Apple’s yearly iPhone launch is the biggest date in the company’s calendar. And after several years of cautious upgrades, expectations are high for the iPhone 14 in late 2022.
In this article we round up the latest leaks and rumors concerning Apple’s next flagship iPhone launch, including the iPhone 14’s release date, tech specs, design changes, new features, pricing and more. The latest news is that all iPhone 14 models are expected to get an upgraded front camera with autofocus and an f/1.9 aperture, while a controversial hole + pill design is set to replace the notch.
While we wait for the new handsets to arrive, you can pick up a bargain on the current range with our roundup of the best iPhone deals.
When will the iPhone 14 be released?
We expect the iPhone 14 to be announced in mid-September 2022, and hit stores around a week later.
Apple nearly always debuts its new iPhones in September each year, with COVID-19 causing one notable exception in 2020. It’s possible there will be similar delays this year–while the iPhone 14 Pro entered test production on schedule, the non-Pro models appear to have been delayed slightly–but we’d be surprised if Apple wasn’t able to get a handle on these issues in time for the fall. Mark September 2022 in your diary for the coming of the new models.
Here’s when the last few generations arrived:
iPhone 13: September 24, 2021
iPhone 12: October 23, 2020
iPhone 11: September 20, 2019
iPhone XS: September 21, 2018
(Note that one iPhone has arrived already in 2022: the iPhone SE 3 was announced at Apple’s spring event on March 8. But the flagship launch will have to wait until the fall.)
Design changes for 2022
What will the iPhone look like in 2022? We expect significant design changes. Here are the latest rumors concerning the iPhone 14’s external appearance and physical chassis.
Goodbye mini, hello Max
The most basic and obvious design attribute is size, and most pundits agree that Apple is about to drop a big (or rather small) bombshell in that regard. All the signs suggest that the 5.4-inch iPhone mini line is going to be discontinued: Ming-Chi Kuo is on hand with rumors suggesting that Apple will kill off the mini to introduce the Max in 2022.
What that means in practice is that we’ll still get four models, but instead of these being split into one small, two medium and one large, it will be two medium and two large.
Knowledgable Bloomberg report Mark Gurman supports this theory, adding that Apple “will have to get more dramatic with ’s overhaul, especially as competition mounts.” More on that redesign shortly.
The iPhone 12 mini and 13 mini are understood to have sold badly, and the move is understandable. But not everyone will be glad to see the back of the mini, as we explain in Why we mourn the iPhone mini.
The end of the notch… or not
The iPhone 13 range saw a small decrease in the size of the infamous notch on the front display. But it could vanish completely in 2022, or at least transform into a new and more discreet form.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 14 Pro will feature a punch-hole display design instead. That punch-hole design, incidentally, was the subject of a controversial leak in September 2021, when Jon Prosser chose to reveal the design of 2022’s iPhone just days before the announcement of the 2021 model. Here’s how Front Page Tech sees the iPhone 14:
We’ve since heard more speculation about how Apple will deal with the notch in its late-2022 phones. In October we heard the bizarre rumor that the iPhone 14 would feature both a pinhole camera and a notch, which surely defeats the purpose of including a pinhole. At least the notch will shrink again, in this scenario, but we can’t see customers going for a phone with two annoying imperfections in the screen.
Here’s what that might look like, based on an image showcasing the “hole + pill” design that was posted on Chinese social media in February 2022:
But other sources continue to argue for the single aperture. In December 2021 South Korean news site The Elec returned to the original prediction that the notch would vanish in 2022, replaced entirely by a pinhole. The site based this assertion on anonymous sources. And in January the reliable reporter Mark Gurman concurred that it’s going to be punch-hole time, baby.
The debate continues: we investigate whether the iPhone 14 will have a notch in depth in a separate article. It’s likely to prove a key element in the device’s reception as a triumph or a stale retread of past glories.
The return of Touch ID
One way for Apple to make it easier to remove the notch would be to reinstate Touch ID on the next iPhone. This can be done in one of two ways, both of which have been heavily rumored for some time now.
But is Apple prepared to countenance such an obvious backwards step? Touch ID was dropped from the flagship iPhones as long ago as 2017, with its ongoing confinement to more budget-focused models an implicit assertion that face recognition is better than fingerprint.
Our suspicion is that Apple will only restore Touch ID to its top-tier phones when it’s able to offer it alongside Face ID. And that doesn’t help whatsoever with the removal of the notch.
The first portless iPhone
One of the rumors that seems to be picking up traction is that Apple will ditch the Lightning port on the iPhone 14 and feature no ports at all. This has been rumored since before the iPhone 12 was launched, but it could be made a reality due to pressure from the EU or just for Apple to create more space inside its iPhones.
