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Introduction to the iPhone 6 Plus

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Jason R. Rich takes a look at the new iPhone 6 Plus and compares it to the older iPhone 5s and the slightly smaller iPhone 6. You’ll discover some of the differences among these three smartphones and read some compelling reasons why you might want to upgrade.
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Introduction to the iPhone 6 Plus

  • By: Jason R. Rich

Okay, so if size really does matter, then when it comes to smartphones, the iPhone 6 may be the communications, productivity, organization, and entertainment device you’ve been fantasizing about. Compared to the previous generation iPhone 5s, the iPhone 6 Plus is considerably larger in size and features a bigger and more vibrant screen. Plus, it offers a faster processor, along with other more technologically advanced features and functions that make it the most advanced iPhone that Apple has thus far released.

Sizing Up Your iPhone Options

At the same time Apple released the iPhone 6 Plus, it released the slightly smaller iPhone 6. Both of these new smartphone models run iOS 8, which is the latest version of the iOS mobile operating system, and both function using Apple’s proprietary A8 processor, which makes it fast. Thus, when comparing the iPhone 6 with the iPhone 6 Plus, the main difference is the size of the unit itself, as well as the size of the Retina HD Multi-Touch display, which on the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches (diagonally measured).

Table 1 compares the overall size, screen size, resolution, and weight of the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. While these are important factors to think about when choosing the perfect iPhone model for you, another consideration is price.

Table 1: Comparison between the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s.

iPhone Model

Overall Size

Retina HD Touch-Screen Display Size

Screen Resolution

Weight

iPhone 6 Plus

6.22” (height) x 3.06” (width) x 0.28” (thick)

5.5”

1920 x 1080 pixels at 401 ppi*

6.07 ounces

iPhone 6

5.44” (height) x 2.64” (width) x 0.27” (thick)

4.7”

1334 x 750 pixels at 326 ppi*

4.55 ounces

iPhone 5s

4.87” (height) x 2.31” (width) x 0.30” (thick)

4”

1136 x 640 pixels at 326 ppi*

3.95 ounces

iPhone 6 Pricing and Internal Storage Considerations

If you’re setting up a new service contract with a cellular service provider, or you’re eligible to upgrade your smartphone with your current cellular service provider, the subsidized pricing for the iPhone 6 Plus, compared to the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s is a bit higher, as you’ll see in Table 2. Keep in mind, a two year service contract is required to obtain this subsidized pricing.

Like all of the other iPhone models, the iPhone 6 Plus comes in three colors (in this case, silver, gold, or space gray), and in three different internal storage configurations. Keep in mind, in terms of internal storage space, none of the iPhone models are upgradable later, so it’s essential that you choose a configuration that will hold all of your app-specific data, documents, and files, as well as your collection of apps, photos, and other digital content (including music, TV shows, movies, and eBooks, if applicable).

The iPhone 6 comes with 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB of internal storage. One nice feature of iOS 8 is that it’s designed to be fully integrated with Apple’s online-based iCloud service. As a result, many apps you’ll be using can automatically sync and share data and content between your smartphone and iCloud account. So, depending on where you’ll primarily be using your smartphone, some of your data, files, photos, or content can be stored “in the cloud,” as opposed to within your iPhone, and accessed anytime your smartphone has Internet access. Using this option can reduce your internal storage needs.

For example, when iCloud’s Photo Library feature is fully implemented in early 2015, your entire digital photo collection can be stored online within your iCloud account, and accessed by your iOS mobile devices (as opposed to being stored within your mobile device).

Table 2: Subsidized iPhone Pricing Comparison (with a 2 year service agreement).

iPhone Model

16GB Internal Storage

64GB Internal Storage

128GB Internal Storage

iPhone 6 Plus

$299.00

$399.00

$499.00

iPhone 6

$199.99

$299.00

$399.00

iPhone 5s

$99.00

$149.00

N/A

For the iPhone 6 Plus, the full (unsubsidized) price of the smartphone is $749.00 for the 16GB model, $849.00 for the 64GB model, and $949.00 for the 128GB model, which is what you’ll pay if you sign up for a month-to-month cellular service plan that has no long-term contact.

A Few Reasons Why iPhone Size Matters

While all models of the iPhone that run iOS 8 come preinstalled with the same collection of apps, including Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Mail, Safari, Notes, Photos, Maps, and a handful of others, each of these apps, along with many third-party apps, are designed to automatically adapt to the size of the device they’re being used on.

By default, when you use the iPhone 6 Plus, the majority of apps you’ll be using can display considerably more information and content at any given time. Thus, your experience using this larger size iPhone will be closer to using a tablet, like the iPad mini, than it is to using one of the smaller iPhone models.

