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The iPhone Catch-up Keynote

So Apple launched its bid for this buying season's customer dollar in California today and it looks like all of the leaks managed to be pretty much spot on.

There were two new iPhones - in regular and extra-large sizes. There wasn't really a great step forward for either. The smaller of the two is clearly going to appeal to upgrading iPhone users, it isn't that much less pocketable than the current iPhone 5 generation devices, but packs a significant screen upgrade.

I have to question that screen upgrade though, because Apple short-changed it's customers by failing to drop a 1080p screen in here. We know that 4.7" screens are available at 1080p resolutions - the  HTC One was rocking one eighteen months ago. Apple gave the 6 Plus a 1080p screen so it would make sense, from a developer point of view at least, to give the iPhone 6 generation a single screen resolution to work with. Screen elements built for a 5.5" screen are going to be any less usable at 4.7".

The larger iPhone 6 Plus gets some nice upgrades compared to the smaller twin, that 1080p screen for starters, as well as a bigger battery and a landscape mode a la iPad Mini. It's a big device though, as wide as the Note 4 and taller too, despite the latter's bigger screen. It positively dwarfs the LG G3. And of course both of those devices pack a QuadHD screen which is significantly sharper than 1080p at 5.5".

The camera 'upgrade' looks disappointing too. The 6 gets larger pixels and the 6 Plus adds OIS, but both still have to make do with 8Mpixels. Given that just about everyone else has demonstrated what can be done with more dense sensors that feels like a fail to me. At least a new new autofocus system will allow users to make best use of what's there. There's an even faster slow-motion mode for video capture, whilst time-lapse becomes an option for the first time.

Also disappointing is what has been left off the iPhone 6. No wireless charging, no waterproofing and  no real improvement in battery life (on the smaller phone anyway). Apple spent far too long playing catch-up to features that rivals have had for years. Much of the iPhone 6 looks like it was telegraphed in from 2012 and even the design is less impressive than before.

It does feel to me like Apple played very safe with this upgrade, probably aware that the large jump in device size had potential to alienate loyal users. Those users are going to be snapping up the 6 in droves, though.

It's clear that the smaller phone is going to be the better seller here, but I think the Plus will also build it's own cult following - especially as the more advanced note-taking apps and fine line styli make their way down from the iPad.

Still, there's no question that Apple is going to post record sales from now through to the end go the year. 27% of iPhone users are carrying an iPhone 5 and are probably itching for an upgrade.

I just don't think there's anything here to tempt premium Android users to make the switch.


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