The iPhone 14 has been the first iPhone that I can remember that I actually don’t think you should bother upgrading to.
It’s almost like it’s just the encore to the iPhone 13, instead of a whole new song.
I’ve owned the iPhone 14 Pro Max for a couple of months; there are ten major issues that I’ve seen which make me really regret this purchase.
Problem 1 / Battery Life
First up is Battery Life. The iPhone 13 Pro Max already holds the prize for the absolute battery king when it comes to smartphones, so you’d think that the battery life on the iPhone 14 Pro Max would surely surpass that of the 13.
But in my experience, you’d be wrong.
Firstly it might be because of the admittedly beautiful implementation of an Always On Display, which does give you access to an ever-growing number of widgets without needing to pick up and unlock your phone.
And by switching the always-on display off, you can indeed get some additional hours of battery life from your phone.
However, even if you did that, and in my experience of having one since launch day, I’m actually finding that I’m still burning through the battery faster than I’d like to think. Considering the iPhone 13 is a phone that should comfortably get you through a full 2 days without charging and without messing around with settings that can reduce power consumption - the iPhone 14 does feel like a downgrade in the battery life department.
Hopefully, that’s something that will get better over time, but you’ll see from this screenshot that on Friday I used over 100% battery (which means I charged it in between)and only had 5 hours of screen on time. Coming from previous tests on the iPhone 13 which doubled that figure, I’m really disappointed it’s not better.
Problem 2 / Dynamic Island
One of the unexpected announcements from the iPhone 14 Launch was Dynamic Island. And whilst it’s been fun to hear other creators play around with the name:
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEwjThZmM7c - 10:01s]
It has felt a little unfinished.
I love that we’re finally getting to see other apps make use of the dynamic island feature, I went to park my car the other day, and to have a countdown timer permanently at the top of my display was really useful to see.
But for the rest of the time, it’s kind of annoying.
When watching videos the pill type cut out just intrudes into the content more than the previous generation notch. And if anything I wish they’d not joined the 2 sensors together with a black bar and instead had 2 separate hole punches for them.
Ultimately, I feel that the Dynamic Island could instead have been made the Dynamic Notch - and then we could reclaim those fractions of valuable millimeters which are now wasted by moving the notch down, instead leaving some even more useless empty space above it.
Problem 3 / No Sim Tray
Of course one of the biggest problems on the iPhone 14 range is currently reserved exclusively for those who live in the US, and that is Apple's decision to remove the Sim tray from the phone.
There are some good reasons behind their decision, by doing this then the chance of sim fraud, which is where someone illegally puts your number onto their sim card so they can falsely take your identity, becomes a moot point.
For most people, this isn’t really a problem. If you carry one phone and you typically keep that phone for a year plus, then it’s kind of fine. It just means that when you upgrade your phone each time, you are likely going to have to put up with a small amount of time where you can’t use your phone, and can’t make or receive calls, because the sim card needs to be pushed by your carrier.
This is even more prevalent if you are trying to do this on say, the launch date of the new iPhone. Because the carriers will be so congested with trying to do this across thousands, perhaps millions of iPhones, that as we saw with the iPhone 14, it just becomes a mess, with some people waiting days to get their new Sim activated.
This is something that’s only going to get worse as they roll out the same sim-less design to other countries with future iPhone versions.
Problem 4 / Still No USB C
And this issue continues through the fact that we still don’t have USB C on any iPhones.
For decisions only known to Apple, I still need to carry around a Lightning cable when it’s the only device I own, bar from the Airpod Pro Maxs, that still use Lightning. And in 2022, that’s pretty bad.
The good news is that Apple is being forced to change to USB C on any phones produced from Autumn 2024, so the iPhone 15 might include one.
And I say might, because as we’ve seen over the years - Apple has a habit of doing its own thing and from the beginning, it’s very apparent that they like removing ports instead of changing them.
From Macbooks now which exclusively have USB C on them, to losing the headphone jack, and now the Sim tray, it wouldn’t surprise me if the iPhone 15 came with no charging port at all, and instead relied solely on wireless charging instead.
If that’s the case, then I really hope Apple has a plan to improve the wireless charging speeds because, at just 15w, it’s almost half as fast when charging with a cable.
Problem 5 / Bugs - Copy & Paste, iOS 16 Battery Drain, Shaky Camera Glitch, Messages / Facetime Issues
Problem number, 5, I think we’re on now - is something that surprised me this year, and that’s been the number of bugs and glitches with iOS 16, that I don’t think we’ve ever really seen before.
Maybe this is a side effect of working through covid, but problems like the copy and paste bug which would constantly prompt me if I wanted to paste, were still present in the full iOS 16 release.
I didn’t personally experience any of the camera glitches or iMessage issues where people couldn’t send messages, but it has been the first year where I’ve seen significantly more issues and complaints than before.
It’s not something that’s unique to the iPhone though. The Pixel 6 Pro has probably been the most bug-ridden phone on launch that I’ve experienced so far, where even their own apps would crash repeatedly, taking them months to solve it.
