Apple phones history: from unique to Samsung style
Apple, Inc. engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of mobile communication, media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players. The firm offers products and services under the iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple Watch, and Apple TV brands; consumer and professional software applications under the iOS, OS, X, and watchOS brands; and operating systems under the iCloud and Apple Pay brands. It operates through the following segments: Americas, Europe, Greater China, Japan, and Rest of Asia Pacific. The company was founded by Steven Paul Jobs, Ronald Gerald Wayne, and Stephen G. Wozniak on April 1, 1976 and is headquartered in Cupertino, CA.
Let's look at Apple phones history line
Apple iPhone 2G(2007)
The (original) iPhone is one of the first (if not the first) cell phone to fully incorporate most of its functions using a multi-touch screen. It only carries one main external button, and advanced motion features, including an 3-axis accelerometer, and changes according to its position. Having a very slim figure, it has the access to install games and other apps through iTunes, and incorporates an iPod.
Personally, I feel that the iPhone is a very appealing device. It is more slim than I originally imagined, and once I got my hands on it, I didn’t want to let it go. Basically what you see is what you get: a very slim phone, and one main button.
Starting with the exterior design, the back of the iPhone 2G is metal, and it makes it very sturdy. The camera in the upper left corner has nothing around it to reflect on, so it can be hard to take pictures of yourself. On the left side, there is a small switch to change between normal and vibrate profiles, and the volume controls, all in the perfect spot.
At the top, the center is the SIM tray, which requires you to have a paperclip or other small object to get it out with, although I don’t see why you would need constant access to this. Next to that is the sleep/wake button, which as it says, wakes up the device from ‘sleep’ mode, or puts it in standby, or shuts it down. The other side carries the plug for the headphones. Unfortunately, although it snugly fits iPod headphones, most others require an adaptor. The button on the front basically only returns you to the home screen.
Unfortunately, the iPhone’s battery is internal, and once it goes dead for good, you’ll have to shovel out about $85 to get it replaced. There are some cheap battery replacement kits for it, however these are not official, and can void your warrenty. Luckily, Apple claims you can get around 300-600 full charges, from 0% to 100%.
The iPhone, though having minor limitations, deserves it’s rank of phone of the year, and brings interactive cell phones with touchscreen technology to a new level. It’s an excellent phone to have, and can keep you entertained due to it’s continuous releases of apps and games, which can be reached directly from it.
Apple iPhone 3G(2008)
There are simple reasons why the new iPhone 3G is better than the last.
Apple has eliminated so many annoying little hang-ups that you might run into when using the old one. The GPS pinpoints to meters instead of blocks. The 3G connection slashes web loading times by minutes to seconds. The more rounded case feels great in the hand. And most importantly the new software polishes the OS and opens the phone up to nearly unlimited capabilities through the countless programs that are already being written by the brilliant legions of faithful developers. It's kind of cool.
Click to viewIf you want to cut to the chase, the software is what we're most excited about-so much that we ran the first half of this review earlier extolling the iPhone 2.0 virtues in detail, including the fact that it's a free upgrade for the people who snapped up the first iPhone, perhaps before it was ready.
On the software side, the iPhone has the most advanced touchscreen OS out there today. Scrolling, dialing, panning, zooming, touching and pinching are all actions you can do to get around your photos, your maps, your movies, your music and of course, your phone calls. The iPhone 2.0 update improves on the already great communication features such as desktop-class email and web browsing by adding MobileMe and Exchange support-both of which push emails to your phone as soon as they're received, just like on the BlackBerry. These two new additions also allow your phone to always sync contacts and calendar events with your computer or your office's system directly over the air, without ever needing to dock, or take any action. There's also the App Store, which gives you access to a gigantic library of third-party applications to add features such as controlling your iTunes, instant messaging, 3D gaming and To Do lists. One drawback is that Apple may not support the cool (illegal) apps like the NES emulators and video recording programs that don't work through the SDK. Lots of unofficial third party apps may never make it to the store. One, Instinctiv, a super iPhone music shuffle app, was recently denied store sales because it is against the terms of agreement to enhance the iPod or iPhone music playback in any way. Huh?! Apps also take a long time (minutes) to install and uninstall, and backups now take awhile longer than before. Annoying, but still worth the wait.
The fact that the free software's advantages are available on the original iPhone means that the reduced subsidized price $199 for the 8GB and $299 for the 16GB are good, but maybe not good enough to justify a trade-in. (The $10 extra a month for 3G access is a wash, frankly.) Quite a conundrum for those of you tempted.
Onto the hardware. Let's start with the husk: Once, I sat down on a twisted key, putting a giant scar across the aluminum back of my iPhone. With that one exception aside, my iPhone's abused-to-hell case still looks strong and shiny.
The new case is made of smudge-able plastic, and last time I checked geek material lust hierarchy, plastic was a distant ranking of 452342 places behind aluminum. The effect is that the case, feels lighter, warmer and thicker but also cheaper than before. And in your hand, picking up a slightly warm iPhone, it feels almost more organic. Between that and the the rounded shape, which fits far better in the hand, it's like you're cupping a warm baby bird. The old phone by comparison feels like its a better quality device, with the spiritual heft of a German machine. The new case is lighter but actually thicker; still, it feels less significant and durable. The case did survive being put in a bag full of keys and rubbed vigorously. Only some of the silver Apple logo on the back got visibly scratched. The case is also a lot easier to send radio waves through than the previous case-useful as this phone has many more radios-although reception improvement was not noticeable. [UPDATE: Actually, it is much better, in both EDGE and 3G mode] Also, if you place the new model on a table, it rocks when you tap the screen, so you can't use it as a table top computer anymore. And the case is very easy to smudge. The black color is available in both sizes, but the white only comes in pricier 16GB, much to the chagrin of boyfriends who promised to buy their significant others one in the pale tint.
The screen is slightly warmer in color temperature (more yellow than blue), slightly brighter (even when considering decay over time) and the daylight viewing is better, but it's the same 3.5-inch, 480x320 resolution screen. And it's still gorgeous.
Oh, the headphone jack isn't recessed anymore, so you can use whatever headphones or adapters you want. And the lock and volume buttons are recessed slightly more and are metal. The speakers and earpiece have a metal grill behind them. All this, to great effect.
