Apple unveiled two new iPhones today, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The big difference between the two models is size. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen, which is modestly bigger than the previous, 4-inch iPhone 5S screen. The iPhone 6 Plus, meanwhile, has a 5.5-inch screen, which is quite large for a phone. This fits into an increasingly popular category of device that some call a “phablet”—a phone-tablet hybrid. Sales are expected to boom in this category, no doubt thanks in part to Apple’s entry.
In the US, the iPhone 6 will cost $199 for a 16 GB model, $299 for 64 GB, and $399 for 128 GB, with a standard two-year carrier contract. The iPhone 6 Plus will cost $100 more: That’s $299 for 16 GB, $399 for 64 GB, and $499 for 128 GB.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus go on sale Sept. 19 in 10 countries: the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK. This is one key market fewer than last year, when the iPhone 5S also launched in China on its opening day. Apple said the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be available in 115 countries by the end of the year.
How long will the battery last?
One improvement with such a big screen is that there is more room inside the phone for a larger battery. Apple promised 11 hours of cellular browsing for the iPhone 6 and 12 hours for the 6 Plus, a modest improvement compared to 10 hours for the iPhone 5S.
How much does it weigh?
The iPhone 6 weighs about the same as the 5C, and more than the 5S. The 6 Plus, with its large screen, is the heaviest iPhone ever, but still just half as heavy as the 12-ounce iPad mini. Here’s how the new iPhones compare to previous models.
What’s the point of a huge iPhone?
The big idea for the iPhone 6 Plus is that it allows people to fit more on their screen. The 5.5-inch screen offers 88% more real estate than prior models and full HD resolution, which other iPhones lack. It will compete with other “phablets” like the Samsung Galaxy Note, which trade compactness for the benefits of a large-screen experience, such as better video viewing. Apple demonstrated a few apps, including Messages and a CNN app, that take advantage of the larger screen by displaying more information.
The iPhone 6 has a neat new video feature
The iPhone 5S allowed users to take slow-motion video at 120 frames per second (fps). The iPhone 6 doubles that. In addition to 240 fps slow-mo—very dramatic—it also takes 60 fps HD video and has a continuous autofocus feature.
What about the Apple Watch?
Apple also unveiled a new wearable device today called the Apple Watch. Tagged by the company as “Apple’s most personal device ever,” it is designed for quick communication and access to apps like Siri and Maps. It’s also being marketed as a fitness device that can track physical activity. Apple is also providing a toolkit for developers to make apps for the Watch—important.
The Apple Watch can only be used in conjunction with an iPhone 5 or newer. It will be available in three collections: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition, with different finishes and bands. It will cost $349 (and up) and will go on sale early 2015.
The new iPhones and the Apple Watch will work with Apple’s new payment system
In the US, the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Apple Watch will have access to Apple Pay, which allows people to pay for goods with their devices at some 220,000 stores. Retailers that have signed up to support Apple Pay include McDonald’s, Bloomingdale’s, Whole Foods, and Walgreens. Apple is working with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, plus the largest banks, including Chase and Citibank.
Apple made big points about security and privacy in its payments pitch: That Apple won’t track your purchases—data that rival mobile payments providers are already feasting on—and that Apple Pay keeps your credit card number safe. Apple Pay will also be integrated into e-commerce and apps—an interesting possibility that puts Apple in deeper competition with PayPal and other online payment companies.
The new iPhones will also ship with iOS 8, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. This includes new messaging features, support for additional keyboard layouts, a new iCloud storage feature, and Apple’s new Health app.