AT A GLANCEApple recently introduced the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Both devices will launch on September 19 in the first wave of countries. The first reviews describe the units as "thin and sexy", "bigger and better", with impressive battery life.
The Good A bigger, crisp display, improved LTE and Wi-Fi speeds, better camera autofocus, bumped-up storage capacities to 128GB at the top end, and NFC Apple Pay mobile wallet features on the horizon.
The Bad In early tests, the iPhone 6's battery doesn't fare any better than last year's model. Some Android phones fit an even-larger 5-inch screen into the same size frame. It lacks the optical image stabilization of the bigger, more expensive 6 Plus.
The Bottom Line The iPhone 6 delivers a bigger screen while remaining easy to handle, with plenty of features to satisfy everyone -- and the promise of Apple Pay on the horizon to potentially sweeten the deal even further.
Say what you like about Apple, it's a brand that's always put design at the forefront of its new handsets. Even the iPhone 5S, probably the most unimaginative of all of Cupertino's handsets, had a strong build that screamed quality in the hand, giving the user the instant feeling of something worth spending a lot on. The iPhone 6 pushes that idea to the next level, losing the sharp edges in favour of sleek and rounded sides that make the device much more pleasing in the palm. It just feels so thin, but doesn't have the overly-lightweight feeling of the iPhone 5S.
There is a worry that this is a slippier handset than before thanks to the more rounded nature of the design, but then again with Apple (apparently) upgrading the glass in the screen to something that can withstand many, many more bumps and bruises before shattering, that might not be the horrid experience it might once have been. The larger screen is certainly an improvement on the previous models - while I think 4.7-inches is going to be a tiny bit small for those that have lusted after their friends' Galaxy S5 devices with the 5.2-inch screen, it's still a very good size for one hand.
If it wasn't, then why would Sony have launched the Xperia Z3 compact and Samsung the Galaxy Alpha, both within 0.1-inch of the iPhone 6's screen size? The issue with the iPhone 5S, with the cramped screen making it almost impossible to peck out the letters on the keyboard, has now definitely been alleviated. It's not got a great resolution, at only 1334 x 750 it's essentially 720p, but the new Retina HD screen looks brilliant. So much so that I thought I was picking up a dummy model to play with. And if you're so desperate for the larger resolution, there's always the iPhone 6 Plus to be looking at, despite that being more of a phablet / Note 4 rival.
4.7inches 5.5 inches
iPHONE 6 iPHONE 6 PLUSThe upgraded resolution is a good jump for Apple, but not quite enough really for the spec fans. While I think the brand had it right a few years ago when it launched the Retina display, times have moved on. Some people say that the Full HD / QHD displays on offer today from Sony, Samsung and LG are overkill, but there's no way that you won't see the difference in sharpness if you put the iPhone 5S and LG G3 next to one another. However, it's the same PPI as the iPhone 5S, so the iPhone 6 might not stand up to sharpness tests next to the best the Android world has to offer. It must be tremendously frustrating to create a quality, well-selling app and then find the resolution you coded for is now old news. The good news is that while you're spending hours making an iPhone 6 version, the phone can scale old apps to still work.
It's not going to be a perfect experience, but it's another example of Apple's decent ecosystem - if this was a handset running on the Android platform, a new resolution simply means the app won't run full stop, so at least there's some continuity here. In terms of the performance advantage Apple has given itself, the new A8 processor certainly seems up to the task. While (as usual) we've not heard much in the way of specs for it, save to say it's the same 64-bit architecture that Apple added into the mix last year. As such, the same snappiness is there in terms of camera processing, general browsing and app use, but it will only be with some serious use that the power of the new A8 chip will show itself. And while we've not been told the RAM inside the iPhone 6, there's a feeling that Apple will have doubled it at least to 2GB in order to facilitate more powerful and impressive apps, as well as allowing the phone to function better under duress.
CameraThe camera on the iPhone 6 isn't much of a change... from the outside. It's still 8MP, and still doesn't record in 4K. But that would miss some of the big changes: the f/2.2 aperture, the new iSight camera with superfast autofocus thanks to 'Focus Pixels' and the same trick repeated with the video, for smooth shooting even if you're moving around. The iPhone 6 has digital image stabilisation, unlike its larger iPhone 6 Plus brother, which packs optical image stabilisation for a likely slightly crisper picture. But the cool thing (if you like slo-mo video) is the phone can now shoot at 240fps, which is a fantastically sharp way of looking at what people are doing really, really slowly. I'll be digging into the camera more in a short while, so again: stay tuned.
DisplayThe iPhone 6's headline feature is its 4.7in display. And with good reason: Apple had only ever upped its screen size once before, and that from 3.5in to 4in. But let's not get carried away here - by anyone else's standards, 4.7in is not a huge screen. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - note the word 'Compact' - is only a smidgeon smaller at 4.6in. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z3, the iPhone remains a pixie in a land of Android ogres. For many people, 4.7in will be the ideal size: big enough to offer a better viewing and gaming experience, without being so big that you can't use it properly. Of course none of that matters if the quality isn't there too. Fortunately, it is.
However we'd be lying if we said that we hadn't hoped for more. The 6 Plus has a full HD 1080p screen, as does almost every one of the iPhone 6's main rivals. While the 6's display is easily one of the best 720p efforts we've used, the differences between it and a full HD screen are visible if you look for them. However, for day-to-day use, there’s a limit to what you can see - or at least to what matters. And in those terms, the iPhone 6 is as good as its keenest rivals. Plus, it’s just right there: the display seems so pressed up against the glass it’s like you’re making direct contact with the pixels.