To mention the 3G is to bring up painful memories, the time I've lost waiting for web pages to load on the iPhone, or standing on street corners waiting for maps to load.
This is really not a revolutionary phone. It's more like the iPhone we wished Apple made last year. But basics, like cut, copy and paste are still missing. (As is MMS, thanks for the reminder, commenters.) As well are the ability to use the phone like a hard drive. Other than that, we're hoping for some more revolutionary changes to come by software update. And let's take a moment to remember how many developers are making killer iPhone programs right this second. There's the revolution.
Apple iPhone 3GS(2009)
At first glance, you can't easily tell the iPhone 3GS apart from the iPhone 3G. They use the same enclosure and, other than a slight weight gain for the 3GS, look like the same phone. But it’s not looks that count. It is, as the saying goes, what’s on the inside.
The iPhone 3GS sports substantially upgraded hardware. The phone has a faster processor and more RAM to speed the launch and operation of apps. The increase in speed is noticeable. Apps open quicker and there are fewer instances of waiting for things like the onscreen keyboard to load. The 3GS also sports double the storage capacity of the 3G—16GB and 32GB in this case—which makes the phone more useful.
I’ve held onto an 80GB iPod video for years because my iTunes library weighs in at over 40GB and I wanted a single device that could store all that content. Now that my phone can hold onto all the music and other content that I’m likely to listen to regularly, the iPod video looks less and less useful. The phone also has integrated support for the Nike + iPod personal training system. Though this requires additional purchases, having onboard support is a bonus.
Lastly, the phone adds a digital compass, which is particularly useful for driving directions that begin with “start out going northwest on ...” Now a phone will suffice where you used to need a Boy Scout. Taken as a whole, the improvements to the iPhone 3GS’ hardware are a solid upgrade and make using the phone easier, faster, and more fun.
The iPhone 3GS also improves its built in camera. Not only does the 3GS outdo its predecessor by offering a 3-megapixel camera instead of 2 megapixels, but it can also record video at 30 frames per second. Videos are recorded at 640 x 480 pixels and, given their source and likely intended destination (not your TV), they’re great. A thirty-second clip weighs in at about 14MB, meaning an iPhone 3GS could hold about 3 hours of video in 5GB of space. While the resolution isn’t enough for our HD age, it’s solid for the web. I suspect it won’t be long before we start seeing short films for the web shot on an iPhone. The still camera also adds auto-focus with a tap on the area you want to focus on. I’d rather have gotten zoom, but auto-focus makes the camera more capable. It would have been nicer had Apple delivered these features in the last model—many other phones and smartphones already had them—but it’s great to have now and the pictures and video taken are great.
Apple iPhone 4(2010)
The iPhone 4 is no small thing to review. As most readers of Engadget are well aware, in the gadget world a new piece of Apple hardware is a major event, preceded by rumors, speculation, an over-the-top announcement, and finally days, weeks, or months of anticipation from an ever-widening fan base. The iPhone 4 is certainly no exception -- in fact, it may be Apple's most successful launch yet, despite some bumps on the road. We've already seen Apple and AT&T's servers overloaded on the first day of pre-orders, the ship date for the next set of phones pushed back due to high demand, and die-hard fans in line outside of Apple locations a week before the phone is actually available. It's a lot to live up to, and the iPhone 4 is doing its best -- with features like a super-fast A4 CPU, a new front-facing camera and five megapixel shooter on the back, a completely new industrial design, and that outrageous Retina Display, no one would argue that Apple has been asleep at the wheel. So the question turns to whether or not the iPhone 4 can live up to the intense hype. Can it deliver on the promises Steve Jobs made at WWDC, and can it cement Apple's position in the marketplace in the face of mounting competition from the likes of Google and Microsoft? We have the answers to those questions -- and many more -- in our full review, so read on to find out!
In his WWDC keynote, Steve Jobs likened the design of the iPhone 4 to that of a "beautiful, old Leica camera," and as we've said before, he wasn't off the mark. Instead of hewing to the curved, plasticky, silver-bezeled look of the iPhone 3G and 3GS, the company has turned the casing and face of the device into something decidedly more detailed and sophisticated. From the design aesthetic through to the actual build process, Jony Ive and his team have reset what we expect in an iPhone, coming up with something that clearly harkens back to the retro-future Braun designs of Dieter Rams. The iPhone 4 is made up of three basic parts: two pieces of smooth, strengthened glass, and a stainless steel band which wraps around the sides, top, and bottom of the phone. The effect is clean but not simple, and Apple has added little details, like altered volume buttons (what used to be a rocker is now separated into circular clickers labeled + and -), and notches in that metal band which serve to improve radio connections (more on that in a minute). The phone is noticeably thinner than the 3GS at .37 inches compared to .48 inches, but it weighs the same 4.8 ounces, making the whole package seem tighter and denser. It feels great in your hand, with good heft, although it might take a little time to get used to the lack of a rounded back if you're coming from the 3G or 3GS.
We can't overstate how high-end the design of the iPhone 4 is. The 3GS now feels cheap and chubby by comparison, and even a phone like the HTC Droid Incredible -- which just came out -- seems last-generation.
As we said, there are three main pieces of the phone, which together create an effect not wildly dissimilar to that of an ice cream sandwich. You know, but far pricier... and not edible. The face of the device is made up of extremely strong glass which Jony Ive says is "comparable in strength to sapphire crystal, but about 30 times harder than plastic." A small slit for the earpiece and the front-facing camera are embedded in the glass above the display, with the familiar home button towards the bottom -- a button we should note feels much clickier than on our 3GS. On the left side of the phone you've got the new volume buttons, a redesigned mute switch, and a small notch towards the base of the unit. On the right side is the Micro SIM slot and another notch in the band at the bottom, and up top there's the power / sleep button, headphone jack, another notch, and new noise-canceling microphone. Along the bottom is a speaker, microphone, and the 30-pin dock connector port. The backside of the phone is made from the same kind of ultra-strong glass as the front, interrupted only by the new five megapixel camera, its LED flash companion and, of course, the Apple logo.
