This is it. Apple just announced the iPhone 6—and the iPhone 6 Plus—a sleek sliver of aluminum that comes in two sizes. The screen on the smaller of the two measures 4.7-inches diagonally, and depending on the nature of your needs (and the size of your hands) it might just be the perfect phone for you.
The iPhone 6 is pretty. The device sheds the boxy profile of its predecessor in favor of rounded edges. It's also thinner than any other iPhone—6.9mm thick for the model with the 4.7"-inch screen!
The iPhone 5's combination of flat anodized aluminum and flat glass panels has been replaced with an all anodized aluminum case with ion-strengthened glass that curves around the front. (Apple did not mention the word "sapphire," so it's safe to assume the new tech didn't make the cut this time around.) The lock button is now located on the side of the device so that it's easier to reach.
The overall effect brings the iPhone 6 design in line with that of the iPad Air and iPad Mini. Like the iPad, the new iPhone also features an embedded Apple logo in the back case. It is pretty no matter which way you look at it.
The new iPhone lineup also features a new generation of displays that Apple's calling Retina HD. That means 38-percent more pixels are being packed into the 4.7-inch screen. Bigger screen and more pixels means the picture is sure to be beautiful.
Other upgrades include an improved polarizer and an ultrathin backlight.
NFC and ApplePay
Near Field Communication (NFC) has finally arrived in the iPhone. After years of avoiding the technology, Apple appears to be doubling down on NFC in order to enable touch-to-pay functionality. In fact, the company is launching a whole payments program called ApplePay.
ApplePay is meant to replace your physical wallet on the Secure Element platform. Your identity is confirmed using Touch ID at the point of sale. ApplePay also uses the Passbook app to keep track of all your credit and debit cards. You can use the card you already have on file in the iTunes Store. If you add a new one, Apple doesn't store the card number—it creates a device-specific ID—and doesn't see or store information about your purchases. If you lose your phone, you can disable ApplePay using Find My iPhone.
However, ApplePay isn't just for retail use. The system will also be integrated into a number of apps, from Uber to Open Table, to enable one-touch purchases. ApplePay comes with the iPhone 6 but is also available with the iOS 8 upgrade.
As expected, the brand new iPhone also comes with a brand new A8 chip. The company claims that it's 25 percent faster and 50 percent more efficient than the A7 chip. The motion coprocessor, aptly named the M8, also gets an upgrade. It does all the good accelerometer tasks but can now estimate distance, including flights of stairs. On that note, there's now a barometer inside of the iPhone that can collect atmospheric data.
Other little improvements include an upgraded LTE modem that supports up to 20 LTE bands (more than any other phone) and promises faster upload and download speeds. The new LTE technology accommodates VoLTE. And 802.11ac Wi-Fi which is supposed to be three times faster than the previous generation. With VoLTE, the new iPhone can make calls over Wi-Fi using your cellular connection.
Battery life, by the way, is supposed to be the same or better as the previous generation of iPhones. The iPhone 6 will have 14 hours of 3G talk time.
Per usual, Apple made the iPhone's camera better. It's an 8-megapixel iSight camera with a next generation sensor, including phase detection technology called Focus Pixels that makes it easier to autofocus. It's also capable of taking panoramas as large as 43-megapixels.
The iPhone 6 also comes with digital image stabilization. (The iPhone 6 Plus, however, comes with optical image stabilization thanks to a lens that can move up and down and side-to-side.) The camera can record 1080p video at either 30-fps or 60-fps and even does slow motion at 120-fps or 240-fps.
The so-called FaceTime HD front-facing camera also got an upgrade, and its new aperture lets in 80-percent more light. You can also do burst mode on the front-facing camera for more selfies in one swipe.
The 16GB iPhone 6 will cost $200, the 64GB version will be $300, and the 128GB version will go for $400.
Both models of the iPhone 6 will start shipping on Friday, September 19th. Pre-orders start September 12.