#iPhone 6

The initial reviews are in, and no surprise, everyone seems to love the device(s). There are definitely some strong opinions as to which one people prefer (example: John Gruber vastly prefers the iPhone 6 while Nilay Patel loves the iPhone 6 Plus).

Two other interesting tidbits reading the reviews:

1) A lot of folks seem to feel like the iPhone 6 Plus is more like an entirely new device than just a bigger iPhone. It’s a sort of hybrid between the iPhone 6 and the iPad mini. I find this interesting. I wonder if we’ll see more Plus-specific elements, like the landscape keyboard.

Like many others, I wonder what this means for the iPad mini as well (incidentally, I’m typing this on an iPad mini, but I’ve always preferred the iPad Air). I assume Apple will update it with the other iPads (next month?) but do sales plunge with this new device out there? And if so, does Apple shift the iPad line to go bigger (as has also been rumored)?

2) A number of reviewers bake in these weird, pre-emptive apologies to fans of other devices because they say they love the new iPhones. I mean, I get it: no one likes to be trolled, especially by commenters. But you should never apologize for your honest opinion. That’s why we’re reading the review!

Good, Better, Best, Best Plus

As I noted on Twitter a few days ago, one of the weirdest things about this iPhone upgrade cycle is how hard it is to choose which device to get. I feel like I know exactly which of the “millions” of permutations of the Apple Watch I want (this one). But deciding between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus has been an exercise in agony.

The thing is, this is really the first iPhone cycle that doesn’t have an obvious “winner.” Apple has long taken the “good -> better -> best” approach with the distinctions demarcated by price. But this year is less straightforward.

Yes, the iPhone 6 Plus is the more expensive model. And yes, it bears the “Plus” moniker. But there are trade-offs.

“Plus” doesn’t necessarily mean better here. It means bigger. With its 5.5” screen, by almost all accounts, it’s massive. So large that it will turn away many buyers.

And that includes those of us who would normally default to the more expensive variety of iPhone, assuming it’s the best one money can buy. This is now more subjective than ever before.

Yes, the iPhone 6 Plus has slightly better battery life (thanks to the additional volume) and a slightly better camera (thanks to room for optical image stabilization). But beyond those two features, the device is identical to the iPhone 6. And to many people, that device’s 4.7” screen is actually the plus.

Last year, there was also a choice between the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. But Apple made it pretty easy since the 5s had a not insignificant performance edge thanks to its faster chip. Even though I liked the design of the iPhone 5c a bit more, it was still ultimately a no-brainer to go with the iPhone 5s.

Again, this year not so much.

I have ultimately decided to go with the iPhone 6 Plus. My rationale is simply that the two factors I care most about: camera and battery life, are slightly better on the bigger device. But I’m not entirely sold. I have a sneaking suspicion that I may change my mind when I start to use the thing day-to-day.

As for color, I went with Silver. Gold is so 2013.

Update: Yes, because of the different screen sizes, the devices also have different resolutions. And yes, the iPhone 6 Plus screen also has a better PPI — but, oddly, a slightly worse contrast ratio.

(Written on my iPhone)

The most sought after feature on the iPhone 6 was a sapphire cover screen and Apple needs to deliver a sapphire covered iPhone sooner rather than later.

Matt Margolis, an analyst with PTT Research, in a new note this week. Margolis is the one who long said the new iPhones would feature such a screen.

Of course, they did not. Which is fine, I’m sure they will one day. But suggesting this was the “most sought after feature” of the iPhone 6 is beyond ridiculous. Most consumer would have no idea there was a difference. Actually, even more ridiculous may be the notion that Apple “needs” to do this. Sometimes, it’s better to just admit you were wrong.

[via AppleInsider]

Christina Bonnington:

The company’s next iPhone will feature its own payment platform, sources familiar with the matter told WIRED. In fact, that platform will be one of the hallmark features of the device when it’s unveiled on September 9. We’re told the solution will involve NFC.

After 6 years of false positives, it appears that NFC may actually stand for more than “No Fucking Chance” with the iPhone 6. We’ll know soon enough!

Daisuke Wakabayashi on the screens likely to find their way into the next iPhone:

Mass-producing sapphire is complex. Sapphire crystals are grown in massive furnaces at high temperatures. After the ingredients crystallize in an energy-intensive process, the result is a giant hockey-puck-shaped cylinder called a boule, which is carved into different shapes. Apple’s Arizona plant is using next-generation furnaces capable of producing boules larger than 440 pounds.

By forming boules more than 50% larger than produced by current machines, Apple and GT aim to drive down the price of sapphire and close the gap with glass.

Chalk it up to: things you can do when you have over $100 billion just laying around.

(As an aside, I keep thinking of this.)

idasein asked:

Do you think Beats Music will be free with an iPhone 6? Spotify-type services are one of those things people don't know they need until they have them. Free Beats Music on iPhone 6 would mean iPhone 6 owners simply have better music than everyone else. "If you don't have an iPhone..." As the technology becomes commoditized, bundling expensive, essential services is a great differentiator. Also 100 million paid subscribers = Apple saves music industry (again).

It’s a good question, but I suspect Apple will maintain the paid offering (with a free trial). You could certainly argue they could and should make it free (paying for the music themselves), but I think they worry just as much about the signal that would send to the music industry. Something like: “your art is just a subsidy we pay to sell more devices” — which, when you think about it, isn’t far from reality. But I highly doubt they want to go in that direction so explicitly. 

Kelly Hodgkins:

According to Morgan Stanley, Apple is choosing NFC as the key technology for its mobile payments system, with semiconductor company NXP likely providing the necessary wireless hardware. NXP has an existing relationship with Apple, supplying the M7 motion-sensing chip found in the iPhone 5s.

Is this the fifth straight or six straight year that Apple has been said to be including NFC in the forthcoming iPhone? I’ve lost count. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen eventually, but it’s especially hard to take this seriously. Also, Apple is clearly wed to Bluetooth LE. Do they want another chip in the ever-slimming and power-efficient phone?

corynadilo asked:

When do you think 32GB will be the floor for iPhones? My last two phones I have opted for 32GB which I am about out growing now. $200 premium for a measly 64GB is highway robbery in 2014.

Yeah, I’d imagine (though have no actual knowledge) that we’ll see a 128GB iPhone in the next iteration. Maybe that means the end of the 16GB model, or maybe it means that’s reserved for the more affordable version. 

The one thing working in the other direction is the movement of all entertainment to the cloud. That is, Spotify, Beats, Rdio, iTunes in the Cloud, etc, allow you to keep a lot less music stored on your device these days (though some is saved for offline capabilities, of course).

Still, while that has alleviated some of the need for a lot of storage, apps continue to grow in size — particularly games. Many are over 1GB now. 16GB seems untenable. And 128GB seems inevitable. (And that should drive the price down of the 64GB models, etc.) 

Update: As, of course, as my buddy Cap notes, photos and videos are driving this need for more storage perhaps above all else.

They could release a revolutionary 60-inch 4K TV for $99 with built-in nanobots to assemble and dispense free smartwatches, and people would complain that it should cost $49 and the nanobots aren’t open enough.
Marco Arment, correctly calling out the current pessimism surrounding Apple in the press (and on Wall Street) while also arguing for an “iPhone 6" moniker for the next iPhone — or really anything but the "iPhone 5S".