Apple announces the iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5" display

An iPhone with a 5.5-inch display? A few years ago, it seemed as though Apple would never relent to doing such a thing after all, a 3.5-inch display was more than sufficient at the time. In 2014, however, it's a bit of a different story. There's a wide variety of phone sizes out there, and a lot of different markets that Apple could appeal to by offering a large device. With the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is now able to address those who don't mind using a big phone for its extra screen real estate and larger battery. We had the opportunity to play with the Plus for a spell after Apple's keynote this morning, and it's got a bright future ahead. Check out our photos and video below as we continue to bring you our thoughts on the giant iPhone.
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is now official. It's built around a 5.5" IPS LCD display with an Retina HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels or, in other words 1080p). The pixel density is 400 ppi and iOS 8 has been tweaked to take full advantage of the larger display.. That might not be quite as high as the quad-HD resolutions we're seeing from the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but it's a record for Apple devices.

The iPhone 6 Plus comes with a 64-bit A8 processor with a brand new camera sensor.

At the back, the iPhone 6 Plus uses a 8MP iSight camera with a True Tone dual LED flash. The pixel size is the same as on the iPhone 5s at 1.5μ and the aperture is unchanged at f/2.2. However the iPhone 6 Plus has an optical image stabilization - a first for the company. Apple is further offering new color cases in leather and silicone for both phone sizes, including one for (RED), the AIDS awareness charitable endeavor Apple has long supported. Leather cases (black, soft pink, olive brown, midnight blue and red) start at $49 for the iPhone 6 Plus, while silicone cases (black, blue, pink, green, white and red) start at $39.

Aside from the larger LCD display, the front of the iPhone 6 Plus is also made with "ion-strengthened glass." The back of the phone is made of anodized aluminum with a stainless steel Apple logo. At 7.1 millimeters thick, it is thinner than the 7.6-millimeter iPhone 5S. However, it's also heavier: 6.07 ounces (172 grams) compared to 3.95 ounces (112 grams).

The big question with a larger screen is how it affects battery life: Apple says that it managed to cram a longer-lasting and bigger battery into the new iPhone 6 Plus. The phone gets 24 hours of 3G talk time, up to 16 days on standby (384 hours), up to 12 hours of internet use on LTE/Wi-Fi, and up to 14 hours of video playback.

Apple introduced a new gesture called "Reachability," to account for the increased screen size of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Double touching the home button now slides the entire display down, so that you can access the top software buttons in whatever app you're in. For example, if the "back" button at the top of the Safari web browser is too far away, double touching will slide the entire view down so you can tap it more easily.

Another new software feature, Display Zoom, takes advantage of the extra real estate on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While both phones offer a new sixth row for apps on the home screen, engaging Display Zoom will increase the icon size so that only five rows of apps show at a time.

The iPhone 6 Plus supports 20 LTE bands, but only 150Mbps cat4 LTE, rather than the latest 300Mbps Cat 6. On the positive side the phablet comes with VoLTE and Wi-Fi 802.11ac, which promises 3x faster Wi-Fi compared to the iPhone 5s. Wi-Fi calling is also a new feature, which will work on T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK.

The iPhone 6 Plus' camera, like the iPhone 6, now also lets users take slow motion videos at 240 fps, up from 120 fps with the iPhone 5S. It also has built-in cinematic video stabilization.

There is also a new continuous autofocus mode in video and an improved front-facing camera for HDR "burst" selfies.

The iPhone 6 Plus will be available in three colors — gold, space gray and silver — on Sept. 19 in nine countries. Apple is pricing the iPhone 6 Plus at $100 more than the iPhone 6, meaning that it starts at $299 (with contract) for a 16GB device. A 64GB iPhone 6 Plus is $399 with contract and a 128GB iPhone 6 Plus is $499 with a contract. Pre-orders begin this Friday.

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