iPad mini killer? Similar to 5s? Critics divided on Apple's new iPhone 6

Tech critics seem divided in their initial opinions of the iPhone 6, with some saying it is well worth the price tag, while others are not that impressed.

The iPhone 6 which was launched by Apple at its event yesterday has been playing a distinct second fiddle to the Apple Watch, but has been getting some attention in its own right too. Tech experts however seem divided about the device with some saying it is not such a great improvement over the iPhone 5s, while others have sworn that it is worth every inch of its hugely steep price tag. (There is some consensus however, that the iphone 6 Plus is a tad too pricey for the average smartphone user)


The device comes in two variants. The iPhone 6, which will feature a 4.7-inch screen, up from the 4-inch screen on the models released in each of the previous two years, and the iPhone 6 Plus which will have a 5.5-inch screen and other improvements, including longer battery life, that will cost an additional $100.


The new phones are not as big as Samsung's latest flagship phones — 5.1 inches for the Galaxy S5 and 5.7 inches for the Note 4 — but are expected to be large enough to neutralize a key advantage Samsung and other Android manufacturers have had.


New features include a barometer to estimate how much users climb stairs, not just how far they walk or run, an improvement in slow-motion video feature by allowing even slower shots on the iPhone 6, and a refreshed Retina display (Apple's calling it Retina HD). You can check out all the features in detail here.


Here are some of the early tech reviews so far:


According to Darrel Etherington of TechCrunch,


Overall, with both variants, this is a vastly improved device in most respects, including the responsiveness and speed of the OS in all areas I could test in a short time. The new A8 is clearly carrying its weight, and it’ll be exciting to see how these apparent improvements hold up under extended testing. This could be a crucial selling point for some buyers, but it still feels like the price and size are going to make the 6 Plus a rarer device to find in the wild.


Jessica Dolcourt of CNetfeels that the iPhone 6 in particular is not much of a leap from the iPhone 5s.


If you've been waiting since the iPhone 5, crave a somewhat larger screen, or want to try Apple Pay, the cheaper 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is the way to go.


However, the reasons to upgrade to either new iPhone over last year's iPhone 5S are harder to find if you aren't pulled in by the swelling size. The new A8 processor's speed and graphics gains don't seem as dramatic as last year's A7 -- at least on paper. Much greater storage size is another temptation, too, as Apple leaps to 64GB and 128GB models.


Once again, the iPhone 6 will probably satisfy current iPhone users looking for the next evolution of Apple's smartphone, especially if you're tired of a 4-inch display, though iPhone 5S users will find only stepped improvements.


Her colleague David Katzmaier seems to feel much the same way:


But keep in mind that these new devices are more like evolutions from the previous generation, and not exactly major leaps in the phone landscape.


Brad Molen of EnGadget doesn't venture an opinion as yet, but does note that the two models seem very similar.


Aside from the difference in diagonal screen size, there's very little to tell these two versions apart until you start looking deeper; the Plus comes with a bigger battery, better display, one-handed mode and an extra stabilization feature on the camera, but everything else is essentially identical.


Nilay Patel of The Verge takes this observation one step further, noting that since "It's right in the middle of the familiar iPhone experience and the iPad; enough so that it's hard to see why anyone would want an iPad mini if they have this larger iPhone." He goes on to add "that large size is pretty key; this is the phone that's going to force Apple to turn the iPad into a true laptop competitor. I have an iPad mini that will never come out again once I get this phone; I have an iPad Air that will need a better reason to come out than simply the size of its screen."


Gareth Beavis of Techradar is hugely impressed by the device. He notes:

The iPhone 6 is a really rather good handset indeed. While I can't bring myself to say 'it's the best iPhone ever made' again (it is, but I promised I wouldn't write that again after saying the same thing for three reviews in a row), in the pantheon of Apple handsets the iPhone 6 will go down as a pivotal moment. 
The new payment mechanisms, the increased screen and battery size and the overhauled design come from a phone that is finally following, at least partly, the path laid out by the competition rather than steadfastly refusing to acknowledge that consumers are looking for something else.
It will still command the same eye-watering price tag as before, but this time it certainly warrants it.


The iPhone 6 will start at $199 on-contract for the 16GB model, while the 64GB and 128GB versions will be available for $299 and $399, respectively. No India price has been revealed as yet, but the Apple India site has said that it will be available from 17 October. 

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