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Essentials Fall 100: Why the Apple iPhone 14 is our first-ever must-have fall essential pick

CBS Essentials

The new Apple iPhone 14 is the must-have smartphone of the season, and it hasn't even been officially released yet. The upgraded Apple iPhone 14 series includes enhanced features and new functions you can't experience with your old iPhone.

Keep reading to see why the Apple iPhone 14 is our first-ever must-have Essentials Fall 100 pick.

Top products in this article:

Preorder the iPhone 14: Apple iPhone 14 (128 GB), $800 (free with eligible trade-in)

Preorder the AirPods Pro 2: Apple AirPods Pro 2, $249

Preorder the new Apple Watch: Apple Watch Series 8 (45mm), $429

The upgraded Apple iPhone 14 smartphone line is now available for preorder. It will be released on Sept. 16.

The new devices feature a strong ceramic shield front for protection, an enhanced camera for photo and video capture and new safety services. The iPhone 14 will be available in a new blue color (as well as starlight, midnight, purple and red), while the larger iPhone 14 Pro will be available in a new deep purple hue.

If you're in the market for a new phone, the Apple iPhone 14 is likely to be a great choice. We'll know more for sure when we get ours delivered on Friday -- stay tuned to CBS Essentials for a hands-on review of the iPhone 14 next week.

Below, you'll find everything you need to know about the new Apple iPhone 14 models, plus what it means to be an Essentials Fall 100 pick.

What's new in the Apple iPhone 14?


Apple's new iPhone 14 offers several improvements over the prior model, including a new operating system with iOS 16. It is getting a camera upgrade, improved retina display and a larger battery. The new iPhones will feature 6GB of RAM, an increase over the 4GB offered in the iPhone 13. 

The iPhone 14 has a new 12MP main camera with a larger sensor and wider aperture. The upgraded smartphone also includes an improved front-facing camera with autofocus for better selfies. Apple states that the new camera system will provide strong improvements for low-light photography through its new Photogenic Engine. Apple also introduced Action Mode for improved video quality for capturing moving subjects.

One notable design change is the pill-shaped cutout at the top of the phone screen. This cutout features small privacy indicator lights that alert users that the microphone or camera is in use. One the iPhone 13, these indicator lights are easier to miss but the iPhone 14 has redesigned them to appear brighter (even in sunlight) and placed them front and center at the top of your phone screen.

Another new feature with the new iPhone is eSIM. This is an electronic SIM card that will allow users to activate new phones and transfer data without a physical SIM card.

There are also two new safety features; crash detection and emergency SOS. Crash detection uses motion sensors to detect when a severe car crash has occurred. When your phone detects a severe crash, it will contact emergency services and alert your emergency contacts. Emergency SOS is designed to help users connect with help and transfer the necessary data if an emergency occurs in an area with limited connectivity.

The iPhone 14 is also available in a Max version, with a larger phone screen. The iPhone 14 Plus has a 6.7-inch screen whereas the standard iPhone 14 has a 6.1-inch display screen. Apple has decided to ditch the iPhone Mini this year, so these are the only two sizing options for the iPhone 14.

The iPhone 14 will start at $799. The iPhone 14 Plus will start at $899. They are available for preorder now. The Apple iPhone 14 will be available Sept. 16, while Apple iPhone 14 Plus models will not be available until Oct. 7.

Several carriers are offering special discounts on the iPhone 14, including increased trade-in credits and incentives for new customers. To learn more about switching carriers, read our article on how to choose the best wireless carrier for the Apple iPhone 14.

Apple iPhone 14 (128 GB), $800 (free with eligible trade-in)

What's new in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Plus?


The higher-end iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are also getting major upgrades. Arguably the biggest update is the inclusion of Apple's new A16 bionic chip. Apple is sticking with the A15 chip for the standard iPhone 14, but shoppers that opt for a Pro model will get the enhanced chip for even better performance. The new iPhone Pro will also offer a brighter display, always-on display option and a more personalized lock screen.  

The iPhone 14 Pro will include Apple's new Dynamic Island, a design change that will display alerts at the top of your phone without disrupting your current activities. Each alert will have a different alert design to easily differentiate them. The Dynamic Island will also help you track background activities such as music, timers, or calls. The Dynamic Island will replace the notch seen in prior iPhone Pro models.

The Pro models are also getting even more camera upgrades than the standard iPhone 14. The new model will see significant improvements with a 48MP main camera. It also includes a new 12MP ultra-wide camera. The new camera system will offer improved focus, range and color. Apple has also made improvements to the flash system.

