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The iPhone 14 is coming. But nobody knows exactly when.
The upcoming Apple handset is rumoured to be bringing a range of changes: the end of the “Mini” size, and the same dimensions on the Pro and non-Pro models, no notch at the top of the display but instead a pill-shaped camera cutout, and a new chip that will only come to the higher-end versions. It could also be the last device to use the Lightning cable, the most recent rumours suggest.
But what is less clear is exactly when it will arrive. Usually, Apple’s phones arrive like clockwork: every September, new models are announced, and go on sale around a week and a half later.
Recent years have however upset that routine. And there are suggestions that it will be the same this year.
Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone 14’s possible release date – and whether you should wait it out before buying a new phone.
What do we know from previous years?
For years, Apple’s release schedule for the iPhone was so regular that it could be easily predicted. It would be announced in the second week of September, and then released a week and a half later, on a Friday.
It is a pattern that began with the iPhone 5 and didn’t change for years: in the eight years and releases between 2012’s iPhone 5 and 2019’s iPhone 11, all the announcements fell within five days of each other.
In recent years, however, that has started to change; in 2020, the phones weren’t announced until October. Then in 2021 they went back on that schedule, with a release date of 14 September.
This benefitted Apple because the iPhone is such a huge product in its line-up and in the world. A regular schedule means that the world is ready for it to drop, that people can be encouraged to upgrade, and that investors know when the money is likely to be coming in.
The routine is different from most other Apple products – though the Apple Watch usually comes at the same time, every other product is updated more unpredictably. But no other Apple product is so big, or requires such an international operation.
As such, there is plenty of reason to think that Apple will follow the same pattern: an iPhone 14 announced in the second week of September and then put on sale shortly after. But it might not.
Why might it be different this year?
Rumours already suggest that Apple is considering a possible delay. Amid yet more lockdowns in China, and other production issues, the company is said to be struggling to produce enough of the phones in time.
What is worth noting, however, is that for the moment the timeline probably isn’t even known exactly within Apple. While it probably knows when it is expecting the phone to come out, the last two years have shown that nothing can be predicted with total certainty, and so even the most reliable rumours could end up being wrong.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Apple has delayed releasing a phone. In both 2017 and 2018, it delayed specific versions of its phones – the iPhone X and XR, respectively – amid rumoured production problems.
It has even done so in response to the pandemic before. In 2020, Apple delayed not only the release of the iPhone 12 but its announcement too – holding both in October, rather than September.
The delay in 2020 was rumoured well in advance, and even telegraphed by Apple, which said in an earnings call that July that the phone would be out “a few weeks later” than usual.
If there was a change this year, it would probably have the same pattern of rumours and then an official announcement. While Apple hardly is good at keeping its secrets, and hardly ever comments on leaks or upcoming products, the release schedule of the iPhone is such a significant, international event that word is likely to get out one way or another.