Security. Right at your ﬁngertip.Your fingerprint is the perfect password. You always have it with you. And no one can ever guess what it is. Our breakthrough Touch ID technology uses a unique fingerprint identity sensor to make unlocking your phone easy and secure. And with new developments in iOS 8 and Touch ID, your fingerprint will grant you faster access to so much more. Place your finger on the Home button, and just like that your iPhone unlocks. Touch ID is capable of 360-degree readability, which means no matter what its orientation — portrait, landscape, or anything in between — your iPhone reads your fingerprint and knows who you are. And Touch ID even lets you enroll multiple fingerprints.
Touch ID does more than just let you unlock your iPhone. Your fingerprint can also approve purchases from iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store, so you don’t have to enter your password or billing information again and again. And for the first time, developers can integrate Touch ID into third‑party apps. Apple Pay lets you use iPhone 6 to pay in hundreds of thousands of stores with a single touch. Just place your finger on the Touch ID sensor with your iPhone near the contactless reader, and your payment is sent. Apple Pay makes it just as convenient to pay within apps, too.
iOS 8The new operating system that was debuted at WWDC earlier in the year has the expected poster boy in the iPhone 6 - while it's not a massive overhaul of the platform, it brings with it some nifty tweaks. For instance, the updated notifications center is imbued with better powers than before, allowing you to see more relevant information from a simple pull down from the top of the screen.
This action isn't as easy as it once was, thanks to the larger screen, but that's worth it for the greater real estate to play with. The new OS brings with it other big upgrades, such as the ability to use other keyboards in the future - the thought of Swiftkey on an iPhone, and one without such cramped conditions for typing is an appealing one - which shows that Apple knows it needs to do something big to keep up with the smartphone competition amid eroding market share.
|Apple iPhone 6||Apple iPhone 6 Plus||Samsung Galaxy S5||Motorola Moto X (2014)|
|US base price (with two-year agreement)||$199||$299||$199||$99|
|UK base price (unlocked)||£539||£619||£350||£420|
|Australia base price (unlocked)||AU$869||AU$999||AU$900||N/A|
|Display size/resolution||4.7-inch 1,344x750 IPS (326 ppi)||5.5-inch 1,920x1,080 IPS (401 ppi)||5.1-inch 1,920x1,080 Super AMOLED (432 ppi)||5.5-inch 1,920x1,080 AMOLED (423 ppi)|
|Processor||1.39GHz Apple A8 (64-bit)||1.38GHz Apple A8 (64-bit)||2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (Krait400)||2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (Krait400)|
|Internal storage||16GB, 64GB or 128GB||16GB, 64GB or 128GB||16GB, 32GB||16GB, 32GB|
|Expandable storage||No||No||Yes (microSD)||No|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Operating system||iOS 8||iOS 8||Android 4.4.2||Android 4.4.4|
|US carriers||AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon||AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon||AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon||AT&T, Verizon|
Other Technical Specs
|GENERAL||2G Network||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - A1549 (GSM), A1549 (CDMA), A1586|
|CDMA 800 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 - A1549 (CDMA), A1586|
|3G Network||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 - A1549 (GSM), A1549 (CDMA), A1586|
|CDMA2000 1xEV-DO - A1549 (CDMA), A1586|
|TD-SCDMA 1900 / 2000 - A1586|
|4G Network||LTE 700/800/850/900/1700/1800/1900/2100/2600 (1/2/3/4/5/7/8/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29) - A1549 (GSM), A1549 (CDMA)|
|LTE 700/800/850/900/1800/1900/2100/2600 TD-LTE 1900/2300/2500/2600 (1/2/3/4/5/7/8/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/38/39/40/41) - A1586|
|Status||Coming soon. Exp. release 2014, September|
|BODY||Dimensions||138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 in)|
|Weight||129 g (4.55 oz)|
|- Fingerprint sensor (Touch ID) - Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified)|
|DISPLAY||Type||LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||750 x 1334 pixels, 4.7 inches (~326 ppi pixel density)|
|Protection||Shatter proof glass, oleophobic coating|
|- Display Zoom|
|SOUND||Alert types||Vibration, proprietary ringtones|
|Internal||16/64/128 GB, 1 GB RAM|
|Speed||DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 150 Mbps DL, 50 Mbps UL|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Bluetooth||v4.0, A2DP, LE|
|NFC||Yes (Apple Pay only)|
|CAMERA||Primary||8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash|
|Features||1/3'' sensor size, 1.5µm pixel size, geo-tagging, simultaneous HD video and image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR (photo/panorama)|
|Secondary||1.2 MP, 720p@30fps, face detection, FaceTime over Wi-Fi or Cellular|
|CPU||Dual-core 1.4 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based)|
|GPU||PowerVR GX6650 (hexa-core graphics)|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Messaging||iMessage, SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS|
|Colors||Space Gray, Silver, Gold|
|- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic - AirDrop file sharing - Siri natural language commands and dictation - iCloud cloud service - iCloud Keychain - Twitter and Facebook integration - TV-out - Maps - iBooks PDF reader - Audio/video player/editor - Organizer - Document viewer/editor - Photo viewer/editor - Voice memo/dial/command - Predictive text input|
|BATTERY||Non-removable Li-Po 1810 mAh battery (6.9 Wh)|
|Stand-by||(2G) / Up to 250 h (3G)|
|Talk time||(2G) / Up to 14 h (3G)|
|Music play||Up to 50 h|