iPhone 6 release date, specs, UK price and best features

12 Sep 2014
iPhone 6 press shot

The wait is over: the iPhone 6 has been announced. We reveal its specs, release date and UK price

Apple has announced two new smartphones today – the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The two handsets are very similar, except the iPhone 6 has a 4.7in display, while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5in display. Here we'll mainly be talking about the iPhone 6, though much of this applies to both, but for more on the larger iPhone check out our iPhone 6 Plus coverage. Apple also launch the Apple Watch last night, which requires a recent Apple handset to function.

iPhone 6 release date and price

The most important question is when can you buy it? Well you won't have long to wait as the iPhone 6 is going on sale from 19 of September with pre-orders opening on 12 September. For all the best iPhone 6 deals on EE, O2, Three and Vodafone check out our iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus deals page.

UK pricing SIM-free is £539 for the 16GB model, £619 for the 64GB and £699 for the 128GB version. That's cheaper than the iPhone 5S, which launched at £549 for the 16GB version. Considering the bigger screen and extra tech, a price drop is a welcome thing. We're yet to get prices for the handset on contract, but we'll add them here as soon as they are announced.

iPhone 6 Specs

The 4.7in screen, up from 4.3in on the iPhone 5S, has 38% more pixels than its predecessor with a resolution of 1,334x750. That's short of the Full HD resolution we expected, but it's still a very respectable 326PPI, the same pixel density as we saw on the iPhone 5S. Given that the iPhone 5S' screen was sharp enough, adding more resolution wouldn't have acheived anything. Apple claims that the new screen has better viewing angles, thanks to 'dual domain' pixels, and superior colour reproduction, but we'll have to wait until we can get it under our colour calibrator to see.

The camera remains at 8-megapixels, it seems that Apple isn't convinced of the benefits of a higher-resolution sensor and we largely agree in principle. The big 1.5 micron pixels from the iPhone 5S make a return, so low-light photography should be good. The big addition is phase-detect autofocus, with dedicated focus sites built into the sensor, as you see on DSLR cameras, this should allow for far faster focus times. There's an improved front-facing Facetime camera as well, with a new sensor and bigger aperture, for 81% more light than the previous model.

Inside is a new Apple A8 processor which has 2bn transistors, that's twice as many as the old A7. Apple is claiming the new 20nm chip has 50% more graphics power than its predecessor, great news for gamers, plus it's also 25% faster as a CPU, so the new iOS8 operating system should run very smoothly indeed. Amazingly, it's also 50% more energy efficient – which should bode well for both battery life. Apple is claiming 10 hours of 3G or 4G browsing from the device, which sounds excellent.

The A8 includes a new image processor too, with hardware for faster face detection, better smile and blink detection when choosing the best shot from a burst. Video is also improved, with 1080p support at 60fps now and slow-motion video at up to 240fps, though the old 120fps setting is alsoo there if you prefer.

Other new features include a barometer sensor, so the new iPhone knows your elevation and can make better fitness tracking calculations. This should be especially popular with cyclists for whom effort and elevation go hand-in-hand, if only it could detect a strong headwind too and we'd be all sorted.

The new phone looks to support every LTE band imaginable, so you shouldn't have any problems connecting to 4G services. There's also support now for NFC now too, to support the new Apple Pay system, which you can read more about in our iOS8 coverage. It also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi so you'll get faster connections with compatible routers.

iPhone 6 Design

The new iPhone eschews the sharper edges of recent models and returns to a curved, metal outer shell, which is somewhat reminiscent of the HTC One line of handsets – especially with the inset strips at the top and bottom of the handset, which are needed so that the internal antennas can work properly. Again, the handset is available in the same three colours as the iPhone 5S: Gold, Silver or Space Grey.

A bigger screen neccessitates a bigger phone of course, and the iPhone 6 measures 138x67x6.9mm and weighs 129g. The iPhone 6 is almost 1mm slimmer than its predecessor, which was 7.6mm thick. That makes it a seriously slender handset, slimmer than the Samsung Galaxy S5 at 8.1mm. And with the curved off edges it should feel even slimmer than the numbers suggest. It looks fantastic we think, and this slender appearance is down to Apple not boosting the battery size, but instead trying to make the handset more power efficient.

The handset still retains the circular Touch ID button at the bottom of the display, but the power button has now moved to the side of the iPhone so that it's easier to reach given the new, larger handset. The minijack headphone socket remains at the bottom of the phone, alongside the lightning connector and mono speaker. The latter is a dissapointing ommission, as we love stereo speakers on a phone (as on the new Moto G). Also missing is wireless charging, another pity as having the same system as the Apple Watch would have been a neat trick.

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