Size DOES Matter

According to Apple, size does matter! Well, the new iPhone was announced this week and I’m not going to lie, I was CONFLICTED. I love the 4” form factor and really didn’t want a bigger phone. On the other hand, the iPhone Huge (as I call it) was clearly a better phone, at least from a technical standpoint. The preorders started last night online (sold out now) and you can pick up the phones themselves next Friday. Well here is my summary of the two phones, from a physical standpoint, at least.

Design:

Other than the obvious size bump, the physical design changes are fairly subtle. Apple has gone further away from the squarish design of the 4 series and it’s curvier and more rounded on the corners. They also moved the power/sleep button to the right side from the top to make it easier to reach. The ion-strengthened (whatever that really means) glass face (not sapphire as rumored) is slightly curved.

Specs:

iPhone 5s iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus
Processor
A7 A8 A8
Screen Size 4” 4.7” 5.5”
Resolution 1136×640 1334×750 1920×1080
Pixel Density 326ppi 326ppi 401ppi
Contrast 800:1 1400:1 1300:1
Height 4.87” 5.44” 6.22”
Width 2.31” 2.64” 3.06”
Depth 0.30” 0.27” 0.28”
Weight 3.95oz 4.55oz 6.07oz

Obviously, they’re bigger in almost every dimension. Both phones are slightly thinner than the 5 series, but more importantly, the two new phones are also heavier than the 5s.

The new chip(s) are supposed to be faster at both core and image processing all while being significantly more energy efficient. The new motion chip adds elevation detection too.

Battery Life

Apple didn’t give exact specs for the new batteries, but are rumored to have a 2,915 mAh battery in the 6 Plus and 1,810 mAh battery in the 6, as compared to the 1,570 mAh battery in the 5S. They did give estimated times for various tasks – as an example the 3G talk time for the 5S is 10 hours, which will potentially reach 14 hours on the 6 and 24 hours on the 6 Plus! Obviously these aren’t real world stats, but still!

Camera & Video

iPhone 6 focus pixels

Main (rear) camera

No bump in the megapixels or aperture (still 8MP f2.2), but both of the new phones include improved iSight sensors which include “focus pixels” which use phase detction focus and is supposed to improve autofocus speed, skin tone, face recognition and macro photography. One of the major differences between the two phones is that the Plus model gains optical image stabilization. Panoramic photos are now at 43 megapixels up from 38.

Secondary (front-facing) camera

No major changes in specs, as the megapixel count remains the same but does get a change from the f2.4 aperture to f2.2 on both phones. Face recognition is supposed to be improved and there’s a new burst mode for all you selfie nuts.

Video

No huge changes, but Apple has added the option of recording at 60fps and 240fps (super slo-mo) and something called cinematic video stabilization in addition to the regular video stabilization.

Odds & Ends

Connectivity: The new models will all support Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) which results in better call quality if your carrier supports it (it’s coming to all carriers eventually). Also announced were enhanced WiFi performance, support for the 802.11ac standard, and WiFi calling, which allows you to make calls over WiFi instead of cellular, kind of like the MicroCells that AT&T sell. This feature will be supported on the 5S once you move up to iOS8 I guess.

Conclusion

Well, Apple really did it this time, announcing not one but TWO new phones that were vastly different in size and slightly different in capabilities. Last year it was an easy choice between getting the iPhone 5S (the choice of right thinking people) and the iPhone 5C (the choice of the other people). THIS year, it’s a lot different. First of all, you can’t get the new version of what you currently have as a 4″ version doesn’t exist. Thankfully, the 4.7″ version is pretty close and not too much of a shock for long-time iPhone users. I mean, the 6 Plus is HUGE. Clearly, I would pick the 4.7″ version, right? But wait….the 6 Plus has a better battery, better pixel density, better camera AND a true landscape mode? $()*@#$&#@. Thanks a lot Apple.

Well, after agonizing over this admittedly small decision, I ended up choosing the 6 Plus. Why? Well, as my brother put it: FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. Sure the 4.7″ would’ve been the safe choice, but what if the different user experience of the 6 Plus is amazing? What if it outweighs (pun intended) the physical drawbacks (read: “HUGE AND HEAVY BEHEMOTH”)? Well, in approximately 3 weeks I’ll find out.