iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Out NOW In The UK!: Everything You Need To Know

News Richard Goodwin 12:49, 19 Sep 2014

EVERYTHING you need to know about Apple's newly released iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets, including specs, prices and where to buy

Latest iPhone 6 & iPhone Plus News & Features

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are tipped to be the biggest selling smartphones in history, with analysts predicting up to 100 million shipments before the close of 2014. Both handsets went up for pre-order on Sept. 12 and, shortly thereafter, Apple confirmed upwards of 4 million orders within the first 24-hours. Not too, shabby.

As of today, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are now available to buy via Apple's online webstore and at its retail shops on the high street. You can also pick it up via a multitude of carrier network contract deals with all the major providers: O2, Vodafone, Three and EE, as well as smaller networks like GiffGaff. Third party retailers are also stocking the new iPhones.

In terms of specs, hardware and the overall design of the units, however, this year’s iPhone launch –– despite the magnitude of the changes present –– wasn’t too much of a surprise; they’re were just too many, fairly accurate leaks. And that’s never really happened before. 

The handsets are, however, still very impressive pieces of kit in their own right, boasting things like VoLTE, NFC payments (although not in the UK), support for 20 bands of LTE, 128GB storage options and radically improved camera technology. Apple always says the new iPhone is the BEST iPhone, but this time it’s not talking out of its behind –– 2014’s iPhones are the ones a lot of people have been waiting for since 2012.

Apple also took the time to detail its plan for mobile payments (via NFC and TouchID) with Apple Pay, as well as debuting its first foray into the wearable space with its Apple Watch. It went on to show off some new, previously unseen iOS 8 features –– Reachability, for one –– and then did something really crazy and confirmed it would be giving U2’s new album away for free to anyone with an Apple ID. For, like, no reason whatsoever. 

But before we get down into the guts of what makes the new iPhones tick, here's what Tim Cook said at launch about Apple's swish new iPhones: “iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest advancements in iPhone history,” said Cook. “The iPhone is the most loved smartphone in the world with the highest customer satisfaction in the industry and we are making it much better in every way. Only Apple can combine the best hardware, software and services at this unprecedented level and we think customers are going to love it.”

Below is everything you need to know about both (we'll be updating this article as new information becomes available).

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Price & Release Date

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are available now, and – as expected – will cost a small fortune, especially if you opt for the larger model. Here’s a break down of the pricing:

iPhone 6 Prices 

  • 16GB – £539
  • 64GB – £619
  • 128GB – £699 

iPhone 6 Plus Prices 

  • 16GB – £619 
  • 64GB – £699 
  • 128GB – £789 

As expected pre-orders for the iPhone 6 (which went live on Sept. 12) were off the hook. Apple confirmed there were around four million pre-orders for both handsets within 24-hours, and the HUGE demand for its new smartphones could affect supply, which means some punters may be forced to wait until mid-October to get their hands on a shiny new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

Both models are also now available from O2, Vodafone, EE, Three, GiffGaff, Virgin Media, TalkMobile, additional carriers and select Apple Authorised Resellers.

“iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are better in every way, and we are thrilled customers love them as much as we do,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Pre-orders for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus set a new record for Apple, and we can’t wait to get our best iPhones yet into the hands of customers starting this Friday.”

Vodafone

Vodafone has revealed its pricing plans for contract details, naturally there's a massive range of options, far too many to list here in fact. Many of the more compelling choices require an up-front cost for the phone of £99 for the iPhone 6, and from there you can go for a £38.50 per month contract for 24 months on the 3G Red plan for 1GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.

How Do We Feel About The iPhone 6?

KYM does a weekly podcast where we speak about the latest mobile tech. This week we spoke about the iPhone 6 announcement at some length.

In it we give our honest opinions on the latest handset and share what we think will happen with the Apple Watch. We recommend you give it a quick listen through iTunes.

If you’re not a fan of iTunes, you can listen as the embedded link below or use this link here to put it into your favourite podcast launcher.

A similar deal can swap the 1GB 3G data for the same amount of 4G data at the same price, which nets you 600 minutes and unlimited texts. The lowest price 3G plan costs £26.50 per month and £249 up front with 100 minutes, unlimited texts and 100MB of data. On the other end of the spectrum you can grab the iPhone 6 with no upfront cost, but this is part of a 4G Red XL or Red XXL plan with either 10GB or 20GB of data at £53.50 or £58.50 per month respectively with unlimited calls and texts.

