Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Preview

Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Preview

Looking good

Apple on Tuesday announced two new iPhone models, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Given the number of leaks over the past few weeks especially, there were no major surprises. But combined with iOS 8, both devices answer my lingering complaints about Apple's smart phones. And I think these new iPhone 6s will be quite successful.

I had to sort of resist the urge to write about the iPhone 6 over the past few days since various leakers unveiled virtually every new feature about these devices. But they're officially unveiled, and coming soon. So here's what's happening.

Two new iPhones. Apple announced two iPhone 6 models, the iPhone 6 (with a 4.7-inch screen) and the iPhone 6 Plus (with a 5.5-inch screen). Both are significantly bigger than the existing iPhone 5S and 5C, and both feature a look and feel that is quite similar—almost identical—to the 5th generation iPod touch, complete with the circular, ring-like camera bump on the back.

Processor. The new iPhones are based on Apple's A8 processor, which Apple says is 25 percent faster and 50 percent more energy efficient than its predecessor. There's also a new M8 coprocessor for efficient use of motion and barometer sensors for fitness and health apps.

Screens. The iPhone 6 features a 1334 x 750 (326ppi) display while the Plus offers a 1080p (1920 x 1080, 401ppi) "Retina HD" display. There's no sapphire, contrary to rumors, but they have "ion-strengthened" glass.

Thin. Both iPhone 6 models are thinner than the iPhone 5S, which is 7.6mm thick. The iPhone 6 is 6.9mm, while the Plus is 7.1mm. I actually think the curved form factor on the new devices is a bigger deal, as the squared off iPhone 5S was always "hurty" in my opinion (like the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 before it).

More landscape mode. While some iOS apps obviously worked in landscape mode before, more do now in order to take advantage of the ample real estate on the iPhone 6/Plus screens. Including ... the home screen! There's a new onscreen keyboard for this mode too.

Camera. I'll need to see this in action, but both new iPhones 6s sport an 8 megapixel iSight camera with a hybrid phase detection autofocus system Apple calls "Focus Pixels." The Plus model also includes optical image stabilization, which should be awesome.

NFC. As expected, Apple is including NFC functionality in these new iPhones, and is integrating it with an Apple Payments system that I think will be quite popular and finally move this stuff forward. (Windows Phone added this two years ago, but no one uses it.)

Colors. Each iPhone 6 model is available in gold, silver and space gray.

Models and pricing. Here I'm surprised in a good way. Apple is offering three versions of each model and the pricing isn't terrible for the upgrades. For the iPhone 6, we see 16 GB ($199), 64 GB ($299) and 128 GB ($399). The iPhone 6 Plus comes in at 16 GB ($299), 64 GB ($399) and 128 GB ($499). Apple will continue selling the iPhone 5S and 5C, as well. The iPhone 5S will be 16 GB for $99, and the 5C will be 8 GB for $0.

When. Apple will begin selling iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on September 19. You can preorder yours starting September 12.

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