Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard that Apple announced new iPhones and a new category of product, a wearable computer, yesterday. I will offer my thoughts on these with a few details thrown in for good measure:
Should I get a new iPhone?
If you are using an Andriod phone or any other non-iPhone, you should get an iPhone, especially if you are a Mac user. Contact me for good reasons why :)
If you are currently using an iPhone 4 or older, you definitely need to upgrade. Apple and many app developers are dropping support of the iPhone 4 (and has already dropped support of all older models). By now the 4 is too slow to run the new operating system as well as many apps.
If you have an iPhone 4S I highly recommend you upgrade. It is on the heels of the iPhone 4 and will likely lose support next year. Plus it is heavy, thick and slow in comparison to the newer models.
If you have a 5 or 5S, upgrading is your choice, there is really no technical need to upgrade.
All that said, upgrading does not necessarily mean upgrading all the way to the new iPhone 6s because the 5S and the 5c (a warmed-over iPhone 5) are still for sale.
What are the new models?
There are 2 brand new iPhones:
iPhone 6 - slightly bigger than the 5S with a bigger screen, yet thinner with slightly more battery life. This phone can still be operated easily with one hand. The processor is faster and the camera has some good improvements compared to the 5S.
iPhone 6 Plus - way bigger than the 5S with a way bigger screen, yet thinner than the 5S with way better battery life. This phone is in the “phablet” (phone - tablet) category and is about the size of the huge phones from Samsung and LG. This phone cannot easily be operated with one hand. It has the same processor and camera as the 6 with the addition of Optical Image Stabilization for the camera. This does a good job of counteracting shaking in your hand while taking a picture. This phone can also fully operate in landscape mode (including the home screen), much like an iPad.
Both new phones offer Apples new Pay system of being able to pay for merchandise in (some) stores and online with much greater security and ease than with a credit card. See this to learn more: http://www.apple.com/apple-pay/
As far as pricing goes, that has become a complicated topic. Most carriers are moving away from 24-month contract pricing (aka subsidized pricing), but as a comparison, these new phones have about the same pricing as previous new iPhones. Note that for the 6s the 32GB models are no longer available - they are offered only with 16, 64 and 128GB! Here are the traditional 24-month contract prices and the corresponding full price:
iPhone 6 Plus:
16GB - $299 or $749
64GB - $399 or $849
128GB - $499 or $949
16GB - $199 or $649
64GB - $299 or $749
128GB - $399 or $849
16GB - $99 or $549
32GB - $149 or $599
64GB - $299 or $749
8GB - Free or $449
Read more about the new iPhones here: http://www.apple.com/iphone/
So, which iPhone should I get?
Of course, this is a very personal choice. I can offer that the 5c would not be a good choice, because 8GB is just not enough storage for anyone who uses an iPhone for more than a phone (taking pictures, texting, surfing, enjoying apps, etc).
Also, although the 5S is $100 cheaper than the new ones, it is already a year old and for another $100 you get a lot of improvements in the 6.
I personally think the iPhone 6 is the sweet spot. It is still small enough to be used with one hand yet a bigger, clearer screen for easy viewing.
The iPhone 6 Plus is, in my opinion, too big for mobile phone. I think it will force a two handed operation at all times and, especially if you do not have big hands, will be easily dropped. A big part of the usefulness of a smartphone is is portability, which equates to its size. At some point I think phones can be too big and I think the iPhone 6 Plus is too big (at least for my needs).
Still can't decide on size? Print and cutout these to see their real size:
Yesterday Apple previewed a new category of device, which is a huge deal for Apple. When they enter or create a new category of product, they often totally change the game for their competitors and their customers. They are now in the wearable computing device category!
You can read all about the Watch here: http://www.apple.com/watch/
Suffice it to say that this thing is cool, very cool. It comes in two sizes (smaller and larger) and a three styles (stainless, aluminum and gold) with 6 different interchangeable bands.
Using this watch requires the use of an iPhone 5 or newer. It is not a stand-alone device. In fact, you can think of the Watch as a small monitor, microphone and speaker for your iPhone that connects wirelessly to your iPhone that is your purse or pocket.
It actually does much more than just extend your iPhone functionality to your wrist. It monitors your pulse, tracks your activity (walking, running, biking etc) and motivates you to get more active at least once per hour. It has apps just like the iPhone and can even hold music and photos to enjoy directly from the watch.
It starts at $349 and will not be available until early 2015. I am sure there will be much more information about the Watch available before then - this is just a teaser from Apple.