After over a year of reports about the iPhone 14 lineup, several once-believed rumors are no longer expected to come true when the devices are unveiled this week.
The iPhone 14 Pro models are expected to feature the A16 Bionic chip, an always-on display, “pill and hole-punch” cutouts that appear to be a single “pill” in place of the notch, a taller display with thinner bezels, and a 48-megapixel Wide camera, while the standard iPhone 14 models will likely bring 6GB of memory, Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, and an upgraded front camera system with autofocus. The evolving nature of rumors as we approach a device’s launch means that these features were not always set in stone.
Although an iPhone 14 with a USB-C port or even no ports at all have almost always been thought to be off the cards, there are several major iPhone 14 rumors that once captivated the Apple community but have since been rejected, revised, or debunked in light of new information.
Complete Redesign and Flush Rear Cameras
Just before the unveiling of the iPhone 13 lineup last year, leaker Jon Prosser shared renders purporting to depict an all-new design for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Prosser’s information suggested that the iPhone 14 Pro would feature a thicker chassis allowing for a flush rear camera array, round volume buttons like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, and redesigned speaker and microphone grilles with elongated mesh cutouts instead of holes.
Early in the rumor cycle, plausible design rumors from reputable sources, including CAD renders and specific dimensions, leaked schematics, images of accessory production molds, and early cases, indicated that this would not be the design of the iPhone 14 Pro.
Instead, the iPhone 14 Pro is expected to feature the same stainless steel frame and frosted glass back as the iPhone 13 Pro for a very similar overall look, with only a small number of subtle differences between the designs, such as more rounded corners and a larger rear camera array. It looks like the iPhone 14 Pro will be an “elevation” of the iPhone 13 Pro’s design, which itself was an adaptation of the iPhone 12 Pro.
Titanium Frame for ‘Pro’ Models
A key report from JP Morgan Chase said that the iPhone 14 Pro could offer a titanium chassis instead of stainless steel, resulting in a stronger, lighter, and more scratch-resistant design. Prosser reaffirmed this rumor in iPhone 14 Pro Max renders.
Despite the benefits of titanium, it appears that Apple looks set to continue using a stainless steel frame for the iPhone 14 Pro, continuing a design feature that was introduced on the iPhone X. Apple reportedly concluded that it was simply too expensive to offer a titanium iPhone chassis at the current time amid production issues.
Under-Display Face ID
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was the first to spark rumors around the iPhone switching to a “hole-punch” cutout for the camera. While Kuo did not comment on how Face ID would continue to be included on the iPhone, display analyst Ross Young suggested in September 2021 that the iPhone 14 Pro could feature Apple’s first under-display Face ID technology. Twitter leaker @dylandkt then claimed that the iPhone 14 Pro would feature a small pill-shaped camera cutout, with Face ID being moved to under the device’s display.
Young subsequently corrected his forecast, becoming the first analyst to suggest that the iPhone 14 Pro would feature “hole-punch and pill-shaped” cutouts, something that had been indicated by component leaks. As such, it seems like the iPhone 14 lineup will not feature any of Apple’s long-rumored under-display technology.
Separated ‘Pill and Hole-Punch’ Display Cutout Design
One of the biggest late-stage rumors about the iPhone 14 Pro relates to the “hole-punch and pill-shaped” display cutouts. While the device is still expected to feature these cutouts physically, most observers assumed that the cutouts would be visually separated. Now, it seems that the iPhone 14 Pro’s display cutouts will appear as a single “pill” shape at the top of the display, shattering the previous idea of how the front of the device would look. The “pill” is rumored to have integration with iOS, displaying indicators and changing the status bar.
A16 Bionic Chip for Non-‘Pro’ Models
Every new iPhone series has featured the same new chip since Apple split the lineup upon the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. This was expected to continue with the iPhone 14 lineup until Ming-Chi Kuo said that only the iPhone 14 Pro would contain the A16 Bionic chip, with the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models sticking with last year’s A15 Bionic chip. The move further differentiates the “Pro” and non-“Pro” iPhone models, and may have been triggered, at least in part, by supply chain issues.
A16 Bionic Chip Made With More Advanced 4nm Process
Some reports indicated that the A16 Bionic would be the first Apple chip to be fabricated with a 4nm process, not least because Apple has stuck with 5nm through the A14 and A15 chips. Nevertheless, the A16 is expected to continue to be based on TSMC’s 5nm process.
As the third iteration of Apple’s 5nm iPhone chips, the A16 is unlikely to deliver a massive performance delta over the previous A14 Bionic and A15 Bionic chips, but is still likely to bring sufficient performance and efficiency improvements to the CPU and GPU to justify being branded as a whole new chip. One rumor indicates that the chip will have better thermal management than the A15 Bionic.
‘iPhone 14 mini’
When Apple introduced the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, many assumed that the display sizes and form factors of the iPhone lineup would persist for several years, in much the same way that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus form factors were used through four generations and the iPhone X’s form factor was used for three iPhone generations. While the iPhone 13 mini launched as expected last year, after lackluster sales, it emerged that the small form factor iPhone is set to come to an end after just two years. Apple is reportedly planning to stop offering new 5.4-inch iPhone models and introduce a larger model to take its place in the lineup.
iPhone 14 ‘Max’ Name
Ever since expectations of an “iPhone 14 mini” faded, the “iPhone 14 Max” has been expected to sit above the iPhone 14 with a 6.7-inch display like the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max. In the same way that the “mini” iPhones in recent years have offered all of the same features as the standard iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, the iPhone 14 Max is expected to offer all of the same features as the standard iPhone 14 but with a significantly bigger display.
Throughout dozens of reports about this device, it has been expected to be named the “iPhone 14 Max,” in line with the high-end iPhone 14 Pro Max model. However, reports have started to zone in on the name “iPhone 14 Plus,” and with the likes of Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman now using the name in his latest newsletter, it looks highly likely that there will be no “iPhone 14 Max” after all.