It's a similar scenario for the iPhone 6 Plus, though Vodafone doesn't have a free phone option. If you want to pay the least possible for the handset upfront you've got the 4G Red XL and Red XXL deals where the phone costs £19. AS before, they offer 10GB and 20GB of data, plus unlimted texts and minutes, however, the monthly costs goes up respectively to £58.50 and £63.50. The lowest priced plan is a 3G contract at £249 up-front for the phone and £31.50 per month for the tariff, which nets you 100MB of data, 100 minutes, and unlimited texts.

O2

And here are O2's prices displayed, conveniently in a lovely picture for your viewing pleasure: 

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Display 

The iPhone 6 will feature a 4.7in 1334 x 750 IPS display, while its larger stable mate with use a 5.5in 1920 x 1080 pixel panel. Everybody knew Apple was going to up the size of the display this time around. While many were concerned about this bump in size alienating existing consumers used to 4inches and below, the company has been clever with how it has rejigged the design, making both handsets impossibly thin and, in the case of the iPhone 6 Plus, adding in UX tweaks to make one-handed navigation possible. The new handsets are still A LOT bigger than last year's releases, as you can see below...

Apple calls its new iPhone screens Retina HD and reckons the iPhone 6 Plus delivers 185% more pixels than 2013’s iPhone 5s. Meanwhile the iPhone 6 delivers an impressive 38% uplift over its predecessor. Both are fairly comprehensive improvements over what came before by offering higher screen resolutions on larger panels, but the main event –– the thing everybody wanted –– is the bump in display size. Never before have Apple’s phones ever commanded such a presence in the hand or indeed when on display like at the launch event last night. 

In terms of gross display specs, however, neither come close to offering the type of pixel density you’d find on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3. But Apple’s forte with displays has never been to do with  super high pixel densities and resolutions; instead it focuses on usability, general performance and power efficiency –– which is perhaps why the smaller iPhone 6, with its smaller battery, isn’t a Full HD setup like most top-flight Android handsets.

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Design 

The iPhone 6 looks exactly like the leaks you’ve already seen, so in this regard there are no really big surprises – just confirmation about certain aspects of the handsets’ attributes. Both models are constructed from an anodised aluminium chassis, meaning they won’t rust, and feature a stainless steel Apple logo on the back, but no light up LED, sadly.  

The glass on the front of both the devices curves around to the edges (again, something we’ve already seen in the leaks) and both handsets are incredibly thin at just 6.9mm for the iPhone 6 and 7.1mm for the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple hasn’t revealed any additional dimension or weight information, however, although both models are A LOT thinner than 2013’s iPhone 5s (7.6mm).

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Key Specs

Once again the leaks were pretty spot on… the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will feature Apple’s brand new A8 chipset, which is a 20nm setup that Apple says delivers a 20% performance boost to processing power and around 50% in the graphics department. 

The M7 coprocessor has been updated too –– it's now called the M8 coprocessor. It is A LOT smarter and can, for example, tell the difference between when you’re cycling and running. It can also calculate distance and elevation, as well as air pressure (in case you do a lot of climbing).

Apple didn’t talk about memory (nothing new there), but it did confirm higher storage models; Apple now does iPhones with 128GB of storage, but there’s no 32GB option anymore (just 16GB, 64GB and 128GB). Lord knows how that will affect pricing.

The LTE aboard both iPhones is now A LOT better. There are 20 LTE bands, which is insane. And it does "carrier aggregation" too, just like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805. It also does LTE advanced, with speeds up to 150Mbps. VoLTE also made the cut too, and if that wasn’t enough Apple went on to claim the Wi-Fi inside the iPhone 6 is THREE times faster than the iPhone 5s’ capabilities. The iPhone 6 will also support Wi-Fi Calling on EE in the UK.

Because the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus aren't in consumer hands just yet, no-one has done a teardown of the device to see what's inside. However, benchmarks have emerged which give us a pretty clear idea of the processor, RAM, and battery specs of each handset.

