Before Apple brought out their hotly anticipated Apple Watch yesterday morning, the company revealed details regarding its new iPhone 6. This was understandable, as the smart phone would have been overshadowed by the more innovative Apple Watch. Although the new smart phone will carry notable improvements such as an ultra-thin form factor and the newest iOS 8 software revision, the most immediately notable feature of the new model is the larger screen. While the normal iPhone 6 model increases its screen size to 4.7 inches, there is a Plus version that has a screen that can compete with fellow ‘phablet’, Samsung’s Note 4. The Plus has a screen sized at 5.5 inches, and although concerns were raised that the larger phone would be difficult to operate with one hand, the new iOS incorporates a feature that allows apps to stick to certain areas of the screen for greater accessibility. Outside of the larger screen, the hardware has been improved with a much stronger camera that can record video in 1080p at 60 FPS. The phone is also faster, of course, incorporating Apple’s own A8 x64 chipset as well as an improved Wifi NIC that takes advantage of the new 802.11ac standard to provide faster Wifi speeds, too. There’s also a fingerprint scanner embedded in the home button that takes advantage of iOS’ new TouchID system to provide biometric security for logging into your phone or using ApplePay.
Speaking of ApplePay, that’s the other major touted feature of the phone. The iPhone 6 now supports near-field communications, or NFC. This has allowed Apple to develop an app where you can input your credit card details (This works with most major credit card providers, i.e. Visa, Mastercard) and pay using your smart phone. You can now walk into a store and use your phone at checkout instead of your debit or credit card. Your card’s magnetic strip will thank you for it. Over 200,000 merchants will support the program at launch, with more joining in as time goes on.
The new Apple iPhone 6 and the Plus model will be available for preorder starting September 12th, with the devices officially launching on September 19th of this year. In the US prices range from $199 for a 16GB version of the vanilla model to over $499 for a 128GB version of the Plus variant. Of course these prices do not include the prices of the requisite service provider contracts, so think twice before plunking down half a grand on the top models.