It can hardly be denied that the Apple’s next-generation iPhone, the iPhone 6, is one of the year’s most anticipated devices. With rumours about the device circulating for months before the actual release just a few weeks back, one can tell that this is perhaps also the most important iPhone ever made.
But when it was eventually announced, it was safe to say many were let down in more ways than one. I know I was. But that just made me curious, and I felt the need to judge it for myself. Thankfully, I stumbled upon an Apple store selling the new iPhones.
The new iPhone 6, unlike its larger sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus, has received far less criticism since its official announcement. Maybe it is due to the fact that this was what the people wanted: an iPhone with a larger display. And to be honest, it felt just about the perfect size for a smartphone for me. It is large enough to view the display comfortably, yet not too large that it becomes difficult to use with one hand.
Being made of premium materials also makes a difference. The aluminium unibody (and titanium inserts inside the chassis) lends a rigidity that belies the iPhone 6’s weight. The matte metallic finish also gives it better grip compared to other fully-metal phones like the HTC One M8. Like the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, it feels almost too light, yet it really doesn’t feel like it would bend under normal usage. Really.
That’s not to say the iPhone 6 looks and feels perfect. It isn’t. For one thing, there’s the thinness; it’s unnecessary. For some reason, manufacturers are racing to produce the thinnest smartphones ever…as if people really wanted it. We don’t. A thin phone does not make it easy to use with both one and two hands, it reduces grip and worst of all, it results in unsightly bulges like that of the iPhone 6’s camera.
Consumers also lose out on battery life and any other features that a slightly thicker phone can accommodate. Why can’t the iPhone 6 be a few millimeters thicker and include things like a larger battery and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)? It is absolutely baffling, and the consumers really are the ones to lose out in the race to be thin.
One thing to also note: the iPhone 6’s front is covered entirely in glass, which gently curves at the edges to enable a better swiping experience. The glass is “ion-strengthened”, but let’s be honest: there is no protection whatsoever should you drop the phone face-first. If you drop this phone with the display facing down, it’s going to hurt more than watching those bend tests.
And then, there’s that plastic strip at the back of the new iPhone. Apple masks it rather well in the Space Grey and Silver variants (but that really isn’t saying much), but oh dear did someone miss out on the lacquer for the Gold version. While the Space Grey and Silver variants both have plastic strips that are coloured in a similar hue to the body, the Gold version opts for a white strip on a champagne gold back. I’m no fashion savant, but I’ve never seen a smartphone that looks as unfinished as the gold iPhone 6.
Due to iOS 8’s crippling lack of transfer options, we are not able to share any sample images taken from the iPhone 6. But from what can be seen, the iPhone’s camera is as good as ever. The iPhone 5s had one of the best all-round cameras on any smartphone, and the 6 looks like it will live up to those standards.
For stills there aren’t any noticeable differences between the 6 and 6 Plus, which has OIS. And from a quick comparison with the Sony Xperia Z3, it appears the iPhone 6’s sensor is also more capable – though it is really dangerous to conclude anything at this point. Without actual images to be viewed on a neutral screen, we cannot judge the new iPhone 6’s camera capability just yet.
With the new iPhones expected to come in to Malaysia in the next month or so, there’ll be a lot more to see and test out than what I was able to do at the Apple Store in London. Hence, stay tuned for more on the new iPhone 6 from us closer to the launch date in Malaysia.