Apple's iPhone 14 range was launched a little over a month ago. The standard model was paired with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the first instance of the iPhone 14 Plus, which put the standard hardware in the 6.7-inch housing of the Pro Max.
It's been a roller coaster month. Sales of the Pro variants have far outstripped expectations, with Apple calling for production lines to switch in order to cope with the additional demand. The vanilla line, on the other hand, has struggled to gain traction.
The iPhone 14 Plus began shipping last week, and after seven days of public interaction, it looks set to follow the path of the standard iPhone 14. As reported by MacRumours (opens in new tab), sales for the iPhone 14 Plus are lower than expected and could cause Apple to cut orders for parts in the coming fortnight.
It's not good news for Apple, but all is not lost. Here are three things Apple needs to address to revive sales of their iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.
1. iPhone 14 Plus pricing
While the Plus represents an exciting new frontier for Apple's standard range, it carries a price tag that befits its hype. Check the best iPhone 14 deals for updated numbers, but currently it will set me back £949 to buy the base model iPhone 14 Plus.
For £200 less, I could purchase the iPhone 13 base model which I've been personally using for around a year now. And when you put the spec sheet side-by-side, the Plus is a tough sell. You get that extra 0.6-inches of screen real estate, an extra GPU core and Crash Detection, but otherwise the two are practically identical.
In fact, the only thing that could tempt me is the extra large battery on the Plus. Thanks to all the extra space on offer, the Plus can manage around 7 extra hours of video playback. It's really the crowning achievement of a device that lacks the flair of the Pro variants.
The issue is that my iPhone 13 has never run out of battery. Under normal daily conditions – about 90 minutes of YouTube on the train, a few hours of messages and emails, and the odd phone call – it coasts to the end of the day. So while the 14 Plus is better for battery life, it solves a problem that didn't really exist.
2. Competition is fiercer than ever
There's no question that Apple's integrated ecosystem makes having an iPhone an incredible prospect. But if you aren't tied to Apple, there are wealth of phenomenal handsets out there that are ready to fight for your cash.
The recently released Google Pixel 7 Pro offers stacks of software wizardry and a fantastic camera system. It undercuts the iPhone 14 Plus too, so you'll even save some money. And, if you're willing to make the change, the Google Pixel Watch and upcoming Google Pixel Tablet could change your entire ecosystem.
For a more traditional rival, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra boasts a truly exceptional spec sheet. It's more expensive, but you're getting a lot more for that price. If you want the most iPhone-y Android on the market – and want to save a boat-load in the process – look no further than the Nothing Phone (1). It has unmistakable iPhone DNA and you can pick one up for as little as £399.
In fact, even if you want to stay with Apple, there are competitive products offering far better value-for-money. The iPhone 14 Pro may start £150 more expensive than the 14 Plus, but you can sure see where that extra cash goes. An upgraded processor, a better display with ProMotion and Always-On Display, and the infamous Dynamic Island are all present.
3. The delayed release hurt the iPhone 14 Plus
As mentioned earlier, the iPhone 14 range was announced over a month ago. All of the other models were unveiled fairly quickly, but the iPhone 14 Plus was subject to a delayed release. And it hurt it.
Initially, the Plus had a wow factor. A sub-£1000 handset that gave you the real estate of the Pro Max without the internal hardware pushing the price up. Couple that size with the better GPU and battery life and the Plus looked set to be one of the best gaming phones on the market.
But, I believe holding back on releasing the Plus did it no favours. As people started to unpack the iPhone 14, they realised that it wasn't really offering much more than the previous generation. The Plus, by extension, was the same. What's more, I think that the delayed release schedule lost the Plus some of its initial hype.
If I was sat waiting to buy an iPhone at launch, and got the option of waiting three weeks for the Plus, or taking the cheaper standard model, or the up-spec Pro model now, I know what I would have done.