Overall, the iPhone 4 outclasses pretty much every smartphone on the market in terms of industrial design. It just comes off like a far more expensive device, like a Mobiado or Vertu -- but better designed. And it's not just the way the phone looks; the materials feel good -- premium -- in your hands. The first few days we had our test unit, we were definitely freaked out about dropping or losing the phone, and some of that had to do with the fact that it's just a really beautiful device to use and hold.
We're not going to beat around the bush -- in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package. Yes, there are still pain points that we want to see Apple fix, and yes, there are some amazing alternatives to the iPhone 4 out there. But when it comes to the total package -- fit and finish in both software and hardware, performance, app selection, and all of the little details that make a device like this what it is -- we think it's the cream of the current crop. We won't argue that a lot of this is a matter of taste -- some people will just prefer the way Android or Symbian works to the iPhone, and others will be on the lookout for a hardware keyboard or a particular asset that the iPhone 4 lacks -- but in terms of the total picture, it's tough to deny that Apple has moved one step past the competition with this phone. Of course, in the hyper-accelerated smartphone market where the Next Big Thing seems to always be just around the corner, it's anyone's guess how long they keep that edge.
Apple iPhone 4S(2011)
What do we like about the iPhone 4S? Everything we loved about the iPhone 4 and more. The Retina Display is still one of the best on the market, and even in 16 months very few phones have managed to come close to the eye-popping quality.
The new camera is fantastic, and as we said: a genuine alternative to a compact point and shoot. We know that's been said before, but we were mightily impressed for a day-to-day snapper.
The upgraded processor is going to be a real winner in the future when more heavy-duty apps and games start coming to the market; right now there's not a lot going on that can really draw on the improved graphics and CPU, and the phone was already pretty snappy anyway. Siri is a fun tool - we're undecided about its use in day-to-day life, but there were enough useful options to play with to make it genuinely worthwhile.
The gripes we have with the iPhone 4S are the same ones we've had for years with Apple's iPhones, and despite the record number of sales for the phones we still think they need to be addressed by Apple. Flash video. We know it's a tired thing to keep talking about, but if Apple isn't going to allow it to work on its phones then it needs some kind of strategy to rid us of the annoying 'You need to download the latest version of Flash player' notifications on websites.
The price: it's still way too high in our opinion on contract, with the upfront cost for the iPhone 4S way in excess of anything else on the market on the same tariff. When you see that the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Sensation can be bought off contract for the same cost, you have to question where that up front fee is coming from.
The contacts list needs an overhaul too, as it's still too spartan for our tastes. Some sort of social networking integration, message history or album connectivity seems right up Apple's street, so we're still wondering why the firm has yet to improve this section.
Let's make no bones about it: the iPhone 4S is one of the best phones on the market at the moment, and the best thing Apple has ever created. It's got all the right bits right: good camera, slick web browser, quality screen - and made it all work together in the way we've come to expect. Some people might be disappointed not to have seen the fabled iPhone 5, with the larger screen and new design, but the iPhone 4S is more than enough to keep Apple fans happy.
Simply put: if you've got an iPhone 4, you don't need to upgrade (as long as you update to iOS 5) but for anyone else on an older device, or hankering after finally making the jump to an iPhone, you should run down to the shops and pick one up now - you won't regret it.
Apple iPhone 5(2012)
The stand-out outward attribute of the iPhone 5 is its larger screen. Not a huge expanse of space in both directions as Google's hardware friends have uniformly decided is the way to sway tech-loving buyers – notably the Samsung Galaxy S3 with its extravagant 4.8in display. The iPhone 5 raises its screen estate by simply extending the screen's height by 14mm, keeping the width identical.
The new 640 x 1136-pixel display is still IPS, only even richer in colour saturation while still looking more natural than the slightly cloying OLED alternatives. And importantly the Apple iPhone 5's screen still has the pixel-hiding Retina resolution of 326ppi.
Operating the iPhone 5 with its longer screen is a doddle. Unlike the semi-tablet sized phones with 4.5in or larger screens, you really can reach the whole screen to operate it easily still with just one hand. Pick up an iPhone 5 though, and you'll notice a new featherweight quality. Down at 115g against the 4S' 141g, it feels wafer-like, almost too light in fact. Beautifully balanced, its mass is evenly distributed to offset any bias toward top or bottom.
iPhone 5The build quality has been described as jewel-like with reason. Swiss watch is another inescapable analogy, echoed from Apple's sound bite at the iPhone 5's launch.
The move to aluminium construction may be a step in the right direction though; and not just by helping to lose headline grams from the all-up weight. It provides a more handleable object for the fingertips. Hardened glass front and back didn't just lend the iPhone 4 chic obsidian bling – it could make the handset a slippery slab. The iPhone 5 is now built around an anodised aluminium backplate that allows a tad more purchase in the hand. Durability may suffer a little though. In the case of the black model especially, daily use is likely to create small nicks in the anodised coating, so to keep the iPhone 5 pristine a case is as useful as ever.
In white, the iPhone 5 looks less juvenile than the 4S blanc; diamond-polished bevelled edges and a satin aluminium back make it much more unisex now. In
black, it's pure stealth bomber, mixing brushed metal slate-anodised back with mirror polished front bevels and gleaming black glass front. This tech user is not so convinced by the drive for thin though. Given the still all-too short runtime of today's handsets – and that includes the iPhone, despite it out-lasting every average fizzling Android – we would rather keep with something like 9.5mm and 141g if it meant using the space and weight budget wisely, with a battery to comfortably last three rather than two days.
A phone as light as the iPhone 5 also seems to leave no sensation of its presence in the pocket. It's a a matter of taste whether you like this idea or prefer to have some subtle clue that the phone is still there... or not. The iPhone 5 carries the flag for the newly born iOS 6 operating system, and this gently tweaked system creates continuity from the user experience of previous iPhones. Alongside the metal-banded frame, the now-familar interface is a key point of reference for the mainstream audience, copied the world over with varying degrees of accuracy and resulting litigation.
