Singing the same song
The first iPhone opened a new road for innovation—which resulted in a variety of remarkable trademarks. As time went, our expectations for jaw-dropping features were met with the reality of limitations in matured technology. These features yielded minor refinements rather than producing remarkable hardware breakthroughs. As a result, I questioned if I’ll buy a new iPhone, instead of which iPhone.
The iPhone 6 is something iPhone users have been asking for. The new iPhone’s check off all the things one would expect it to be: bigger, faster, and sleeker. But Android users, like myself, have a different agenda: I want a phone that tightens the gap between iOS and Android, while offering something radical. It may be a romanticised request, but it’s an expectation worth having.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been using both the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5. But looking at the new iPhone’s, Apple’s offering of a relevant screen size and a loosened OS was enough for me to temporarily switch.
Having owned a lot of Android devices with 5”+ screens, getting the 6 Plus would be predictable, but it isn’t pocket friendly, especially since I buy relatively slim pants. However, the iPhone 6’s form factor is similar to me using the Nexus 5, and I loved the Nexus 5’s size.
When it comes to the 6’s design, precision and beauty can be found virtually everywhere—its something you realise before you pick it up, and noticeable when you hold it. The antennas on the 6 are noticeable, but executed in a sleek form, coinciding with the 6's design. The 6 breaks the trend of iPhones having a flush lens, making the iPhone’s back not sit perfectly on a flat surface, however, this doesn’t disturb me. If Apple could take out the protruding lens, then I’d assume that they would, but due to the iPhone’s slimmer profile, this comes with the territory. Another result of the iPhone's slim profile, is that you won't be able to let your iPhone stand up on its own.
When I look at the 5s compared to the 6, I realise how concentrated the 6’s design is compared to the 5s’ sharp, two-toned profile. The attention to detail is held by the focus in creating an aesthetic design. Ever noticed how light plays around with the edges? It’s quite beautiful, and not many phones do this.
The volume button, lock button, and silence toggle’s design are aligned with the phones pill-shaped profile, providing a unified hardware design. The brushed aluminum texture can be slippery with the right amount of finger grease, but a simple wipe remedies this issue. When it comes to this level of craftsmanship, the only phones I could compare the iPhone to are the HTC One (M8), Sony Xperia Z3, and Nokia Lumia 1020.
But when you disregard craftsmanship, and include popularity, you find that the iPhone 6 goes up against a lot of smartphones, especially Samsung’s Galaxy S5. For me, the Galaxy S5 is a good smartphone, but the iPhone 6 is a great smartphone.
When I use the iPhone 6, I notice that I’m injected into a cohesive experience, harmonically balanced by hardware and software. Using the Galaxy S5 feels like I’m playing catch up, especially with all the things it offers—there’s just too much. With the iPhone 6, I hide six apps in a designated folder. With the S5, I’ve disabled 21 apps. That disabled app count is smaller on other Android phones such as the Xperia Z3 and HTC One, but it’s saddening when you compare it to Galaxy devices. Don’t get me wrong, though, the Galaxy S5 is a feature-rich phone, but it offers too much crap.
The iPhone 6 introduces a larger display, measured at 4.7 inches, which, size-wise, is comparable to the Nexus 5’s display. Comparing the 5s’ screen size to a current flagship device, made me realise that there was so much screen estate Apple was missing out on. From using the Moto X’s 4.7” screen to the LG G3’s crisp 5.5” display, I’m content with the 6’s screen size. The colour accuracy and image reproduction are flawless; colours don’t fade away from any viewing angle. In addition, it’s also worth mentioning how beautiful the display bleeds into the bezel.
iOS 7 was the main reason why I couldn’t come to terms with having an iPhone as my primary device. I didn’t favour the heavily-based frosted effects, design inconsistency, and closed app platform. But after using iOS 8, I’ve noticed a few features that remedy these issues: interchangeable keyboards, interactive notifications, Touch ID with third party support, and other features that are more useful than useless. iOS 8 is showcasing how iOS is being more utilitarian and open, with letting apps ‘talk’ to each other and opening the Spotlight platform to more inquiries such as web searches, the App Store, and other search results.
In all honesty, I’m impressed with iOS 8—it’s powerful and polished. Connecting experiences in a cohesive movement is a key ingredient in Apple’s recipe, even though it comes with the cost of a meal you can change minimally.
When it comes to battery life, I don’t favour making compromises just to get through the day. From listening to podcasts and reading articles via Instapaper, to reading and responding to emails and texts, my phone usage varies. I’ll usually let most apps sync in the background, which will require a charge around 10 P.M, when using the LG G3 or Galaxy S5; the Nexus 5 and iPhone 6 ask for extra juice around 8 P.M. Its worth noting that my screen brightness on most devices is either set to auto or 60%. The iPhone 6 doesn’t necessarily sip battery, however, it doesn’t take a huge gulp. If battery life is a main concern for you, then the 6 Plus might be a favourable candidate, if you can resort to its size.
The iPhone’s camera is loaded with new improvements to the sensor. These improvements are noticeable when you place the phone in situations where good dynamic range is needed. The iPhone 6 harmonically balances highlights and shadows, leaving images correctly exposed. The way the iPhone 6 produces images is magical.
Apple has full control of their hardware and software. This yields the power to build an effortless experience from the minute you open the phone’s camera roll, to the second you press the shutter. The problem I’ve witnessed with the cameras found in Android devices—except for the Xperia series—is that there isn’t a coordination with each component. Specifically, there’s very little work to produce a great image on an iPhone, but I’ve found myself having to tinker around controls too much to get a good shot with Android phones. As a photographer, it's frustrating at times, but somehow I’ve learned to cope with it.
The iPhone 6 improves—if not everything—a lot of things, but that’s a given. It’s the best iPhone ever made and it’s a phone you won’t regret buying. But gone is the anticipation of a new iPhone every year. We see companies, such as Google and Microsoft, dramatically improving their software and hardware—the difference is night and day. But with Apple, the difference seems like dawn and day. Yes, Apple is tightening the gap between iOS and Android, and that's enough to consider switching OS’s. But it isn’t enough to proclaim the iPhone as a leader anymore.
Apple is singing the same song, but with a different singer