Apple today launched a new iPhone, a once-in-a-lifetime event that takes place every year, and which was presumably missed by no one with even a tangential interest in smartphones.Apple tends not to be coy on such matters. Something about marketing, I suppose.
Is it the best iPhone yet? Of course it is.
The latest iPhone has a bigger screen, runs faster and includes a number of features that most users probably won’t care about. It is thus strikingly similar to last year’s iPhone, and indeed recalls the release of any smartphone in the last few years. It’s very tempting to simply recycle my review from last previous year, with a few figures updated.
Anyway, the new iPhone is the iPhone 6, in keeping with Apple’s amazing tendency to order things with sequential numerals. There’s also an iPhone 6 Plus, which is like really big iPhone 6. You could feasibly term the iPhone 6 Plus a phablet – an iPhablet - assuming you prefer to be left alone at parties.
As mentioned the new editions are bigger: the iPhone 6 is 4.7-inches, while the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches. Otherwise, both devices feature upgraded hardware, a more rounded form-factor and stagger in under the usual load of utopian promises. The new Apple Pay system is either set to revolutionise banking, or is basically no better than the Google Wallet that has been in use on Android for a couple of years. It depends on who you talk to, course.
Despite what the marketing says, the new iPhones are in every sense evolutionary rather than revolutionary, in keeping with the smartphone trend of recent years. I suppose the rounded edges are revolutionary since the iPhone 3 had them as well. I predict the iPhone 9 will have them as well: it'll be so revolutionary it'll just be a circle. Anyway, both new phones come in Silver, Gold and Space Grey, which is like normal grey, but from the future or something. The one I've been using is silver, and it's certainly a shade of silver I've seen before.
Both devices include a 64-bit A8 processor, which is a seriously fast bit of kit. Precisely how each model compares to its direct competition is difficult to say. Hardware specs mean little in the abstract. Let’s just say both new iPhones run the latest iteration of iOs beautifully – certainly better than even the iPhone 5S, which actually drags at times - particularly since Apple doesn’t see fit to clog their updates with bloatware.
The iPhone 6 is fast enough that you’ll never feel a stutter or stumble. I can confirm that the iPhone 6 is noticeably faster than the iPhone 5S, though the real surprise would have been if it wasn’t. It is indeed bigger, and thinner. It does everything that your old iPhone does faster and smoother. Isn’t that enough?
Probably not for some, especially those who continue to align their prayer-mats towards Cupertino. Sydney had the alleged honour of being the first place in the world to sell the iPhone 6, and some people actually flew from overseas to be there. One group came from Seoul, but they had impeccable reasons: “It's a very unique phone," declared group-leader, Kim who was planning to buy both models."It's bigger than the previous model."
For people like this, I imagine each annual iPhone release remains as fresh as the first. Perhaps more so. That, by the way, is the very unique iPhone 6 Plus, which confers upon diehard Apple users the thrill of operating a powerful device roughly the size of a small serving platter, a thrill with which Samsung users are amply familiar. Aside from looking like you’re holding a slim paperback to your ear while making calls, there’s the issue of how to cover that much screen real estate with only one hand. This is especially taxing for those with hands smaller than, say. Shaquille O’Neall’s.
Spare a thought for this kid, who was in such a rush to unbox his shiny new toy for a Channel 9 reporter that he dropped and damaged it. All smart devices have two life-stages: pristine, and dinged-up. Once those first few scratched and dents appear, there’s no going back. You just hope you can enjoy the first stage as long as possible. There's such a thing as the democratisation of luxury, but a thousand bucks is still a thousand bucks.
At least he got an iPhone. Poor Anna missed out, have been ejected from the queue by police. She was apparently reduced to tears. One wonders what she’ll do, aside from returning later and buying the phone once the queues have vanished. Alas, that could take hours, during which time she can do nothing but search her soul (or sit a Law exam), desolate at the ‘waste of my heart, waste of my love’. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds bad.