iPhone 6 in space gray

Last week saw a slew of new Android and Windows Phone devices launched at IFA in Berlin, and today it was Apple's turn. The company used a launch event in California to unveil its latest two new smartphones, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

The two device's specifications are identical in many areas but there are a couple of important differences, especially for anyone interested in mobile photography. Firstly on the iPhone 6 Plus images can be composed, viewed and edited on a larger screen than on the sister model. It comes with a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1080p full-HD resolution and a user interface that has been optimized for the larger screen. The smaller iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch screen and 1,334 x 750 pixel resolution which, in Apple terminology, makes it a "Retina HD" display. Both screens are protected by what Apple calls "Ion-strengthened glass". 

Both phones stick with the 8MP camera resolution dates back to the iPhone 4S and the same 1/3-inch sensor size as on the 5S. Aperture remains the same at F2.2 and, like on the 5S, there is a True Tone dual-LED flash. Autofocus performance has been improved with the addition of a phase detection AF system and Apple claims the AF on the new models is twice as fast as the previous generation.

Other feature highlights: Panorama mode produces images that are up to 43MP, both cameras can record 1080p video at 30 and 60fps and both offer a 240 fps slow-motion mode at a lower resolution. The crucial difference between the two models is the optical image stabilization system on the Plus which is a first on an Apple smartphone. The iPhone 6 has to make do with only digital stabilization.

iPhone 6 color options
iPhone 6 compared to the 6 Plus

The rest of the specification is shared by both new models. Both are powered by the new Apple A8 chipset which offers 25% more power than the A7 predecessor in the iPhone 5S. There is also a new M8 co-processor which is coupled with a barometer and allows for accurate tracking of changes in elevation. NFC is also a new feature on Apple devices. It enables Apple's new Apple Pay wireless payment service. In terms of battery life Apple says the new models will be equal or better than the 5S and will last for up to 14 hours of talk time.

On both new devices the chassis is made of anodized aluminum with a stainless steel Apple logo and more rounded edges than on previous generations. The Apple iPhone 6 will be US$199 for the 16GB model, US$299 for 64GB and a hefty US$399 for the new 128GB version, all with a 2-year contract. The iPhone 6 Plus versions are exactly US$100 more expensive than their iPhone 6 counterparts at equivalent capacities. Pre-orders start on September 12 and the devices are expected to ship on the 19th.