Archive | September 2014

iPhone 6: Style Over Substance

Like many of you, today I watched the Apple media event in which they announced both the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. I’m not going to talk about the watch, but instead about the phone.

For years Apple has been a true cachet brand. They are a luxury item that is sought after for status and image. I don’t blame anyone for owning an iPhone: they’re reasonably sexy and you get to show off the Apple branding. Good on you.

My smartphone adventure started with an iPhone 3 in 2008. It was an amazing, groundbreaking piece of hardware back then. Android was nowhere near it and nothing else came close. I was able to put my iPod Nano in my dresser drawer and use the phone for both music and talk/text. It was amazingly innovative and nothing at the time compared.

This morning I was very excited to see Apple finally innovate again under the direction of Tim Cook, after years of what seems like stagnation on the mobile front. Instead, I was disappointed. I’m going to explain why in terms of comparable hardware and cost, not in terms of opinion (because they’re cheap and everybody has one).

Let’s compare the bleeding-edge Apple iPhone 6 and 6+ offering with my Nexus 5 (a phone that is nearly 1 year old and was released on Oct 31 2013). I highlight the winner in bold for each spec:

Nexus 5 iPhone 6/6+
Processor 2.26 GHz quad-core Krait 400 “Snapdragon” A8 chip specs not released, benchmarked at 1.4 GHz dual-core
RAM 2 GB Benchmarked at 1 GB
Battery 2300 mAH 6: 1810 mAH. 6+: 2900 mAH
Screen Quality 1920 x 1080, 445 pixels per inch 6: 1334 x 750, 326 pixels per inch. 6+: 1920 x 1080, 401 pixels per inch
Screen Size 5″ 6: 4.7″. 6+: 5.5″
Storage 16 GB 128 GB
Fingerprint Sensor Nope Yup
LTE Bands 6 20
Front Facing Camera 1.3 MP 3.2 MP
Rear Facing Camera 8 MP 8 MP
NFC, Bluetooth Yup Yup
Wireless 802.11ac 802.11ac
Screen Polarization/View Range Sucky Sucky
PRICE $349 for 16 GB no contract, unlocked 6: $649 for 16 GB no contract, unlocked. 6+: $749 for 16 GB no contract, unlocked

Thoughts: Apple has some better specs, but they tend to be with respect to the cheaper hardware aspects (LTE bands which are redundant anyway, storage space, front facing camera). The iPhone 6 standard model has a really poor display resolution, surprisingly, since Apple has made strides in display technology with their retina MacBook Pros and iPads. The battery on the standard iPhone 6 is also poor compared to the Nexus 5, though the 6+ gets a much larger battery with its larger size. In terms of performance (CPU/RAM), Nexus 5 dominates.

Conclusion: Apple cheaped out on this phone, big time. It BARELY competes technically with the Nexus 5, an Android phone released almost 1 year ago. I cannot believe that for the cost of 1 iPhone 6+ I can buy 2 Nexus 5’s. It truly must be a cachet phone if people are willing to pay the price for such mediocre hardware.