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4 things the iPhone 14 is missing (that I want in the iPhone 15)

Apple’s Far Out event has come and gone — and what an event it was. Apple introduced the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro lineups, the all-new iPhone 14 Plus, plenty of Apple Watch updates, and a new pair of AirPods Pro. In other words, it’s been a very busy and exciting day to be an Apple fan.

The iPhone 14 turned out to be exactly what leaks/rumors suggested, which is to say there’s plenty to look forward to. The iPhone Mini has been replaced by the iPhone 14 Plus, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max kill the notch in favor of a new pill-shaped cutout, and there’s the usual array of processor, camera, and display upgrades. It’s a lot to get excited about, but I also can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the final package. There are a few specific things I really wish were on the iPhone 14, and looking ahead, I can’t help but hope they’re things we see next year on the iPhone 15.

Ultra-fast wired charging

A 160W OnePlus charger sitting on a black edge of a window.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The iPhone has never been a smartphone to buy if you value fast charging speeds. The iPhone 13 (and iPhone 12 before that) maxed out at 20W wired charging, as does the iPhone 14. 20W charging is fine and more than enough speed if you charge your phone overnight while you sleep. But compared to what so many Android brands are doing in the charging space these days, that 20W limit on the iPhone 14 is tough to swallow.

The Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra both stepped up to 45W charging this year, the Oppo Reno 8 Pro supports 80W charging, and the OnePlus 10T goes up to an impressive 150W for wired charging — taking you from 0% to 100% battery in just about 20 minutes.

Apple’s resistance to faster charging speeds is nothing new. It’s never been a trend the company’s shown any interest in, with it instead favoring battery health and longevity over ludicrous wattage. I can partially understand that, but when so many other brands are offering significantly faster charging without decimating battery health, Apple’s trailing progress here becomes much more difficult to defend. I don’t expect the iPhone 15 to launch next year with 100 or 150W charging, but a significant upgrade from the old 20W speeds would be incredible to see.

Periscope telephoto camera

iPhone 14 Pro rear with camera array.

Apple brought some substantial camera upgrades to the iPhone 14 this year. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max both got a new 48MP main camera to replace the aging 12MP one, and all iPhone 14 models are treated to a new and improved front-facing camera. Those changes are great, but there’s one huge thing that’s still missing on any of the iPhone 14 handsets: a periscope telephoto camera.

This is another area where competing Android handsets have a significant lead over the iPhone. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the best examples of this. It ships with not one but two telephoto cameras, with one offering 3x optical zoom and the other supporting 10x optical zoom. If you really want, you can use the Space Zoom feature to go all the way to 100x.

Do 100x photos out of the S22 Ultra look good? Hardly ever. But it’s a fun option to have if you want it — and photos around 30x and lower tend to look great. The iPhone 14 Pro is still stuck at maximum digital zoom of up to 15x, giving you a lot less wiggle room for the types of shots you can take. Rumor has it Apple’s planning a periscope camera upgrade for the iPhone 15, and given its absence on the iPhone 14 lineup, I desperately hope that’s true.

120Hz displays for ‘normal’ iPhones

Apple iPhone 14 Plus in hand.

One of the biggest rumors surrounding the iPhone 14 was that the non-Pro versions would get 120Hz ProMotion displays. Only the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max saw the 120Hz treatment last year, meaning the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini were stuck with the old 60Hz refresh rate.

Unfortunately, that’s the exact same setup we have this year. You’ll find a 120Hz refresh rate for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max without a problem. But when it comes to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, they’re still running at 60Hz.

60Hz is far from unusable in 2022, especially when iOS runs as smoothly as it does. But in a world where budget handsets like the Galaxy A53 5G, Motorola Edge (2022), and OnePlus Nord 2T 5G can deliver 120 and even 144Hz screens for significantly less money, getting 60Hz again on the baseline iPhone is difficult to overlook.

A fresh design

The five Apple iPhone 14 colors.

From a design perspective, the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro are virtually identical to their predecessors. There are some new colors, slightly tweaked dimensions… and that’s about it! The Pro and Pro Max do replace the notch for the new “Dynamic Island” feature, but everything else looks exactly the same. And considering the iPhone 13 already looked a lot like the iPhone 12, the current iPhone design is getting pretty long in the tooth.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that I’m bored with how the iPhone 14 looks. The removal of the notch on the Pro models is neat, but it’s not enough to scratch that itch for something new. Give me a new camera design. Maybe some truly inventive colors. How about going back to the better, rounded edges of previous generations? I’m not sure what exactly I want from the next iPhone design, but I do know that this current one is feeling a bit too familiar at this stage of the game.

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Joe Maring
Section Editor, Mobile
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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