|© 2014 Apple Inc.|
I finally got my iPhone 6 in the mail, and after playing around with it for a couple of days, I have many a praise, but also a few criticismesses.
1. Touch ID.
Yes, I know, it's been there since the iPhone 5S. However, since I'm upgrading from the iPhone 5, it's new to me.
Words cannot express how well this feature works. It is simply amazing! It reads your fingerprints and only your fingerprints, and it reads them every time without fail, in a mere fraction of a second. You can store multiple fingerprints, which is very helpful if you want to unlock the phone with either hand, or maybe if several people are using the same device.
2. Slo-mo video recording at 240 fps.
It's official: my iPhone sees better than I do. Watch a droplet of milk fall into a cup of coffee, a pro skateboarder perform a complicated trick, or your house lights flicker, all at an impressive 720p resolution. Oh yeah, did you know your house lights flicker 60 times per second? I didn't, until I watched it in slo-mo.
3. Flash photography.
I believe the advanced flash was also introduced in 5S, but it is nonetheless remarkable. No more zombie-colored portraits! In fact, I will go ahead and state for the record that at close range, my iPhone 6 produces the best flash photography I've seen so far.
4. Video stabilization.
It's there, it works, and it makes videos look a lot smoother and more professional than they used to be.
For some reason, no one mentions this: the iPhone 6 has a massive speaker, compared to the minuscule, tinny-sounding speaker of the iPhone 5. You can actually hear the bass lines this time around, and it won't make that horrible clipping noise when you turn the volume all the way up.
Not a new feature by any means, but the screen is as gorgeous as ever, perhaps even more so, now that it's quite a bit larger.
7. Background App Refresh and Google Hangouts.
Not really an iPhone 6 feature either; it has more to do with iOS 8 and Google doing a great job on the app.
After jumping through a few hoops, I was able to direct all my Google Voice messages (SMS) to Hangouts, and from there on it was smooth sailing. The push notifications work, and since the app uses background refresh, your messages are already loaded when you swipe on the notification. There's no wait time for the message to load, and you don't even have to be connected to the internet at that point. What does that mean for me? It means I can still read my SMS in a timely fashion, despite the fact that my Gmail emails now arrive with a 15 minute delay. More on that in a bit.
1. I don't like giant phones.
It's a personal preference. Many people like giant phones: there's a reason why Apple made the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 5 was already too big for my liking. The iPhone 6 is so big that I can no longer hold it with one hand and press the home button. I have to use a new "typing grip" as well: holding the iPhone 6 by the sides with my index fingers, and supporting it on the back with the rest of my fingers, while typing with my thumbs. Typing and holding the phone with the same hand is now completely out of question.
2. Camera sticks out.
Everyone knows about this. It's ugly, and if you don't have your phone in a case, it will never lay flat on a table. That said, I always have mine in a case, so it's not a problem.
3. No support for push for Gmail accounts.
This was probably the biggest upset for me. It's not entirely Apple's fault. Some of it is Google's. You see, Apple never supported push via IMAP. However, there was a way to get around that, by setting up Gmail as an Exchange account instead. However, at the end of January 2013 Google disabled the ability to use Exchange to connect to your Gmail account, on any new devices. This means that my email now arrives with a 15-minute delay, which makes SMS forwarding pretty useless.
I tried out a bunch of email apps to connect to Gmail instead, such as the official Gmail app, Mailbox, and myMail. They all seem to share at least one common problem: there is no support for background app refresh. Which means that when you swipe on that email notification, you have to have an internet connection, or else your email won't load. And even if you have it, there is an annoying delay before you can read the email.
Luckily for me, Google Hangouts implemented support for background app refresh, and it works beautifully. They've also integrated Hangouts into the web Gmail client, which works great as well, both for Hangouts/G-Chat and for SMS. So now I can say "adieu" to SMS-to-email forwarding; it has lost its use, and has been superseded by newer and better technology.
4. iOS 8 app crashes and bugs.
iOS 8 is not the most stable of operating systems. Though I'm not seeing as many rendering artifacts as I did with my iPhone 5, both Mail and Camera apps have crashed on me way too many times. There are some interesting bugs as well. For instance, try putting the Camera app into the video recording mode, hit "play" from the Control Center, and then start recording a video. If you listen closely, you will hear the sound of Apple's programmers getting fired.
Sure, it's better than the battery in my iPhone 5, which after two years of use lasts for about 15 minutes during active use. The iPhone 6's battery went down to about 65% after two hours of dicking around. And I'm not talking about heavy usage and playing video games that will make your phone warm enough to heat your apartment during winter. No, just playing around with settings and shooting a few 30-second slo-mo videos. Not great.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with what the iPhone 6 has to offer. The slo-mo feature alone kept me occupied for hours at a time! Now let's get some support for push in Gmail accounts, and "we in beez"!