Apple iPhone 5S(2013)
The iPhone 5s came out in 2013, but since then it’s been improved on several times, most notably by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. Because of that, you can now pick the iPhone 5s on the cheap; Carphone Warehouse are currently selling the iPhone 5s for free, with a £15 a month contract. If you really want an iPhone, the 5s could be one of your cheapest options, but if you’re simply after a 4in iPhone, we’d recommend an iPhone SE. Simply put, the iPhone SE is a iPhone 6s in the shell of an iPhone 5s - and that means it has all the performance and battery life of Apple’s current-gen flagship. Interested? Read our full review of the iPhone SE, or stay on the page to read our original review of the iPhone 5s.
Apple may have stepped outside its comfort zone with the colourful 5c, but with the iPhone 5s it’s firmly back in its smoking jacket and slippers. In the absence of a major redesign, the company has taken the body of the iPhone 5 and given it a welcome boost in features and core power.
Thus the iPhone 5s has a chassis that’s all but identical to its predecessor, right down to the positioning of the speaker grilles and the metal bands running around the phone’s edge. The only differences surround the colours – the black iPhone 5s this time has a slightly lighter “space gray” rear panel, and there’s a new gold colour, which is more tasteful than it sounds.
Suffice it to say, if you’re familiar with the iPhone, you’ll know precisely what this latest iPhone looks and feels like: it’s sleek, one of the lightest smartphones around at a mere 112g, and a highly desirable object in its own right.
Make sure, though, you take care how you treat it. The aluminium rear might look tough and hard-wearing, but as we’ve found with the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s picks up dings and scratches rather easily if dropped or put in a pocket with other metal objects.
Aside from the colours, the only physical difference between the iPhone 5s and its predecessor is the home button, where the new Touch ID fingerprint reader resides. It’s no longer decorated with the familiar square motif, and it’s a little flatter, but the interest lies not in the way it looks, but the way Touch ID can make your life a whole lot easier.
After registering a fingerprint during set up, you can use that digit to both unlock the phone and authorise iTunes purchases. It’s highly convenient, and works reliably, but not always instantaneously – a pause of three or four seconds before recognition is common.
However, before you go off and change your easily remembered iTunes password to a super-secure, randomised string of characters, stuffed with numbers and other symbols, be aware that the iPhone 5s will occasionally ask you to verify your fingerprint by re-entering the password. It isn’t a completely set-and-forget option.
No two ways about it, the iPhone 5s is an excellent smartphone. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s amazingly quick, boasts a superb camera and display, and is beautifully designed and put together. If your next handset absolutely has to be an iPhone, it’s a far better option than the more basic iPhone 5c.
However, in comparison with the rest of the smartphone market, the flagship iPhone’s high ticket price is becoming increasingly tough to justify. The HTC One has a larger screen and equally attractive design and costs around £80 less SIM-free, while the 5in Samsung Galaxy S4 can be had for £100 less. Both are available on commensurately cheaper contracts.
This probably won’t be enough to put off iPhone diehards, who will upgrade come what may, and it certainly doesn’t make the iPhone a terrible smartphone. For us, though, it doesn’t do enough to justify such a high price.
After a month of using the iPhone 5s, there's nothing we'd change about our overall conclusion on the iPhone 5s. It's a superb smartphone with great performance and delicious all-round design, but the price is too high, and it looks even worse value now the superlative Nexus 5 has appeared.
As for Touch ID, the jury's still out. The system has proved mostly reliable, but we're less enamoured with the system than we were at first encounter. It's designed to make unlocking the iPhone 5s phone simpler and quicker, but whether it's an improvement over entering a four-digit code or not is debatable.
The issue is that the sensor doesn't always recognise your prints straight away: when it does, it takes less than a second after clicking the home button to unlock and that's fantastic; when it doesn't, you can be left staring at the screen for a few seconds dumbly, until you shift your finger into the correct position.
We went back to "code mode", just to see if we missed using Touch ID, and found we didn't at all. Even though we left it on for app purchases (it saves more time as our iTunes password is longer and more fiddly to enter) we still found ourselves having to type in our iTunes password from time to time.
Elsewhere, the camera continues to please, with simply stunning performance in all situations. We've found the video capability particularly impressive, producing consistently shake-free and sharp 1080p footage, whatever the conditions. Fun though it is, we haven't found ourselves using the "slo-mo" mode much, however.
Apple iPhone 5C(2013)
The iPhone 5C is kinda, sorta, technically a new product -- colorful, cute, with a variety of interchangeable color cases much like the recently released Motorola Moto X -- but under the hood it's really an iPhone 5 with a new paint job, and a cheaper price: $99 on contract (or even less, if you shop around).
To be clear, we loved the iPhone 5 when it first hit in 2012. It met every one of our needs, kept up with the competition, and presented a sweet spot of features: fast LTE wireless, a larger 4-inch screen, plenty of performance tweaks, a faster processor, and a really great camera. All of those features are back with the 5C.
The only new additions to the 5C (versus the old 5) are iOS 7 coming preinstalled, new LTE antennas that work with more international carriers, a better low-light-sensitive front-facing FaceTime HD camera, and a slightly increased internal battery versus last year's model -- better on paper, but not on a magnitude that most people would appreciate.
What the iPhone 5C isn't is a radical "budget" iPhone. It's not the affordable contract-free prepaid device some dreamed of. Instead, it's an iPhone 5 with a candy-colored polycarbonate shell. If you want something more advanced under the hood, the iPhone 5S is what you're looking for; if you want a bigger screen, nearly any Android phone will be a better choice.
Still, despite largely year-old tech inside, the iPhone 5C does a fine job for most people. Don't be surprised if it's a go-to choice for kids, for instance, who may value the color choices (and parents looking to get out of the store for less than $100.) It's the Basic White MacBook of iPhones. And, for everyday tasks, you'll have a hard time right now noticing the performance gap between it and the 5S with the naked eye. That's likely to change in a few months or a year, as Apple evolves iOS computing to areas where, perhaps, only the bleeding-edge 64-bit A7 chip in the iPhone 5S can reach. But for everyday people who aren't following every evolutionary step of the iPhone, the 5C covers most of the important bases. Just make sure you set your expectations to "last year's iPhone 5."
This is the question everyone's going to ask: what am I missing out on between the iPhone 5C and 5S for that extra hundred dollars? For starters, the 5S has that crisp metal design. It also has a newer, faster A7 processor, a fingerprint-sensing Home button, an even better camera with faster autofocus, burst shooting, better low-light and antiblur features, and a Slow-Mo video recording mode that records at 120 frames per second at 720p. What's more, the 5S is capable of 64-bit computing, has better graphics, and has an M7 processor for enabling future built-in motion-tracking and health/fitness apps. And it's also available in a 64GB capacity, versus just 16GB or 32GB for the 5C.
