Apple has unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, two different iterations of its line of smartphones.
Called (of course) the iPhone 6, Apple’s latest smartphone is larger, thinner, and, according to Apple, lasts longer than the previous iPhone 5s.
In addition to the iPhone 6 is the 6 Plus, Apple’s larger-screened smartphone, dwarfing some Android smartphones that were already gargantuan in anyone’s pockets.
The iPhone 6 will cost $199 for the 16GB model. The larger 6 Plus will start at $299 for the same storage space.
Both phones will be available for pre-order starting September 12. Want one in the store? Be prepared to wait in line. Apple will have the phones in stores September 19.
Big and bigger
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus aren’t small devices. The screen size on the iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches, a bump up from the 4-inch iPhone 5 and 5s. The 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen, which is even larger than the popular Samsung Galaxy S5.
This is the second instance of Apple increasing its smartphones’ screen sizes. Originally, the iPhone had a 3.5-inch display, which became a 4-inch screen when the iPhone 5 was released.
The screen size increase is an interesting development, since Apple has been generally against changing display size and fragmenting its own market with differing screen sizes. With the debut of the iPhone 5, Apple even released a commercial explaining why the increase to 4 inches was “common sense.”
Pixels on pixels
Both phones have also gone through substantial screen resolution increases. Both phones feature “ion-strengthened” glass, which sounds like an improvement over its previous glass, but doesn’t make it the rumored “sapphire” display that was passed around as fact.The iPhone 6 now has a 720p display, while the larger 6 Plus has a 1080p display, putting it in line with high-end Android smartphones.
The debate over smartphone resolution is a complicated one, which makes Apple’s decision to create a 720p smartphone an interesting one. Smaller smartphones than the iPhone 6 do have 1080p displays, but the human eye’s resolution often negates any additional benefits you get from the extra pixels on a smaller display.
In terms of the camera, Apple has added image stabilization to both phones, although the 6 Plus has the more desirable optical image stabilization, while the 6 only has software-based stabilization. Both feature video recording in 1080p at 60 frames per second, and can even record in slow motion at 240 frames per second.
Long lasting life
Battery life has always been an issue with smartphones, but Apple’s steadily increased smartphone efficiency, and managed to squeeze even more juice out of even larger phones.
The 6 Plus and its larger frame holds a larger battery, giving it 80 hours of audio playback time and up to 14 hours of video playback. The iPhone 6 has a similarly impressive battery life, but hands-on tests will show whether the claims are true.
Harder, thinner, faster
Apple’s phones are not only larger than ever, but they’re thinner too, with the iPhone 6 clocking in at over a half-millimeter thinner than the iPhone 5s, while the 6 Plus is a half-millimeter thinner.
Under the hood is the A8 processor, a second-generation 64-bit processor. Schiller boasted that the new chip could handle graphics “up to 50% faster” than the previous processor in the iPhone 5s. It’s smaller and more energy efficient than the previous processor, which means you’ll be able to play better looking games for longer.
Both phones also have an updated motion processor. The new M8 processor can tell when you’re walking, running, or cycling, and can detect elevation levels to track how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed.
While the updated iPhones boast larger screens and faster processors, Apple’s secret weapon could be its brand new mobile payment system, Apple Pay. During the keynote, Tim Cook showed of a demonstration of an average purchase, complete with wallet-searching, card swiping, and a seemingly farcical approximation of paying with a credit card.
With Apple Pay, paying for products means tapping your new iPhone to a compatible checkout point-of-sale system (POS) and using the phone’s TouchID fingerprint scanner. It’s already in use at places like Walgreens, Subway, and Home Depot, and set to debut in other establishments like McDonald’s and Disney stores later on.
The technology isn’t new; Google Wallet led the charge a few years ago, but didn’t gather much steam. Apple’s cache could be the impetus that drives widespread adoption of smartphone mobile payments, and could make credit cards the new cash.
The new iPhones now feature 20 bands of LTE, which means more high-speed connectivity options for more international carriers, as well as faster data. In terms of Wi-Fi connectivity, both phones support 802.11ac, the latest standard in Wi-Fi access.
Near Field Communication (NFC) is also included in the new iPhones, but as of right now it seems like it will be used only for Apple Pay. NFC allows your smartphone to communicate with other NFC-enabled electronics by tapping your phone to them. Features like Apple Pay, which let you tap your smartphone to a POS and instantly pay without a credit card.