Apple has announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at its special event in Cupertino, heralding in a new era for the company's iPhone range.
The move to new phone sizes reflects a changing market, one that Apple has been resistant to in the past. Whether this is Apple reacting to pressure, or looking to lay its competitors to waste is open to debate, but one thing's for sure: iPhone means business.
A new phone means a new model and that means a new design. Taking cues from the iPad and the iPod touch, the iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch screen, while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen.
Both models have the same gold, silver, and black colours as before, but this time they come with a new glass front that curves away at the edges, creating a soft edge that takes away, at times, the hugeness of the iPhone 6.
Something that also helps both devices is the thickness of it all. We were able to put the iPhone 6 Plus in our pocket, and although we knew it was there, we certainly did not feel that it would present a major problem in day-to-day wear. It is big though.
In the hand, the new design is light yet solid to the touch, and as we have come to expect from Apple, it oozes craftsmanship.
Those paying close attention will notice the power button moved from the top to the side. The volume buttons have changed shape as well. These things are important on bigger devices - you'd not be able to reach a button on the top, after all.
On both devices, the camera lens extrudes from the chassis, though we found that this strangely didn't cause the phone to rock when on a table.
New toys here, too: a new processor, the A8, a new motion coprocessor, the M8; new Wi-Fi speed improvements, and other features that all make it a much faster experience. The iPhone 6 will come in a 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models, and a whizz through a couple of apps in our brief demo-time didn't cause any problems.
Games loaded quickly, video looked stunning (especially on the iPhone 6 Plus), and overall this is Apple at the top of its game when it comes to getting the most out of iOS and the components that are inside.
How the package will perform when it comes to battery life and general day-to-day use is yet to be seen. However, from what we've seen so far, you can expect an experience that is faster and more efficient than the current iPhone 5S.
You aren't going to be upgrading for the speed enhancements, but more for all the other features the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have to offer.
The new iPhones also get Apple Pay. That, with an NFC chip, will allow you to pay for stuff in the US. It's pretty nifty, working just like a contactless payment card. Credit card data is stored on the card in a secure part of the phone, and you merely have to tap your phone and either type a passcode or use Touch ID to confirm payment.
In practice it works very well. The system will allow you to store multiple cards as well as choose a default card to use all the time. If you lose your phone, you can stop any future payments. Apple has promised not to look at what you buy, where you buy it, or how much it cost. In the US, where the service is launching first, Apple says there is no limit on the amount you can spend, but limits might be in place in different countries (the UK is restricted to £20, for example).
No change to the 8-megapixel sensor, though the image processing has been enhanced to create even better pictures than the iPhone 5S. Our demo area wasn't the best place to take pictures, and we weren't able to send a copy of the snap to ourselves for further examination. We will be looking closely at the camera quality in our full review.
What is new however is image stabilisation for the iPhone 6 and optical image stabilisation (OIS) for the iPhone 6 Plus. Again, we weren't able to test this personally, but footage that Apple had recorded on the phone for us to playback looked very impressive.
New features includes landscape homepage for the iPhone 6 Plus, a new view option in Mail, as well as new Burst mode for the front-facing camera.
We will be covering more about iOS 8 in time for the update that is being released on 17 September.
Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are big, big, devices that instantly make the iPhone 5S seem puny and old. Whether you are ready for a bigger experience is still to be debated and one that only you can decide.
The iPhone 6 will be the popular upgrade, the one that most will go for. The Plus brings with it the OIS and better resolution on the display, but just as we prefer the iPad mini over the iPad Air, the size of the iPhone 6 Plus could be just too big for some regardless of what it brings to the table.
The iPhone 6 Plus is a monster that sits alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in terms of size. It will certainly appeal to a specific audience wanting something bigger than a phone but smaller than an iPad.
One thing is for sure though: with multiple screen sizes to choose from, and now multiple devices within the family, Android users could be tempted, while iPhone users can't use screen size as an excuse to go elsewhere.
Expect the iPhone family to be a dominating force, putting Android in the shadows at the high-end of the spectrum.
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