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The good, the bad, and the ugly: the inconvenient truth about the iPhone 6

News by admin on Wednesday September 10, 2014.

apple iphone 6 · apple news · ios news · smartphone news · admin

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iPhone 6
iPhone 6

Apple launched the iPhone 6 yesterday in what was a very successful and warmly received media event for the company. The device is very good, easily the best Apple has made so far and has plenty going for it in almost every regard. However, that does not mean there are no problems and after getting to know the iPhone 6 a little better we can offer a clearer impression.

The Good

As mentioned, the iPhone 6 is the best smartphone that Apple has ever made, a perfectly balanced device in every sense. The design as always oozes absolute quality and the handset just sits nicely in the palm, that 4.7-inch form factor a nice sweet sport for smartphone size. In terms of crafting something that is premium, Apple still leads the way even with companies like HTC offering well machined handsets of their own.

Away from the build quality, the iPhone 6 is just an almost perfect user experience. That would probably not be the case if it was an Android device, but with iOS 8 on board the 6 is what I would call a subtle performer, everything just gets done without fuss. Apple doesn't speak about specs, and that's because the company knows that there is an obsession about them even though they are unimportant.

The iPhone 6 does not have wondrous specs, certainly not when compared to Android flagships like the LG G3 or Galaxy Note 4. If a fantastic user experience is your thing, then specs matter not and the iPhone 6 could very well be the smartphone you have been looking for. It marries rapid performance with an easy to use UI that does not chew up the RAM, resulting in an almost continuously smooth ride.

It is also nice to see Apple come to the NFC party at last too, and Apple Pay may turn out to be the most robust mobile payment model yet, it is certainly looking good on paper. Much of the security on the iPhone 6 will be taken care of by the Touch ID, a feature making a return and still the best fingerprint sensor available on any handset.

The Bad

It seems rather contradictory to praise the design of the iPhone 6 on one hand and then criticize it on the other, but I am about to. Yes, this is a stunning handset and among the best looking you can buy right now, but there is something un-Apple about it. An iPhone has always been utterly distinguishable in the market, next to anything else it stood out as something else. Personal preference would dictate whether it was better than rival smartphones in the looks department, but the fact remained the iPhone has always been unique and copied.

Instead of leading the design charge, it now seems Apple is taking cues from other companies, with the iPhone 6 paying more than a passing resemblance to the HTC One M8 and even hinting at some of Samsung's Galaxy range (heaven forbid Apple fans). Of course, this hardly matters as the result is still spectacular, but the iPhone does not seem as original as it once did.

Another thing worth considering is the fact that the iPhone 6 Plus (the 5.5-inch version) is probably the better device. Sure, it has the exact same specs and design as the normal 6, but it gets a better full 1080p Retina HD display and if you like a bit more real estate then it has that too. It seems like Apple was caught between its ethos of keeping smartphones compact and joining the large screen trend, so in the end delivered two devices to suit the market. That is good for the consumer because they now get bags of choice in iOS whereas they never did before, but there is a feeling that the iPhone 6 is a compromise, at least in terms of what it wants to be.

The Ugly

Yes, I am going to the place where all Apple critiques seem to go, innovation, or the lack of it. The company carved out a reputation for innovative products, redefining niches, and blazing a trail to unchartered territory. In that respect the iPhone 6 is rather tame because the question should be asked, where is the innovation?

It is hard to name one feature, spec, or trait on the iPhone 6 that has not been seen before from Apple and beyond. Touch ID remains innovative, but ultimately it is last year's innovation, while Apple Pay is also innovative but is not exclusively for the iPhone 6. It could be argued why does Apple even need to be innovative to have a good device, and the answer is it doesn't really. No one slated the fantastic LG G3 for lack of innovation, but there is something else at play when discussing Cupertino's device.

LG did not innovate with the G3, but the company took a massive giant leap forward with the handset, changed perceptions. The iPhone 6 does not advance the Apple cause greatly despite being a device built from the ground up. The opportunity was missed for Apple to usher in a new era of innovation, but instead it seems profit margins are more important.

If you are an Apple fan and wholeheartedly disagree with that last statement, answer this:

Is the iPhone 6 really the best smartphone Apple could possibly build right now?

I am not sure it is.

Why none of it matters

Good, bad, or ugly, none of it matters because the iPhone 6 is plotting a course to be the most successful smartphone ever made and will certainly be subject of the biggest ever roll out. Indeed, we are used to the very kind of article I have just written after an Apple launch, the shares fall, the company is doomed, it stopped innovating, the iPhone is ugly, slow, is not Android and so on and so forth. And yet, every single time millions upon millions of people line up to buy one and make each the most successful single device of its generation.

And for what it's worth, despite my reservations about this not being a huge step forward in terms of design or tech, I actually think this smartphone is a triumph. It is a triumph of form and function, of performance and features, it is in my opinion one of the best smartphones available right now. Just not without its problems.

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