© MariaLev/Shutterstock.com

Key Points:

  • The biggest change this year is Apple’s introduction of eSIM on all their devices. All new iPhones sold in the United States will no longer support physical SIM cards. While there is the benefit that these phones will support multiple eSIMs, it takes away the simplicity and ease of swapping a SIM card.
  • The iPhone 14 features a new OLED display and is also more durable thanks to a ceramic screen. Battery life is also improved, as is the front-facing camera. Another noteworthy feature is a new action mode that helps stabilize video recordings.
  • The iPhone 14 Pro saw the biggest improvements. It features a new A-16 bionic chip that was redesigned from the ground up. It still features a 6.1-inch screen with a similar resolution. But an all-new screen design sees what Apple calls an island.
  • The Apple Watch Ultra is by far the most capable watch that Apple has released thus far. It has the largest Apple Watch screen and features a titanium case.
  • While it’s hard to believe that they could improve on the original Airpods Pro, Apple managed to pack in some new features such as touch control volume, longer battery life, and new smaller ear tips.

Apple touted this year’s iPhone 14 launch event as a far-out experience, but as usual, it was anything but. Instead, we got the same basic device with a few new internals. This has, unfortunately, become the norm with Apple releases.

With that in mind, there were still several standout moments with both the iPhone 14 and the new Apple Watch. In addition, they also unveiled a new AirPods Pro and iPhone 14 Pro as well as an Apple Watch Ultra. But what devices are worth buying this year, and which ones are worth skipping? Let’s find out.

The iPhone 14

The iPhone is certainly the highlight of this yearly event, and the iPhone 14 was no exception. However, with Apple’s decision to release pro models of their devices, the new standard iPhones feel less exciting. Nevertheless, the iPhone 14 has a $799 price tag and does have some quality-of-life improvements over its predecessor.

The biggest change is Apple’s introduction of eSIM on all their devices. All new iPhones sold in the United States will no longer support physical SIM cards. While there is the benefit that these phones will support multiple eSIMs, it takes away the simplicity and ease of swapping a SIM card.

As for some more noticeable changes, the iPhone 14 features a new OLED display, which was previously used on the iPhone Pro. It is also more durable thanks to a ceramic screen. Battery life is also improved, as is the front-facing camera. Another noteworthy feature is a new action mode that helps stabilize video recordings.

iPhone 14 Plus

The iPhone 14 Plus has all the same features as the regular iPhone 14, with the exception of a bigger screen. The iPhone 14 Plus is 6.7 inches compared to the standard iPhone 14, which is 6.1 inches. Although it’s bigger, it actually replaces the iPhone 13 Mini in the iPhone lineup. The iPhone 14 Pro will cost you an extra $100 more than a standard iPhone 14 with a starting price of $899.

iPhone 14 Pro

iphone 14
You can get credit toward iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max when you trade in a smartphone.

©Urbanscape/Shutterstock.com

The iPhone 14 Pro saw the biggest improvements. It features a new A-16 bionic chip that was redesigned from the ground up. It still features a 6.1-inch screen with a similar resolution. But an all-new screen design sees what Apple calls an island. Unfortunately, the iPhone 14 Pro still starts at a staggeringly high price of $999.

Unlike the notch from the last few generations, which houses the speaker and camera, the iPhone 14 Pro has a cut-out in the middle of the screen. While this may initially seem intrusive, Apple uses it to its advantage by putting important information inside of it.

They call this a dynamic island because expanding the black orb for notifications and information gives us a sense that it is meant to be there.

One of the best features of the new iPhone 14 Pro is its always-on display which remains illuminated even when not in use. This is thanks to new advancements in screen and battery technology. The battery on this phone also lasts significantly longer thanks to a new low-power mode.

Of course, the pro model iPhones are well known for their high-quality cameras, and Apple once again made some improvements. The new 48-megapixel camera features a much larger sensor that leads to much better pictures and videos. The larger sensor and the new flash also do very well in low-light situations.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

If the iPhone 14 Pro’s 6.1-inch screen isn’t big enough for you, then you can go up to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which uses a 6.7-inch screen. Everything else on the Pro Max is the same as the regular iPhone 14 Pro, except for the price. The iPhone 14 Pro Max will cost an extra $100 at launch.

