Friday, September 19, 2014

iPhone 6 / 6 Plus - First Day Excitement!

Ok, I have to admit, I got a bit wrapped up in the iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus excitement today!

My wife and I both have the iPhone 5 and we pre-ordered those two years ago and got them on the day of release, which is today for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

We did not do any pre-ordering for the iPhone 6 because we wanted to get our hands on the new devices first, to really see with our own eyes just how much larger they are than our existing phones and we weren't even sure if we would upgrade right now.

The thing was that through Verizon, we could trade-in our existing devices for $200 each and they were also offering an additional 1GB of data for free for each phone, when upgrading to a new device.  So that was constantly in the back of my mind, since that wasn't guaranteed to last longer than a few weeks.

I had no plans to really do anything iPhone related today, other than keep an eye on the hype for fun, but that changed around 9am.

I got to talking to my sisters back and forth via email and one had pre-ordered the 6, the other the 6 Plus and my mom got a 6.  The 6 Plus is the bigger one and it is backordered by a few weeks.

I suddenly really wanted to get them in my hands to check them out and really wanted to see them both side by side.  The hard part would be finding an elusive 6 Plus.

I started out the day hitting the local Verizon store about a mile down the road.  There was no line and no waiting, good sign.  Walked right in and was helped right away.  Unfortunately, they did not have any display models to check out, but they did have a few of the regular 6 with the larger 64GB/128GB storage.

I gotta admit, I was tempted.  I emailed the wifey at her work email and usually she gets back to me right away, but nada after 5 mins or so.  I decided to check out Staples, since online it said they will have them, but no dice at my local store, they said they don't carry smartphones. So I went back home.

At lunch time, the wifey said she never got the specific email on the topic of the iPhone 6, but had received the other messages I sent before and after.  Very weird, that hasn't happened before, so I guess that happened for a reason, I wasn't meant to get the 6.

At lunch time I decided to head to the Apple store and whew, the line was about 100 people deep snaking around the inside of the store and half way around the block.  Luckily, we were there yesterday to get the wifey's battery replaced for free under a recent recall type thing and the guy said if you just want to check them out tomorrow, avoid any lines and just come on in, so I did.

They had a ton of both the 6 and 6 Plus on display to touch and feel, which was way cool.  You could compare them side by side and they even had a long enough security cable that I could drop em in my pocket, which I did. The 6 is on the left and 6 Plus on the right, it's a bit easier to see the difference in the comparison pic at the top. 

Much to my surprise, the iPhone 6 Plus dropped right in my shorts pocket, which isn't as deep as my pocket would be in khaki pants or jeans.  That was pretty much the deciding factor for me.  I really liked the bigger screen, since like TVs, bigger is always better, but what I thought would feel too big and bulky was not.

Of course a 3 minute hands on evaluation is by no means an exhaustive, scientific test, but it was enough for me to do an about face and want to pull the trigger.

I'm sure the device will end up being bigger than expected in some situations and will take a bit of getting used to and there will be times when I say it is a bit too big, but just in the few minutes I had it in my hand, it seemed like the right choice.  When I went back to my phone to post some pictures of the new devices, my phone seemed so tiny in comparison.

Unfortunately, there were no 6 Plus devices available, as I assumed. Best Buy was on the way home, so I stopped there and they had 1 Plus on display and I had a bit more fun and talked to a few of the guys checking it out, but none available.  I asked them if it was possible to order one there and get the Verizon trade-in deal when it arrives, but they said no.

I decided to stop back at Verizon on the way home, to see if it was possible to do an order now/trade-in later deal through them directly and after a phone call or two, he said yes.  We can order the Plus phones now, lock in the $200 trade-in price and get the additional 1GB of data per line.  Sweet...done deal. 

So they are now on order, 2 - iPhone 6 Plus phones in Silver with 64GB of storage.  Only downside is the arrival date isn't until a month from now.  Oct 24th to be exact, but he said it could be sooner if they ramp up production. That gives some time for the iOS 8 kinks to get worked out and some time for the anticipation and excitement to build!

I've already helped my mom pick out a great, inexpensive case for the iPhone 6 and have some screen protectors and a case for the 6 Plus in my cart! The wifey said she is probably going to go with this one, of course it's pink.

The good thing is that all existing cables and chargers will still work and the car mount that we both have (and love) will still work great as well! 

