the shroud of secrecy surrounding it. The details of the new iPhone offered some surprises, but mainly just met the expectations we’d had from leaks and rumors. Now, the question is, should you upgrade to the iPhone 14? My answer to this question might surprise you. First, though, some caveats:

The iPhone 14 Family Does Offer Improvements Over the Previous Generation

Yes, Apple has made its latest iPhone models faster and more capable. The iPhone 14 base models use the A15 Bionic chipset, just like the previous iPhone 13, but a slightly improved version of it. Instead of the previously-provided 4-core GPU, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus enjoy a 5-core GPU.

On the iPhone 14 Pro side, things are a bit better. This lineup comes with the A16 Bionic, with a CPU that’s up to 40% faster than the leading competitor. Its 5-core GPU has 50% more memory bandwidth, too.

Of course, both sides of the house include camera upgrades, especially the 48MP Main camera on the iPhone 14 Pro. Even the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus see improvements, though, with larger pixels and the first-ever autofocus capability on the Front camera.

Then, of course, there’s what Apple did with the notch on the iPhone 14 Pro. Some have called it genius, taking a characteristic that generated so much scorn and ridicule and turning it into a feature that definitely looks useful.

The Improvements Don’t Convince Me It’s Time to Upgrade, Though

Now, I want you to understand something. I’m usually the type of person who wants the newest electronics and gadgets, to live on the bloodiest rim of bleeding-edge technology. However, I’m not convinced it’s time to upgrade my iPhone 13 Pro.

First of all, there’s the Geekbench test results for the iPhone 14 Pro. My current model is only marginally slower than the iPhone 14 Pro: a single-core score of 1707 versus the iPhone 14 Pro’s 1879. Multi-core performance shows even less improvement, 4659 for the iPhone 13 Pro against 4664 for the latest model.

Naturally, those numbers don’t tell the whole story, of course. There’s also the camera improvements to consider, the 48MP Main camera compared to my 12MP. The iPhone 14 Pro also offers 4K video recording at both 24fps and 30fps, in ProRes.However, my iPhone 13 Pro can do that, too. The main difference is the iPhone 14 Pro can use the ProRes format in Cinematic mode.

Some Will Certainly Benefit From an iPhone 14 Upgrade

I know what you’re saying, that not everyone has an iPhone less than a year old. I recognize that, I truly do. There are a few categories of people who should definitely consider upgrading to the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro models.

  • Hardcore Mobile Gamers: If you’re really into iOS gaming, I have little doubt the iPhone 14 Pro is where you’re going to want to be, if not the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The extra GPU core and additional memory bandwidth will make a huge difference for graphics-intensive games.
  • Serious Photographers and Videographers: The extra megapixels offered by the Main camera on the iPhone 14 Pro do make for a serious upgrade. So does the larger pixel size and aperture across the entire family. That being said, I doubt the regular consumer will notice. Those of you really into serious photography and videography with your iPhone, though, will definitely benefit. Action Mode sounds amazing, but it’s not something I think more than a certain segment of consumers will find important.
  • Folks Still Rocking That iPhone XR or Older: I might even expand this category to the iPhone 11, but only just. I think folks who are on an iPhone 12 or newer simply won’t see as dramatic an improvement between the devices, overall. However, anybody with an iPhone XR or older is already left out, a bit, in terms of iOS 16 features their CPU won’t support. I’m not sure how many of you are still rocking these older devices (I know at least is still on an iPhone 6S, though), but this might be a good time to upgrade.

Does this mean we’ll think badly of you if you upgrade even though you aren’t in one of these categories? No, of course not. However, I have almost convinced myself to hold off on my own upgrade. Because …

Some Might Want to Wait for the iPhone 15

Apple almost certainly has already begun testing new features for next year’s iPhone, even though the iPhone 14 isn’t even shipping yet. Judging by some of the features we’d hoped to see this year, but didn’t, many of us may want to wait for the iPhone 15 in 2023. Here’s just a glimpse of what we think might be in store for next year.

  • The success of Dynamic Island could mean that pill and hole-punch cutout becomes the standard, only packed with even more features.
  • Apple is still working on a periscope camera lens, which could allow it to pack a 10X telephoto lens into the iPhone 15.
  • That 48MP camera should be capable of much more than 4K video recording. Give me 8K video recording, please; I can already shoot in 4K ProRes on my current iPhone.
  • A final change to Thunderbolt/USB-C charging and file transfer. I mean, come on…my iPad supports it, my Mac obviously offers it. The time when Lightning offered more capabilities than USB is long gone, so it’s time to get with the times.

So, there you have it. My thoughts on who should upgrade to the iPhone 14. What say you? Will you be ordering a new iPhone 14? Let us know in the comments which model’s really caught your eye.

2 thoughts on “Q: Should I Upgrade to the iPhone 14? A: Maybe, But Probably Not

  • Jeff:

    Points well taken.

    I last upgraded everyone in my household’s phone but mine, and for the past few years have been rolling with my iPhone X, which is a testament to how future-proofed the device was at release (Face ID and capable of hosting all iOS updates), and how well-made (not a scratch despite some modest abuse).

    Given the temporary cessation of my globetrotting during the pandemic, I had no compelling reason to upgrade my iPhone, which largely sat on my desk charger or streaming my morning workout programmes, but otherwise was a minor player in my tech arsenal.

    The camera alone is compelling (I am noticing the quality differential between my photos vs those of friends and family, these days).

    Methinks an upgrade might be in order.

  • I have an iPhone 12 Pro and it is still running fine, so I probably won’t upgrade. My wife has an iPhone 11 and it getting where the battery charge doesn’t last so long, so she will probably get an upgrade.

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