Hands-on with iPhone 14 Pro and Apple Watch Ultra

While the iPhone 14 Pro was a minimal upgrade, the Apple Watch Ultra was an entirely new category. Early reports show some buggy experiences with their iPhone 14 Pro models, but the early Ultra seems positive.
via Apple.com

On September 16, Apple launched the iPhone 14 Pro and, a week later, the Apple Watch Ultra. While the iPhone 14 Pro was a minimal upgrade in comparison to the previous year, the Apple Watch Ultra was an entirely new category for the device type. Early reports show some users having buggy experiences with their iPhone 14 Pro models, but the early Ultra commentary seems very positive. Reviewers checked out the devices in early videos.

Apple Watch Ultra reviews

Apple is billing the all-new Apple Watch Ultra as the “most rugged and capable Apple Watch ever.” This seems like an easy claim, given they’ve never made a ruggedized Apple Watch before. While Apple has offered titanium body materials in the past, this chunky design is reminiscent of a dive or aeronautical watch. With the Digital Crown protection barrier and the submerged sleep/wake button, there is certainly more protection than previous devices.

Below, Karl Conrad unboxes the new Apple Watch Ultra and makes note of several rugged changes in comparison to the Apple Watch Series 8, which also launched this month. If you keep track of Conrad, it is no surprise he is extremely excited about the International Orange band. He highlights the size of the display being 49mm, vs 45mm and 41mm and the “chunky” nature of the design, especially in comparison to the other Series Apple Watch designs.

Below, iJustine is hyped for the Apple Watch Ultra. Specifically, she gives us a look at the entry water sports capabilities. Showing depth and water temperature are just a few of the full-scale SCUBA apps found on the Apple Watch Ultra. While Apple is saying the watch is rated to 40m, covering recreationally licensed divers. Interestingly, there is a setting that will automatically shift the Apple Watch Ultra to dive mode, when submerged in water

Crash detection is a new safety feature for the Apple Watch Ultra, but also the Series 8. It is able to tell if you go from car speeds and decelerate at an aggressive rate. Way finding is also a built-in safety feature with adventurers in mind, for hiking or exploring.

iPhone 14 Pro reviews

iPhone 14, in contrast to the iPhone 14 Pro, received very minimal upgrades, even though the processor is essentially the same as the iPhone 13. iPhone 14 Pro was the real upgrade this year, and even still, only several items make for a change year over year.

Of course, the easily spotted difference is the new Dark Purple colorway, which was rumored for several months. The other easy way to visually tell someone has an iPhone 14 Pro in their hand? Check out the Dynamic Island, which is a hardware and software-enhanced area on the screen located between the FaceID and camera hole punch. Dynamic Island is intended as a location for developers to show interactions such as timers, navigation, and other morphic design notification updates. Below, SuerSaf walks through these updates and talks about the difference in some competitor front-hole punch designs by showcasing Dynamic Island animations.

Another major difference for iPhone 14 Pro is an always-on-display (AOD). The AOD is a first for any iPhone, but originally came to Apple Watch Series 5. Catching up with Android devices, the AOD is done “the Apple way” according to Brian Tong in the following video. He mentions it’s one of the best device features and iOS 16 features are fully advantaged. AOD mode goes up to 500 nits brightness, making it easy to see, even in a bright room. The screen can decrease to a 1hz refresh rate to save on power, even with the AOD. Another battery-saving AOD feature relies on Apple Watch. If you have an Apple Watch paired with iPhone 14 Pro and you leave the room without taking your iPhone, the AOD will turn all the way off to conserve energy.

iPhone 14 starts at $799 and iPhone 14 Pro at $999. It is also worth noting iPhone’s mini generations are no longer. Instead, Apple opted to release an iPhone 14 Plus at $899, which is the same screen size as the $1,099 iPhone Pro Max.

Apple Watch Ultra is available at $799 in 49mm, titanium, with several ruggedized band options included in the price point.