A brightly colored plastic iPhone: it sounds like something new, doesn't it? Not exactly: Apple's had brightly colored iPods for years, and the iPod Touch got its multicolored refresh in 2012. The iPhone 5C just feels like the extension of that bright-color philosophy into the iPhone line. It doesn't feel like cheap plastic, though; the smooth, shiny polycarbonate shell around the back feels like a candy lacquer coating. It's a dense device, heavier than the iPhone 5 by nearly an ounce, but it has a comfortable feel -- maybe even better than the more hard-angled metal iPhone 5/5S. It's a return to the plastic iPhone, three years later. The funny thing is, pull out an old iPhone 3G or 3GS and you'll see a remarkably similar finish. The 3GS looks bulbous and squat by comparison -- the 5C is flat-backed and longer, but it shares the wrap-around polycarbonate feel. This is not new so much as old and familiar.
The cosmetic differences between the 5C and the 5S feel like the old white MacBook versus the MacBook Pro line: plastic versus metal. Maybe this is meant to paint the iPhone 5S as a "pro" device. The 5C is comfortable, smooth and clean; the 5 and 5S have an angular, descended-from-a-spaceship industrial design. The 5C is a hair longer (4.9 versus 4.87 inches), a hair wider (2.33 versus 2.31 inches), and a little thicker (0.35 versus 0.3 inches) than the iPhone 5 and 5S. What this really means is you can't put most iPhone 5 cases on it. It's also heavier: 4.65 ounces, versus the iPhone 5S' 3.95 ounces. But it's still a little thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S, if you're keeping score. Just like the iPhone 5 and 5S, the headphone jack's on the bottom. Audio comes from a small four-holed grille on the bottom, and is as loud as that from the iPhone 5. The home button below the display remains exactly the same as previous iPhones: there's no fingerprint sensor here.
The iPhone 5C will be a far more appealing phone for kids: it seems less fragile, warmer, even simpler. It feels like an iPod: even the side volume rocker buttons are more elongated and iPod Touch-like. The colors are bright and oddly pastel, except for the white-backed 5C I ended up reviewing. All the iPhone 5Cs, incidentally, have black fronts. iOS 7 comes preinstalled with color-matched wallpaper and themes for each phone, which helps tie the whole color package together. The EarPods...well, those are still white.
Much like the White MacBook was to Apple laptops, the iPhone 5C feels like a perfect cover-all-your-needs smartphone, offering the average person a complete set of tools to get everything done. The extras on the iPhone 5S aren't necessarily ones you'll miss: unlike like last year's leap from the iPhone 4S to iPhone 5, all the basic requirements are covered. Of course, a $99 iPhone isn't anything new. Apple's been selling "last year's iPhones" for years at a hundred-dollar discount alongside whatever new versions are sold. For the past 12 months, 2011's iPhone 4S sat in the $99 spot; it's now offered as a free phone with a new contract, in a take-it-or-leave-it 8GB version. But Apple's never offered a $99 iPhone this good, and with a redesign to boot.
Those who don't care about the latest and greatest graphics or camera quality, or are due for an upgrade -- like my mom -- would be a perfect fit for the iPhone 5C. It's a good year to make an upgrade if you haven't done so recently, because both the 5C and 5S are very polished phones. But if you own an iPhone 5, you already have a 5C in metal. And you certainly don't need to upgrade.
Incidentally, I tried to convince my mom to get the iPhone 5C, until I realized that she upgrades so infrequently, and uses her phone so much as a camera for getting snapshots of her grandkids, that the iPhone 5S is probably worth her extra $100 investment. So might the argument go for many. But, more than before, Apple's new step-down iPhone is a great destination for newcomers. It feels like the new baseline for the mainstream iPhone. The 5S is the "pro" model with technologies that need to be worked out; the 5C has less to bank on.
In the end, I steered my mom to the iPhone 5S. You should too, unless you really, truly need to save a hundred dollars. In that case -- or in the event you really love brightly colored plastic -- get the iPhone 5C. Apple may not have set the global smartphone world on fire, but the 5C is another small step toward a more affordable iPhone. And if I were to pick an iPhone that wasn't cutting-edge but still had everything most people needed to do everything they wanted, the iPhone 5C is it.
Apple iPhone 6 Plus(2015)
In 2014 Apple finally gave us an iPhone which offered a display to rival its Android flagship counterparts, while enabling you to really take advantage of the apps, games, movies and TV shows in its expansive libraries.
The iPhone 6 Plus was expensive, but there's no denying it was well received. Android fans will continue to berate Apple for its seemingly copycat 'innovation', but the plain fact is that the 6 Plus was a great handset, with all the power of the iPhone and a much longer battery life. It's no surprise then, that Apple has returned in 2015 with the refreshed iPhone 6S Plus. The iPhone 6S Plus inherits the price tag of its predecessor, which means you're looking at some lofty SIM-free figures. The 16GB model comes in at $749, £619, AU$1,129, but you'll probably want a bit more storage than that.
In which case the 64GB iPhone 6S Plus will set you back $849, £699, AU$1,379, while the 128GB model – which we tried out for this review – is $949, £789, AU$1,529. The good news in the US is that the phone does come unlocked at these prices and works on any carrier, GSMA or CDMA. Unsurprisingly that puts the 6S Plus up against the top phones on the market, rubbing shoulders with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy Note 5 and Sony Xperia Z5 Premium in terms of price.
It's also gunning for the LG G4, Moto X Style, OnePlus 2 and Huawei Mate S with its 5.5-inch full HD display. As you've probably guessed from the 'S' handle in its name, the 6S Plus is more of an incremental upgrade over the 6 Plus rather than a reimagining of Apple's smartphone range. It might be a stretch for current 6 Plus incumbents to justify upgrading to the new iPhone 6S Plus, but it's got a few fancy features you won't find on older iPhones.
