At their September 7 event, Apple announced the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Although the phones aren’t yet available (the iPhone 14 Pro will be available in a few days, and the iPhone 14 Plus won’t be available until next month), reviews of Apple’s latest flagship device are starting to emerge.
The similarities between the new iPhone and its predecessor are a recurring theme in those reviews. There is a strong suggestion that Apple did not include enough new features, and that the new model does not represent a significant upgrade over the iPhone 13. Reviewers are not alone in this regard. During the launch event, influencers, Apple fans, and detractors alike took to social media to post memes about the new phone’s resemblance to previous models. Even Apple founder Steve Jobs’ daughter poked fun at the lack of change between generations in an Instagram story.
There is one standout feature, however, that reviewers have praised. The “dynamic island” on the iPhone 14 Pro makes use of the space around the front camera and speaker. It can show notifications, change shape and size depending on how the phone is used, and is more visually appealing than a simple camera hole.
The Dynamic Island a key talking point
Cherlynn Low of Engadget, who rated the phone 92 out of 100 overall, described the Dynamic Island as “slick,” saying it makes “everything feel polished and thought-through.” Low devoted a significant portion of her review to the new feature, which makes sense given that it is one of the few significant differences between the iPhone 14 and its predecessor. Despite his high praise, Low may have discovered a flaw in the new feature. While it effectively conceals the speaker notch, it does not completely eliminate it. “When nothing is happening in the space, the hole is still visible, especially when watching a fullscreen video,” she says.
Nilay Patel of The Verge also focuses his review on the new feature. He emphasizes how noticeable the island is, and notes that it stands out less when the phone is in Dark Mode, saying, “this is the first iPhone that feels better in dark mode because of it.” He goes on to say that because this is the feature’s first appearance on the iPhone, there are a few issues to work out and some streamlining to be done. Patel, on the other hand, believes it will improve in the future, saying, “Dynamic Island feels like one of those things that needs a year of refinement and developer attention before we really know how important it is.”
According to Florence Ion of Gizmodo, the island may be enough to persuade more users to buy Apple products. She claims that the new feature works well when compared to similar processes on Android. “The process is quite fluid,” Ion writes, “and it’s nice not to have to worry about swiping down when attempting to access something, as I would on an Android device with its notification shade.”