Intro

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

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 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.