What’s New with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iOS 8

Apple’s iPhone gets its features from a combination of hardware and its software operating system. The most current operating system is iOS 8. New features in iPhone 6 and 6 Plus include

  • Larger size: Both new iPhone models are larger than previous models, while also being thinner. iPhone 6 measures 4.7″ diagonally, while iPhone 6 Plus measures 5.5″.

  • Improved display: Apple claims that the new iPhone screens have higher contrast, brighter backlights, and a feature called dual domain pixels, which allows you to follow broader angle views of what’s on your screen. In addition, the phones sport “ion-strengthened” cover glass. Their Retina HD display is supposedly their brightest, crispest display ever.

  • An A8 chip: This second-generation 64-bit chip contains 2 billion transistors, versus only 1 billion on its predecessor, the A7 chip. That means that the computer processing unit runs 25 percent faster while being 50 percent more energy efficient.

  • An M8 coprocessor: This updated motion sensing coprocessor makes it possible for your iPhone to detect and monitor data that provides information about your motion. It’s expected that this capability will enable lots of interesting new fitness apps.

  • New gestures: Because of the new, larger screens on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a “reachability” gesture allows you to press the Home button twice and have the display slide down, closer to your thumb for one-handed tapping. Also, bezel gestures allow you to start a gesture at the side of the glass display to move forward or backward.

  • Adjusted buttons: The volume buttons have been elongated to make them easier to find. In addition, the Sleep/Wake button has been moved from the top to the side to make it easier to reach.

  • Support of Voice over LTE: This feature improves the quality of calls, allowing simultaneous transmission of voice and data. Improved noise reduction also helps you hear what’s being said on calls.

  • An 8mp iSight camera: The camera in iPhone 6 and 6 Plus offers features such as a True Tone Flash sensor that knows when flash is needed for a shot; Phase Detection Autofocus that is two times faster at automatically refocusing your camera; and improved stabilization.

  • Camera frames per second: The camera offers video quality at 1080 pixels with 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second. The Slo-mo video feature allows you to take 240 frames per second.

  • Video improvements: Features including Cinematic Video Stablization, improved face detection, new sensors, and a larger aperture make these iPhones the best ever at video recording.

  • Apple Pay: With these new phones comes the ability to pay at selected retailers using the Apple Pay feature and Touch ID feature built into the Home button.

  • Improved battery life: The iPhone 6 supports up to 24 hours of talk and up to 14 hours of video viewing. The 6 Plus can give you as many as 14 hours of talk and 11 hours of video.

Any iPhone device more recent than the iPhone 4s can make use of most features of iOS 8 if you update the operating system. This update to the operating system adds many new features, including

  • Family Sharing: This feature allows up to six people to partake of purchased iTunes content on their separate devices. You can also create a Family calendar.

  • Continuity: This concept, being promoted with iOS 8, allows you to move from one iOS device to another to pick up where you left off using a feature called Handoff. For example, you might start to watch a TV show on your iPhone on the train but then pick up where you left off viewing the movie on your iPad when you get home.

  • The Health app: Use this new app as a health information aggregator so that all your medical and fitness information can be stored and accessed in one place.

  • Improved Notification Center: With iOS 8, you can interact with notifications from the Control Center and access Notification Center from the Lock screen.

  • Mail improvements: In iOS 8, you can access other email messages while composing a new message. You are prompted to add an event mentioned in an email to your Calendar app. You can also flag, mark, or delete email by simply dragging across the screen to access those commands.

  • QuickType for iPhone keyboard: Now the iPhone onscreen keyboard uses predictive technology to suggest words as you type. The keyboard also notes whether you’re typing an email or message and makes suggestions.

  • Improvements to the Photos app: To help you organize your photos, in iOS 8 you can now use iCloud to share photos with others in your iCloud Photo Library. There are also several improved tools for editing photos in iOS 8.

  • Shazam: Shazam is a music identifier service built into iOS 8 that allows Siri to identify songs as they play.

  • Messaging: The Messages app has some improvements. For example, you can organize messages into groups, name threads of messages, and remove people from conversations. You can also set up a Do Not Disturb feature for certain threads so that you’re not interrupted by messages on those threads, and you can record and send voice messages. Finally, you can read or listen to messages from the Lock screen.

  • Siri Hands-Free: You can use a new feature to open Siri without touching your iPhone. With this feature enabled and the phone plugged into a power source, all you have to do is say “Hey, Siri,” and your electronic personal assistant opens, ready to hear your wish.

  • Instant hotspot: You’ve been able to use your iPhone connection to get other devices online. With iOS 8, this personal hotspot is improved; nearby devices such as a computer now automatically display the iPhone as an optional network that you can join to go online.