After what seemed like months of waiting (because it was), Apple finally gave the world its first official look at the next version of its flagship smartphone last night when the iPhone 6 was introduced to the world.
At a typically fancy bash in California, the company – as expected – unveiled not just one, but two new iPhones, as well as its eagerly-anticipated first attempt at a smartwatch. And given that the existing iPhone has been taking flak from some time now for its relatively small display compared to its rivals, it's no surprise that both gadgets have been given a boost in the size stakes.
Bigger, brighter, better?
The standard model will offer a 4.7-inch Retina display. This is an improvement on the 4.5-inches of the iPhone 5s, but still a little behind rivals such as Samsung, LG and Sony, where five-inches plus seems to have become the norm. But if you find those options just a tad too big to hold comfortably in your hand, the iPhone 6's dimensions should be perfect – and if they're not, there's always its new big brother to look at.
This second model, the iPhone 6 Plus, falls firmly into the increasingly-popular 'phablet' category, with a 5.5-inch Retina display. This offers full 1,920 x 1,080 high-definition resolution, with Apple claiming it provides an 88 per cent improvement in viewing area and nearly three times the pixels of the iPhone 5s.
Apple says the Retina HD display delivers "advanced technologies to improve the viewing experience, including higher contrast for deeper blacks and dual-domain pixels for more accurate colours at wider viewing angles".
More performance under the hood
Underneath, the performance of both models is boosted by Apple's all-new A8 chip, offering the same high-quality 64-bit architecture you'd find on the latest desktop PCs. And as well as being faster than previous models, the processor is also much more efficient, meaning you won't have to compromise all this power with a limited battery life. In fact, Apple says the new device will be 50 per cent more efficient that the previous version, as well as 25 per cent faster.
Both iPhones also come with Apple's M8 motion coprocessor, which is able to gather a wide range of data from sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and the new barometer, which can even work out the relative elevation of the handset. All this can be used to continually monitor a user's activity – even when the device is asleep.
With iOS 8, motion data from M8 appears in the Health app so you can see how many flights of stairs you've climbed, or how far you've walked or run. New developer tools also take advantage of Apple's HealthKit to create apps to help users take better care of their health and fitness.
New operating system, new features
The devices will both feature iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, which will offer a range of new features. Among these is Apple Pay, which the company is touting as an even simpler way to pay for goods and services, whether a user is in the App Store or a bricks-and-mortar shop.
All they have to do is hold their phone near a contactless reader while keeping their finger on the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, so there is no need to go into an app or even unlock the handset. No payment or shipping information is required, as all this information is kept private, encrypted and stored safely in the Secure Element, a chip inside the new iPhones.
Elsewhere, Apple promised iOS 8 will be the biggest change since the introduction of the App Store, with it claiming it will offer a "simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience", with new features including an improved QuickType keyboard, a new Health app, Family Sharing and access to iCloud Drive.
So far, initial responses to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been hugely positive. Many analysts stated the bigger display and choice of two screen sizes is the right move in a market increasingly dominated by larger phones and phablets.
But its also clear Apple's trademark look hasn't been lost in the stretching, with the Telegraph saying: "The crucial difference in the new iPhone 6 is in design: thinner, more powerful, gorgeously light but larger and infinitely more elegant."
Meanwhile, TechRadar also highlighted improvements to the camera and battery life, noting it is the perfect answer for anyone who was considering leaving Apple's ecosystem.
At Proporta, we're thrilled by the arrival of the new iPhones – and it means our busiest period of the year, with a Creative team on hand to deliver the very best in protection, fashion and function for the devices. Proporta has a selection of iPhone 6 cases and iPhone 6 Plus cases, as well as accessories and collections from our branded partners, including Ted Baker, available to order from proporta.co.uk, with a wider collection to follow from Proporta, Ted Baker, Barbour and Barbour International for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Watches – all coming soon.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be available to pre-order from Friday September 12th, with the gadgets hitting shelves on September 19th – so start planning what you'll need for the queue now.