There's no mistaking the incremental credentials of the iPhone 6S Plus when it comes to design. It looks identical to the iPhone 6 Plus, and I mean identical. Remember the iPhone 4 and 4S? It's like that. In fact, the only obvious marking that differentiates the 6S Plus is the small 'S' logo on the rear below the word 'iPhone' – although it will be covered by your hand 90% of the time (or 100% of the time by a case).
The sleek, rounded metal body continues to look and feel premium, with the build quality you'd expect from Apple. After last year's unfortunate 'bendgate' fiasco, Apple has looked to reassure people that its latest smartphone duo are tough. This isn't strictly necessary, given that we'd have expected last year's models to be strong enough to get through a couple of years of use, but some clarification was needed. Both the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus sport what Apple is calling '7000 series aluminum', which it claims is a lot stronger. Who wants to volunteer up their new iPhone 6S Plus for a bend test?
The 6S Plus is still a beast in the hand, with Apple's insistence on the sizeable bezels above and below the display ensuring its supersized dimensions. The 6S Plus is ever so slightly thicker than its predecessor, gaining an additional 0.2mm in girth. You won't notice the addition, and I suspect Apple needed a little extra space to squeeze in its 3D Touch technology. It's also piled on the pounds, gaining 20g on the 6 Plus, which sees the iPhone 6S Plus tip the scales at a hefty 192g.
It's fair to say, then, that you'll notice the 6S Plus in your hand and pocket, and it can get a little tiring on the wrist to hold it for extended periods one-handed. Most of the time I found I had to employ both mitts to keep it steady and reach all areas of the screen. The flat rear and rounded metal edges offer little in the way of grip, which makes the iPhone 6S Plus a bit of a slippery eel. A tight grasp is required to ensure it doesn't make a dash for the floor, although Apple's silicon case provides both protection and in-hand security for $39 / £29 / AU$59.
Apple's stuck with the same button placements too, with power/lock on the right and the volume keys on the left, just below the mute switch. During one-handed use I found I needed to stretch a little to reach them, and those with smaller palms will struggle more. There is a silver (actually, pink) lining though: the iPhone 6S Plus has a new color! In addition to gold, silver and space grey you can now pick up Apple's latest supersized smartphone in a fetching shade of 'Rose Gold'... also known as pink. The familiar design of the iPhone 6S Plus will be comforting to the Apple faithful, while outsiders may look on with raised eyebrows, mumbling something about a lack of progression from the Cupertino firm. And they may have a point.
Apple iPhone 6(2014)
Why do we have the Apple iPhone 6? Well, back in 2013, despite record sales, the Cupertino brand was heading for a fall. The brand had been trading on the same phone for four years, and something big was needed to keep it current. So with that, the iPhone 6, and its bigger brother, the iPhone 6 Plus, were born to keep Apple at the sharp end of a market that was starting to lust after powerful, big-screen smartphones with clever and premium design.
The iPhone 6 certainly addresses a number of the problems Apple had developed, coming with a much larger screen (although not dramatically increasing the size of the phone) a boosted processor, better camera, improved battery and, crucially, overhauled design. Much of the ground work that went into the iPhone 6S was done here, with the iPhone 6. This is the sixth iPhone I've reviewed, and there's a distinct sense that this one is really rather different. I wrote in 2013 that Apple was becoming more aware that the time when it could define what consumers would buy in the smartphone was ending – and with the 4.7-inch screen, it clearly had to admit defeat in the smaller screen market.
There will be some who will miss that 4-inch screen size, maintaining that they don't want a bigger display on their phone – but nearly all of those people won't have spent any appreciable time with a larger device, and I believe that a good portion of you thinking you need a smaller phone will quickly come to appreciate the power a bigger handset brings, without compromising quality. Apple's now appeased those longing for a new 4-inch handheld though, with the launch of the iPhone SE. It sports the specs of the iPhone 6S, uses the body of the now-discontinued iPhone 5S and sports a lower price tag than the iPhone 6, giving the latter some tough new competition. But while the iPhone 6 has answered a lot of the problems I've had with previous iterations of Apple's handsets, there are some issues that still swirled when I handled the phone for the first time – and many of them persist even now that the iPhone 6 has been superseded. Why did Apple decide to not join the masses with a really high-res screen? Why is the iPhone 6 still one of the most expensive phones on the market? Has Apple done enough to improve the quite dire battery life of previous models, especially at a time when many high-end Android phones are easily chugging through a day's hard use without thirsting for a charger's caress?
Let's take a quick look at the price – and it's not pretty. At launch you were looking at $649 or £539 for the 16GB version, $750 or £619 for the 64GB option and $850 or £699 for the 128GB model. That's since dropped to US$549 (£459, AU$929) for the 16GB version and US$649 (£539, AU$1,079) for the 64GB option, with the 128GB handset having been discontinued with the arrival of the iPhone 6S. That's about as much as you'd pay for a brand new Android flagship just a few months after launch, yet the iPhone 6 is no longer the top model in its range. Then you've got the iPhone SE which has the same features as the newer iPhone 6S for $150 (£100, AU$250) less than the iPhone 6. You'll have to compromise on screen size, but you could get a better phone for less. Don't forget, the iPhone 7 is rumored to be on its way in September, too.
Let's take a look at the first thing most people will wonder about before picking up the iPhone 6: how will it actually feel in the hand? This is a big departure for Apple, marking a time when it's admitted that the industrial, sharp design of the last four iPhone models is a little outdated and needs to up the ergonomics to really compete. Well, with the Apple iPhone 6 we're looking at one of the thinnest and sleekest handsets in the market – still. It's got a strong combination of metal back (which feels exceptionally premium, borrowing bucketloads of design language from the iPad Air) and the way the screen curves into the chassis gives it a slight lozenge feel.
The iPhone 6 looks the business, and at 6.9mm thin it's very nice to hold, though the Samsung Galaxy S6 has since edged it out at 6.8mm thick. I do still feel that phones that push harder on ergonomics are a better choice though – the HTC One M9 bows out at the back and fits in the palm a little better – but that's quibbling. This iPhone just feels really well made. Apple has always favoured a flatter phone than the rest of the market though, and placed on a desk it looks great. It does feel great in the hand too, but as said others impress more if I'm being hyper-critical.
