I got my iPhone 6 on launch day (September 19th) at 8:30 AM. I opted for the 6 instead of the 6 Plus, because the 6 Plus is just too big. So far, I am 99% confident in that decision.
Skip to the Impressions/Review section if you don’t care about my ordering, pickup, and unboxing process.
I got up at 2 AM on September 12th to preorder. Turns out, that was a waste of time. I waited until 3:30 AM, but the Apple store and the AT&T services that iPhone upgrades rely on simply never worked. Feeling defeated, I went to bed.
I woke up for work at 6:40 that morning and tried again. The order went through without any issue, which was a little surprising. My order was for in store pickup, which I don’t normally do. We had a trip planned with friends starting on launch day, and I didn’t want the phone to be delivered and sitting on my doorstep for the whole weekend. In store pickup would allow me to go there in the morning, grab my phone, and leave.
I chose the 64 GB Space Gray AT&T model, which they probably never ran out of the whole weekend at the Apple Store, but I wanted it launch day.
Overall, this process was a pain. It seems like Apple really can’t get their online services right.
I woke up at 7:30 on the 19th, grabbed a breakfast bar just in case I’d be in line for a while, and headed to the Apple Store. I got there at 8:05. Cars were everywhere. Nothing else is open at the mall at 8 AM, so every car was there for the iPhone launch, whether it was customers, Apple/AT&T/Verizon employees, or the news crew. The line wrapped from the front of the Apple Store at the Mall of Louisiana, back to the mall, then around to Jos A Banks. Probably a minimum of 300-400 people. Yikes. The people at the front of the line had chairs and sleeping bags. There were at least two reporters there.
I walked up to the line across from that line, took a picture of the sign that said “Reserved,” noting to capture both the 15 or so people in that line and the massive line across from us. Not sure why people like standing in line so much, unless it was out of ignorance of the ability to preorder. I’m not sure if preorders ever shut down, but they might’ve.
I waited 30 minutes in that line, got called in, and got my phone. I had to agree to some statement saying that all mobile share lines were going up from $15 to $25 per month. My entire plan is grandfathered, however, so that didn’t affect me (or so I’m told; I haven’t seen a bill yet). This was the first mention I saw of this anywhere, and had I actually had a mobile share plan, I’m relatively certain I would’ve had to cancel my order and my entire AT&T account and pay a visit to T-Mobile.
For me, the pickup process was pretty painless. I pity those that (so I was told) stood in line since midnight, and those that were there when the store opened until undoubtedly at least noon.
Opening the box, I was surprised to find the phone just sitting there on top, ready to so easily fall out. Not exactly the best placement, as evidenced by that guy in Australia that dropped his live on TV after being one of the first people in the world to get it.
I restored my iPhone 5 to my new iPhone 6. The process took about an hour or so (I have a lot of apps and a lot of music).
My first thought upon holding the phone was “this is going to be the first iPhone that I drop and break the screen.” The curves combined with the thinness and new, wider size make it feel less secure in my hand. But man, oh man, is it pretty. There is no way to show in pictures how beautiful the curved glass edges are. I truly and greatly appreciate every last bit of detail in this phone. I just wish it were possible to have a bigger screen without making the phone itself bigger…but you know, physics and all.
The phone is super thin, and despite the camera sticking out a little in the back, it’s just a beautiful device. I remember when I upgraded from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4, I thought, “they can’t make this phone any prettier.” But then the iPhone 5 came out, and they did, and I thought the same thing. Yet again, they’ve managed to make a prettier phone. It’s probably ridiculous to keep thinking that they can’t outdo themselves, but I figure at some point they won’t be able to, and I just keep betting on it too soon.
After my initial impressions were formed, we set out on our trip, so I got to use the phone a good bit in the car, and having only the iPhone 6 and my Nexus 7 all weekend, it was a great chance to bond with the new hardware.
