iPhone 6 – Yays & Nays

By | September 23, 2014

The sales of iPhone 6 are off to a blistering start, with a huge number of preorders on the first day (12 September), and a record-smashing opening weekend. Reviews from tech forums, magazines and mobile communities have mostly been excellent too. Let us here check out some of the main hits and misses of Apple’s ambitious new flagship device.

As had been widely expected, there has been no shortage of takers for the recently launched iPhone 6. In fact, the combined first weekend sales figure of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus reached a humungous 10 million, a new record (the previous record was held by iPhone 5C and 5S). The mostly favorable reviews of the 4.7” handset have definitely helped in buoying the pre-order figures. However, Apple has not got everything spot-on in its new, ambitious flagship device. Here are the high and low points about iPhone 6 that stick out:

 

iPhone 6 Yays

  1. Larger screen size and brilliant display – Android fans will keep reminding how Apple had once branded large-screen smartphones as ‘useless’. The good thing is, Tim Cook and his colleagues have realized the demand trends of customers, and have come up with a device whose display screen is a good 7 inches larger (4.7” vs 4” of iPhone 5S). The pixel density is a stunning 336 ppi. It supports a maximum resolution level of 1334×750 pixels – ensuring razor-sharp, crystal clear displays.
  2. Improved iSight camera – It’s still 8MP, but the experts at Apple have given the other features of the iPhone camera a major overhaul. The high-definition slow-motion video-recording feature is probably the most remarkable, while the new optical image stabilization functionality is also a great addition. The smartly created camera aperture and sensor also contribute in making iPhone 6 a great photo-snapping device.
  3. Predictive keyboard – Much like Siri, the default keyboard of iPhone 6 has the ‘learn as it works’ capability. In other words, the predictive keyboard can come up with instantaneous word/spelling suggestions – making typing a quicker and much easier task. iPhone app developers and general users alike have also been delighted with the option of installing third-party keyboards as well. iOS 8 (the new mobile OS which powers iPhone 6) cannot be jailbroken yet – but the phone is a lot more customizable than its predecessors.
  4. Enhanced physical durability – If there’s one thing you are going to find next to impossible – it would be breaking the screen of iPhone 6. The engineers at Apple have, astutely, gone with high-end ion-strengthened glass for the new flagship handset (early rumors had indicated at sapphire glass). In a ‘drop experiment’, an iPhone 6 was dropped from a height of four feet, six times in a row. Nothing happened to it (okay, there were a few scratches, but that’s all!).
  5. Better battery life – Reports are coming in that the early buyers are being able to use iPhone 6 for over 30 hours without having to reach for the charger – and that’s splendid news. On 3G voice and web browsing features, the battery backup of the new phone is significantly higher than that of iPhone 5S. Even on general wi-fi browsing, users will get a bit more battery juice than what they used to do. The 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus is even more efficient. Battery consumption stats can be checked as well.
  6. Horizontal screens are, finally, in – Once again, Android fans would scoff at this at ‘old news’ – but Apple is, at least, trying to move with the times. No longer do the users have to remain stuck with the default vertical home screens. The latter can now be viewed horizontally as well. What’s more – with the help of the breakthrough ‘Double Tape’ feature, users will be able to reach the more remote portions (read: the top part) of their iPhone screens with greater ease. It would be a lot easier for personalized usage of iPhone applications and other third-party software.
  7. New A8 processor – With the A8 processor, iPhone 6 has been hyped to be more than three times faster than iPhone 5S. Although the jury is still out on whether the new device is indeed that much faster – the technique of using the power of two billion transistors on the processor chip have been really singled out for praise by tech critics. The new M8 motion coprocessor adds to the ‘smartness’ of iPhone 6.

 

iPhone 6 Nays

While Apple has mostly delivered as per customers’ expectations with iPhone 6, the latter is not without its fair share of flaws (or shall we say ‘shortcomings’?). Here’s what’s disappointing about the new iOS flagship device:

  1. Clearly visible antennae lines – For a handset as advanced as the new iPhone, it’s a shame that the antennae lines should be kept visible. On the backside of the device, there are 2 grayish-lines – running across the handset. The lines do not hamper the phone’s functionality in any way, but they do lend a slightly unpolished, unprofessional look to it. The designers of Apple could definitely have done a better job with this.
  2. The pocket pinch – No one in the world expects Apple to make a ‘cheap’ smartphone. Even so, the 2-year contract price of $199 (for the 16-GB iPhone 6) is surely a bit on the exorbitant side. Those who regularly download new iPhone apps, software and mobile games on their devices can opt for the 128 GB model, provided they can fork out $399 (with the contract) for it. It’s sad that Apple has done away with the 32 GB variant.
  3. Developers have to play the catch-up game – Once the drumrolls have ceased and the applause have died down, the risks of being an ‘early iPhone 6 adapter’ becomes clearer. It is powered by the new iOS 8 platform, and mobile app developers from leading companies have admitted that most existing apps are not yet customized for the platform. This, in turn, means, that it is not yet possible to get the ‘full iPhone experience’ with iPhone 6. Since Mac OS X Yosemite is not yet out either, the much-talked-about Mac-syncing options are still unavailable as well. You’ll have to wait for Continuity and Handoff.
  4. iPhone 6 is far from being ‘innovative’ – The social media has been flooded since the September 9 launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, about how Apple was trying to sell ‘yesterday’s device at tomorrow’s prices’. One particular comparison was between the new iPhone and Google Nexus 4 (released in 2012) – and the latter was more or less at par on most counts. Under Steve Jobs, Apple had become renowned for being pioneers in innovation. The specs of iPhone 6 prove that it is now trying to keep pace with the latest Android devices.
  5. No option to downgrade from iOS 8 – If you thought you would buy iPhone 6, downgrade to iOS 7 and customize the device – well, prepare yourself for being disappointed. Till now, no software has been found, that can be used to downgrade the new version of the iOS to its predecessor. Once you have bought the iPhone 6, you are stuck with iOS 8 – which is…let’s be frank…not quite a finished product.
  6. Speed of the A8 processor has not really impressed, yet – Apple can’t stop praising about how efficient its new A8 processor is – but professional testers, software developers and experts from mobile app agencies are yet to be convinced. In a recent graphic interface speed test conducted by Rightware, iPhone 6 was found to be only slightly faster than iPhone 5S – a far-cry from the ‘three-times faster’ claim. Rather surprisingly, it was found that Nokia Lumia 1520 offers the best GUI performance. iPhone 6 ranked at a lowly 17th.
  7. No NFC for third-party app companies – For iOS app developers, this has come as a big blow. While iPhone 6 has finally brought the much-vaunted near-field communication (NFC) feature, it will be functional only with Apple Pay – at least for the next few months. Reports from Cult of Mac suggest that this lockdown (a similar lock has been placed on TouchID too) is for security issues. For the time-being, there is no chance to create an iPhone app that has NFC-compatible functions.

As you have probably already noted, almost all the ‘Nays’ against iPhone 6 are likely to be temporary – and once OS X Yosemite launches and the initial bugs in iOS 8 are ironed out, these problems would disappear. The price is an issue though, and it cannot be denied that Apple is currently trying to stay in touch with the new Android handsets. There have been certain criticisms of iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch (which can only be used by iPhone 6 owners) as well. There is no scope for doubting the quality of the new Apple flagship device – but only time will tell whether it becomes as big a success as Tim Cook is hoping it would be!