EVERYTHING You Need To Know About The iPhone 6 And iPhone 6 Plus

News Richard Goodwin 15:15, 13 Oct 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

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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. It is also the BIGGEST selling launch in Apple's history, as noted by Strategy Analytics: 

"Apple sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones this past weekend, a million more than were sold during opening weekend in 2013 when the iPhone 5S and 5C went on sale, and double the number of iPhone 5 handsets sold in the first weekend in 2012.  Despite having more devices on hand than ever before, many stores reported selling out of their stock, with waits of more than a month for the iPhone 6 Plus reported for many markets.  With demand for the iPhone at all-time high levels it is clear that Apple will have a blockbuster quarter in the upcoming holiday shopping season, and is likely to report higher-than-usual sales in Q1 2015 once the iPhone begins to go on sale in China."

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, of course, 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. Not that this has stopped millions upon millions of people from standing in line and purchasing them as soon as they became available on Sept. 19. All around the globe, Apple Stores began to look like post-apocalyptic, futuristic churches as the lines of people, camped outside for days on end, grew and grew ahead of the big day. To date –– Oct. 10 –– Apple has sold almost 20 million units which of course is another record for the company. 

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.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the results –– 10 million sales as of Sept. 22 –– exceeded Apple’s expectations, in a statement.

“Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We would like to thank all of our customers for making this our best launch ever, shattering all previous sell-through records by a large margin. While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible.”

Both models are 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.”

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).

Some users have found the new iPhone 6 Plus is SO thin that it can actually be bent out of shape –– or so the story goes. According to a raft of reports this week some iPhone 6 Plus users are reporting slight bends to there device, either from sitting on them or, more alarmingly, simply storing them in their trouser pockets.

Whilst reports were rife, one YouTube user decided to test it on their own iPhone 6 Plus and you can watch the results in the video below. 

As you can see it does look pretty simple to bend the handset with little force. The iPhone 6 Plus is particularly thin but when you are spending that amount of money you’d hope for better build quality than it just bending in your pocket. Apple is yet to comment on the issue.

Apple Officially Responds To The Bendy iPhone 6

As you’ve just read above, some have been claiming both the iPhone 6 models,  the iPhone 6 Plus especially, will bend without much effort. So far, Apple has kept its distance from the controversy as multiple websites and YouTube channels try to bend their brand new iPhone.

On September 25, Apple opened up to Re/code to give an update on the problem of bendy iPhones and said it is “extremely rare”. Apple has only received a total of nine complaints so far from bending iPhone 6 devices. Remember the iPhone 6 has only been readily available for a week and it’s unlikely those who made those YouTube videos bending the phone have reported it directly to Apple.

Apple also revealed if the issue happens to your handset, it’ll need to pass a Visual Mechanical Inspection in order to qualify for a warranty replacement. We don’t know the exact inspection guidelines but we assume it’s to make sure you haven’t bent it on purpose. 

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.

Now that both handsets are available benchmarks have begun to pop up all over the place, confirming exactly what makes the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus tick. Inside the iPhone 6 you’re looking at a 1.39GHz dual-core A8 CPU alongside 1GB of RAM. The larger, iPhone 6 Plus, meanwhile, features exactly the same amount of RAM –– less than 1GB –– and, bizarrely, the same CPU as the iPhone 6, just with a slower clock speed (1.32GHz). 

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.

iPhone 6 Gets Taken On Iceland Trip - Spectacular Photos Follow

Last year when the iPhone 5S launched we reported on the iPhone 5S being taken on a tour of Patagonia by professional photographer Austin Mann and the incredible photos that resulted - showing off just how good Apple's imaging hardware can be in the right hands. Unsurprisingly, Mann's at it again this year with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This time round though, he's taken the iPhone 6 Plus (which has the added benefit of optical image stabilisation) on a jaunt around Iceland.

As well as showing off beautiful pictures and video captured on the iPhone 6 Plus, Mann was savvy enough to also take the iPhone 5S on the trip too, meaning he's grabbed a bunch of side-by-side comparison shots to prove just how much things have improved on the new model.

Mann has also offered some analysis of the iPhone 6 Plus' imaging capabilities, branding the Focus Pixels as "a big deal".

"The last few days in Iceland have been rather dreary & dark but rarely too dark for the this thing to focus," he said,  "I was a tad nervous about constant autofocus shifting my focus point while shooting but I’ve found it to be quite intelligent… it has rarely shifted focus when I didn’t want it to and it’s super fast."

At one point he gets together with the Icelandic Coast Guard on a helicopter training session at night.

"Keep in mind all of these images are shot handheld in near pitch black, on a vibrating helicopter. The image of the pilot's eye lit green by his night vision goggle astounds me… no way my dSLR could pull focus in this kind of light." 

"The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus pack in new innovations that make the camera experience better and more fun.  What I love most about these innovations is they focus on enabling iPhone users to better capture and share life rather than just beefing up tech specs. The Apple team clearly understands their user base very well and incessantly strives to create devices that solve technical challenges and simplify experiences and they've done that yet again with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus." 

"Photographers are really going to enjoy this upgrade… with way better low light, a massive viewfinder and new tools like timelapse that work flawlessly I really couldn't ask for much more out of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus camera."

Head over to Mann's blog for some incredible pictures.

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.”

iPhone 6 Availability Extends to 36 More Countries

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be reaching 36 more countries in the coming weeks. Before the end of October both versions of the iOS 8 smartphone will be available in China, Israel, and another 34 countries around the globe.

China, India and Monaco are up first with the roll out beginning on October 17. The following Thursday will then see the handset land in Israel. The next day it will launch in the Czech Republic, French West Indies, Greenland, Malta, Poland, Reunion Island, and South Africa.

Following that the iPhone 6 will launch the week after in Bahrain and Kuwait. Friday October 31 marks the biggest roll out in Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Guam, Hungary, Iceland, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macau, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, South Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Thailand.

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

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