Apple announced new additions to the iPhone lineup at an event in Cupertino, California on Tuesday. There are two new models, both of which are bigger, faster, and skinnier.
The eighth generation of the iPhone is actually two devices. One will have a 4.7-inch screen and will be called the iPhone 6, and the other will have a 5.5-inch screen — larger than most Android devices — and is now called the iPhone 6 Plus.
Both iPhones will start shipping on September 19, and pre-orders start this Friday, September 12. The iPhone 6 will follow the same pricing scheme as previous iPhones, with the 16GB model starting at $199 with a two-year contract. But the iPhone 6 Plus will be $100 more expensive, with the 16GB model running $299 with a two-year contract.
The screens are not only bigger, but they’ve gotten an upgrade as well. [company]Apple[/company] is calling its new display Retina HD, and according to Apple SVP Phil Schiller, the panels sport higher contrast, deeper blacks and wider viewing angles than before. The 4.7-inch iPhone will run at 1334 x 750 resolution, and the 5.5-inch iPhone will run at a 1920 x 1080 resolution. This means that the smaller iPhone screen have 326 pixels per inch and the bigger phone will have 401 ppi. Older apps will continue to work on the larger iPhones thanks to a “desktop class scaler.”
Both phones have received a complete physical redesign. The new look actually has a little bit of the original iPhone in it, with rounded corners and a smooth aluminum shell. There are two cutout bands on the top and bottom of the back side, and a new, slightly protruding camera near the top. Apple has dropped the circular volume buttons and gone with skinny, pill-shaped buttons that resemble those on the iPhone 5c and iPod touch. Both new devices are thinner than the previous devices: According to Apple, the iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick, and the iPhone 6 Plus is slightly thicker, at 7.1mm.
If you were worried that the bigger screen could introduce ergonomics issues, Apple has added a new “reachability” feature to the iPhone 6 Plus, which is activated by double-tapping the Touch ID button. The iPhone 6 Plus home screen will gain a landscape mode, with dock buttons moving to the right hand side.
One of the big draws for the new iPhones is shaping up to be battery life. The newest iPhone will have “equal or better battery life in almost every metric than the iPhone 5s,” Schiller said. The iPhone 6 Plus, due to its larger battery, will get more run time than the iPhone 6, but you can expect both to beat the iPhones currently on the market.
Both iPhones will be powered by Apple’s latest system-on-a-chip, the A8. It’s a 64-bit chip forged on a 20 nanometer process. Apple promises 25 percent faster CPU performance and 50 percent faster graphics performances, but many of its real-world gains will come from a reduction in power consumption. Schiller said the chip is 50 percent more energy efficient.
Apple has added a few new components to the A8 SoC, including a new M8 sensor and motion coprocessor, which now comes with a barometer sensor.
The camera has clearly been a point of emphasis. The new iPhone comes with an 8 megapixel shooter, with a f/2.2 aperture lens. The camera takes advantage of what Apple calls “focus pixels” for phase detection autofocus, which promises autofocus that is twice as fast. Panorama mode now can go up to 43 megapixels. The iPhone video camera can now film 1080p at 60 frames per second, and can even film slow-mo up to 240fps.
The front-facing FaceTime camera also got an update, with a f/2.2 aperture, improved face detection — with dedicated hardware — and a burst mode.
The iPhone 6 Plus will have optical image stabilization, another differentiating feature from the iPhone 6, which only had digital stabilization.