Rather than rely on cables for charging, all power will be delivered wirelessly. This would instantly render many accessories and power banks redundant, but Apple has never been shy about making unpopular decisions in the past.
There’s also an interesting sidebar to this issue, which is that the EU has been on the warpath for a while about proprietary charging standards, and a draft law forcibly standardising smartphone ports was rumored in August 2021. This came a step closer in September 2021, when the EU Commission presented a bill to unify charging cables.
In theory this could oblige Apple to produce a USB-C iPhone for sale in Europe–and even more theoretically, could encourage it to base all its new iPhones on USB-C so as to avoid the production inefficiency of making more than one design. But it’s hard to see a company as large and powerful as Apple bowing to mid-level political pressure in this way.
Our suspicion is that the portless iPhone, discussed by fans for so long, will not become a reality for some time yet. (One Apple site already claimed before its launch that there was a portless ‘variant’ of the iPhone 13, but it seems this was more of a testing prototype for long-term development than a serious contender for commercial release anytime soon.) One day it will happen, but we doubt that day will be in 2022.
New MagSafe adapter
On the subject of charging ports, there’s also a curious rumor surrounding MagSafe. Not the MagSafe standard used by the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models to attach wireless chargers to their rear, but a new magnetic cable standard that’s far closer to the old MagSafe used by MacBooks.
Apple has patented “a plurality of magnets aligned with a linear configuration of the plurality of spring-biased pin assemblies…”
Actually, it’s probably easier if you look at this illustration:
How this would circumvent the EU problem or standardise Apple’s connector issues is unclear, but it is an interesting-looking technology.
Tech specs and new features
One of the tech community’s favorite games is working out what improvements and innovations Apple will come up with each year for its new iPhones.
Apple tests many new technologies, but whether they make it into the iPhone or not has to do with a complicated web of technical feasibility, cost, availability of parts from suppliers, and more. Here are the strongest clues we have about the features and spec upgrades you may see in the iPhone 14.
The iPhone 13 is said to have 120Hz ProMotion displays on the Pro models, with panels made by Samsung, while the non-Pro variants will reportedly use regular 60Hz displays made by LG. With the iPhone 14, LG is said to be making LPTO OLED displays capable of 120Hz to supply the entire iPhone line.
So it’s possible that the entire iPhone 14 line will have 120Hz ProMotion technology, which would follow Apple’s natural cadence: bring a feature to the Pro model first and then follow with the rest of the line a year later.
While we’re on the subject of screen upgrades, we haven’t heard any specific rumors about an always-on display in the iPhone 14. But after it was heavily rumored for the iPhone 13 and failed to materialize, it’s possible that it will make an appearance this year.
Big changes are apparently coming to the iPhone’s camera in the iPhone 14. While the two lines are expected to retain the same setup—dual camera in the standard iPhone 14 and triple-camera in the iPhone 14 Pro—Apple is planning a big leap for the higher-end models. Leaked schematics show a massive camera bump on the Pro models, protruding 4.17mm from the back of the case for a total thickness of 12.02mm, about a milimeter thicker than the iPhone 13 Pro.
According to Kuo, Apple is said to be considering a 48MP sensor for the standard wide camera, which would combine the pixels’ light collection in a 2×2 grid when in a low-light situation (producing a 12MP photo). The camera would reportedly be capable of shooting 8K video, at least on the Pro models. Kuo also says the front camera will gain autofocus and a wider aperture (f/1.9 instead of f/2.2).
In April, a post on Weibo (via Macrumors) claimed that the wide camera sensor will be 20 percent larger than iPhone 13 Pro. Together with the 48MP lens, that likely means the iPhone 14 Pro will take extremely detailed images in bright light while still relying on night mode to capture low-light images.
While the Pro models were previously rumored to include a “periscope” lens with variable zoom, the latest rumor says that feature is coming in the 2023 iPhone (presumably the iPhone 15).
New A16 processor
Every new iPhone has a new A-series system-on-chip (SoC) and we expect the iPhone 14 to follow suit. The A16, as it will likely be called, could be one of the first large-scale processor releases to use TSMC’s 3-nanometer manufacturing process, which should help improve performance, efficiency, and battery life. However, a report in November by The Information suggested Apple might stick with a 5nm process due to struggles with TSMC’s “cutting-edge manufacturing technique.”
However, recent rumors suggest only the Pro models will get the newest chip, while the non-Pro models will get a slightly upgraded A15 chip. That would be a doubling-down of the strategy Apple introduced with the iPhone 14, when the Pro models got a different A15 chip for the first time with a 5-core GPU.