The first thing I noticed while typing was that I would have to relearn to type. Initially, I thought the phone was lagging, but it turned out I was just tapping too close to the center of the screen. Muscle memory from years and years of typing on a phone whose width never changed was keeping me from typing properly on the new, wider phone. So I spent a day relearning my typing, and that’s all it took.
The glass on the front of the phone is different, somehow. My friend remarked that it looks like the screen is closer to your finger, which makes sense if the glass is thinner, but there’s something else to it. It feels different when you rub your finger across it than the iPhone 5. I think it may be more oleophobic, which might explain the different feel.
Of course coming from a 5 without Touch ID, that was something else to get used to. My T-Mobile Test Drive phone was a 5S, so I wasn’t unfamiliar with the fingerprint authentication device, I just didn’t have a lot of experience with it. I really like putting my finger over the button, pressing down quickly, holding it there for just a second, and having an unlocked phone. It’s so much niftier than entering a passcode, but that’s old news.
Moving the sleep/wake button to the right side of the phone was necessary and welcome. Unlike some Android manufacturers, Apple curiously seems to put this button within reach, but sort of uncomfortably so. With previous models, you need to stretch just a little to reach the button , and the same is still true. I have to assume this is to prevent accidental presses, as Apple certainly could’ve lowered the button on the 6 and 6 Plus to make it comfortably easy to press. This isn’t really a bad or a good thing, it’s just an observation.
Despite the whole Bendgate/Bendghazi thing, the iPhone 6 is a solid, sturdy phone. That ordeal affected iPhone 6 Plus users, but I personally feel the issue was overblown and stupid. It’s rare, it’s not the first phone that bends, and it won’t be the last, but I’m not going to sit here and apologize for Apple’s design flaws. This wouldn’t happen if the phone wasn’t as thin as it was, and if those volume buttons weren’t there, and probably a host of other issues. I can’t see Apple trying to go much thinner in the future due to this, and quite honestly, any thinner is just unnecessary. The 5 was really already thin enough.
The camera is pretty amazing, but the iPhone has always been one of the best phones to take pictures with according to certain tech reviewers. This trend probably continues on with the 6 and especially the 6 Plus, but my experience here with other phones is admittedly lacking, so I’ll leave it at that.
There is something oddly more satisfying about the way the Lightning adapter clicks into the bottom of the 6. I’m not sure what it is, but I like it.
As an actual phone, the 6 performs as its predecessors did (unless you upgraded to 8.0.1, yikes). But who uses their phone as a phone, right?
Finally, I didn’t want to talk much about the software since that’s not iPhone 6 specific, but I’ll touch on a few points. iOS 8 has been a solid shift in the way that Apple controls the platform. It opens up the already familiar iOS 7 to many more possibilities with extensions and 3rd party keyboards and whatnot, but none of this is really new in the market or really even super interesting to me. I’m not that big on phone customization, which is evident by the fact that I haven’t even tried to jailbreak since the iPhone 4, which I then un-jailbroke because I didn’t care. I am happy that Apple is allowing more customization and features to developers though, as long as they’ve done it right (hopefully they have).
My favorite feature of the iPhone 6 is undoubtedly the screen, but that is also my least favorite feature. I miss the width of the 5, but love having a bigger display. If you have small hands, I feel kind of sorry for you, since no one really makes a smaller phone anymore unless you want last year’s technology (Apple does still sell the 5S and 5C). Otherwise, the iPhone 6 is a solid upgrade, and might just be my favorite iPhone to date.
I really hope that the market doesn’t trend toward even bigger phones. I think we need to stop here and realize that at a certain point, it just gets ridiculous. Let’s call 5.5″ the cutoff, even though that’s already a step larger than my pockets can take. Sorry, Lumia 1520, you’re just way too big.
As of now, I’m happy with my decision to stick with the iPhone platform. If you read my blog, you probably know that I was thinking of switching to Android, and for now, Apple has made me more than happy enough to prevent that switch.