After a lengthy telephone conversation with O2, it felt like it was easier to get a mortgage than navigate the pricing plans for phone, data, calls and insurance with O2! I think the lady on the other end of the line agreed with me when she struggled to contain her laugh after a call lasting in excess of 30 minutes when I made that comment to her. Several days later, the doorbell went and I anxiously bolted down the stairs for the delivery of the new iPhone. How do Apple manage to create this excitement in fully grown adults?
To be honest, I was nervous. Really nervous. Having never actually seen the handset, and generally not wanting a bigger phone (AND knowing that there are often many bugs with new devices), it was a blind shot-in-the-dark to order it. I unpacked the box, and after locating the (yes, they moved it) on-off button, the device roared to life and so begins my post.
In 3 words? Love. Love. Love.
Jonny Ive got it right, the design of the actual hardware is just perfect. The shape. The weight. The curves. All utterly gorgeous. The device really is an absolute pleasure to hold and to use, for better or worse, till death (or dropping accidentally to the ground) do us part.
If you're not sure about taking the plunge, here are my 9 biggest plusses.
- Shape: Bigger means better, and not larger. It's light and lovely. The curved design makes it easy to hold and to use. This might be due to being thinner (6.8mm versus iphone 5's 7.6mm).
- Performance: This baby is fast and I admit, speed wasn't always a priority but now with faster Wi-Fi and 4G, you don't have to wait for ages to download attachments or apps, due to the A8 processor
- Screen: The extra size really is noticeable as this phone feels more like a phablet despite being the 6 and not the larger 6+. Really enjoying the bigger screen and so glad it doesn't feel like I've had to sacrifice size.
- Display: Retina "HD" display looks fabulous and the Ion strengthened glass is reassuring. The resolution is larger so the text looks larger which is great for those struggling to read small text on constantly having to zoom. Reading content on the phone is a pleasure!
- Battery Life: It's 7:34 pm and my battery is on 36%. With my iPhone 5, it would have been dead as a dormouse by 4 pm. Interestingly, by midnight, the battery was 41% ... did someone not tell me about wireless charging? It's great to get through the day without a dead battery (you can all breathe again). Officially, Apple haven't changed the battery life beyond that of adding 1 hour longer life, however my personal experience has been significant!
- Camera: Improved low light picture quality (and image stabilisation on the 6+). The front camera (for selfie-taking) has been given an overhaul allowing 81% more light in. Photography is all about light, so this is a significant improvement.
- iTouch Fingerprint Scan: Ok, the 5S had this though I understand from others that its now faster. I really enjoy not having to type in the password as I migrated from a 5 (not 5s).
- Payments: This phone is enabled with near-field communication (NFC) allowing one touch payments. I haven't been able to trial this yet as I need to explore which retailers offer this.
- Barometer: I haven't seen this in action either though it's purported to be of great value in fitness apps.
Equally impressive are the changes with iOS 8 which I am really enjoying. The selfie-self timer is genius for fumbling thumbs who cannot seem to smile and press the picture button at the same time. I also love the favourites option (double tap the home button), the improved predictive text, the camera slow-mo and fast-mo function (like Instagram Hyperlapse) and the emergency contact and medical information accessible without a passcode.
Of course, I know that when comparing to other phones on the market, this phone is apparently not exceptional as it plays catchup to Sony, HTC, Samsung and Nokia. However, as an Apple fan who was beginning to lose faith in the company( as convincing press reports about Apple losing its lustre started to resonate), I'm pleased to say that I think Apple will maintain it's loyal following with this phone who would otherwise have defected to other brands in due course given the widening gap in functionality. Only time will tell.
Now, to iWatch or not to iWatch, THAT is the real question!