Apple Watch

Apple unveiled three new watches at their September event. This includes the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch SE. Each comes with its own features, bands, and vastly different pricing.

Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra [GPS + Cellular 49mm] Smart Watch w/Rugged Titanium Case & Orange Alpine Loop Medium. Fitness Tracker, Precision GPS, Action Button, Extra-Long Battery Life, Brighter Retina Display
  • WHY APPLE WATCH ULTRA — Rugged and capable, built to meet the demands of endurance athletes, outdoor adventurers, and water sports enthusiasts — with a specialized band for each. Up to 36 hours of battery life, plus all the Apple Watch features that help you stay healthy, safe, and connected.
  • EXTREMELY RUGGED, INCREDIBLY CAPABLE — 49mm corrosion-resistant titanium case. Larger Digital Crown and more accessible buttons. 100m water resistance. Customizable Action button for instant physical control over a variety of functions.
  • BIGGEST, BRIGHTEST DISPLAY YET— A bright Always-On Retina display that’s easy to see, even in direct sunlight. More room for adding complications to customize your watch face.
  • FOR ENDURANCE ATHLETES — Advanced metrics in the Workout app, including Heart Rate Zones and Running Form. Precision dual-frequency GPS for accuracy, distance, route, and pace calculations. Trail Loop band is thin, light, and flexible, designed especially for runners.
  • FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURERS — Redesigned Compass app delivers all-new views and functionality. Mark your location with Compass Waypoints. Backtrack uses GPS to map where you’ve been so you can retrace your steps. Alpine Loop band is extremely rugged and secure to meet the needs of hikers and climbers.

The Apple Watch Ultra is by far the most capable watch that Apple has released thus far. It has the largest Apple Watch screen and features a titanium case.

The style is also brand new, as this watch is specifically designed with outdoor enthusiasts and athletes in mind. It is also capable of diving and even features a depth meter. However, it also comes with a hefty price of $799.

Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 45mm] Smart Watch w/ Midnight Aluminum Case with Midnight Sport Band - S/M. Fitness Tracker, Blood Oxygen & ECG Apps, Always-On Retina Display, Water Resistant
  • WHY APPLE WATCH SERIES 8 — Your essential companion for a healthy life is now even more powerful. Advanced sensors provide insights to help you better understand your health. New safety features can get you help when you need it. The bright, Always-On Retina display is easy to read, even when your wrist is down.
  • EASILY CUSTOMIZABLE — Available in a range of sizes and materials, with dozens of bands to choose from and watch faces with complications tailored to whatever you’re into.
  • INNOVATIVE SAFETY FEATURES — Crash Detection and Fall Detection can automatically connect you with emergency services in the event of a severe car crash or a hard fall. And Emergency SOS provides urgent assistance with the press of a button.
  • ADVANCED HEALTH FEATURES — Temperature sensing is a breakthrough feature that provides deep insights into women’s health. Keep an eye on your blood oxygen. Take an ECG anytime. Get notifications if you have an irregular rhythm. And see how much time you spent in REM, Core, or Deep sleep with Sleep Stages.
  • SIMPLY COMPATIBLE — It works seamlessly with your Apple devices and services. Unlock your Mac automatically. Find your devices with a tap. Pay and send money with Apple Pay. Apple Watch requires an iPhone 8 or later with the latest iOS version.

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the next generation in the popular Apple Watch line. The biggest changes for the Series 8 are a more durable frame and a temperature sensor. The temperature sensor is very noteworthy as it adds new health features.

Apple has marketed its watches heavily as health devices, and the new temperature sensor delivers even more information about your health. The Apple Watch Series 8 has a starting price of $399.

