Many of my friends have stopped me over the last 12 hours and asked me what my “thoughts” are on the iPhone 6. I’ve been keenly observing Facebook conversations, media reactions, and eavesdropping on conversations, and I’d like to weigh in.
As is the case with recent Apple releases, there were few surprises at this event. The Apple rumor mill told us that there would be two new iPhones, and that they’d be larger than existing models. We knew that there would be a watch, and that it wouldn’t be ready until next year.
That said, not everything leaked. A source told me several weeks ago that there would be a change in the storage capacities of the devices. Apple has finally added the 128GB option to the iPhone lineup. I was told that the 16GB capacity would be cut, but oddly, it was the 32GB model that wasn’t announced on Tuesday.
In a conversation with a friend on Grand Street this morning it became clear that some people didn’t realize that there’s more to the two iPhone models than size. The iPhone 6 Plus offers has a better camera and a slightly longer battery life. Obviously, screen resolutions are different, and it’s interesting that the larger phone actually has smaller pixels. (I’d have expected the reverse.)
While I’m naturally excited for new iPhones, I’m happy with the one I have now. My iPhone 5s is the perfect size, and although a larger, brighter screen, will undoubtedly be beautiful, my 5s fits into the cassette deck in my parents’ car.
I’d like to switch gears and take a moment to address the elephant in the room: Android. I’ve got many friends who are Android fans, and they seem to all be gloating that Android has supported NFC, third party keyboards, and inter-app communication for two years.
In 2011, Google announced Google Wallet, a system that allows Android users to pay for things by placing their phone near a device that reads payment information from the phone. It’s like swiping your credit card, but instead of finding your card in your purse, you just pull out your phone and place it near the reader. No swiping, and no digging.
Apple’s “Apple Pay” doesn’t just protect your payment information with your password. It uses your fingerprint, with a technology called TouchID, built into the iPhone since last year. TouchID stores your fingerprint in a separate chip in your phone, and Apple Pay lives in yet another chip called “The Secure Element.”
This security arrangement means that if you lose your phone, your credit cards are safe. If someone gets your iPhone’s password, they can’t do anything with your cards, and if you lose your phone, you’re safe too. If your gmail password leaks, your Google Wallet is vulnerable. Oops.
Google Wallet isn’t the only comparatively weaker software on Android. Apps in general are not thoroughly screened, and third party apps and extensions on Android serve as attack points for hackers. If I had to sum up a one word retort to the info graphic that’s going around comparing the Nexus 4 from 2012 to the iPhone 6, it would start with an “m” and end with an “alware.”
Apple began the announcement with a video positing that first isn’t always the best, and that taking time to do things right is worth the effort. That is the differentiator. The new iPhones aren’t mind blowing innovations, but they’re made well, and I suspect that they’ll withstand the test of time.
It seems that the larger screens on these new phones are a move to convert Android users who dislike the Android platform, but enjoy the larger vibrant screens offered by devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5, and others. (At least one Facebook friend switched to Android and was going on and on how he was ready to switch back.)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the Apple Watch, but to be honest, it simply isn’t finished yet. I saw some reports online that the press units at the unveiling were showing screenshots instead of actual apps, so we’ll have to wait and see. Those videos of the bands sliding through the body of the watch are really cool, but until I see a working retail version, I’m not really ready to comment on it.
In case you’re wondering which iPhone I want, I’ll humor you. Both of the new phones are too large for my taste, but I’ll have to stick with the larger one because of the better battery life and camera. I’ve only bought one Apple device that wasn’t black, and I’m not about to change that. I’m eying the 64GB iPhone 6 Plus, but it’ll have to wait a while.
When I finally do upgrade, I’ll miss the convenience of sliding my iPhone into the tape deck after turning on my favorite playlist.