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Apple’s iPhone 14 models will have more differences than any previous iPhone generation. They won’t look the same, take the same quality photos, and there will be a potentially dramatic difference in performance. And now, a new leak indicates that this will be the pattern for years to come.

In a blog post, influential Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo writes that the company’s plan to give iPhone 14 older hardware than iPhone 14 Pro models will not be a one-off. This contradicts earlier industry reports that chip shortages were to blame for the biggest differences.

“The latest processor chip will be exclusive to iPhone high-end models in the future, so a high shipment proportion of iPhone high-end models will be the norm, favoring high-end camera component suppliers,” explains Kuo.

Historically, iPhone fans had come to expect some differentiation here. For example, all iPhone 13 models share the same A15 chip, but Pro versions have 50% more RAM (4GB Vs 6GB). Pro models have also long had one more camera than standard models, initially an ultra-wide-angle module then, when this came to all models, a dedicated zoom lens.

That said, the differences have never been so significant. Until now, no generation of iPhone had shipped with an older A-series chipset and Apple had kept their primary rear cameras the same, whereas a 4x leap in resolution is tipped for Pro models this year.

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There is also a notable strategic difference to Apple’s other Pro-branded hardware. While the company has been widening the gap between Pro and non-Pro iPads and MacBooks, this was because Pro models were marketed as for a more niche audience. In contrast, Kuo’s report claims that Apple expects to ship more iPhone 14 Pros than standard iPhones.

In my opinion, this makes the move a more cynical upsell tactic — with iPhone 14 Pro prices also tipped to rise. iPad and MacBook buyers tend not to look at their non-Pro options and feel shortchanged: the iPad Air has the same M1 chip as iPad Pro models, and the MacBook Air has received the new M2 chip ahead of the MacBook Pro range.

In contrast, standard iPhone 14 models are virtually identical to their iPhone 13 predecessors (barring a Plus-sized addition), which is unlikely to go down well with some users. But if Kuo is correct, this is a disappointment we will all need to get used to.

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