There's also the issue of the large plastic strips that flow through the top and bottom of the device. Given metal is a nightmare material to try and get radio signal to penetrate, these are clearly there to offset that. The plastic strips detract and are not flush with the chassis. While the plastic does seem to give good signal performance for the most part, it's nothing amazing, and to my eyes they're a little unsightly and ruin the sleek back of the iPhone 6; their presence seems at odds with Apple's design ethos. The other big design change is to the power button, which has now been moved to the right-hand side of the phone. This makes a lot of sense and, given the phone is now a larger device at 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm, hitting the top of the handset is a much harder task, so moving the button is the right thing to do.
Like the rest of the exterior buttons, the power key is raised and easy to hit in both left and right hand modes. It's metallic, and crucially doesn't have the same rattle that I criticised on the iPhone 5S. However, that doesn't mean the metallic keys don't have a little wiggle to them. Running your hand up and down the sides idly will result in you noticing a very slight looseness to the power and volume buttons... I'm in danger of being too critical here, but for the price it's not the sort of thing I expect to see. The other important design change here is the camera now protrudes slightly on the rear of the phone. It's good to see that happening, as it shows that Apple isn't willing to compromise on camera quality in order to just whack in a thinner phone. The protrusion is a little worrying in that laying the Apple iPhone 6 down flat on a table could see scratches appearing, but the sapphire glass that covers the lens should ensure that's pretty safe.
The camera protrudes but you won't notice it day to day. The rest of the iPhone 6 is very similar to the iPhone 5S, with the speakers at the bottom flanking the Lightning port. Well, I say speakers: it's just the one speaker, but thanks to the slightly elongated bottom of the phone you won't cover it when holding the phone in landscape orientation. This was irritating when trying to game or watch a movie without headphones on older iPhones – but this upgrade, combined with the lightness of the iPhone 6, means you won't have a similar problem for the most part, as the hands sit lower and free of the speaker generally.
Sadly the headphone port still resides at the bottom of the iPhone 6, meaning you'll still probably get your phone out of your pocket the wrong way around when listening to music. Going back to the iPhone 6 after a prolonged spell using the iPhone 6S as a daily driver, it's remarkable how much lighter the older phone feels in the hand. You can feel every one of those extra 14 grams, and it's the one area in which the newer iPhone suffers by comparison.
Let me make one thing very clear though: the Apple iPhone 6 is another iconic handset in terms of design for Apple. It's not the best looking on the market (I'm still giving that title to the HTC One M9), but it's definitely right up there, and for the price I'd expect nothing less. You can pick up the iPhone 6 in Space Gray (the colour I've had on test here), or the more standard Silver. There's no longer a Gold model available, and nor do you get access to the snazzy Rose Gold colour option that debuted with the iPhone 6S.
Apple iPhone 6s Plus(2015)
Our iPhone 6s Plus review evaluates the design, features and specs of Apple's new iPhone 6s Plus smartphone. This is still an early review, based on the two to three days we've had to play around with the iPhone 6s Plus (plus that brief hands-on time at the iPhone 6s Plus launch event), but we're starting to get a strong idea of the device's strengths and weaknesses. We'll update our review and verdict again once we've spent more time with a review sample of the 6s Plus, and had the chance to thoroughly test out its speed and battery performance in our labs.
The iPhone 6s Plus is Apple's newest top-of-the-line phablet: a big, 5.5-inch smartphone with a super-fast processor and a new pressure-sensitive screen. Apple unveiled the 6s Plus (along with its sibling, the smaller iPhone 6s) at a launch event on 9 September, and it's now available to buy. Here's our hands-on review of the iPhone 6s Plus: our early impressions of the latest Apple phablet.
The iPhone 6s Plus went on general sale on 25th September 2015, although as usual with iPhone launches you should probably expect periodic shortages for the first few weeks. Apple says it will restock stores on a daily basis, however, so you should be able to get hold of a device if you get up early. Following Apple's September 2016 event where the company announced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (as well as the Apple Watch Series 2), the company has, as it has done in previous years, decided to drop the price of the older flagship smartphone. What does this mean for UK users? It means if you want to get yourself an iPhone 6s Plus from Apple now, it'll be cheaper than it was when it first came out - although there are a couple of changes.
The 64GB iPhone 6s Plus? That has gone. In fact, so has the 16GB iPhone 6s Plus, although Apple has replaced that with a 32GB storage option. So what are users left with? Two choices, essentially - you can either have a 32GB iPhone 6s Plus for £599 (the same price as the 128GB iPhone 6s) or, for an additional £100, you can grab the £699 128GB iPhone 6s Plus. The decision of which iPhone to buy depends on the amount of storage you require. It's also worth noting that following the release of the iPhone 7, many iPhone 6s Plus users will try to sell their smartphones on selling sites like eBay and Gumtree, so it may be worth taking a look online before heading directly to Apple. As is traditional with 'S'-class updates, the iPhone 6s Plus has essentially the same physical design as its predecessor; looking at an iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus side by side, you'd struggle to tell them apart.
The 6s Plus is fractionally wider and thicker, and a little heavier too; these changes are to accommodate the components needed to power the new 3D Touch screen. But you're extremely unlikely to notice the extra volume, or to care much about the extra 20g. (The new screen tech more than justifies the compromises required to include it, as we will see in due course.)
"The iPhone 6s Plus is ever-so-slightly thicker than the iPhone 6 Plus, but only by two-tenths of a millimetre, so definitely not noticeable when you're holding it," says Susie Ochs, a US colleague of ours who got hands-on time with the iPhone 6s Plus at the San Francisco launch event. Our own verdict is that it's essentially the same - you're not going to be aware that anything's changed. Your choice of case will have far more of an impact on the phone's pocketability than the minor physical changes since last year's model.
The iPhone 6s Plus remains a remarkably slender and lightweight device, given the generous proportions of its 5.5-inch screen, and one that feels comfortable in the hand. That doesn't mean its dimensions are right for everyone, however: if you have small or even medium-sized hands, you'll probably find that you can't reach the entire screen with a single thumb the way you could on a 4- or even 4.7-inch screen. You can treat the 6s Plus as a two-handed device, like an iPad mini, but Apple has also added a clever interface feature called Reachability that pulls the screen downwards when you double-tap.
