Wednesday, 10 September 2014

iPhone 6 UK release price, specs and new features: gets 4.7in screen, faster processor and NFC

Apple has launched the iPhone 6 and there are two models, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Here we explain everything you need to know about the new smartphone.

iPhone 6: release date

You'll be able to get your hands on the iPhone 6 on September 19th in the UK. That's the same date as the US, so there's no waiting around for a delayed UK release. You'll be able to get iOS 8 for any existing devices, on 17th September.

You'll be able to pre-order the iPhone 6 sooner: EE, for example, will start taking orders from 8:01am on 12th September, as will Phones4u. If you want to buy it SIM-free, head to Apple's website.

iPhone 6: price

The iPhone 6 will be available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB versions - it's great to see the bigger storage capacities at last. The 16GB version will cost £539, 64GB will be £619, and up to £699 for the 128GB

iPhone 6: design

The iPhone 6 will come in the same three hues as the iPhone 5s, but this is quite a different-looking smartphone. The edges are rounded - as shown in leaked images - and this makes the phone look thinner than it actually is.
iPhone 6 release date, price, specs UK

The new 4.7in screen is one of the iPhone 6's main features. It's what Apple is calling a Retina HD display. And it isn't just about resolution, which is 1334x750 (that's 326ppi, and 38 percent more pixels than the iPhone 5s). No, the glass front "curves around the side to meet seamlessly with the anondized aluminum back".
iPhone 6 release date, price, specs UK

In fact, the resolution and pixel density are nothing special. No QuadHD resolution here (as on LG's G3), nor on the iPhone 6 Plus. Instead, Apple is focusing on quality:  the iPhone 6 has the most accurate (sRGB accurate, in fact) colours on an iPhone yet. It also has a thinner backlight which helps to make it even thinner - it's just 6.9mm from front to back (around half a millimetre thinner than the iPhone 5s - a difference few people will probably notice).
iPhone 6 release date, price, specs UK

The polariser is improved and the screen itself is made with a technology called dual-domain pixels, which allow it to have a very wide viewing angles. Contrast is better, blacks are blacker.
The good news is that apps don't need to be optimised for the iPhone 6's new display to work: they just appear larger thanks to the built-in scaler. Naturally, developers can optimise their apps to work better on the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus).
If you can cast your minds back two years, you'll recall Apple telling the world that the 4in screen was made that way because it was the biggest you could comfortably reach with one hand. With the iPhone 6, a new feature in iOS8 - called reachability - helps make the operating system easier to use. When you double touch the Touch ID button, the whole display slides down so you can reach the top without taking your hand off the bottom of the display.
The sleep/wake button is on the right hand side, rather than the top: another feature that helps with the larger form factor.

iPhone 6: specs

As you'd expect, the iPhone 6 gets a performance upgrade. The new A8 processor is 25 per cent faster, with a graphics chip that's 50 percent faster. To put that in context, it's 50 times as fast as the original iPhone.
Of course, you don't want better performance at the expense of battery life, so the A8 is 50 percent more efficient than the A7 (as in the iPhone 5s) which means it can deliver that performance for longer with basically the same battery capacity. So, as we've come to expect from Apple, the iPhone 6 will last just as long as before, if not longer, claims Apple.
That means 11 hours of video or Wi-Fi browsing, 50 hours of audio playback and 10 hours of 4G LTE or 3G browsing.
The A8 chip has a new co-processor - you guessed it: the M8. It can tell when you're cycling, walking, and running. It can also estimate distance and can tell how many steps you're running and how far you've gone. It can also work out elevation, so rewards you for climbing stairs (but hopefully not riding the escalator).
4G gets a boost to 150Mb/s from 100, and support for 20 LTE bands compared to 13 previously.
iPhone 6 release date, price, specs UK

There's also a new technology: VoLTE, or voice over LTE, which is much like using Skype, but in theory it should offer even better audio quality. Quite what happened to HD Voice is anyone's guess.
It's no surprise to see Touch ID in the iPhone 6. This can now be used with third-party apps. Thanks to the expected built-in NFC chip and 'Apple Pay' you can use your iPhone 6 to pay for goods - when they support Apple Pay, that is.

iPhone 6: cameras

The main camera still has an 8Mp sensor, a lens with an f/2.2 aperture and this is all paired with a TrueTone LED flash. What's new is the sensor itself, which has 'focus pixels' which help not only with faster focus, but video too. There's also phase-detection autofocus, as found on DSLRs, and combined, the system should make the iPhone 6 much faster to focus than any previous iPhone.
iPhone 6 release date, price, specs UK

There's also advanced face detection, but only digital image stabilisation (the iPhone 6 Plus gets optical stabilisation).
Here's a shot taken on the iPhone 6 (resized, obviously)
iPhone 6 release date, price, specs UK

In terms of video, the iPhone 6 shoots 1080p footage at 30 or 60fps. There's also slo-mo at up to 240fps (that's double the iPhone 5s' speed).
iPhone 6 release date, price, specs UK

Of course, as we already knew, iOS 8 also introduces time-lapse video. The interval is chosen automatically rather than forcing you to make the decisions. From our tests on an iPhone 5C, this does seem to work well.
Around the front is a new FaceTime camera. It also has a f/2.2 aperture, improved face detection and burst mode (for up to 10 photos per second), just like the rear camera. Plus, the front camera can also shoot HDR selfies.

We'll bring you a full review of the iPhone 6 as soon as we can.


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