Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Everything You Need to Know

By Kat Hannaford on at

As expected, Apple's launched not one, but two iPhone 6 smartphones tonight. There's the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and the catchily named phablet-sized phone? That's the iPhone 6 Plus. All that marketing money, and that's the best they can manage, eh?

Just as curvy as the litany of leaks lead us to believe, the two iPhone 6 handsets have a glass front with an "anodised aluminium" back plate, finished off with a stainless steel Apple on the rear.

Design

Using a new "next-gen" Retina Display HD, each phone's screen is sRGB-accurate, with a photo-aligned IPS liquid crystal, ion-strengthened glass and an ultrathin backlight. The pixels have been counted and we're looking at 1334 x 750 for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and 1920 x 1080 for the iPhone 6 Plus. That's 38 per cent more pixels on the iPhone 6, and 138 per cent more on the 6 Plus, over the 5S.

As is Apple's wont, the iPhones have got a lot slimmer this year – we're looking at 6.8mm for the smaller-sized one, and 7.1mm for the 6 Plus.

The home button remains unchanged from the iPhone 5S – that is, it still has a fingerprint scanner – but if you double-touch the home button now, the whole display actually slivers down neatly. Odd.

Here's a real surprise: the power button is no longer located on the top; it's now on the side of the phone. A little like Sony's Xperia range, then. That'll make things easier when grappling the 6 Plus.

Camera

Both iPhones will see a new 8MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture, but more intriguing is a new iSight sensor with what Apple's calling "focus pixels". Basically this means that autofocus will work twice as fast as it did in the last generation. Fast detection is also a lot faster.

One point of differentiation between the two models is that the iPhone 6 has a digital image stabiliser, whereas the 6 Plus has an optical image stabilisation.

Phwroar, this is a great update – panoramas can be up to 43 megapixels in size.

Video on the other hand is now going to be shot at 1080p at either 30 or 60fps, with slo-mo at 240fps.

The front-facing FaceTime HD camera has a new sensor also, with a f/2.2 aperture that lets in 81 per cent more light. Distressingly Apple has mentioned something about "burst selfies". We shudder to think. Several photos can be captured with one button push, in other words.

Guts

Little surprise here, but the new iPhones will be running on a new 64-bit A8 chip, with two billion transistors on a 20nm process. Helping Apple shave off those precious millimetres, it's 13 per cent smaller than the previous chip, the A7. Apparently it's got a 20 per cent faster CPU, with 50 per cent faster graphics.

The M8's motion processor has been tweaked, given how important the inbuilt Health app will be in iOS 8 for fitness apps. Anyone who's used an app like Moves before which struggles to differentiate between cycling and running, or transport, the newly improved M8 apparently can tell the difference. Hurrah.

Battery life sounds around the same as what we're already accustomed to – sorry to disappoint, readers. The iPhone 6 is looking at around 50 hours of audio, 11 hours of video time, 11 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, and 10 each of 4G and 3G.

The 6 Plus on the other hand features 80 hours' talk time, 14 of video, and 12 each of Wi-Fi and 4G and 3G.

Here's an addition I was sorely hoping for: the iPhone 6 will have NFC to enable mobile payments, which uses a new chip called Secure Element. Pay for things by pressing down on Touch ID, with all your credit card info stored in Passbook.

iOS 8

Do give our previous feature on everything you need to know about iOS 8 a read.

One thing we haven't seen from Apple previously is that the homescreen can work horizontally, with the keyboard showing some new buttons when in that format.

Developers wary of creating apps for various screen sizes needn't worry by the looks of things, as apps can scale up to suit the different sizes, but devs can actually customise their own apps if they'd rather.

As we already knew, iOS 8 will feature Wi-Fi Calling, and Apple has just confirmed EE will be supporting that in the UK. No word on other networks. Wi-Fi Calling, if you cast your mind back, will work when your Wi-Fi signal is stronger than your mobile signal, and even switch over to a mobile connection when you leave a Wi-Fi network. The iPhone 6's Wi-Fi antenna has been boosted to 802.11ac (three times faster than the previous generation).

Pricing

Pricing is £539 for the 16GB iPhone 6, £619 for the 64GB and £699 for the 128GB.

The iPhone 6 Plus costs £619 for the 16GB model, £699 for the 64GB and £789 for the 128GB. Pre-order is September 12th, shipping is on September 19th. Both models come in gold, silver or space grey.


Read all Apple announced at the iPhone and Watch event, plus Giz readers' reactions