Finally! After a year of rumours Apple has officially announced the iPhone 6 – and essentially, all of the rumours were spot on.
The phone will come in two models, as predicted: The standard 4.7″ version, and the ‘phablet’ 5.5″ version, which will be known as the iPhone 6 Plus.
Looks-wise, the leaks were again spot on – more rounded corners, even thinner than before – at only 6.9m on the 6, and 7.1mm on the 6 Plus. The screens are known as “Retina HD” – which translates to 1334×750 on the 6, and full 1920×1080 on the 6P. Apple is also keen to boast about the architectural improvements in the A8 chip (said to be 50x faster than the original iPhone, with 84x faster graphics processing) and especially the new motion chip (the “M8”) which apparently includes a barometer for the first time, so can calculate changes in height and estimate distances.
Other improvements include built in support for Voice-over-4G (known as “VoLTE”), which should bring better quality phone calls for the first time, and even calls over wifi – meaning that you can make calls over wifi when there’s no phone signal, with it seamlessly switching to mobile signals when you leave home. This will be network dependent, but CEO Tim Cook specifically mentioned EE in the UK when talking about it. Nice.
The phone is also the first iPhone to support the new 802.11ac faster wifi standard.
The cameras have also received an upgrade: On the rear there’s still only an 8MP camera, but Apple is keen to point out that despite the lower number of megapixels than competitors, there’s still technologies like Optical Image Stabilisation and what it calls “Focus Pixels” that will help keep photos sharp. Catching up with many Android devices, Apple’s new phones will recognise faces and even smiles.
Panoramas can now be up to 43MP and there’s a new timelapse photography mode. A “burst selfie” mode has been added for the front camera (Apple didn’t say how many MP it was). 1080p video can be shot at 60fps. If you use slow motion mode, it can now shoot up to 240fps.
Here’s how Apple estimates battery usage – we’ll believe it when we see it.
Features-wise there wasn’t much new to report as iOS8 was revealed back in June – but Cook reminded viewers that messages now have audio and location sharing and that the OS comes with much more extensibility. So expect to see more interactive widgets and the like appearing in notifications. TouchID can, as previously reported, now be used with third party apps. (More on that in another post!)
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are due to hit on September 19th (with pre-orders from the 12th) – apparently starting at £539 for the 16GB model and £619 for 64GB SIM free.