A couple hours ago, Apple concluded the most eventful product launch it’s held in years. The firm from Cupertino whipped the covers off its eagerly anticipated iPhone 6, the 4.7-inch replacement for its popular iPhone 5S smartphone; the iPhone 6 Plus, a new 5.5-inch phablet with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and other phablets dead-center in its crosshairs; and the Apple Watch, the first new device category developed under Apple head honcho Tim Cook. Even if you’re not into Apple, you’ll want to scroll down and read more!
(Note that this is just an overview, so nothing is covered in any depth – look for us to write more in-depth articles in the coming days.)
A Plus-sized contender for the smartphone crown
Of course, this being a tablet and phablet site, this article is focused on the iPhone 6 Plus, so let’s get to it! The Plus is most definitely all about the screen, first and foremost; this one boasts a Retina HD display with a whopping 185 percent more pixels than the newly long-in-the-tooth iPhone 5S possesses. More specifically, it’s got a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels – which means that it has no less than 2 million pixels. No worries about impact on battery life, though – Apple says the 6 Plus gets 24 hrs talk time, 16 days standby time and up to 12 hours of net usage on LTE or WiFi.
Now let’s go to the rest of the Plus’ hardware. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor that debuted to such fanfare in the 5S also takes pride of place in the 6 Plus. (Apple’s trademark mute switch and volume buttons are also retained, of course, and the power switch has been relocated to the right side in a bid to make the phone easier to use with one hand.) Not only that, but the 6 Plus is also palpably thinner than the 5S – 7.1mm versus its predecessor’s not-super-thick 7.6 mm.
There’s a new front-facing iSight camera that has a new sensor, resulting in faster autofocus. The iPhone 6 Plus’ front camera features optical image stabilization – only digital stabilization is available on the 6. Lastly, the latest Apple processor, the A8, resides within the new iPhones – it’s 25 percent faster than the A7 the 5S uses. (The 6 and 6 Plus also benefit from the new M8 motion coprocessor, whose new barometer can measure relative elevation – it can now tell if, say, you’re climbing the stairs, a boon for those exercising.)
iOS 8 is the big story software-wise – the next generation of Apple’s mobile software – and in 6 Plus implementation it incorporates special features atop all other features to help boost usability, including ‘reachability’ to aid one-handed use (two taps on the home button slides the interface down, making it easier to reach) and a new landscape mode. It also comes with Apple Pay, which runs on the phones’ included NFC (at last!) to substitute for credit cards.
Price and availability
Beginning September 19, the iPhone 6 Plus will be available for sale. It can be had in Gold, Silver and Space Gray. It starts at $299 for the 16 GB version, goes up to $399 for the 64 GB version and maxes out at $499 for a new 128 GB version. (The 6 costs $100 less at each of the same storage sizes.) The iPhone 5s goes down to $99 and the iPhone 5c is now free with contract.