Can't wait!  Did you end up pre-ordering?  Get your new device today?  If so how is it so far?  If not, excited, frustrated?  Drop me a comment below and best of luck with your new device, for all those early adopters out there!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Apple Pay and Apple Watch

It was quite the busy day of announcements at Apple's live event today!

As expected, they released details and naming for the new iPhone 6 devices and the new built in payment processing system, Apple Pay.

They also released lots of details about the new wearable, which is now called the Apple Watch.

iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus Details

The new iPhone 6 has a larger, 4.7 inch screen.  In comparison the iPhone 5 models are 4 inches.  The price will be $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for 64GB and $399 for 128GB.

Thanks to Jen S for the comment below about the possibility of free upgrades for prior iPhone devices to the iPhone 6.  This is with a new 2 year contract for those eligible on Verizon, but it looks like other carriers are trying to match or beat that deal as well.  Check out this CNet article for some further details.

The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch screen. The price will be $299 for 16GB, $399 for 64GB and $499 for the 128GB version.

Both phones will be available for pre-order this Friday, September 12th and will be released on Friday, September 19th.

Both come in Silver, Gold and Space Gray.  

Apple also dropped the prices on its older iPhone models, the iPhone 5S is now $99 and the 8GB 5C is free. All prices above require a new two-year customer agreement.

Existing iPhone Device Comparison
Official iPhone 6 Page

Apple Pay

Apple Pay was announced at the event, which utilizes NFC technology built into the phone, to allow proximity payment using TouchID. Leave your wallet and credit cards at home and pay by phone.

Official Apple Pay Page

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch will be available in early 2015, for a starting price of $349.  It was marketed as a lifestyle improving device and it comes in many shapes, sizes and colors.  It contains a built in heart rate monitor and full fitness tracking capabilities.  It will require an iPhone to operate.

Official Apple Watch Page

iOS 8

The new iPhones will come pre-installed with iOS 8.  I haven't yet had a chance to dig in and see what all that encompasses, but here is a full iOS 8 breakdown.

iOS 8 requires an iPhone 4S or newer device and it will be available September 17th for download.

iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus Comparison to Samsung / LG

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will probably be the phone that most folks compare the iPhone 6 to, so here is a full detailed comparison.

Here is a comparison of the "phablet" class of phones, since the iPhone 6 Plus at 5.5 inches falls directly in that category.  That article compares the iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3.

Apple September 9th Keynote Presentation Replay

Here is the full keynote presentation replay.


I joined the live presentation a bit late today, so I only got to see the Apple Watch portion. There are already a lot of wearables that function similarly, but no one call sell a device like Apple, it was a great presentation.

I think big fans of Apple products will buy the Apple Watch.  Since it requires an iPhone and starts at $349, I think it will be a tough sell to most folks just looking for a cool fitness tracker.

Personally, it was much cooler than I thought it would be, but I just don't see the need to spend that much when you have the phone in your pocket and you can add a great fitness tracker like the FitBit for $99.  And I'm not a big watch person either.

I think Apple did the smart thing and released the new iPhone 6 with 16GB at the same $199 price that most everyone is used to for a new iPhone.  In that aspect, it is a no-brainer for anyone in need of updating that just wants the latest version with more horsepower and larger screen.

The main question I see is what size.  Without having the device in our hands, it's easy to say go big!  But I think the 5.5 screen size may be a bit large for a pocket.  I have a friend who's wife went with one of the Galaxy Note phablets of that size and she returned it within a week.  It was just to big and bulky to utilize as a phone.

I was really hoping for a phone more in the 4.8-5.0 range, 4.7 will probably be fine for most people, but I would definitely like to get the iPhone 6 Plus in my hands and in my pocket to get a better feel for the device.

My wife and I have the iPhone 5 and mine was replaced (with some persuasive help from my brother-in law) after about 18 months due to a black blob appearing on all of my pictures, so mine is still pretty new.

My wife's phone is part of the recent free battery replacement program and as such, she will have a new battery in her phone real soon, so we have no urgent need to upgrade. 

However, I know my relatives will probably be jumping in on the iPhone 6 action, so I'm looking forward to hearing their take and seeing how they work.

What are your thoughts an opinions?  Gonna jump on in head first, or give it some time for the dust to settle? Drop me a comment and let me know!

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