Apple on Tuesday unveiled its next-generation iPhones, which include larger screens and the integration of a new mobile payments system that will let you make store purchases by waving or tapping your iPhone at a checkout terminal.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were announced by Apple CEO Tim Cook at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif.
“Today, we are launching the biggest advancement in the history of the iPhone,” said Cook before handing the presentation over to Phil Schiller, the senior vice president for marketing.
The iPhone 6 will feature a 4.7-inch, 1,334 by 750-pixel Retina Display, while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch, 1,920 by 1,080-pixel Retina Display. The phones, with curved edges, are thinner than the previous generation, measuring 6.8 mm thick and 7.1mm thick, respectively. In order to make the phones easier to use one-handed, they include a feature called “reachability” where you can double-press the home button and minimize the display in order to reach all of the onscreen.
In addition, the iPhone 6 Plus has a two-pane display when used in landscape mode. So for example, when viewing your email, you can see a list view of your messages on the left side and the contents of an email on the right. The home screen and keyboard will also work horizontally.
Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are packing new processors. The Apple A8, 64-bit chip is 25 percent more powerful than its predecessor and offers 50 percent faster graphics, according to the company. Schiller also promised that the the A8 would allow the device to run at full power without causing heat. Battery life is estimated at 15 hours of 3G talk time on the iPhone 6 and 24 hours of 3G talk time on the iPhone 6 Plus.
The release of the new iPhones comes at a time when there’s much at stake for Apple. Despite posting 12.7 percent year-over-year growth in iPhone shipments, Apple’s global marketshare fell to 11.7 percent in the second quarter, according to research firm IDC. Sales of Apple’s lower-cost model, the iPhone 5c, also did not do as well as the company originally estimated.
But the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus may be a different story, as there’s an increasing demand for bigger-screen devices.
Analyst firm Canalys reported that shipments of smartphones with screens five inches or bigger grew 369 percent in Q1 2014. And IDC expects that phablet shipments will reach 175 million units worldwide in 2014, surpassing that of laptops for the same period.
A category first made popular by Samsung with the release of its Galaxy Note, numerous Android and Windows Phone device makers, including LG, Nokia (Microsoft), and Sony, have all released phablets. But Apple has been critical of the whole movement.
In 2010, Steve Jobs ripped Apple’s competitors making larger phones saying, “You can’t get your hand around it. No one’s going to buy that.” And in 2013, Tim Cook said the current crop of phablets were riddled with trade-offs, and Apple would not ship a larger display iPhone if it meant compromising quality.