iPhone 14 Pro review: ‘Dynamic Island’ and always-on display offer a taste of something new

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With its frosted glass back, shiny aluminium band, Magsafe charging and triple-lens rear camera, Apple’s £1,099 iPhone 14 Pro appears almost identical to its predecessor, the iPhone 13 Pro, when you first take it out of the box.

It’s only when you switch it on that you realise Apple has made some significant changes to its latest model – most notably a new notification bar at the top of the display, called Dynamic Island, which replaces the hated ‘notch’ on previous models.

The pill-shaped bar houses several key sensors, including the selfie camera, proximity sensor and depth detector, which all support the Face ID unlocking feature.

Unlike the notch, however, Dynamic Island is not a static black obstruction on the screen, but an interactive part of the display, providing quick access to alerts, notifications and background activities without interrupting the app you are using.

While it may seem like a gimmick, I’ve found this new feature quickly becomes a natural part of how you use the phone, making it much easier to multitask on the device.

For example, you can set a timer and then go back to browsing social media, while keeping an eye on the countdown clock in Dynamic Island.

Or if you’re replying to emails while listening to Spotify, you can tap and hold on Dynamic Island to bring up the controls, allowing you to pause or skip a track without leaving the Gmail app.

A new notification bar at the top of the display, called Dynamic Island, which replaces the hated ¿notch¿ on previous iPhone models

A new notification bar at the top of the display, called Dynamic Island, which replaces the hated ‘notch’ on previous iPhone models

The iPhone 14 Pro comes in four colours: Silver, Gold, Space Black, and the Deep Purple, which appears to change colour in different lights

The iPhone 14 Pro comes in four colours: Silver, Gold, Space Black, and the Deep Purple, which appears to change colour in different lights

You can set a timer and then go back to browsing social media, while keeping an eye on the countdown clock in Dynamic Island

You can set a timer and then go back to browsing social media, while keeping an eye on the countdown clock in Dynamic Island

If you¿re replying to emails while listening to Spotify, you can tap and hold on Dynamic Island to bring up the controls, allowing you to pause or skip a track without leaving the Gmail app

If you’re replying to emails while listening to Spotify, you can tap and hold on Dynamic Island to bring up the controls, allowing you to pause or skip a track without leaving the Gmail app

IPHONE 14 PRO SPECS 

Dimensions: 5.81 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches

Weight: 7.27 ounces

Display: 6.1-inch (diagonal) OLED

Chip: A16 Bionic

Camera: 48MP Main, 12MP UltraWide and 12MP Telephoto with 3x optical zoom and 15x digital zoom

Selfie camera: 12MP

Connectivity: 5G + WiFi

Battery: 23 hours video playback

Capacity: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Colours: Space Black, Gold, Silver, Deep Purple

Price: £1,099 – £1,649, depending on storage capacity

While the list of apps that use Dynamic Island is still fairly short, it is likely to grow with the launch of iOS 16.1 later this year, which will introduce ‘Live Activities’.

That means you’ll be able to check the status of your Deliveroo order, the expected arrival time of your Uber, or the latest football scores with a quick glance.

Another major new feature of the iPhone 14 Pro is the always-on display, which keeps information on the Lock Screen visible even when the phone is in standby mode.

This is a common feature on many Android phones, as well as the Apple Watch, but it’s the first time it’s been available on an iPhone.

iOS 16 brings the ability to customise the Lock Screen, so as well as time and date, you can now add widgets showing the weather, battery level and calendar events. Notifications also pop up at the bottom of the Lock Screen.

In a social setting, the always-on display can be distracting, as information is visible even when the phone is lying untouched on a table.

But it is useful to be able to glance down and quickly check the time without having to touch the screen – and you can always turn it face-down if you don’t want it catching your eye.

The always-on display is dim enough that it doesn’t light up the room while charging on a bedside table at night, and the new power-efficient display engine in Apple’s A16 Bionic chip means it has minimal effect on battery life.

iOS 16 brings the ability to customise the Lock Screen, so as well as time and date, you can now add widgets showing the weather, battery level and calendar events

iOS 16 brings the ability to customise the Lock Screen, so as well as time and date, you can now add widgets showing the weather, battery level and calendar events

It is useful to be able to glance down and quickly check the time without having to touch the screen - and you can always turn it face-down if you don¿t want it catching your eye

It is useful to be able to glance down and quickly check the time without having to touch the screen – and you can always turn it face-down if you don’t want it catching your eye

Apple to release fix for bizarre iPhone 14 Pro glitch that causes camera to SHAKE

The long-awaited iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max finally went on sale on Friday, with fans around the world eagerly queuing outside Apple Stores to be among the first to get their hands on the new device.

But some early adopters are already reporting a bizarre problem – the rear camera’s main lens physically shakes and rattles when they are taking photos or videos in some third-party apps including Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram.

Apple has now confirmed in a statement that it is working on a fix for the bug, and will be releasing a software update next week to resolve the issue.

It is unclear how widespread the problem is or what the underlying cause is, as the problem does not appear to affect the iPhone’s built-in Camera app.

However, several concerned iPhone 14 Pro users have taken to Reddit and Twitter to describe their experiences and share videos demonstrating the issue.

 Read more

The iPhone 14 Pro also brings a big camera upgrade, with the main camera now sporting a 48-megapixel sensor, up from 12 megapixels on the iPhone 13 Pro.

Most users won’t notice the difference, however, as the iPhone 14 Pro still defaults to shooting photos in 12-megapixel resolution to avoid clogging up the storage.

There is an option to shoot 48-megapixel images in ProRAW format, which can be enabled in settings, but be warned that each of these images are approximately 75MB in size – three times the size of an average 12-megapixel image.

