Apple Unveils the New iPhone 6 and 6 Plus With Bigger Screens

Apple takes on the bigger boys

After months of speculation and leaks, Apple has unveiled its latest flagship smartphones: the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The announcement came during a live event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, Calif.

The iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch display, while the 6 Plus is equipped with a 5.5-inch screen. Both feature an anodized aluminum back and what Apple is calling "Retina HD" displays — a higher-resolution variant of the Retina-branded screens used in the current iPhone 5S and 5C. However, despite the increase in size the phones are actually thinner than the current models; during the company's presentation this morning, Apple's Phil Schiller noted that the iPhone 6 is 6.8 mm thin, with the 6 Plus coming in at 7.1 mm. The company's current flagship 5S, already a thin phone in its own right, measures 7.6 mm in thickness.

The bigger size also translates into longer battery life. Apple is claiming that the iPhone 6 will boast 10 hours of standby time (the same as the iPhone 5S), with the iPhone 6 Plus coming in at 16 hours. For audio playback, the company is claiming 50 hours of battery life for the 6, and a whopping 80 hours for the 6 Plus (the iPhone 5S is rated at 40 hours of battery life for audio playback.) The 6 Plus also includes optical image stabilization for its rear-facing camera to reduce blurring and produce crisper photos. The new devices shoot 1080p video at either 30 or 60 frames per second, along with Apple's own slow-motion mode.

Both phones will also feature Apple's new mobile payment system, Apple Pay, which will let owners pay for goods and services with a tap on their touch screens.

The new iPhones will come in three colors — gold, silver and what Apple calls "space grey," with the basic model coming in at $199 on-contract for 16GB of storage. The $299 model will come with four times the storage — 64GB — while the $399 model will include 128GB of storage for music and media. The 6 Plus starts at $299 for 16GB, with $399 and $499 models coming in at the same storage specs as the 6. Both phones will be available on Sept. 19, with the preorder period starting this Friday, Sept. 12.

The current iPhone 5S will drop to a $99 starting price, while the plastic-cased iPhone 5C will drop down to the free tier when subsidized by a two-year mobile carrier contract.

Rumors have indicated that Apple would be introducing two larger models of its phone since earlier this year. Since the introduction of the original iPhone back in 2007, Apple's devices have stayed on the smaller end of the smartphone spectrum. The first model had a 3.5-inch screen, and it wasn't until 2012 with the the iPhone 5 that Apple decided to incorporate a taller, 4-inch screen into the lineup. In the meantime, however, phones from other smartphone manufacturers have incorporated larger screens that let users access more content at a single glance. With the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple has the opportunity to compete against those larger devices.

Email: Bryan.Bishop@THR.com
Twitter: @bcbishop

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