As expected, the A8 processor is configured identically on each phone - it is a dual-core chip using second-generation Apple Cyclone cores and a clockspeed of 1.4GHz.  They also both feature 1GB of RAM, but there's no word on the GPU just yet, although as with previous models a PowerVR is expected.

The other key spec revealed is the battery, with the iPhone 6 sporting a 1,800mAh cell (over the iPhone 5S' 1,570mAh) while the iPhone 6 Plus has a considerably larger 2,915mAh unit.

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Camera

Prior to the launch of the iPhone 6 handsets there was plenty of talk about Apple moving to a 12MP setup, but instead the company has stuck with the same amount of megapixels (8MP) it used on the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. But should this be cause for concern given that most Android and Windows Phone flagships now pack in 16MP or 20+MP sensors? 

  • iPhone 6: 8MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture, dual-LED flash and Digital Image Stabilisation
  • iPhone 6 Plus: 8MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture, dual-LED flash and Optical Image Stabilisation 

On paper, the iPhone 6’s imaging setup appears almost exactly the same as the iPhone 5s’ –– you have the same pixel size (1.5 microns), the same aperture (f/2.2) and the same True Tone flash. Drill down a little deeper, though, and you’ll start to notice some pretty significant changes; things like phase detection autofocus, for one, as well as improvements to tone mapping, noise reduction and the inclusion of optical image stabilisation on the iPhone 6 Plus. 

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Video

Where there have been some pretty noticeable bumps in performance is video; both models can now shoot Full HD video at 60fps (although there’s still the option to do it at 30fps, too). Apple debuted Slo-mo video on the iPhone 5s, allowing users to capture slowed-down video footage at 120fps, but has upped the ante to 240fps on both new models. It’s still a fairly niche feature, but at least you capture stuff in slightly better detail now. Expect A LOT more cat videos in the coming weeks and months.

But the biggest addition of all is optical image stabilisation aboard the iPhone 6 Plus. This is a big deal for Apple, but it’s not exactly a new technology in the mobile world; plenty of Android handsets have been using it for years now. The downside is this feature will ONLY be available on the iPhone 6 Plus; iPhone users will have to make do with digital image stabilisation. Unclear about what the difference is? Allow us to explain: 

OIS –– Abbreviated as OIS, optical image stabilization is the apparatus, contained within a digital camera or other digital recording device, that compensates in real-time for shaking and vibrating while recording. Because OIS is a real-time compensation there is no alterations or image degradation to the image (source).

DIS –– Digital Image stabilization (DIS) is a digital camera technology that works to reduce blurry photos caused by camera shake. Whereas optical image stabilisation is achieved using a camera’s lens, digital versions use software to achieve the same effect.  

TouchID & Apple Pay 

The iPhone 6 (both models) will feature NFC chips that will be used for mobile payments (via TouchID) inside Apple’s new mobile payment solution, Apple Pay. American Express, MasterCard, and Visa are all confirmed launch partners. Here's a primer on Everything You Need To Know About Apple Pay that'll bring you up to speed on what the new technology involves, how you use it, and when it's coming to the UK. 

How Apple Pay works is simple: you tap your phone on an NFC terminal and confirm the payment using TouchID. There’s also a Secure Element that encrypts all of your details (more on this later). The only issue at present is that Apple Pay is US-exclusive, although the company says it is working on bringing the technology overseas. 

Apple said a large amount of US shops including Staples, Subway and McDonalds are already setup to take Apple Payments. Ditto for Apple Stores. 

“With the launch of the iPhone 6 and its payment capability, Apple has once again sent out a challenge to the industry – and this time it has the payments market in its sights. This sector, already undergoing massive evolution as Internet and mobile payments take hold and new providers target perceived opportunities, will be revolutionised if Apple's mobile wallet grabs the public attention," said Anthony Duffy, Director, Retail Banking, Fujitsu UK & Ireland.

"At a time when many in the market are moving towards biometric for payments, Apple’s decision to go for NFC – a technology that up until now has struggled to clearly stamp its mark on the payments industry - is a bold one. While Apple’s implementation will undoubtedly help NFC recapture interest, the industry needs to keep working towards the adoption of more advanced payment technologies – such as biometrics – which will enable retailers and payment companies to provide a more secure service for their customers.”

On PAGE 2 you'll find all the pre-launch rumours (... most of which were dead right)

Sponsored Links