There’s been a lot of misguided criticism of the Apple over the latest iPhone announcement, with the iPhone 14 seemingly appearing to be just an incremental change on the iPhone 13. That may be true, but such opinion is misguided when you realise this device is not aimed at people with an iPhone 13. I’ve been testing the iPhone 14 and can tell you just why it’s the best iPhone ever.

It’s not rocket science, technology doesn’t go backwards, so of course by every measure the iPhone 14 is better than the last and the core audience for the iPhone 14 are owners of devices sold 3 or more years ago.

If you own an iPhone Xs, an iPhone 11, iPhone X or iPhone 8 – you’re missing out on some amazing features, powerful performance and remarkable camera performance.

That’s the audience, that’s the target market. So if you’re an iPhone 13 owner, click away – I don’t think you should upgrade – that’s a waste of money in a time when finances are tighter than ever.

iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro?

Like never before there is a vast divide between the standard and Pro models of the iPhone 14. In the past it was about the camera and a small difference in the processor, but for the iPhone 14 there is a generational difference between the processor on the two variants.

iPhone 14 has last year’s A15 Bionic chip – granted it’s the one from iPhone 13 Pro, but it’s last years model. The iPhone 14 Pro gets the new A16 – a boost in power, performance and efficiency.

And then there’s the screen, it’s vastly different on the Pro models with a 2000 nits peak brightness and the shifting position of the FaceID, TrueDepth and Front-facing camera.

iPhone 13 is still on sale at $1,229 – $170 less than the iPhone 14 . You’re paying $170 for autofocus on the front-facing camera, an extra core on the GPU, Crash Detection, improved photo processing and a lower aperture. It’s not a big difference. Oh, and new colours.

So for me, it was all-in on the iPhone 14 Pro – not the max – because I’m not a fan of the bigger phones:)

Which size iPhone should I buy?

Speaking of which, of course if you like a big-big screen, the 6.7 inch iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus are a winner. For me the 6.1 inch will have to do, as we said goodbye to the Mini version from the 13 and 12 models.

The iPhone 14 Plus doesn’t go on sale until October 7, but I suspect that will be a hugely popular model, something not offered in the last two years.

What is the Dynamic Island?

Android fan bois, Samsung Lovers and general Apple haters – look away, in fact go somewhere else, you’re not going to like this.

Three years ago Samsung moved their front-facing camera from the top of the phone, down into the screen – just off to the right. Many memes were created and screen savers designed to incorporate that little oval shape into an image, but that’s it.

Apple’s approach is vastly different. Apple reduced the real-estate required by their camera and sensors, and rather than further reducing the notch size up the top edge of the screen, it moved down into the screen and they gave it a name. Not just an island, for iPhone 14 this is a Dynamic Island.

This little spot is where your FaceID unlock TICK will appear. It’s where you’ll see the tiniest of album art covers when you have music playing.

There’s a long list of ways Apple is using the Dynamic Island for their own apps and services, these include

Incoming call, AirPods connected, Face ID, Apple Pay, CarKey, AirDrop, Watch unlock, Low battery, Charging, Silent switch ON/OFF, NFC interactions, AirPlay, Focus changes, Shortcuts, Airplane mode/no data alert, SIM card alerts, Accessories connect, Find My and plenty more.

Additionally app developers can use the space for their own apps with calls or audio or live updates on your Uber.

It bloody rocks. It’s so well done, it’s something I think every other phone company is kicking themselves now because any such integration with software and hardware will be seen as copying. But let me tell you, it’s worth it. Smart user interface design.

The iPhone 14 Pro is Always On – that’s a great thing!

Again, look away Android fans. Yes, it’s been six years – since 2016 when Samsung launched Always On on the Galaxy S7. And many others probably before and many after.

But again, Apple has done it differently, and I will say it – better.

It’s not a black screen with a white time and date showing. On my iPhone 14 Pro i’ve got photos of my kids as wallpaper, when the phone goes “off” i can still see my kids. And the colour I chose for the clock and widgets is still there. It’s a colour screen, just dulled.

And there’s no huge drain on battery life here either, the screen is basically dropped down to 1Hz – that’s one refresh per second, as opposed to a hundred or more. Your notifications will still appear on the Always On screen, so it really is a whole lot more glancing and a whole lot less tapping to see.

I think I will average far more “unlocks” than normal with the always-on display.

Battery Life on the iPhone 14 Pro

All day and then some. No issues at all smashing through a full busy day. This isn’t a device that needs a little juice to get you through, it’s got all you need. 14 hours into my day and I’ve got more than 20% battery with ease.

Action Mode stabilised video on iPhone 14

In my review video, I demonstrated Action Mode – a steadycam for your iPhone – and it’s amazing.

But when I turned it off, I found the default stabilisation from the iPhone 14 camera to be fantastic in it of itself. That said, Action mode is a winner, just not quite as big a winner as I expected – only because the iPhone already does a great job!

When and Where can you buy the iPhone 14?

Three of the four models go on sale on Friday, with the iPhone 14 Plus the last hold-out, going on sale October 7. We’ve got all the telco pricing details covered, of course it’s also available at Apple Stores, Apple online and major retailers.

Demand is strong, so expect it to be hard to get one on Friday, if you haven’t already pre-ordered.