Improved battery life
Talking of battery performance, the Chinese-language site Economic Daily News believes the iPhone 14 will get a boost in this department thanks to improvements in 5G technology. The latest 5G components are smaller and more energy-efficient than the ones used in the previous generation of iPhones, freeing up space in the chassis and enabling Apple to fit in a larger battery.
Apple plans to bump the Pro and Pro Max handsets from 6GB of RAM in the 13-series generation to 8GB for the 14-series, according to rumors from South Korea circulating in February 2022. The standard models, meanwhile, will jump from 4GB to 6GB.
Up to 2TB of storage
Apple has only just broken the terabyte barrier, offering a cool 1TB as the top storage tier on the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max for the first time ever. But optimistic rumormongers think Apple will blast past that milestone and double up again to 2TB in 2022.
This theory is based on early testing activity at supplier partners. But we’re not entirely convinced.
iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models sold in the US offer mmWave (or millimetre wave) 5G, but elsewhere this form isn’t available. For instance, users in the UK rely on the slower sub-6GHz version of 5G, which US users get in addition to mmWave.
That may change with the iPhone 14. We reported back before the launch of the iPhone 13 that Apple had made a large order for mmWave antenna, which suggested that the UK and other countries would get faster 5G with the iPhone 13. But in the end the technology was kept a US-only option.
In April 2021 the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that support for mmWave would be rolled out in far more countries as part of the launch of the iPhone 13 models. He mentioned Canada, Australia, Japan and “major European mobile operators,” which may include the UK. Maybe Kuo’s radar was slightly off, and mmWave will make its international debut in the iPhone 14 instead?
So, what’s the big deal with mmWave? Well, the theoretical maximum speed for mmWave is 1-2 gigabits per second, compared to the 100-400 megabits offered by Sub-6 GHz. However, Sub-6GHz offers a longer range, which is to the benefit of users outside the big cities. We have a separate article where you can read about the 5G coverage problems faced by the iPhone in the UK.
We have a good idea, by the way, of the components Apple will use to provide this improved 5G connectivity, with the newly updated X65 expected to appear in the iPhone 14. This is interesting because it allows the use of mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G at the same time, and offers unprecedented speeds of up to 10Gb/s and even improved power efficiency.
Wi-Fi 6E is similar to Wi-Fi 6, which the last three generations of iPhone already support. But it adds compatibility with the 6Hz band, increasing bandwidth, improving speeds and reducing interference.
According to a July 2021 report from the Taiwanese site DigiTimes, the late-2021 iPhones were thought to feature support for the new Wi-Fi 6E wireless standard. But this didn’t happen, suggesting that it could be one of the new features in the iPhone 14 range–and in November 2021 Ming-Chi Kuo gave this theory his backing.
DigiTimes wasn’t the first site to predict Wi-Fi 6E in iPhones, with Barclays analysts forecasting the same upgrade back in January 2021.
How much will the iPhone 14 cost?
Price-wise, we expect the standard iPhone 14 model to start at around $800, with the iPhone 14 Pro model somewhere between $1,000 and $1,100 (or more if you want to add extra storage).
But expect the pricing structure for the iPhone 14 models to be a little different from the current range, for the simple reason that there isn’t expected to be a 5.4-inch mini version, but rather a lower-cost 6.7-inch Max size that Ming-Chi Kuo has said could come in at under $900. With that in mind, we expect the starting lineup to range from roughly $800-$1,000 in price, depending on model and size.
The new larger model could also shake up the Pro prices. LeaksApple Pro on Twitter reported that Apple “is currently considering” bumping the prices of the Pro iPhones by $100 apiece, pushing the iPhone 14 Pro to $1,099 and the iPhone 14 Pro Max to $1,199. The account cites increasing production costs and the need to provide more than a $100 difference between the 14 Max and the 14 Pro.
For a rough comparison, here are the current starting prices on the iPhone 13 series, as detailed in our iPhone buying guide. Note that these will drop in price when the 14-series handsets appear (or disappear from sale entirely).
iPhone 13 mini: $699/£679
iPhone 13: $799/£779
iPhone 13 Pro: $999/£949
iPhone 13 Pro Max: $1,099/£1,049
iPhone 15 and beyond
While many of these rumors look set to appear in the iPhone 14, it’s always tricky to guess where Apple will go next. So take this guide with a pinch of salt, as anything could happen over the months-long wait for the new device.
Bear in mind too that some planned changes or new features may slip and get pushed back to the next generation. For example, in terms of design, the evidence is piling up that Apple is working on something very radical: more radical indeed than the iPhone X.
An embryonic clamshell design currently known as the iPhone Flip is in development at Apple HQ. Prolific leaker Jon Prosser says it’s reminiscent of the Galaxy Z Flip, and will come in “fun colors.” But he also warns that it won’t launch in 2022, ruling out the iPhone 14.