Apple wasted no time in unveiling a pair of new iPhones in front of a packed house at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts at De Anza College in Cupertino. The phones, officially called the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, sport a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display, respectively – just as previous leaks had suggested.
The 4.7-inch display of the iPhone 6 operates at a resolution of 1,334 x 750 which is 38 percent more pixels than the 5S. The front surface is coated with “ion-strengthened glass” – no mention of the rumored sapphire glass (reserved for the Apple Watch). The handset measures just 6.9mm thin and features equal or better battery life across the board compared to last year’s flagship.
The iPhone 6 Plus, meanwhile, operates in true HD at 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, good for 185 percent more pixels than its predecessor. Its bigger footprint allows for substantial battery life improvements across the board. It measures a touch thicker than the iPhone 6 at 7.1mm although both phones are significantly thinner than the 7.6mm thickness of the 5S.
Apple demonstrated the iPhone 6 Plus in landscape view running iOS 8, an experience that looks similar to what you’d get on the iPad Mini. By that, I mean that a number of screens support dual pane views. Even the keyboard has some additional buttons while turned horizontally. And for the first time, the homescreen can even be turned to work in landscape mode.
Apple has improved the camera in both new iPhones. This time around, we’re looking at an 8-megapixel iSight camera with a 5-element lens, Apple’s True Tone flash, f/2.2 aperture, an all-new sensor, 1.5µ pixels and something Apple is calling “focus pixels” or more commonly referred to as phase detection autofocus. It’ll allow the iSight camera to focus twice as fast as the previous generation, according to Phil Schiller.
Panorama shots, meanwhile, now top out at up to 43-megapixels but where things differ between the two phones is the image stabilization. The iPhone 6 features a “digital” image stabilization system while the premium iPhone 6 Plus uses optical image stabilization (optical is always preferred over digital).
The new iPhones can now record 1080p video at up to 60 fps while the gimmicky-yet-entertaining slo-mo feature can now capture at up to 240 fps. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera is also new for 2014 with a larger f/2.2 aperture to let more light in and a new image sensor.
As expected, both next generation iPhones are powered by Apple’s new A8 processor with an M8 motion coprocessor. The second generation, 64-bit A8 chip was built using a 20-nanometer manufacturing process, which translates into a 17 percent smaller footprint versus the A7. Apple claims its new processor is up to 25 percent faster on the CPU side and up to 50 percent faster with graphics.
The new LTE chip inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus supports up to 20 LTE bands which is more than any other smartphone. Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that it's 50 percent faster than previous generation iPhones at 150Mbps. Wi-Fi 802.11ac is now standard and the phones support Wi-Fi calling (on T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK).
The iPhone 6 starts at $199 for a 16GB model and scales up to $399 with 128GB of on-board storage (with a two-year service agreement through your wireless carrier). It’ll be available in silver, black and gold color schemes just as the 5s is today. The iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 with pre-orders for all of the new iPhones going live September 12. As is the norm, handsets should arrive in customers’ hands a week later on September 19.
The iPhone 5S will stick around for another year, now starting at $99, while the 5C will be free on contract moving forward.
Apple didn’t spend much time on iOS 8 during the presentation as they no doubt needed to save room for the real star of the show, the Apple Watch. That said, both of the new iPhones will ship with the updated operating system while those with existing iDevices can download iOS 8 starting September 17.