As an alternative to displaying more information and content on the screen, however, the iPhone 6 Plus offers a Zoomed display mode. What this does is increases the size of everything shown on the screen while maintaining the format that you’d see if you were using the same app on an iPhone 5s, for example. This makes everything easier to see, which is an appealing feature to people who sometimes have trouble viewing what’s displayed on their current smartphone’s display, due to their eyesight.

Despite its larger physical size, the iPhone 6 Plus can be operated with one or two hands. When using one hand, double-tapping on the Home button scrolls everything on the screen downwards, so it’s more easily reachable using your thumb. This “Reachability” mode requires more scrolling to access and view what’s on the screen, but it’s convenient if you’re using the device with one hand.

The Reachability feature works in conjunction with iOS 8’s new QuickType feature, which tracks what you’re typing on the virtual keyboard, and displays tabbed suggestions directly above the keyboard which can be used to speed up typing and improve accuracy. It’s also possible to take advantage of Siri and/or Dictation in order to utilize your voice to control your iPhone and input data, as opposed to relying on the virtual keyboard.

Another feature of the iPhone 6 Plus, that’s not available on other iPhone models, is the ability to access the Home screen in landscape mode. This eliminates the need to constantly be rotating the device in your hands when you go from the Home screen to an app, such as Safari, Calendar, or Pages, for example, that work particularly well in landscape mode.

For Some, the iPhone 6 Plus May Be Too Big

Both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus utilize the same Apple A8 processor and other more advanced technologies that allow it to be faster than older iPhone models, while at the same time, offering additional features and functions (or improved functionality) when using specific apps that are optimized for these newer smartphones.

For example, when taking photos using the 8-megapixel, rear-facing iSight camera and the preinstalled Camera app on the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, you’ll be able to capture clearer and more vibrant photos, in part, because features like auto focus, face recognition, HDR mode, image stabilization, exposure control, and burst shooting mode react faster and more efficiently.

Thus, the choice between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus comes down to personal preference, based on the physical size of the device you’ll be most comfortable and efficient using in your everyday life. What you’ll discover is that the iPhone 6 Plus functions more like a mini-tablet with cell phone capabilities, as opposed to a traditional smartphone. This means you can benefit from the larger size screen when handling a wide range of tasks.

So, if the iPhone 6 Plus will be the only mobile device you use throughout your day, you may appreciate the lager physical size of the device (as well as the larger screen), if you plan to use the device as an eBook reader, entertainment device, or to handle work-related tasks, like word processing, spreadsheet management, working with emails, or web surfing.

When choosing between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, also consider how you’ll be carrying around the smartphone throughout your day. Once the iPhone 6 Plus is inserted into a case, its size increases slightly, so while it will fit within a sport coat pocket, briefcase, or purse, it won’t fit comfortably within most shirt or pants pockets, like the smaller size iPhone models.

Meanwhile, if you’re already an iPad mini user, for example, chances are you’ll appreciate the smaller size and portability of the iPhone 6 (compared to the iPhone 6 Plus) when carrying around the smartphone throughout your day. In situations when you could benefit from a larger display, you can always switch to your tablet and take advantage of iOS 8s new Handoff feature to pick up exactly where you left off on your iPhone.

The Benefits to Upgrading Right Away

All of the iPhone models released within the past few years, including the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c, along with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, can run iOS 8. However, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus can handle a wide range of tasks faster and more efficiently.

The improved processing speed, larger screen, and better graphics display capabilities of the iPhone 6 Plus will be most obvious when playing some of the newer games designed by third-party app developers, some of which have been optimized specifically for the new iPhones. Not only can on-screen graphics and animations look more spectacular, but the response time when interacting with high-action games is also dramatically improved.

When accessing the Internet via an LTE cellular data connection or Wi-Fi connection, you’ll also notice improved download speeds using the iPhone 6 Plus, which translates to a more efficient and enjoyable web surfing experience, with less wait time to access content.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus also support Wi-Fi Calling, which is a feature that only T-Mobile (in the U.S.) supports right now, but one that will be introduced by AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless in 2015. This allows for calls to seamlessly transition from a cellular network to a Wi-Fi network (or vice versa) in order to achieve the best call clarity and signal.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have the Touch ID sensor build into the Home button, which can be used to unlock the device using a fingerprint. Also, only these two new iPhone models are compatible with the new Apple Pay service, which launched in October 2014. Apple Pay makes is faster, more efficient, and more secure to make credit or debit card purchases at participating retail stores or when shopping online.

Final Thoughts…

In conjunction with your new phone, seriously consider purchasing a protective case for the device, plus investing in AppleCare+ ($99.00), which includes in-person or telephone technical support, as well as free repairs on covered damage/accidents for two years. A $50.00 deductible for a damaged phone replacement may apply per incident. AppleCare+ does not, however, cover the loss or theft of the iPhone 6 Plus.

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