Today is the first day you can order one of the brand new models of the new iPhone, either the 6 or 6 Plus. Many carriers are offering some great deals both in the US and UK and of course, there’s always the alternative buying choice, to buy sim free, unlocked from Apple.
So, what will you do? Read our guide with the most up to date information and see if this helps you make up your minds…
Importantly, of course, it’s worth pointing out that there’s no pressure to upgrade, do not be swept along with the buying frenzy if it will cause financial difficulties to you.
iOS 8 will be released next week, on the 17 September 2014 and will work with the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina® display, iPad Air™, iPad mini™ and iPad mini with Retina display.
If you are in a position to upgrade to one of the new handsets, here are the options you might want to be aware of.
Firstly, you need to decide whether to purchase the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus. Personally, I have opted for the iPhone 6 Plus and I will tell you why. It comes with a gorgeous 5.5 inch display that also features a higher pixel count of 401 ppi vs 326 ppi. (Apple defines a ‘Retina Display’ as being 326 ppi – essentially when the naked eye can not distinguish between individual pixels). It effectively has 2 million pixels – 183% more pixels that the iPhone 5s. Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus are still being produced with 8 megapixels, this is the same as the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5/5c. The sensor is also still the same as the iPhone 5s’ and both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus also still get the same f/2.2 aperture. One of the significant differences that pushes the new models ahead of the old is the upgraded ‘True Tone’ flash for more realistic flash lighting and the new ‘Focus Pixels’ – Apple claim this will halve autofocus times and enable faster face and smile detection as well as continuous autofocus in video. Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) is a benefit to the iPhone 6 Plus, (essentially moving the lens around to minimise camera shake the route cause of blurred images). The iPhone 6 comes with digital image stabilsation which is a cheaper software based alternative. I believe the iPhone 6 Plus will take ‘better’ photographs particularly in low light conditions with longer exposure times. With regards the front facing FaceTime Camera (commonly known as the ‘selfie’) both new iPhones are the same. Allowing for 81% more light, HDR, improved face detection algorithm and a burst mode. The resolution though is nothing to write home about, just 1.2 mp. I really would of liked to have seen 4k video recording possible in the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Samsung, LG and Motorola have already accomplished this. Both new Apple handsets offer 1080p video recording at 30 fps and 60fps (frames per second) as well as 120-240fps in slo-mo.
I have no idea why Apple have continued with the 16 GB memory module and have dropped the 32 GB module. It would have been far more sensible to start with the 32 GB and ditch the 16 GB but what they have done is step up to the 128 GB and this is of course hugely welcome. Not just as mobile photographers storing images but also because with the iOS 8 update, this is going to allow developers to create more power hungry apps that will take up serious room on your phone hard drive.
All smartphone users suffer with battery life issues, sales of portable external battery devices have soared in recent times and no self respecting mobile photographer would leave their house without a fully charged battery pack on board. However, the iPhone 6 Plus pushes battery power to a new level. Not so with the iPhone 6 , this has little improvement over the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 6 Plus offers 80 hours of audio, that’s double, a 40% increase to video (making it 14 hours), 3G talk time increases from 10 to 24 hours, 3G browsing is up from 8 to 12 hours and standby is up to 16 days – not that I’ve ever known anyone to leave their phone in standby for days on end.
Personally, I feel the iPhone 6 Plus has the edge, I am looking forward to apps such as Procreate porting to this device (they will also port to the iPhone 6) but the extra screen space of the iPhone 6 Plus, will give many more photo/image editing opportunities. I would have liked to have seen the iPhone 6 gain OIS and the screen resolution further increased. The increase in battery life is a huge advantage to the iPhone 6 Plus and of course the upgraded camera is a significant pull. Therefore, I feel the iPhone 6 Plus is the more complete handset.
So, the next thing to consider is where and how to buy…
Where To Buy in the US
The Apple store is taking pre-orders today for both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – both in the US and UK they are showing a 3-4 week delivery schedule for the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple are offering a trade-in program that will give you an gift card for your old iPhone and also offers financing options.
It’s also possible to purchase from Walmart Best Buy, Target and Radio Shack who will begin taking pre-orders today.
Walmart only offers the 16 GB for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for the usual carriers. They are also discounting the handset by $20 and will give you a $15 gift card for a pre-order. Walmart also has its own trade-in program – go here to view that.
Radio Shack will give you a gift card for pre-ordering too, up to $50.
Target will allow you to trade in your old phone online or in store. It’s offering up to $200 for the iPhone 5s and $100 for the 5 or 5C, $75 for the 4S and $50 for the iPhone 4.
Best Buy will only accept pre-orders in stores, not online.
Gazelle is another great place to sell your phone to and offers some great quotes, to get one for your handset, go here.
Glyde also offer great deals for your old handsets, go here for a quote.
Amazon offer a good trade-in program and this is worth looking into – go here.
If you’re currently with a carrier, firstly you need to check if you’re eligible for an upgrade. In the US AT&T also offer a trade in program – click here for that. There are various packages and options available as new or existing customers.
Verizon Edge will allow you to pay for the cost of the new handset over 20 months and comes with a $25 discount on the shared data More Everything plan. You can also purchase the phone on contract and at full retail price if you would prefer. Verizon will also offer a free 16 GB iPhone 6 in exchange for your iPhone 5, 4, 5S or 5C in good condition, the bottom line is that you have to sign up for a new 24 month contract.
Sprint are offering a special deal if you’re transferring over to them from AT&T or Verizon. It’s a prepaid Visa card to pay off your early termination fees, up to $350, go here to read more.
T-Mobile offer a Simple Choice plan that allows you to pick up a 16 GB iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for free and then pay either $27.08 or $31.24 for 24 months. Greater storage will set you back up to $200 for the 128 GB and then $27.08 or $32.25 respectively per month. I like this package from T-Mobile, it also offers unlimited data and texting when you’re overseas and will be the first and only US carrier that supports Wi-Fi calling. T-Mobile have also announced that they will match any competitor’s trade in value and give you $50 too.
How to buy in the UK
As above of course, you can head to the UK Apple store and pre-order from there. As we write this, news is coming in that Apple are selling out fast of the iPhone 6 Plus 128 GB worldwide in all colours. So, if this is the model you are yearning for, we suggest you head over there, fast.
If you’re ordering via a carrier, then by visiting the Three site, you’ll find a message saying they will be accepting pre-orders this afternoon (GMT) for both models, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Vodafone are offering pre-orders now and have all number of packages for you to browse, go here.
02 are offering the new devices but at the time of writing, their whole site has crashed – go here.
Virgin Media are offering the new handsets but are not offering preordering at the time of writing, go here.
Giffgaff will also be selling the new phones but currently you need to sign into the home page with your name and email address and they’ll get back to you with the deals, go here.