Apple iPhone 6

First Look: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

A glimpse at Apple's much-anticipated new iPhones

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

They’re BIGGER

Yes, you read that right - the last bastion of comfortably-sized smartphones has fallen. Apple has gotten with the program and rolled out the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – two new models with a host of new capabilities. Beyond bigness, we mean.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

The big new screens

The iPhone 6 is somewhat larger than its predecessor, the iPhone 5S – its 1334x750 screen measures 4.7 inches. The 6 Plus, by contrast, is a lot larger than the 5S, fully 5.5-inches and with 1080p resolution. Apple was also at pains to tell the public that these are also the thinnest iPhones ever released, at 6.9mm and 7.1mm, respectively.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

How to USE that big screen

But don’t despair, smaller-handed people! Apple’s built several features into the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, including swiping gestures to move backwards and forwards in the browser and the ability to double-tap the TouchID button to make the display slide down.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

The A8 chip

There’s extra horsepower in these new handsets, as well – Apple says that the new A8 chip that powers the iPhone 6 series has a 25% faster CPU and 50% faster GPU than the A7 of the previous generation, while being 13% physically smaller and 50% more energy efficient.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

M8 motion coproccesor and other new sensors

There’s a barometer here, for one thing. Oh, and a new M8 motion co-processor that adds a bunch of handy new features for fitness tracking, like measuring vertical distance traveled, up and down staircases.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

New wireless capabilities

Apple has caught up to the top-end Android phones with new wireless capabilities on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – including support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and faster LTE. There’s also voice-over-LTE technology, and Wi-Fi calling support.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple Pay

Apple’s own secure NFC payment system debuts on the new iPhone 6 series. Secured by fingerprint-reading TouchID technology, Apple Pay lets you scan your credit cards into the system, so that they can be used via the phone. Transaction and payment details are heavily abstracted, and Apple says it doesn’t see what you bought or how much you paid.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

iOS 8

There’s plenty of new stuff coming in iOS 8, which was released as a beta earlier this year, including stronger iCloud integration, more fitness tracking, and integrated media messaging features. Those improvements, and a lot more, will be released Sept. 17.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

New cameras

8MP doesn’t seem like a lot in this day and age, but it’s the additional bells and whistles where the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus’ camera truly shines. The former model has digital image stabilization, and the larger one features the optical version, and both have supposedly very fast autofocus capabilities and the ability to shoot slo-mo video at up to 240 frames per second.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

The nitty-gritty

Both models will be available for pre-sale this Friday, Sept. 12, and will officially go on sale a week later. The iPhone 6 will cost $200, $300 or $400 on-contract, depending on whether you want 16GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage, while the 6 Plus will cost $100 more at each storage tier.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.