At a special media event in Cupertino, Calif., Apple has finally revealed the highly anticipated new additions to its bestselling line of iPhones, the iPhone 6. The smartphone maker switched things up this year, though, by introducing two new top of the line devices, in a move that is certain to put its competitors on alert.
Details about the new iPhones have been leaking out steadily even since the iPhone 5s was revealed a year ago, but Apple’s event today gave the public its first look at its first major hardware revision since the iPhone 5. The new iPhone comes in two models: the iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch screen and a resolution of 1334×750, and the iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5-inch screen outputting at 1920×1080.
That translates into a lot more pixels on screen for buyers of the new iPhone 6 models. The iPhone 6 has a pixel density of 326ppi and more than one million more pixels than were in the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 6 Plus has a 401ppi pixel density with more than 2m million more pixels than the iPhone 5s.
The introduction of two new iPhone 6 models at the same time isn’t the only significant change for Apple this year. The two new iPhones are significantly bigger than previous models, signaling Apple’s entry at last into the larger smartphone screen market. While competitors like Samsung and HTC have regularly pushed out devices with displays that dwarfed Apple’s previous entries, Apple remained committed to a four-inch screen for its iPhones and iPods. Some observers believe Apple’s insistence on a “one-hand sized” smartphone unnecessarily ceded ground to its competitors, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has held until now that the company would not introduce a larger-screened phone until it could do so while maintaining the level of quality Apple has come to be known for.
The new iPhones aren’t just bigger; they’re a lot faster. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will reportedly have up to 25 percent faster regular graphics processing than the iPhone 5s, and 50 percent faster graphics processing. This is all thanks to Apple’s new A8 chip, a 64-bit processor that Apple designed to be more energy efficient than previous generations.
The quality Cook was talking about is mainly seen in battery life. Larger screens require more powerful batteries to keep them lit, and Apple has been reluctant to sacrifice the slim design of its iPhones in order to pack in a bigger battery. Apple has also prided itself on the fact that its iPhones can be operated with just one hand, a task that is more difficult on larger screens.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple says will have equal or better battery life than the iPhone 5s in every metric.
Among the iPhone 6’s other new features is a mobile payment method based on Near-Field Communications technology. This will allow users to use their iPhones essentially like a credit card at point-of-sale locations. Users simply tap the iPhone to a point of sale system and, holding the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, the iPhone automatically processes a sale.
The service will launch in the United States with American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. The service will be available at Staples, Subway, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, McDonalds, and other retailers across the United States.
Apple bumped up the camera in the new iPhones as well. The company built in a technology caused Focus Pixels. Pairs of pixels within the new iPhones detect focus information in a picture, allowing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 to focus up to twice as fast as is predecessors. Apple execs showed off impressive pictures taken with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, showing impressive depth of field effects in the process.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will go on sale on September 19, and pre-orders for the two new iPhones start this Friday. The iPhone 6 will start at $199 for a 16GB model, while the iPhone 6 Plus will start at $299 on contract for a 16GB model.