iPhone 6: Underwhelming, And Overhyped

Posted on September 9, 2014 Comments

It’s September, and it’s the day of Apple’s iPhone 6 launch event. The media blitz is abound about the release of a new Apple product just like it always is. In just two weeks millions of Apple fans will be lining up out the door to toss their iPhone 5/5s for 6. I should preface this by saying that I own an iPhone 4 and have for 3 or 4 years now, which is a long time. iOS 7 and 8 are really great. So I’m not an Apple hater. But the hype is strong with this release today. I’ve been scoping getting a new smartphone and have been on the fence… but today’s release means I’ll be switching to Android.

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I’m looking at the “iPhone 6 Plus” as well, because the regular iPhone 6 is a joke(4.7″, non HD resolution – are you kidding?).  The release of the iPhone 6 Plus is underwhelming, and doesn’t feel innovative in the slightest. They’re simply playing catch-up with the market. I’ll explain why by comparing it to phones like S5, and the Moto X soon to be released which have already been out for a while.

Apple is finally matched with Samsung Galaxy S5 and Moto X since they increased increased the screen size to the 5.x” category – at 5.5″ – not bad, but this is nothing to write home about. For years they insisted iPhone 5 was the perfect size and wasn’t going to be changed. That just wasn’t the case – we do too much our on smartphones, a bigger screen is necessary and this (finally) is an admission of that.

The A8 processor will really give the iPhone a big boost over the Snapdragon’s found in most of the android phones. I don’t really see a processor upgrade like this as something to gush over. It’s natural progression of processor technology. I expected that the iPhone 6 would have a significantly better processor than the current gen android phones which came before it, so no surprise here.

About the screen: the iPhone 6 Plus is 1920×1080 (401 ppi) – which they call “Retina HD” – great. But we’ve had that already (and slightly better) with S5 at 920 x 1080 (430 ppi), and Moto X is the same. Oooh, shiny new screen though. Really nothing to write home about here, just more playing catch up.

The camera in iPhone 6 is amazing, fresh, and new. Oh… wait, iPhone 6’s camera is the same as iPhone 5s’s rear camera at 8MP! Or should I say “8MP iSight w/ TrueTone flash.” Let’s just cut the marketing buzz words and call it for what it is: an 8MP camera. The iPhone 4’s rear camera is 5MP.  So in ~4 years time, since the iPhone 4 was released in 2010, the best Apple does it is increase it by 3MP. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S5 has a 16MP camera, and Moto X 13MP. I actually take a lot of cell phone photos, so the camera quality is important to me. Either way, for what I consider to be a premium phone – at 8MP, what a joke.

My next rant is going to be about the pricing and base model space. iPhone 6 Plus will cost $299/$399/$499 for the 16/64/128gb. 16GB for $299 is a huge disappointment when the S5 is $199-$150 for the same thing. For that price I would have expected 32GB to be the base version. But instead they completely cut out the 32GB version. See what they did there? 16GB by today’s standards is really nothing. Even a modest amount of pictures, movies, and music can fill that. But since no 32GB version is even being offered – Apple users are going to have to spend $100 more to get anything decent. There’s such a huge gap here – my guess is that they didn’t want to lose sales of the 64GB version, so offering a 32GB would be a huge mistake.

It is a shame that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is just a “me too” phone. Don’t worry, Apple will still make record profits and sell these like hotcakes. But anyone willing to take some time to research can clearly see that it is not some godly smartphone with crazy new innovative features. You’re just paying more for less.

Comments

  1. As someone who is more pro-Apple than you are John I want to refute a couple points for clarity.

    First up, screen sizes. Yes, they are late to the larger screen game and with the way people are using their smart phones today it should’ve happened sooner. That said, they keep the screen size and the pixel density slightly lower even in this release for one main reason: Graphics performance. The main reason for bigger screens is for the ability to watch movies and play games. With Samsung’s higher ppi, they actually lag behind in fps and other benchmark tests when it comes to graphics performance. The processors in Samsung’s phones can’t properly display HD video and especially high frame-rate graphics found in video games because of them trying to fill in all of those pixels and the inferiority of their processors compared to the 64-bit A8. In fairness, Apple’s 6 Plus does perform lower than the 6 and the 5S for the same ppi reason, but even so it seriously out performs all non-iPhones. Apple never upgrades specs for specs sake, they do it when the technology and users needs warrant the change. Samsung can fight the specs front all they want but if it leads to lesser quality in use it won’t gain them any loyalty.

    Speaking of specs for specs sake, let’s talk about the camera. Your entire point of this non-upgraded camera is mega pixels. Mega pixels are nice but they are only an easily identifiable part of the make-up of a smart phone camera. With Apple’s iOS 8, focus pixels, faster auto-focus, and other things that make the photos better the iPhone still takes as good or better pictures than other phone cameras in every situation. The 5S was rated as good as the S5 on cnet and other review sites and with these improvements the iPhone 6 Plus will reign as the best smartphone camera that isn’t that Nokia phone.

    I’ll admit some of this is catch up to Android and some of it is annoying (I’m really annoyed the base line is still 16 GB with the size of apps these days), but that said you aren’t paying more for less. You are paying the same for one of the best if not the best smartphone experiences out there.

  2. Ignoring the fact that the ‘source’ you provided is ‘AppleInsider':

    1. The benchmarks are poorly conducted. Take a look at the T-Rex Offscreen and Manhattan Offscreen. Offscreen means that both phones ran the benchmark at the same resolution. This is the right benchmark to be looking at – the phones ran the same bench and same resolution.

    The onscreen benchmarks (where Samsung fails hard) aren’t fair to look at because you can’t do a proper benchmark using entirely different resolutions.

    How is it fair to bench one processor’s GPU using 2560 x 1440 (Note 4) and the other at 750 x 1334 (iPhone 6) and then call it a win?

    It’s not.

    I’d like to see the results of the A8 running at 2560×1440, but it’s not on there. So, is the A8 still faster than the Snapdragon 801? Absolutely, look at the offescreen results. But they’re not so bad are they? A8 is still a really great processor and is better then Qualcomm’s Snapdragon right now, but the article is misleading to suggest Samsung is so far “falling behind.”

    2. AppleInsider glossed over the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor entirely which offered a huge boost in GPU performance, the primary thing the article complains about. I’ve seen plenty of demos of 805 which is intended for playing HD video. Not really sure what they are talking about with the lag in real-world use. This is the sneaky thing about benchmarks, you can still win a benchmark but the experience will be the same anyway.

    Unless you’re someone who plays highly graphics intensive phone games, this is not going to matter. They should have benchmarked the latest and greatest for the last 3 months, not the 801.

    Side note: I personally dislike Samsung for a variety of reasons, namely how they handled the whole charge-port catching fire situation with the S4. I would rather purchase the next-gen Google Nexus instead.

    I’ll concede that you’re not really paying more for less necessarily, you’re paying more for about the same. I can get an S5 for $150 at 16gb, load it with an MicroSD card and be good to go for far less than the iPhone 6 Plus. Sorry I just don’t see the point in paying the premium for iPhone anymore.

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