On Tuesday 9th September 2014, Apple had their yearly Keynote to announce new products. This year was a pile of stuff.
iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 +
In an incredibly expected and well rumoured announcement, Apple has released not one, but two versions of the new iPhone. And both are bigger (but thinner) than before.
The iPhone 6 is the next iPhone from Apple. It features a new design and now comes in with a 4.7″ screen. The front glass now curves into the edges and the casing is very rounded off, coming in at just 6.9mm thick.
With the larger screen, the power button has been moved to the side for better access and the antenna bands look smoother and more flushed with the design of the casing. All in all, it’s a pretty sexy device. Incredibly pretty and should still be usable with one hand.
With the screen size being 4.7″, the resolution is also increased to 1334×750. Basically, it doesn’t fully reach 780p meaning video will probably have black bars and resize accordingly. It’s not the perfect device for video, but it’s not bad – and still better than the iPhone 5s offer.
The iPhone 6 Plus is the one that will get you thinking, though. It has a much bigger screen at 5.5″, but that isn’t all. It also features “Optical Image Stabilisation“. Essentially, this means the camera can cater better physically as well as in the software for your shakey hands during video and photo taking.
With the screen size at 5.5″, the resolution is 1080p (1920×1080). This should be perfect for watching video on the device at Full HD.
Both devices also feature a new tool called “Reachability“. This is intended for people who will struggle to reach the top of the device and tap navigation buttons. You can obviously swipe left from the edge to go back, so not entirely sure why this feature exists at all. It is also accessed by double tapping the Touch ID sensor (*not* pressing the Home Button). It brings the screen down to a level where you don’t have to strain to tap anything in the top bar. Again – navigating is easily done with swiping from the edge of the device and in my opinion, it’ll still be quicker to reach with your thumb to get to the top of the screen rather than using this feature – but we will see.
Both devices claim to be “Retina HD“. Not too sure really what that means. The iPhone 6 seems to still use the 2x resolution images that the iPhone 5 did. The iPhone 6 Plus, however, uses a new 3x resolution image. The iPhone 6 Plus renders images at 1242×2208 and scales down to the 1080p size. What this means is there is no 1:1 ratio of pixels. This could look a bit odd and may annoy some developers who may bump in to antialiasing issues on the iPhone 6 Plus.
On top of everything, both phones also gain bumps in CPU, Graphics and Motion sensory. The M8 Processor (for motion) has been given a Barometer which measures air pressure to help determine your relative elevation. Essentially, as you walk or run, your elevation is tracked to be reported on. It also can detect whether you are claiming stairs or hills and separate them out within the Health app. The Gyroscope has also been updated for better accuracy.
The iPhone 6 Plus also gets a few extra added software features.
Firstly, you can now view the device in landscape instead of portrait on the home screen. The dock moves to the right hand side and icons line up accordingly.
The Messages app also gets a refresh so that in landscape, you can now view your contacts on the left hand side and see the message on the right. The messages app also gets the ability to view Contact Images on the contacts list. This is a feature I’ve been crying out for as long as I can remember seen as I find things quicker by imagery than I do reading text. I can’t figure out why this hasn’t been implemented for the iPhone 6 nor the iPhone 5, seen as it doesn’t take up *that* much screen space and seems to look fine in 3rd party apps… (I’ve raised a bug…).
Other apps like Email and Calendar also get new views at Landscape on the iPhone 6 Plus. Again – I’d like this on the iPhone 6 too. But hey…
The Keyboard on the iPhone 6 Plus has also gained some extra buttons for quick ways to copy and paste as well as directions. So no more stretched out keyboard keys which is nice! Again – I hope this is on the iPhone 6 too but it doesn’t seem to be.
All in all, a great Keynote for the new iPhone. I’m shifting towards the iPhone 6 rather than the iPhone 6 Plus purely due to the screen size. The iPhone 6 Plus has some extra features that I’d love, but I can’t see myself enjoying the 5.5″ screen. It just isn’t for me.
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus pre-orders start 17th September, released on 19th September. iOS 8 is also available publicly on 17th September.
The long rumoured watch that Apple has been creating has finally been announced, to be released in 2015. It’s very lovely!
The UI right away doesn’t seem right to me. Instead of Pinch-To-Zoom, which rightly wouldn’t make sense on a small watch screen, you have the watch crown which is digital instead of analog. You use this for zooming in and out, or you can tap on items to bring them closer. Likewise, you can drag around with a finger to scroll view apps and views.
The UI just looks kind of clunky to me though. A bit on the big side and bubble side. I’m not sold at all on it yet, but I’ll have to check it out when it’s in an Apple Store.
What is nice though, is it has a few “animated emojis” to quickly get your emotion across to someone. You can also draw an image and send that which is quite nifty albeit not amazing. Weirdly, you can also send your current heartbeat. Yeah – sounds weird I know. The watch can read your pulse on your wrist using the sensors it has on the underside. This is mostly used for the health and fitness side of things but you can also send that heartbeat to someone so they know how you feel, I guess… Kind of weird but I guess it will turn in to a new romantic gesture, giving your loved one your heartbeat… hmm.
It also comes in three versions. A standard one. A more sport orientated one with a harder screen and sport bands. And a version which is in gold. I guess thats why people from the fashion industry were invited…
It’s a very pretty device, but I can’t say whether I think it’s useful or not as for me I don’t wear watches. I find them annoying and the time is on my phone which is never difficult to grab hold of. But hey, we will wait until it’s appeared in an Apple Store and decide!
All in all a pile of new tech to last us a year and to get competitors thinking.
I’ll probably post more in depth when I have the iPhone 6 in my hand!
(Images of iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Watch)