The iPhone 14 Pro is also available in a Pro Plus version, with a larger phone screen with a 6.7-inch screen and a larger battery. The iPhone 14 Pro will start at $999, while the iPhone 14 Pro Plus will start at $1,099. Preorders for both models are now open, with the Pro and Pro Plus beginning delivery on Friday, Sept. 16.

Save now on last year's Apple iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple AirPods and more

Now that the latest models have been announced, you can score some deals on last year's models of the Apple iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods Pro and more.

Apple iPhone 13 (128 GB): $679

Apple via Walmart

If you're looking to buy a new 6.1-inch Apple iPhone 13 for the new school year, know this: You'll save money if you buy the iPhone at Walmart rather than the Apple Store. Right now at Walmart, you can get the Apple iPhone 13 (128 GB model) for $18.87 per month for 36 months. That's a final price of $679, well under the $799 you'd pay at the Apple Store.

Apple iPhone 13 (128 GB), $679 (reduced from $799)

You can get better-than-Apple pricing on other models of the iPhone 13, as well, including the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini ($16.09 per month for 36 months) and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max ($29.14 per month for 36 months).

Apple iPhone 13 mini (128 GB), $579 (reduced from $699)

Apple iPhone 13 Pro (128 GB), $949 (reduced from $999)

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (128 GB), $1,049 (reduced from $1,099)

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro Wireless Earbuds with MagSafe Charging Case

Upgrade your old AirPods to the Apple AirPods Pro. Compared to older models, these AirPods fit active noise cancelation technology, water resistance and hearing health tracking in a more-compact, better-fitting design. They're also lauded for their sound quality. 

Now at $180, the Apple AirPods Pro are a solid deal for those with some flexibility in their budget.

Apple AirPods Pro, $180 (reduced from $249)

Apple AirPods with MagSafe case (3rd generation)


The latest generation of Apple AirPods are a nice upgrade over the second-generation model. They support 3D spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. You get more listening time, too -- up to 30 hours with the included MagSafe charging case.

Apple AirPods (3rd generation), $169 (reduced from $179)

Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm)

Apple Watch Series 7 45 mm
Apple via Amazon

The larger, somewhat weightier 45mm Apple Watch Series 7 is on sale at Walmart and Amazon now.

Apple Watch Series 7 GPS (45mm), $359 and up (regularly $429)

Apple iPad Mini 6


The iPad Mini 6 is a compact tablet with an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display screen. Released in 2021, the Apple tablet is powered by an A15 Bionic chip. It features a 12 MP wide-angle back camera, and a 12 MP ultra-wide-angle front camera. It boasts landscape stereo speakers. Available in four colors. 

Note that the Apple iPad Mini is not compatible with Apple's external Magic Keyboard. It can, however, be used with other Bluetooth-enabled external keyboards.

Apple iPad Mini 6 with celluar connectivity (64 GB) (space gray), $550 (reduced from $799)

Apple iPad Air 5


Introduced in 2022, the 10.9-inch Apple iPad Air 5 is the latest in the lightweight iPad Air line. The iPad Air 5 offers performance up to 60% faster than the prior model thanks to Apple's turbo-charged M1 chip. The device boasts a 12 MP wide-angle back camera that supports 4K video. It also offers touch ID, and Apple's Liquid Retina display.

Available in five colors; prices vary. The sale prices listed below are for the space gray iPad Air 5 with Wi-Fi-only connectivity. 

Apple iPad Air 5 (64 GB) (space gray), $559 (reduced from $599)

Apple iPad Air 5 (256 GB) (space gray), $679 (reduced from $749)

Apple iPad 9


The 10.2-inch iPad 9, released in 2021, is the most affordable of Apple's iPad offerings. It offers a 8 MP wide-angle back camera, and a 12 MP ultra-wide-angle front camera. It boasts stereo speakers, too. This iPad is powered by a A13 Bionic chip. It boasts up to 10 hours of battery life, and is compatible with the Apple Pencil for drawing or note-taking.

Available in two colors; prices vary.  

Apple iPad 9 (64 GB) (silver), $280 (reduced from $329)

The CBS Essentials Fall 100

Want the secret to the perfect fall? The shopping experts at CBS Essentials (that's us!) have compiled the first-ever Essentials Fall 100, a list of the 100 most essential products of fall 2022. 

These must-have items include bestsellers, seasonal favorites, top-rated products and hotly anticipated new gadgets including the new Apple iPhone 14Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple AirPods Pro 2. Before you buy anything this season, check out the CBS Essentials Fall 100 list for the best in tech, kitchen gadgets such as coffee makers4K TVs and streaming boxes, home appliances such as washers and dryersrobot vacuums, must-have apparel, cozy furniture, fall decor, Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving turkeys and more.

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