But for a company that prides itself on quality, particularly around it’s App store approval process, it’s unusual to see so many issues get through to launch.
Problem 6 / Siri is still useless. Compared to Alexa, or Google.
Another issue that’s been an issue for far too long to even remember, is Siri.
I honestly don’t really ever think of using Siri other than to set a timer, switch a light on or ask about the weather, because it seems that any time I try to use it for more than that and use longer sentences, it completely misses the mark.
I recently shot a video about using only the Apple Watch Ultra for a full day, where I took a run in Hyde Park in London. I should have been able to use Siri to dictate a message to a friend who I was meeting up with - but after literally 5 attempts, I just gave up with Siri apparently just making up what it heard me say.
When you compare this to the likes of particularly Google’s own Google Assistant, which I’ve genuinely been blown away by recently on the Pixel, it’s really surprising why Apple hasn’t been able to improve Siri to the same level. So if you want to be able to send messages on the go, when Running or even driving a car, Siri might not be the best thing.
The best thing around this that I’ve come across is to use Siri to send a Voice message instead, so at least the recipient will hear exactly what you’ve said, and not Siri's bad interpretation.
Problem 7 / Slow Connecting to Wifi
OK, for number 7 now, this is something that I’ve only ever really noticed between constantly switching phones, and that is how the Wifi works in these iPhones.
I use a Home Automation system around my house, and when I arrive home, get out of my car and walk up to the front door - I sometimes have to sit there waiting minutes, usually with me having to manually close and re-launch apps, trying to get them to reconnect, before I can let myself into my front door.
Yes, I could open it with a keyfob, but I don’t carry any keys on me, no car keys, and no house keys.
Compared to pretty much every android phone that I’ve tested, I noticed that this isn’t a problem on Android. Before I’ve even got my phone out of my pocket, the phone has connected itself to my home wifi, so I’m not left waiting outside in the rain, looking like a bit of a lemon.
Problem 8 / Prices have gone up. 13 is Cheaper. And 14 Plus is an affordable big screen.
Next for Number 8 is that whilst the prices have stayed the same in the US and actually also in China, prices have gone up for the iPhone 14 everywhere else in the world.
My iPhone 14 Pro Max, for example, is now £150 more expensive than the iPhone 13 Pro Max at launch.
And whilst it’s fairly safe to assume this is down to the never-ending inflation that we are experiencing this year with increased supply costs and fluctuation in currency, it does feel a bit unfair considering they have kept the same price for the US and China exclusively. But, Apple giveth and apple Taketh away with the US keeping the cheaper price but losing out on things like the sim card tray.
What this does mean though, is that the iPhone 13 has come down in price, with the iPhone 13 Mini actually being a solid purchase right now. With flagship features, in a small form factor - and if you want to know more about my thoughts around the iPhone 13 check out this post:
Problem 9 / No 5x or 10x Optical Zoom.
The next problem for me has been the disappointing upgrades to the camera system.
Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro still hold their own in terms of having one of the best camera systems available in a smartphone. With one of the smoothest transitions when switching lenses of any phone that I’ve used before.
But this year many of us were hoping for a 5x or 10x optical zoom to compete with the likes of the Google Pixel and the Samsung S22 Ultra.
Instead, we were graced with a 2x mode instead, which is actually just a cropped version of the main sensor. And whilst this does give you great photos, I think we would have preferred a 5x or 10x Zoom over this 2x mode, which you could just get by standing a foot or two closer to whatever you’re shooting an image of.
I’d like to think that might come in next year's iPhone 15, but I have my doubts that this is even on Apple’s radar for product development. Instead of trying to achieve this with more complex AI computing methods.
Problem 10 / Getting Stale / Stiff Competition. Foldables from Z Fold 4. Pixel Fold. S22 Ultra.
And for problem 10, this is more of a general commentary piece around Apple and the iPhone as a whole. But for me, iPhones, and specifically the iPhone 14 is starting to just feel a bit, Stale.
Things have significantly slowed down in product development and the innovation that used to become a key focus for Apple feels to be lacking.
When Steve Jobs died, back in October 2011… wow that long ago? He left 4 years of projects for Apple to complete. Fast forward to 2022, and we’ve seen all of those to fruition already. Where does it go from here?
Apple still has a lot going for it though. It’s leading the class when it comes to In Car Entertainment, FaceID is still unbeaten, secure, and convenient, and the cameras are JUST leading the pack still. But with things like iPad OS still a hot mess, and their refusal to support RCS for cross-platform messages, it’s only reaffirming why I’ve started looking at Android as a really interesting alternative.
Perhaps Apple’s Think Different Slogan, which was a direct response to IBM’s slogan of ‘Think’ - Perhaps, I feel, they’re now on this dangerous precipice of becoming the very thing they set out to destroy.
I hope I’m wrong.
But for now, if you are looking at buying a brand new iPhone - don’t get an iPhone 14. Thanks for reading, see you in the next one!