Our unscientific Twitter poll (opens in a new window) revealed that the iPhone 14 Pro Max was the most anticipated of the new Apple iPhones. Current iPhone customers appear to desire all of the capabilities that come with Apple’s premium handset, not just the larger 6.7-inch display or the prospect of better battery life.
The new Super Retina XDR display and better adaptive refresh rate camera make this the best iPhone yet. It’s not any more potent than the nearly identical but smaller 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro, but it’s substantially stronger than the brand-new iPhone 14 and the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus.
For the first time in quite some time, Apple has decided to just equip half of its new phones with its best, quickest, and presumably most efficient silicon. The A15 Bionic chip used in the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max (which has one more GPU core than the A15 Bionic chip used in the standard iPhone 13) is used in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, while the A16 Bionic chip used in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is manufactured using a brand-new 4-nanometer process.
While consumers have been increasingly drawn to larger smartphones, the fact that so many people would rather buy the iPhone 14 Pro Max than the similarly sized iPhone 14 Plus is telling. While it may seem reasonable to pay $899/£949/AU$1,579 for a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus,
consumers have shown that they are willing to pay $1,099/£1,199/AU$1,879 for the feature-rich iPhone 14 Pro Max, which they regard to be the best iPhone, even in these financially challenging times. At least there are some reasonable iPhone bundles available from Apple and its carrier partners.
Even if Apple and the carriers verify the trade-in value, you shouldn’t count on getting $1,000 for an iPhone 6, let alone an iPhone 8. However, there are $1,000 trade-in deals in the US.
The new low-power 1Hz always-on display technology is merely there for a brief peek, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s fast performance and genuinely bright screen that can now exceed 2,000 nits of brightness more than justify its asking price.
Pixel binning, a popular feature on many Android smartphones, is now available on the iPhone thanks to the updated camera array. This technique bins the light and colour information from four or more pixels on the sensor to improve low-light performance and colour accuracy.
Apple has opted for a relatively low-resolution (in comparison to, say, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 108MP) yet widely-used (12MP) sensor for the primary camera. Moreover, this sensor is matched with a high-quality lens. For professional photographers, there is a raw mode that shoots at 48 megapixels (you’ll need to activate this feature in the menu).
We find that the 120-degree field of view provided by the 12MP ultrawide camera is “wide enough,” and we appreciate the improved image quality that comes from the larger sensor and more focus pixels. The new ultrawide lens also allows for considerably better macro photography, with images that are brighter and more colourful than ever before.
By default, the iPhone handles this transition and switches to macro mode automatically, but we prefer to tweak the settings and manually switch to macro. Subjects, such as insects or flowers, can be brought as close as two centimetres for crisp, colourful, and frequently interesting close-ups. You’ll get “the bug,” if you will, for macro photography if you give it a try.
Even when rivals provide 10x optical and 100x (although highly interpolated) ‘Space Zoom,’ Apple still can’t figure out how to give us more than 3x optical zoom. We would have settled for 5x optical zoom. Instead of higher magnification, you get a 2x optical zoom that acts as an intermediate step between the entire zoom and the digital zoom that sacrifices image quality. This is more beneficial than it sounds, given that the zoom is actually simply using a small part of the full 48MP sensor.
However, the new Dynamic Island is what everyone will be talking about. It’s safe to say that we were as shocked as everyone by Apple’s unconventional response to the notch controversy. This and the iPhone 14 Pro are the first iPhones to feature a truly bezel-less display, but they both feature a flexible display and component “island” that floats just millimetres from the top of the screen.