iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: What you need to know

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On the software side, a new time-lapse feature in iOS 8 can automatically take photos at the interval you specify and then combine them into a movie. (This feature will be available to older phones, too.) The FaceTime HD (front) camera gets some updates, as well. A new sensor with a larger, f/2.2 aperture captures 81 percent more light, according to Apple, and offers better face detection. The FaceTime camera also inherits the iSight camera’s burst mode, capable of capturing up to 10 photos per second, and it can take single-shot HDR photos, as well as HDR videos.

Is Touch ID on both models?
Yes, Touch ID is present on both iPhone 6 models. It functions identically to the way it does on the iPhone 5s, although thanks to iOS 8, both phones—along with the iPhone 5s—gain Apple Pay functionality.

What about battery life? With these huge screens, more-powerful processors, and everything else, won't the battery life be worse than that of the iPhone 5s?
You might think that, but Apple’s battery technology seems to keep pace with the added power needs of its devices. Plus, thanks to the larger size of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, each phone has a larger battery than you’ll find in the iPhone 5s. Apple says the iPhone 6 has slightly better battery life than the iPhone 5s; the iPhone 6 Plus, while it has an even larger high-resolution screen that consumes even more power, also has an even larger battery. As a result, Apple’s new big phone can actually eke out a few more hours of use than the iPhone 6. If you’re looking for the iPhone with the longest battery life without an external battery pack, Apple’s estimates suggest that the iPhone 6 Plus is what you’ll want.

Apps and accessories

The screens on the new iPhones are much bigger than the screen on the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 5. Will my current apps work with the new phones, or will I need to wait until developers rewrite those apps for the new devices?
Current apps will work, and in our brief hands-on time with the new iPhones, they’ll look pretty good. The graphics horsepower of the A8 processor and the high resolution of the Retina HD screens combine to scale most apps up without many visible artifacts (although the apps we saw were the ones Apple vetted and pre-loaded on the devices, so not all may look as good).

Developers, of course, will also be able to modify their apps to more specifically support the new screen sizes. In fact, Apple has been talking to app developers since the 2013 Worldwide Developer Conference about adopting new techniques to fluidly resize app contents—the new sizes shouldn’t really take app developers by surprise.

In addition, as we mentioned above, the iPhone 6 Plus’s screen is so big that app developers can opt to show additional content or columns in landscape orientation, making those apps reminiscent of the rich, multi-paned apps found on iPads. App developers can decide if they want to take advantage of that space, and many will.

iphone 6 04

The iPhone 6 Plus's screen is large enough to support landscape mode.

Are there any other ways Apple is taking advantage of the larger screens on these iPhones?
A surprising and intriguing one is the keyboard. In landscape orientation, the iOS onscreen keyboard gains extra buttons along the left and right edges, featuring shortcuts, for example, for styling text and copying and pasting. (Both models gain this tweak, though the iPhone 6 Plus gets more of these extra keys.) In portrait mode, the iPhone 6 keyboard looks quite familiar—but every single key is a little bit bigger, making typing accuracy that much better, in our quick hands-on.

All that extra screen space also means you get an extra row of icons on each Home screen, and on the iPhone 6 Plus, you—finally—get a landscape-orientation Home screen.

Will my current accessories still work with the new iPhone models?
Obviously, cases for current and previous iPhone models won’t work with the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, due to the new, larger sizes. Similarly, any accessories that fit current or previous models precisely—for example, custom-fit camera accessories and model-specific docks and cradles— are unlikely to be compatible with the new phones. Some vendors may be able to add compatibility with existing accessories by providing adapters, but others will require new accessories.

Many other accessories should work just fine with the new phones. Both use Apple’s Lightning-connector port for charging, as well as Lightning, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi for other connectivity. Despite the models’ thin profiles, they continue to include a standard headphone jack, despite rumors to the contrary.

We’ll be testing many accessories once we get our hands on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and we’ll publish our findings here on Macworld.com.

I hear Apple also makes cases for the new phones?
Yep, just as with most recent iPhone models, Apple’s also making a collection of official Apple iPhone cases. These cases are available in both silicone and leather models, featuring multiple colors (five for the leather editions, six for the silicone models). They’re available for both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

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