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This year it looks like Apple is preparing to differentiate its “Pro” iPhone models even more than it has in the past. This could include even more significant camera improvements and even different processors on the higher-end models.
Since the iPhone 11 Pro ushered in the era of “Pro” iPhone models, Apple has distinguished its premium iPhone lineup primarily through better camera systems. However, the iPhone Pro also had one other thing going for it: the availability of a larger 6.7-inch “Max” model.
By all reports, that distinction will disappear this year as Apple refreshes its lineup to include a 6.7-inch “iPhone 14 Max” alongside the “iPhone 14 Pro Max.” This means that customers looking for the largest possible iPhone screen will no longer need to go with a “Pro” model to get it.
As a result, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that Apple plans to do even more to set the “iPhone 14 Pro” lineup apart from the standard models:
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- In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says his sources tell him the 48-megapixel camera we’ve been hearing so much about will be exclusive to the “iPhone 14 Pro” and “iPhone 14 Pro Max.” The standard models will stick with a 12-megapixel version similar to the iPhone 13.
- Gurman’s sources also confirm other recent reports that Apple’s newest A16 chip will only be included in the Pro models. The standard “iPhone 14” will stick with some variation of last year’s A15 chip.
- Only the “iPhone 14 Pro” will get the new pill-shaped cutout for the camera; the standard “iPhone 14” will retain the classic notch design. This will visually set the “iPhone 14 Pro” apart when looking at it from the front and the back.
While it’s the first we’ve heard of the 48MP camera coming only to the “iPhone 14 Pro,” it’s not entirely surprising. Over the past few years, Apple has slowly increased the gulf between the cameras in its iPhone lineups, culminating with entirely different sensors in last year’s iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models.
The iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 had the same Wide and Ultra Wide cameras as their “Pro” counterparts; the third telephoto camera was the upgrade, plus the LiDAR Scanner in the iPhone 12 Pro. However, with the iPhone 13 Pro, Apple improved its Wide and Ultra Wide lenses to f/1.5 and f/1.8, respectively, while the iPhone 13 was left with the same f/1.6 and f/2.4 apertures as the iPhone 12.
Regarding the processor, Gurman suggests that the chip shortage may have contributed to Apple’s decision to make the new A16 exclusive to the pro iPhones. Nevertheless, this could work in Apple’s favor by helping to distinguish the lineup even further.
To be clear, it’s doubtful Apple will use the “A15” name for the chip in the base “iPhone 14” models. As we’ve previously reported, it’s more likely to make some minor modifications and call it an “A16” while giving the entirely new silicon a name such as “A16 Pro.” This would be similar to the naming standards Apple now uses for the Mac’s M-series chips.
It wouldn’t be the first time Apple has done something like this. The chip in last year’s Apple Watch Series 7 may be called an “S7,” but it’s basically identical to the S6 from the year before.
What About Satellite Connectivity?
Lastly, Gurman reiterates his earlier report on Apple’s plans to bring emergency satellite connectivity to the iPhone, adding that there’s a good chance it will materialize this year. This won’t be about making calls over a satellite network; it will likely just be tied into the Emergency SOS feature that’s already available to provide a way to call for help when you don’t have cellular connectivity.
As Gurman notes, Apple’s “apparent satellite partner,” GlobalStar, announced earlier this year that it was planning to buy 17 new satellites for new “continuous satellite services” for an unnamed customer in a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]