IPhone 6: hands-on
Here’s Gareth Beavis again, along with the expert reactions to both the iPhone and Apple Watch from some of our other sister magazines
We’ll do a proper, full review of the iPhone 6 in the next issue after we’ve spent some quality time with it, but you can tell a lot about a phone even after just a few minutes with it.
Say what you like about Apple – and plenty of people have – it’s a brand that’s always put design in its most holistic sense, right at the heart of its new products. Some have argued that the iPhone 5s was the most unimaginative of all of Cupertino’s handsets, but it had a strong build that screamed quality in the hand, giving the user the instant feeling of something worth spending a lot of hard-earned cash on.
Apple’s design overhaul here is as much as many could have hoped for – taking a number of cues from the iPad Air to create a metallic, almost ceramic, shell that feels simply brilliant in the hand.
The iPhone 6 loses the sharp edges in favour of sleek and rounded sides that make the device much more pleasing in the palm. It just feels so thin, but doesn’t have the overlylightweight feeling of the iPhone 5s.
It just feels so nice in the hand. Apple consistently shows it knows how to make a well put-together handset – and it’s done it again here. It feels premium the moment you pick it up, from the vibrant and clear screen to the subtle curve of the display into the rounded frame.
There is a worry that this is a slippier handset than before thanks to the more rounded design, but then again with Apple upgrading the glass in the screen to something that can withstand many more bumps and bruises before shattering, that might not be the horrid experience it might once have been.
For some, the larger screen is certainly an improvement on the previous models, albeit at the expense of being able to easily use the phone one-handed. While I think 4.7-inches is going to be a tiny bit small for those that might have been swayed by an acquaintance’s Galaxy S5 device with its 5.2-inch screen, the slightly smaller display here is still a very good size for one hand.
At ‘only’ 1334x750 (essentially 720p), competing Android phones’ screens may pack more impressive on-paper specs, but the new Retina HD screen looks brilliant – so much so that I thought I was picking up a dummy model to play with, it was that good. Of course, on-paper specs can only tell you so much; if the screen looks good enough, then it’s good enough.
Bigger and better
There’s more here than resolution, too: the iPhone 6 packs wider viewing angles, deeper colours and a richer colour reproduction than anything else before it from Apple, and that impresses when you pick it up. And if you’re really desperate for even more pixels, hey, there’s always the iPhone 6 Plus.
It must be tremendously frustrating to create a quality, successful app and then find the resolution you initially coded for is now old news. The flip-side is that while you’re spending hours making an iPhone 6 version, the phone will properly scale old apps to still work.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been confirmed to upscale within the device, and combined with the improved iOS 8 developer tools to play with, you’d have to be unlucky to find an app that will have ugly black bars.
Apps should scale or reorganise themselves to fit the bigger screens; while there will be some apps that are dubbed ‘iPhone 6-ready’, they’ll be called so because their developers chose to upgrade them to make use of the new designs, not because they were forced to.