Apple iPhone 6 Plus is now official: bigger, bolder, with next-gen Retina display
What was once considered unthinkable has now become reality. Apple just announced one of its newest iPhone models, the iPhone 6 Plus, and it is the biggest iPhone in the company's phone-making history. Like, literally – physical size is one of the key factors that set the iPhone 6 Plus apart from all previous iPhone models, along with its refreshed design and upgraded internals. Clearly, this larger-than-ever iPhone model is built to meet the increasing demand for big-screened smartphones – demand which competitors has been cashing in on for a while. Does it deliver the goods, however? Well, let us share with you what makes the iPhone 6 Plus awesome.
The Apple iPhone, now in XXL
It is worth noting that the iPhone 6 Plus is the first iPhone to have its power key on the side, not on its top. The design tweak makes sense, actually, as it brings the button closer to the user's thumb so it is easier to reach. The circular volume buttons have been replaced by elongated ones matching the handset's curved frame. Naturally, the trademark mute switch is present on the phone's side.
And speaking of buttons, the iPhone 6 Plus has adopted the Touch ID fingerprint scanner from its predecessor. Again, it is embedded in its home button and requires only a slight touch to read your fingerprint.
Next-generation, Retina Display HD
That IPS-LCD, next-generation Retina Display HD is one of the iPhone 6 Plus's most valuable assets. And at 5.5 inches, it is not only the largest screen to ever grace the front of an iPhone, but also the one with the highest resolution. To be more specific, Apple has gone for a resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels, which is more than two times the pixel count on an iPhone 5s's screen. If pixel density is what interests you, then you're looking at a figure of 400 pixels per inch – not an industry-leading achievement, but still ideal for any purpose.
But size and resolution aren't everything. The next-generation Retina features an ultra-thin backlight, which has allowed the panel to be made thinner. On top of it is layered the photo-aligned IPS liquid crystal, covered by an improved polarizer for even better outdoor visibility. Color accuracy and viewing angles have also been improved on the new screen.
Under the hood – the A8 SoC
This wouldn't have been a true iPhone upgrade if the iPhone 6 Plus didn't come with a new and improved processor. Sure enough, an Apple-designed A8 system-on-chip powers the the model. As before, it features a 64-bit processor. Computational performance has been increased by up to 25% and graphics performance has seen a 50% increase compared to the A7. At the same time, the new silicon is physically smaller than its predecessor by 13% as its 2 billion transistors have been fitted using a 20-nanometer process.
In terms of storage space, Apple has added a 128GB option to the iPhone 6 Plus lineup. While technically this isn't the first phone to offer such plentiful on-board capacity, it is the first phone from a well-known brand to do so. For those who don't require that much space, the iPhone 6 Plus also comes in 16-, and 64GB varieties. Storage expansion using microSD cards isn't an option, to the surprise of pretty much nobody.
In terms of connectivity, the iPhone 6 Plus is a global-ready LTE device with support for VoLTE. The option to make Wi-Fi calls is present as well. Of course, carrier support is needed to take advantage of the two features.
iOS – now in landscape on your iPhone
Naturally, Apple will ship its iPhone 6 Plus with the latest software it has to offer, iOS 8. And to take advantage of all that screen real estate, the software will allow you to use it in landscape mode in more places than ever, even in the home screen. Another cool trick is the newly-added feature called "reachability". A double-touch on the home button will bring down the entire UI to the bottom of the screen, allowing you to reach even the furthest edge with your thumb. Another double-touch brings the UI back to its original size.
During the keynote, it was also mentioned that new apps will not have any issues with the screen's size and resolution. Legacy apps should run fine as well thanks to the scaling built into the system.
Apple Pay will be one of the awesome new features that the iPhone 6 Plus will support. Long story short, it is a mobile payment system meant to serve as an alternative to the 50-year-old credit card system. Apple Pay uses NFC for contact-less payments and Touch ID to confirm the user's identity when using their Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. Card information can be added by simply scanning one with the phone's camera, or by importing details in your existing iTunes account.
An upgraded 8MP camera with better auto-focus and image stabilization
The 8MP camera on the iPhone 5s was among the better ones fitted on a smartphone, which is why expectations are now set pretty high for the one on the iPhone 6 Plus. Sure enough, the new model has an upgraded snapper. Now, the camera on the iPhone 6 Plus is still an 8-megapixel one. However, it has been packed with cool tech that allows it to take better images than any other iPhone. The all-new sensor supports phase-detection auto-focus (or Pixel Focus, as Apple calls it). It is a feature borrowed from professional cameras allowing the camera to focus even faster on its subject. Another awesome extra is the optical image stabilization system for keeping the frame steady. As before, the image sensor features 1.5-micron pixels, while the optical system has an f2.2 aperture and 5-element lens. The True Tone LED flash is present as well. As for its video recording capabilities, the iPhone 6 Plus can shoot 1080p video at 60 fps and slow-motion video at a either 120 fps or a whopping 240 fps.
Price and availability
In a typical Apple fashion, the iPhone 6 Plus will be released in the very near future. As a matter of fact, you'll be able to get one in just 10 days, on September 19. US, Canada, France, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and the UK are the first countries where the iPhone 6 Plus will be released. Price in the US starts at $299 on contract.