What differences will two years of iPhone improvements make?
With a two-year age gap between them, the iPhone 12 and next year's iPhone 14 are bound to differ in some significant ways. Although the iPhone 12 offered a huge update when it launched in 20202, adding straight edges, 5G support and four different models, the iPhone 14 figures to launch some significant changes of its own.
The jump from iPhone 12 to iPhone 13 was a modest one, with Apple making small improvements to the cameras while also boosting battery sizes and adding adaptive refresh rates to the iPhone 13 Pro models. The iPhone 14 is expected to change a lot more than that with the possible introduction of a new front punch-hole camera replacing the notch, under-display Touch ID and a reworked overall design, along with potential changes to cameras, chips and other components.
We've got almost a year to wait until the expected September 2022 launch window for the iPhone 14, meaning we've still got a long time until the official details are announced. While that leaves plenty of time for more rumors to bubble up, we can still offer an iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 12 comparison based on what we've heard so far about Apple's upcoming phone.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 12: Price
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini marked a welcome reduction in price compared to the iPhone 11 lineup, debuting at $799 and $699, respectively. Meanwhile the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max stayed at $999 and $1,099 — the same prices as the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max before them.
There are no iPhone 14 pricing rumors at the moment, so we can't back up our hopes that Apple holds the line on pricing the way it did with the iPhone 13. Prices established with the iPhone 12 series didn't change with the iPhone 13, so here's hoping that continues.
The iPhone 12's price dropped by $100 when the iPhone 13 came out, with Apple continuing to offer the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. We'd expect those prices to drop further once the iPhone 14 arrives, since Apple typically keeps two years of models available in its phone lineup.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 12: Design
The iPhone 12 cemented Apple's current design language of flat sides and symmetrical bezels, while keeping with the more established Face ID notch and button layout from older iPhones. It also established Apple's current range of size options — ranging from the 5.4-inch mini to the 6.1-inch base iPhone and Pro to the 6.7-inch Pro Max. These are the same sizes for the iPhone 13 models too, although the notch shrunk a little bit, and Apple changed out some of the colors it offered.
The iPhone 13 models did increase in weight, thanks to new cameras and larger batteries. It would be nice if Apple could tone this down again to make its next phones easier to carry around or use one-handed.
We've heard of a couple of big changes for the iPhone 14. First off, there's likely to be no iPhone 14 mini, since the iPhone 12 mini sold poorly and it's not looking like the iPhone 13 mini will take off either. Instead, rumors point a 6.1-inch base iPhone 14 along with a 6.7-inch model called the iPhone 14 Max. Think of it as a lower-cost version of the Pro Max model, which is expected to return alongside a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro option.
The other major design change to look out for is the alleged introduction of punch-hole front cameras to at least some of the iPhone 14 models. After irritating users with the notch since 2017, it's about time Apple made this change, although we're curious as to how Face ID would work without the infrared dot projector and reader exposed.
Speaking of Face ID and unlocking your phone, there's a rumor that Touch ID could return with the iPhone 14. That would be a welcome addition if it pans out, as Face ID doesn't work when you're wearing a mask. (Apple is supposedly working on updating FaceID to let that happen, too.) The TouchID sensor could be mounted beneath the screen like on many Android phones, or it could be part of the power button, just as Apple has done on the latest iPad Air and iPad mini.
The basic flat-edged iPhone design seems likely to stick around, according to leaked renders. However in a throwback to the iPhone 4, the volume buttons could change back to little circles instead of longer oblongs. The cameras also seem to be retracting back into the phone to lie flat with the main back panel, rather than sticking out like they do on the iPhone 12.
In terms of materials, the iPhone 12 is made primarily of glass, with aluminum sides on the base iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, and stainless steel around the edges of the Pro and Pro Max. The iPhone 14 could swap these out for titanium, which would make the phone tougher but potentially more expensive.
What about ports? The iPhone 12 uses Apple's Lightning connector just like iPhones of the past several years. Although we keep expecting Apple to announce it's ditching ports entirely for a true wireless phone — one rumor has claimed this will happen with the next iPhone — the iPhone 14 is expected to stick with Lightning.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 12: Display
The focus here will be on the refresh rates for the iPhone 14 models. While all iPhone 12 models use 60Hz displays, it's expected that at least the iPhone 14 Pro versions will use the same adaptive 120Hz rate that Apple introduced with the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. This allows those two phones to scale up their refresh rate when on-screen activity would benefit from faster refreshing.