10 Cool Features on the New iPhone 6 (Plus a Surprise)

It’s here! It’s here! After months of speculation (and a lot of live-stream technical difficulties), we finally have the scoop on the iPhone 6 (and the iPhone 6 Plus). As per always with Apple, expectations were high: From rumors of remote control capabilities in the home, to a built-in air sensor for fitness tracking, to the ability to use the phone in lieu of a credit/ATM card, today’s product presentation had a lot to live up to, and, aside from a site crash, it did not disappoint. Here’s what to expect from your new iPhone:

1.  Two size options.

This was the main rumor circulating about the new iPhone 6, and it ended up being true: There will be two size options, the iPhone 6 (priced at $199), with a 4.7-inch screen, and the iPhone 6 Plus (priced at $299), with a 5.5-inch screen. Both versions will be bigger than any previous models (the iPhone 5/5S and iPhone 4 have 4-inch and 3.5-inch screens, respectively) and will feature a gorgeous display. As if we needed more of a reason to watch Netflix on the go.

2.  New design.

iPhone to iPhone, there’s never been a huge difference in design, which is arguably part of the Apple way: keep it minimal, beautiful, and functional, and there’s no need to change how it looks. However, both new iPhones will feature a slightly curved shape, with smooth edges where the curved glass meets the aluminum body. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will also be the thinnest yet, at 6.9mm and 7.1mm. The new design is sleeker than older models, and seems easier to hold!

3.  Better display.

In case you were worried that a bigger screen meant a higher chance of an inevitable shatter, fear not! With the new ion-strengthened cover glass, not only should it look crystal clear but the screen will also be harder to scratch. To top it off, the iPhone 6 will feature a 720p Retina HD display, and the iPhone 6 Plus will have a 1080p one. As you can see, they’ve also added a horizontal home screen mode, and have further improved horizontal displays in other apps (most notably email).

4.  Faster processor.

In case your phone is running a little slow from all those apps, with the new A8 chip, you can play all the Candy Crush/NPR One/Pinterest you want without compromising speed. It has up to 25% faster processing power and 50% faster graphics (which means processor performance and graphics are 50x and 84x faster than the original iPhone, respectively).

5.  Better battery life.

“Can I plug my phone in?” is probably one of my main mantras, but the new iPhone 6 is up to 50% more energy efficient, which means way less of all that. Now you can stay out later (or, you know, watch TV in bed for longer) without your phone dying!

6.  Wi-fi calling.

This is a big one: when you don’t have cell signal, you can make calls via wi-fi (which, surprisingly, wasn’t an option before and was one of the things iPhone was lagging on in the smartphone market). The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also have wi-fi speeds up to 3x faster than the iPhone 5, so those calls should be A+. This should also be a super awesome (and free) option for making international calls.

7.  A new and improved camera.

As usual, the iPhone camera got an upgrade: the new models have an 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels, ƒ/2.2 aperture and an improved FaceTime camera that lets in 80% more light. They’ve introduced Focus Pixels, which determine focus direction, lense movement, and a bunch of other cool stuff (faster autofocus, better face detection, and optical image stabilization for low lights/shaky hands). There are also a few new video improvements, including cinematic video stabilization, time-lapse video, and slow-mo options at 120 and 240 fps (which is slow, FYI). And we all know a better camera means better selfies and Instagram pictures of sunsets.

8.  The Health app.

Another rumor that proved to be true, the new iPhones have “a barometer that senses air pressure to measure relative elevation,” and the M8 coprocessor will continuously gather motion data via the built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. When integrated with their new Health app (part of iOS8) you can measure all your fitness activities, whether it’s running, dancing, or walking from the couch to the fridge.

9.  Better autocorrect.

The new iPhones have a predictive keyboard that learns your style of chatting and vocabulary of choice better than older versions. Maybe this means less autocorrecting to “duck”? That being said, this could also be dangerous territory if your style of texting is different between, say, your friends and your boss/parents/etc.

10.  Apple Pay.

Rumors of possible NFC (aka Near-Field Communication) integration also proved true with Apple Pay: basically, you can now pay for things using your phone as your credit/ATM card, starting in October. It seems pretty simple to use (just take a picture of the card and it’ll securely save to your Passbook), and then pay using your phone and Touch ID. It is allegedly very secure (but we’ll have to see how that all pans out), and will be accepted wherever merchants accept contactless payments (including Disney World!). Perhaps most enticing, it makes online shopping via your phone way easier with one-touch checkout. It keeps all your info private, and you don’t have to fill anything out. It sounds amazing, but it’s also a little frightening if you’re one of those people (hello) with an online shopping addiction.

BONUS:  One more thing. . . Apple Watch.

“One more thing. . .” was always Steve Jobs’ thing. It’s how he brought a presentation home—with a mind-blowing final addition. Perhaps out of respect, Tim Cook has refrained from using it for a couple years. But the phrase is, arguably, as much a part of Apple as it was a part of Jobs’ legacy, and Cook brought it back this year to introduce the Apple Watch, their version of the smartwatch. It is aesthetically pleasing, to say the least, and offers a ton of customization (colors, strap choices, design, and functionality). Apple Watch, which starts at $349, has a flexible retina display laminated with sapphire, meaning it’s incredibly hard to scratch or crack. Most notably, it introduces Digital Crown, which allows you to navigate the watch without covering the screen, which is both practical and preferable. As you would expect, it has a lot of health and fitness capabilities, and can monitor pulse rate and activity. Overall, it seems like it has a lot of room to grow, as developers create even more apps to use on it. Could it potentially be Apple’s new big thing? Probably. Of course, you need an iPhone to use it. You win again, you Apple geniuses.

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