Today Apple joined the big kids’ table. At an event at Flint Center for the Performing Arts , Apple revealed the next iterations of their flagship product, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 will come with a 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone 6 Plus will have a 5.5-inch screen for “phablet” fans.
Aside from screen size, Apple’s Phil Schiller spent over 20 minutes on stage boasting of the new features coming to iPhone with the new models. Importantly, the two new phones will now include a feature many have been wanting for years— Near-Field Communications (NFC), but more on that later. With Apple’s claim to the high-end smartphone market facing pressure from a fleet of diverse Android devices, the Cupertino-based company seeks to retain users who may want a larger screen size for gaming, HD video, or even easier-to-read text.
Apple puts its own spin on larger displays, focusing as always on end user interface. On the iPhone 6 Plus’ much larger screen, the extra real estate is put to use in landscape view, with many built-in apps getting sidebars and additional features to the keyboard. With a feature they are calling “Reachability,” a double-touch on the TouchID sensor scoots the display down to the lower third, providing one-handed access to the top of the screen. And, the rumors were true— the sleep/wake button is now on the side.
Inside, Apple has increased the power of the iPhone, releasing the A8 processor with a M8 co-processor, with the iPhone 6 25% faster than the iPhone 5S and its A7. But more importantly, the A8 chip is better suited for sustained performance, allowing you to see those benchmark speeds for longer during a single use. All of this comes with battery life that bests that of the iPhone 5S in nearly every benchmark.
But what about that NFC? Alongside the iPhone 6, Apple has entered the world of mobile payment, with what they are calling Apple Pay. Bolstered by partnerships with American Express, Visa, and MasterCard, and with major retailers like McDonalds, Macy’s, and Walgreen’s, Apple Pay will integrate your credit cards into a mobile payment system. This system will function via NFC, only requiring a tap to the NFC kiosk at the register, with authentication through TouchID. What’s more, this mobile wallet can integrate with many retail apps, allowing you to pay with a single touch at Target, Starbucks, MLB At Bat, and others.
Apple also broke with tradition when it comes to the pricing of the devices. the iPhone 6 starts at $199 for a 16 GB model subsidized by a carrier, with 64GB at $299. A first for the iPhone, the iPhone 6 has a 128 GB model, priced at $399 when subsidized. The iPhone 6 Plus changes the price point for Apple’s showcase device, starting at $299 for 16 GB, $399 for 64 GB, and $499 for 128 GB.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ship Friday, September 19, with pre-orders starting this Friday.
images from apple.com