Apple’s Tim Cook told the whooping crowds at the Flint Center in Cupertino that the new iPhone 6 is “the most beautiful phone ever made.”.
I’m trying hard to be objective, but I think he’s right.
Does the 6 do very much that its predecessor, the 5s, didn’t? No, in the sense that the camera has the same number of megapixels, the processor is still 64-bit and most users will continue to ignore Siri. But the iPhone 6 - and the 6 Plus in particular - is a radical redesign where glass curves almost around the edge of the device and the larger screen provides a massive, meaningful improvement in user experience. The increased resolution, too, makes a real, albeit subtler difference. In an age where design is increasingly the sole differentiator between mobile phones, Apple has tightened its grip on first place. And that camera now does better slo-mo.
Where rival manufacturers have simply made phones with larger screens, Apple has thought seriously about how users will interact with a bigger device. If you want to just use one hand to operate the phone, you can now take advantage of the larger display, rather than simply being forced to adapt. So a simple double-tap on the home button brings the active screen into the bottom half. It’s obvious and indispensable. If Apple hasn’t patented it, every other manufacturer will steal it. Cleverly, too, the sleep button is now on the side.
In the brief hands-on I’ve had with the two new devices, there’s no time to form a meaningful opinion about battery life, but these are bigger devices that promise similar or better performance than their predecessor models, and for the Six Plus that sometimes means double. If Apple can deliver on that, then everyone’s main frustration with the iPhone dissolves.
Some users will still criticise the lack of widgets on the homescreen, which makes Android so glanceably useful. But with iOS8 Apple has improved notifications to such a point that much of that is addressed. The new A8 processor offers the kind of speeds that make new possibilities in apps realistic, but we have yet to see what they are. The new barometer, measuring the stairs you climb, is a useful addition but not one I could test. Similarly, Apple Pay, US only for now, is a revolution in prospect but has yet to appear in real life.
The crucial difference in the new iPhone 6, however, is in design: thinner, more powerful, gorgeously light but larger and infinitely more elegant, it is the phone that the iPhone 4 or 5 maybe should have been to stop the Android tide in its tracks. Coming now, however, it simply reasserts Apple’s dominance ahead of the chasing pack. Samsung ain’t taking over quite yet.
Like a thunderclap from the clear blue sky it appeared: U2's first album in five years. In what surely rates as one of the entertainment industry surprises of 2014, the band announced 'Songs Of Innocence' was being made available immediately for free download to Apple's iTunes subscribers, after they had performed their new single 'The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)' at the Apple launch in California.