What you might notice are improvements in low-light photographs, thanks to the new quad-pixel sensor.

There’s also an additional 2x Telephoto for photos and videos, meaning there are now four zoom options with optical quality – 0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 3x – and you can capture foreground blur as well as background blur to your Portrait Mode shots.

When it comes to video, the iPhone 14 Pro supports Cinematic Mode in 4K. Cinematic Mode was first introduced with the iPhone 13 Pro, and is essentially the video version of Portrait Mode – automatically creating a depth of field effect in footage.

It previously only supported HD resolution, but now supports 4K resolution up to 30 frames per second – meaning you can make your home videos appear even more movie-like.

Meanwhile a clever feature called Action Mode helps you capture a steady, smooth video even if you’re running or moving around a lot, by keeping the horizon level in the footage – almost as if you’re using a gimbal.

The front camera also sports a few upgrades – including improved autofocus, which means that everyone in your selfies should be in focus, even if they are at varying distances from the camera, and faster focus in low light.

While the camera improvements are significant, I can’t help feeling that most of the new features will only be used by serious and professional photographers.

The iPhone 14 Pro also brings a big camera upgrade, with the main camera now sporting a 48-megapixel sensor, up from 12 megapixels on the iPhone 13 Pro

The iPhone 14 Pro also brings a big camera upgrade, with the main camera now sporting a 48-megapixel sensor, up from 12 megapixels on the iPhone 13 Pro

There¿s an additional 2x Telephoto for photos and videos, meaning there are now four zoom options with optical quality - 0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 3x - and you can capture foreground blur as well as background blur to your Portrait Mode shots

There’s an additional 2x Telephoto for photos and videos, meaning there are now four zoom options with optical quality – 0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 3x – and you can capture foreground blur as well as background blur to your Portrait Mode shots

The iPhone 14 Pro is an impressive device, offering enough new features to warrant an upgrade for most loyal Apple fans. Like other recent models, it only comes with a USB-C to Lightning cable - not a plug adaptor - in the box

The iPhone 14 Pro is an impressive device, offering enough new features to warrant an upgrade for most loyal Apple fans. Like other recent models, it only comes with a USB-C to Lightning cable – not a plug adaptor – in the box

However, it’s safe to say that casual users will not be disappointed with the quality of the photos and videos they capture using the iPhone 14 Pro, and they should stand up to comparison with those captured by the top Android smartphone rivals.

And while some early adopters have reported a bizarre glitch – whereby the rear camera’s main lens physically shakes and rattles when they are taking photos or videos in some third-party apps including Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram – I have not experienced this.

One new feature of the iPhone 14 Pro that you will hopefully never need – but is worth knowing about – is crash detection, which can detect if you are in a severe car crash and automatically call the emergency services.

I can’t confirm that it works, not having been in a crash myself, but assuming it does, it could hopefully save a few lives in the coming years.

Meanwhile, the much-vaunted Emergency SOS feature, which allows you to connect directly to a satellite to text emergency services even if you don’t have a data or Wi-Fi connection, is not yet available in the UK, but will be launched via an iOS 16 software update in November

Overall, the iPhone 14 Pro is an impressive device, offering enough new features to warrant an upgrade for most loyal Apple fans, and justify the £1,099 price tag – which is on a par with flagship devices from Android rivals such as Samsung and Huawei.

It feels like it will come into its own when Live Activities arrive on iOS 16 later this year, as these will make greater use of Dynamic Island and the always-on display.

But, in the meantime, it offers an attractive design – albeit with a chunky camera bump – excellent display, pro-grade camera and-all-day battery life. 

In other words, it’s everything you’d expect from the latest top-of-the-range Apple device, with a dash of innovation and not too many surprises.

WHAT NEW APPLE PRODUCTS HAVE GONE ON SALE?

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus

The standard model retails for £849 and comes with a 6.1-inch screen, while the Plus costs £949 and has a 6.7-inch screen. 

They support satellite connectivity that will let users send satellite SOS messages if they’re caught in an emergency without service.

They also have technology that can detect when users are in a car crash and automatically call emergency services, thanks to a dual-core accelerometer that can detect G-force measurements when vehicles are hit.

They will be available in the colours midnight, starlight, blue, purple and red. 

iPhone 14 Pro and  iPhone 14 Pro Max

iPhone 14 Pro and  iPhone 14 Pro Max

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

iPhone 14 Pro has a 6.1-inch screen (same as the standard model) and costs £1,099, while Pro Max has a 6.7-inch screen (same as the Plus) and costs a mammoth £1,199. 

They have more advanced cameras than the standard and Plus models, and a sophisticated pill-shaped notch at the top of the screen, called ‘Dynamic Island’.

Dynamic Island hides the front-facing camera but also changes size to show important alerts, notifications, and activities, blurring the line between hardware and software, according to Apple.

They also have satellite connectivity and car crash detection technology, and will be available in the colours deep purple, silver, gold, and space black.

Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8 

Apple Watch Series 8

The £419 ($399) Apple Watch Series 8 has an Always-On display – meaning the screen shows a small amount of quickly glanceable information when it’s idle.

It also has a strong crack-resistant front crystal, a temperature sensor that provides estimates of when a female wearer is ovulating and the same crash detection technology as the iPhone 14.

The battery of the Series 8 can also go for longer – up to 36 hours from a single charge – than that of the SE 2, thanks to a low power mode. 

Apple Watch SE 2

Apple Watch SE 2 

Apple Watch SE 2

Apple Watch SE 2 delivers some of the Series 8’s advanced features, including crash detection, at a lower price (starting from £259 or $249). 

It does have the ovulation feature, but it’s less comprehensive than on the Series 8.

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