In just a few weeks, Apple’s annual fall parade of new products kicks off with the iPhone 14 event. And you’ll notice a trend in this year’s big announcements: They’re getting, well, big.
In addition to the usual specs and updates from existing models, we’re reportedly getting two new large-screen devices: a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max and a 50mm Apple Watch Pro. These respectively represent the largest iPhone and Apple Watch the company has ever made. There are also rumors that a 14-inch iPad Pro and a 15-inch MacBook Air are in the works, though they probably won’t arrive this year.
As a general rule, Apple has tried to resist the trend toward big; it took the company until 2018 to ship a 6.5-inch iPhone in the XS Max. But this year, all four models are larger than six inches for the first time. And the Apple Watch Series 3’s tiny 38mm screen, which will likely disappear once and for all, is a whopping 12mm smaller than the rumored Apple Watch Pro.
Like it or not, Apple is going to be big in 2022. The pace of innovation is outpacing its ability to shrink batteries and build smaller devices, and even Apple has to give in and accept the truth: If you want devices that last longer, you will. should be bigger.
Greater than (battery) life
Almost every rumor has it that the iPhone 14 Max will replace the iPhone mini, which was seemingly a massive flop. Just two years ago, Apple introduced the iPhone 12 mini to much expectation and demand – as handsets continued to grow in size, people had been clamoring for a small premium phone for years, and Apple delivered a 5.4-inch iPhone with the same screen, camera and processor as its bigger sibling.
But the iPhone mini had a small problem: there was no demand, in part perhaps because of widespread concerns about battery life. Even after a boost with the iPhone 13 mini, battery life lags severely behind the larger models. The 13 mini lasts about half as long as the 13 Pro Max, according to Apple’s own estimates (25 hours versus 13 hours).
The same goes for the Apple Watch. Since the original model debuted in 2015, it has had a battery life of 18 hours. That’s okay, but it’s also not enough for all-day use if you take sleep and exercise tracking into account. And it pales in comparison to the multi-day battery life of Samsung and Fitbit watches.
The iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Pro will reportedly correct both errors. We don’t have exact specs yet, but reports say the iPhone 14 Max will have a 4325mAh battery, much larger than the 2406mAh battery in the iPhone 13 mini. That could mean the iPhone 14 Max will last twice as long as the iPhone 13 mini and significantly longer than the iPhone 14.
The Apple Watch Pro could similarly represent the biggest leap in battery life for Apple’s wearables. The larger size allows Apple to increase the battery from a capacity of 308 mAh to something that will probably last at least 24 hours and maybe even closer to 36.
And while we don’t know much about Apple’s other notorious products, it’s not hard to say that battery life will be a primary factor here too. For example, the iPad has had the same 10-hour battery life for the past 12 years, but with the battery gains offered by the M1 processor in the Mac, it’s not hard to think Apple could push it to 15 or 20 hours in a 14-inch model. And a 15-inch MacBook Air could easily extend the 18-hour battery life of the 13-inch Air to over 20 hours.
But to get that battery gain, you’ll have to embrace Apple’s biggest devices ever.