When Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 last week, it made the front pages of newspapers. It dominated Google Search and Twitter. It triggered an avalanche of sniping and worshiping on the Web’s comment boards.
About a phone? Really?
Well, that’s what you’d say if you were an alien. If you’re human, you know why all the fuss. The iPhone is not just a phone; it’s a symbol. The phone you own doesn’t just let you make phone calls; it marks you as belonging to a religion. Maybe a cult.
Each year’s new iPhone is another test for Apple. The world wants to know if Apple’s still got it, even without Steve Jobs. The faithful want the company to hit another one out of the park. The enemy can’t wait for the company to fumble.
Well, this time, Apple hasn’t fumbled. Its two new iPhones are excellent. Beautiful. State of the art. Worthy heirs to the iPhone throne.
There’s nothing actually surprising about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Partly that’s because in the post-Jobs era, Apple isn’t as good at suppressing pre-announcement leaks. And partly it’s because there’s nothing much surprising about any phones these days. They’re mature. These days, designing a phone is a matter of nips and tucks and playing catch-up and one-up — as attractively as possible.
Meet the family
This year, there are two new models: the iPhone Bigger and the iPhone Bigger-er.
Their real names are the iPhone 6 ($200 and up with two-year contract) and the iPhone 6 Plus ($300 and up with contract).
And yes, that’s the big news: They have bigger screens than any iPhone before them. Steve Jobs used to mock Samsung’s increasingly jumbo smartphones, calling them “Hummers.” But apparently big is what the public wants. So big is what we get.
Here they are: the new iPhones, posed next to last year’s model, so you can get an idea of the scale:
And here, for your reference, are the new iPhones among their Android rivals:
What’s wild is that at first, the iPhone 6 doesn’t seem bigger than the iPhone 5. The first thing most people say when they pick it up is, “It doesn’t seem that big!” You have to hold an iPhone 5s next to it before you really notice.
Part of the explanation may be the Apple diet: These new phones are thin. About a quarter of an inch. Thinner than their rivals from Samsung, HTC, or LG. If you order one online, FedEx will probably slip it under your door.
The aluminum body has smooth, rounded edges — a more comfortable shape than the sharpened corners of the iPhone 4 and 5 era. The ring around the camera lens on the back protrudes about a millimeter; it’s no longer perfectly flush.
The screens are terrific. The smaller iPhone 6’s screen has 1334 × 750 pixels (326 dots per inch), and the Plus’s screen is 1920 × 1080 pixels (401 dpi), which is full high definition. Other phones have more dots or smaller ones, but at this point, everybody is just chasing unicorns; these screens have long since exceeded the ability of our eyes to distinguish pixels
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