Apple has officially announced its latest iPhone model, the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 will be available in two different sizes, both bigger than Apple’s earlier iPhones. Apple has been behind the curve of large-screened smartphones for a long itme, but it’s catching up in a big way with the iPhone 6.
The smaller of the two new iPhone 6 models has a 4.7-inch display, which is still notably bigger than 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5 and 5S that preceded it. It has a new design that echoes the design of the iPad Air and iPad mini, with rounded sides. The glass front curves around the sides of the phone and Apple says the new screen has Retina HD resolution, with 1334 x 750 pixels providing 326 pixels per inch and a wider angle of view. The glass on the new display is “ion strengthened,” which doesn’t sound like it is sapphire, as rumored. The iPhone 6 measures 6.9mm thick, making it the thinnest device Apple has ever made. The power button has been moved to the side of the phone to make it easier to reach, even with the iPhone 6’s larger display.
Inside, the iPhone 6 has a new A8 processor, which is 25 percent faster than the A7 that preceded it. It also has a 50 percent faster graphics chip. Apple says it is 13 percent smaller than the A7, and uses a 20nm manufacturing process. Like the A7, the A8 is also a 64-bit processor. Apple says it can perform better over a longer period of time than other processors, which slow down due to heat and other issues after running for a few minutes at a time. The A8 is accompanied by the M8 motion co-processor, a seoond-generation version of the M7 that debuted in the 5S. The M8 is capable of distinguishing between running and cycling, a level of sophistication that wasn’t available on the M7. It can also measure elevation to track how many flights of stairs you climb.
Apple says the iPhone 6 will offer 14 hours of talk time, a 40 percent increase over the iPhone 5S. But web browsing time over 3G and LTE is still rated at 10 hours, and video playback time is 11 hours, only one hour longer than the 5S.
The iPhone 6 supports LTE advanced, with speeds up to 150Mbps. It covers more than 20 LTE bands, which Apple claims is more than any other smartphone. It also supports next-generation network technologies such as VoLTE and carrier aggregation. Apple says the Wi-Fi in the iPhone 6 is three times faster than the 5S, and it now supports 802.11ac networks. The iPhone 6 also supports Wi-Fi calling on T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK.
The camera in the iPhone 6 maintains the 8 megapixel resolution of the 5S (and the 4S and 5 if you’re keeping score), but Apple says it uses an all-new sensor with even larger pixels than before. It’s paired with an f/2.2 aperture lens and dual-LED flash, like the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 6 uses digital image stabilization, though its larger sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus, has optical stabilization.
Apple says the camera has a new autofocus system that uses pixels on the image sensor to focus even faster than before. It’s said to be twice as fast as the iPhone 5S when it comes to autofocus. Face detection is said to be faster and blink and smile detection is improved. The iPhone 6 also offers advanced processing algorithms to improve detail, contrast, and sharpness in the photos it captures. Panoramic pictures can now be up to 43 megapixels in size the iPhone 6 can take HDR photos in just one shot.
Video capabilities have been improved too: the iPhone 6 can shoot 1080p video at either 30 or 60 frames per second, and the slow motion feature now supports 120 or 240 frames per second.
The front-facing camera has a new sensor and brighter f/2.2 aperture. Apple says it lets in 81 percent more light than before.
An all-new feature in the iPhone 6 is support for Apple’s new Pay mobile payments service. It uses an NFC chip in the top of the device to offer contactless payments at supported credit card terminals. Purchases are authenticated through the iPhone 6’s TouchID sensor, and each iPhone 6 has a secure element built inside it to store sensitive credit card data. It supports American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, as well as the six largest banks in the US. Apple says 22,000 retailers will work with its Pay service, including Subway, McDonalds, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Staples, Whole Foods, and all of its own retail locations. Apps can also integrate Apple Pay into their apps for one-click purchases. It will be available in the US next month.
Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 6 will launch with iOS 8, which offers a number of improvements over iOS 7, including improved integration for third-party apps and Apple’s new HealthKit service.
The iPhone 6 will come in three colors, gold, silver, and space grey, and will be available September 19th, with preorders starting on September 12th. It will start at $199 on-contract for a 16GB model, while 64GB and 128GB versions will be available for $299 and $399, respectively. Apple says the iPhone 6 will be available in 115 countries by the end of the year.