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE (GPS, 40mm) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band (Renewed)
  • LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN YOUR POCKET: Apple Watch SE GPS Model lets you call, text, and get directions from your wrist, while leaving your phone in your pocket. It offers multiple connectivity options, including: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC to suit your needs, whatever they might be.
  • LARGE RETINA OLED DISPLAY: The SE sports a bright LTPO OLED Retina display, giving you a bright screen you can view at a glance, even in bright sunlight. A variety of watch faces are available for the SE watch, including faces that provide essential information for specific activities.
  • LOADED WITH FEATURES: When paired with your iPhone, you can make calls and send texts from your wrist, navigate with Maps, buy items with Apple Pay, and use your voice to activate Siri. Made to last in almost any kind of weather, the Apple Watch SE is water-resistant up to 164'.
  • WORKOUTS THAT DON'T QUIT: Cycling, yoga, swimming, high-intensity interval training...the list goes on. You name it, Apple Watch measures it. Set workout-specific goals, see full summaries when you're done, and track how you're trending over time in the Activity app on your iPhone.
  • GET LOST IN YOUR MUSIC: With Apple Music on your wrist, you've got 60 million tracks of musical motivation to take you places. You can also catch up on the latest podcasts or listen to an audiobook if that's your thing. Stream everything you need right from your watch, even without your phone.

Last but not least is the Apple Watch SE which will retail for only $249. It is an affordable alternative to some of the more expensive Apple watches. However, it retains many of the great features.

The new generation of Apple Watch SE has a bigger screen and a redesigned underside. It also adds the heart rate monitor found on other Apple watches.

AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro (Renewed)
  • Active noise cancellation for immersive sound
  • Transparency mode for hearing and connecting with the world around you
  • Three sizes of soft, tapered silicone tips for a customizable fit
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Adaptive EQ automatically tunes music to the shape of your ear

A long-awaited product in the Apple lineup is the next generation of Airpod Pros. There have been countless rumors lingering for years, but Apple did not mention them until now.

While it’s hard to believe that they could improve on the original Airpods Pro, Apple managed to pack in some new features such as touch control volume, longer battery life, and new smaller ear tips.

They also made some improvements to the case, which is now MagSafe compatible and also features a built-in speaker. The new Airpod Pros will cost $249.

Safety Features

An overarching theme of this year’s iPhone event was a range of new safety features. There are two main features added to Apple devices. The first announcement was for satellite connectivity which allows cell phones to make emergency calls even when not in range of cell service. It works by connecting to satellites for a short period of time instead of regular cell towers.

The other major feature was a crash detection system that can recognize when a user has been in an accident and alert the proper authorities. New Apple watches also have the same ability to detect crashes.

However, since this new feature was released, there has been some concern about false alarms, especially from places like roller coasters and theme parks where users are perfectly safe but are subjected to high G forces.

google pixel 7 pro vs iphone 14 pro max
If the iPhone 14 Pro’s 6.1-inch screen isn’t big enough for you, then you can go up to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, with a 6.7-inch screen.

©RYO Alexandre/Shutterstock.com

Event in Review

This year’s Apple iPhone 14 event was much like the last few. First, the iPhone 14 Pro saw some nice new features, but the standard iPhone 14 was rather lackluster. The basic shape of the phones still remains nearly identical year to year, plus there are no major additions or improvements.

However, it was nice to see the new Apple Watches, even if the Ultra is a bit expensive. It is also nice to see a new version of the Apple Watch SE since it does help get the device into the hands of more people. The new Airpods Pro were also great to finally see since rumors have persisted for a couple of years now.

The biggest announcements were certainly about the new health and safety features, as they can be truly lifesaving. Crash detection will be a major step forward in faster emergency care. Similarly, satellite emergency calls will surely give some comfort to those traveling beyond the reach of cell service.

Up Next…

Last update on 2023-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Apple’s iPhone 14 Event Was Far From “Far Out” FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Does the iPhone 14 still have a SIM slot?

iPhones sold in the US will not have a SIM slot, while iPhones sold in other markets will keep them.

Did Apple unveil an iPhone SE?

No, Apple has not released a new iPhone SE in several years. However, they were typically unveiled in Apple’s Spring announcements anyway.

How many cameras does the iPhone 14 have?

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have two cameras, whereas the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have three cameras.

Does the iPhone 14 have a "dynamic island"?

Only the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have a dynamic island display.

Is there an iPhone 14 Mini?

Apple did not announce a new iPhone Mini. In fact, it appears that the iPhone 14 Plus has replaced the Mini, at least for the time being.

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