The 6 Plus suffered from an (almost certainly overstated) problem known as Bendgate, which saw a handful of users complain that their devices had bent as a result of being placed in a tight pocket for some time. The 6s Plus bears obvious clues that Apple took this issue to heart. Its metal chassis is both thicker around the vulnerable, bend-prone areas, and made of a stronger aluminium alloy. Previous iPhones have been made of 6000-series aluminium alloy, whereas the 6s Plus is made of the stronger (and lighter, and costlier) 7000 series. The new iPhones are clearly tougher to bend than their predecessors, and the fact that Apple has been able to make this change without increasing the cost from last year's models is impressive.
We haven't tested this feature to destruction, but plenty of reckless early buyers have. And it's been found that, whereas the 6 Plus could be bent by hand if the owner put their mind to it and was fairly strong, the 6s Plus requires quite exceptional efforts to do likewise. One bend-tester had to recruit his colleague for a helping hand, and the two of them were only just able to bend the new iPhone after several alarmingly strenuous attempts:
Whether or not you believe that Bendgate was overstated (and we do), it's indisputable that the 6s Plus is demonstrably tougher than its predecessor - while costing no more and weighing very little more. This is an impressive feat.
Apple iPhone 6s(2015)
For most of the reviews here, we use the mobile in question as our primary phone for about a week or so before sharing our verdict with you. We realise this isn't perfect, since there are some aspects of the device that don't become obvious during that time, and in an ideal world, we'd use every phone for a couple of months before we publish our review. But we work under constraints where most devices aren't available to us for that long - almost all products that we review are loaned to us by companies for short durations - and there's also the competitive pressure of wanting to get your review out before others do, as long as it doesn't involve cutting any corners.
With the launch of iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in India, Apple offered to loan the two new iPhones to Gadgets 360 - and indeed other publications - for more than the typical timeframe of a few days. The India iPhone launch of course came a few weeks after it was available in the US and several other countries, which meant that there were enough reviews out there for us not to worry about timelines too much. This gave us an ideal opportunity to spend more time than we'd initially imagined with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus and share our thoughts two months into using them. The extra time also gave us more time to think about the development of the iPhone line in the future, and tie that in with information that has come to light in the recent weeks. Strap yourselves in, because you are in for a long ride.
We were using the iPhone 6 as our primary phone before our rather lengthy experiment for the sake of this review, and we remember that the iPhone 6s felt noticeably heavier when we first picked it up, and this difference really threw us off our game for the first 24 hours. We imagine the experience would be pretty much the same if you switched from an iPhone 6 Plus to an iPhone 6s Plus. For a company that's obsessed with making its products thinner and lighter, shipping flagship products that are both heavier and thicker than their predecessors is an interesting decision, and one that may not have been taken lightly at Cupertino.
We understand the new 3D Touch sensors are to be blamed for the extra weight, but in the absence of any official information from Apple, it's difficult to be certain. A couple of days into the review process, however, we'd gotten used to the new weight of the phone, and this is where we hope against hope that Apple takes a lesson when designing future iPhone models.
The lesson of course is that people aren't as obsessed with 'thin and light' as the product designers at Cupertino, and they can get used to a little bit of extra weight pretty quickly. So dear Apple designers, when you figure out how to make the 3D Touch panels thinner and lighter, can you fill that remaining space with a bigger battery? We won't complain, we promise. We wouldn't hold our breath on Apple actually listening to that feedback, but that doesn't mean we stop trying, right?
It seems as if every iPhone is greeted by a controversy that rears its head around launch time and before you realise, it has taken on a life of its own. If it was iPhone 4 and Antennagate - a problem that was as real as physics itself - then in 2014 we had one-part truth, one-part fiction, and all-parts YouTube sensation called Bendgate. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as you may remember, were shown to be prone to bending if you, well, tried to bend them with a great amount of force (what a surprise). The topic eventually died down, but one wonders if reverberations of the controversy are being seen in the build of the newest iPhone models.
While there was no mention of Bendgate when Apple launched the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, our thoughts went back to last year's controversy when Apple announced that the new iPhone models are made out of 7000 series aluminium alloy, a grade of metal that's also used in the aerospace industry. Sceptics may see this as an acknowledgement that Bendgate was real, while others may see it as a natural design evolution.
The iPhone 6s Plus comes with a 5.5-inch display but in terms of overall size it rivals some 6-inch devices in the Android world. This is something we had criticised during our review of the iPhone 6 Plus last year, and since we are on an 'S' cycle, we didn't expect it to change this year. Manufacturers who don't call Cupertino their home have been making big screen phones for a while now and they have evolved their designs to the point where there is hardly any bezel on the sides. In contrast, much like their predecessors, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have very prominent bezels and space both above and below the screen, which translates into a poor screen-to-body ratio for Apple's phones.
We can count on Apple reducing the bezels on the sides of the screen, but making the iPhone shorter while retaining the same display size might prove to be a bigger challenge. The physical Home button - which has evolved over the years to also house the Touch ID fingerprint scanner - has always been the centrepiece of the user interaction paradigm on iOS. Android phones on the other hand can choose to have on-screen buttons, which gives manufacturers more flexibility with their designs. Given how important the Home button is on iOS, it will be interesting to see how Apple goes about making a 5.5-inch screen that's easier to carry around.
Since we've been carrying around the new iPhones for over a couple of months, you'd perhaps be curious about the wear and tear visible on the devices. As you can see from the images, there are practically no signs of wear and tear on these phones, even though we've been using them without any sort of a case. Having said that, as someone who treats their gadgets like their first-born, our usage doesn't replicate the real-world experience of most users, and it's safe to assume the wear and tear is no different than what you've experienced on previous iPhone models. The new Pink Rose Gold colour doesn't seem any worse than its older counterparts in this regard.
Apple phones history: from unique to Samsung style
Apple design becomes trivial under Samsung impacting
Apple phones history: from unique to Samsung style
Apple design becomes trivial under Samsung impacting
Apple phones history: from unique to Samsung style
Apple design becomes trivial under Samsung impacting
Apple vs Samsung: design decrease
Apple vs Samsung: design decrease
Apple design becomes trivial under Samsung impacting
Apple phones history: from unique to Samsung style