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Apple’s iPhone event has come and gone — here’s why I won’t be upgrading

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If you’ve never met an Apple fanboy, let me introduce you to … me. For the past 14 years, I’ve bought countless Apple products. iPods, iPhones, Apple Watches, AppleTVs, Mac Studios, MacBook Pros. You name it, I’ve probably bought it, or at least used it.

And there’s a good reason for that. Apple stuff just works. It’s easy to go from device to device and know what to expect.

So when Apple announced its September “Far Out” event, I was excited, as I usually am. But after a range of announcements that included the new iPhone 14 series, here’s why I won’t be upgrading my “archaic” iPhone 12. And why you might want to rethink your purchase, too.

Where Apple faltered

1. Lack of innovation

For a while now, there’s been a lack of innovation coming out of Cupertino. It seems that instead of bringing new products to market (with a few exceptions, like the Apple Watch), Apple has taken what other companies are doing and is simply improving on them to make the features better.

The Always-On Display, for instance, has been in Android phones for years. A 48-megapixel sensor? Again, high-resolution phone cameras have been around for a while.

Look at what Samsung, Google and Sony are doing. They have better sensors and more powerful computational algorithms. Heck, Sony’s Xperia line is truly ground-breaking when it comes to photography, sometimes rivaling what you can get with their regular cameras (and working with them for a great experience, too). And Samsung’s ISOCELL sensor? Wow. Just wow. It takes low-light and detail to a whole different level.

2. Deep Fusion is really just Apple’s version of HDR

Now, I applaud Apple for getting out of using “HDR” as much as it has in the past. HDR has a bad connotation with it, but that usually centers around the “HDR look,” not the process of blending bracketed images to create an HDR image.

Deep Fusion, as Apple describes it “merges the best pixels from multiple exposures into one phenomenal photo.”

So, how exactly is that different than HDR?

3. New features that might not be fully baked

While watching the keynote, I saw that one of Apple’s core features they were pushing — Action Mode for video — didn’t exactly work perfectly. It was still shaky. Sure, it significantly reduces the shakiness, and it has its use cases. But why couldn’t Apple improve on this even more, through machine learning?

And for those who need a true “action mode,” wouldn’t they rely on something more feasible, like a GoPro, instead?

4. Where are the groundbreaking features?

When the iPhone 13 Pro was announced last year, there were some truly groundbreaking features in that phone. Cinematic Mode lifted the abilities of the iPhone’s video system to new heights. Macro Mode made it easier than ever to capture up-close objects.

But this year, there seems to not be that huge, groundbreaking feature that will change the game for so many. This feels more like an iPhone 13.5, rather than an iPhone 14.

One of the rumors about the iPhone 14 Pro was that it was going to have some type of astro mode. Which a lot of smartphones already have. But there was no mention of this in the keynote, despite the “Far Out” name of the event eluding to this heavily. It would’ve been great to see Apple’s implementation of this, and put something like OM Digital Solutions’ Starry Sky AF feature inside of a smartphone. But we’re kept waiting once more.

5. Dynamic Island is cool, but who came up with that name?!?

Alright, so this might not be a reason why I won’t buy the iPhone 14. The Dynamic Island feature, which basically turns the pill-shaped area at the top of the iPhone 14 Pro phones into a mini notification area, is cool. There’s a lot of potential here. But if that’s your leading feature … and you come up with the cheesiest name for it ever? That’s not enough to entice me.

Why Apple continues to be my go-to for tech

Despite my feelings about the iPhone 14, Apple will continue to be my go-to for tech. The Apple Watch Series 8 — as well as the Apple Watch Ultra — is in a league of its own. No smartwatch comes close to Apple’s dominance in this space, and the new features added are certainly welcome to many.

Apple computers “just work.” My Mac Studio has been my ultimate dream machine since I first got it, and continues to be my recommendation for creative pros.

Apple HomeKit is the most privacy-centric of all the smart home ecosystems out there. It works great.

But for the main reason that my Apple tech “just works,” that’s the reason why I won’t be upgrading my iPhone 12. Hopefully next year Apple can push the boundaries a bit more, because this year’s lineup is a serious let-down.

What do you think? Is Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup enough to get you to upgrade? Let us know in the comments below.

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