- The iPhone 15 went on sale around the world over the weekend, with some fans queuing for 17 hours.
- The new iPhone comes with a host of new features, including USB-C charging and an ‘Action Button.’
- But the iPhone 14 is now selling for $100 cheaper.
The days of buying a new iPhone every year are long over.
Smartphone owners are holding onto their devices for longer, with most Apple fans waiting three years to upgrade to the latest iPhone. The new iPhone 15 might appeal to anyone who is upgrading from a model that dates from 2020 or earlier, such as the iPhone 12.
“With anything newer than the iPhone 12, I don’t think there’s any real reason to upgrade unless you really feel like you want to have the newest phone,” Ben Woods, chief analyst and chief marketing officer at CCS Insight, told Insider.
Unless you’re a hardcore iPhone fan, it’s probably fine to go for the cheaper iPhone 14 if you’re upgrading. Here’s why.
The iPhone 14 will feel like a big upgrade anyway
The launch of a brand new iPhone is often the best time to snag a bargain on last year’s model.
As the iPhone 15 hits shelves around the world, prices for last year’s iPhone 14 — which Insider reviewed strongly — start at $699, $100 cheaper than the basic version of the latest model.
From a technical perspective there is little difference between the two generations. The base iPhone 15 has an A16 Bionic chip, more advanced version than its predecessor’s A15, but the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models also came with an A16.
Additionally, both models come with the same Super Retina XDR OLED display on their cheapest versions, and both feature emergency satellite SOS and crash detection, two flagship features which launched with the iPhone 14 and are missing from the iPhone 12.
And when it comes to the most important number for most consumers — how long the battery lasts — there is no difference at all. Apple says the 14 and the 15 will both last for 20 hours with video playing continuously, compared to 17 hours on the iPhone 12.
The biggest upgrade between the iPhone 14 and 15 is in the dual cameras, which go from 12-megapixels (MP) to a whopping 48MP. Another big physical change is the new USB-C charger port, with new rules in the European Union forcing Apple to ditch its proprietary Lightning port.
With broadly similar specs to the iPhone 15 (and a nicer range of colors), going from the iPhone 12 to the 14 would likely be just as big an upgrade for most people, for a significantly lower price.
“I think it comes down to personal choice and affordability,” said Ben Woods.
“Ultimately the differences between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 aren’t enormous. There are benefits, but it has very much become an evolutionary product.”
Other new features include the ‘dynamic island’, an interactive bar that replaces the notch on the top of the screen — although, again, this was a feature first introduced on the high-end iPhone 14 models. Customers willing to pay out extra for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (which start at $999) will get a titanium frame and the ‘Action Button’, a customisable button which replaces the mute switch.
For those really wowed by the new features, upgrading to a Pro or Pro Max might be a more attractive proposition, said Woods.
The more expensive models have seen strong sales this year, and will feel cutting edge for longer.
But for Apple fans unconvinced by the Action Button and USB-C, and happy with a more marginal camera upgrade, the iPhone 14 will likely be just fine.