And I so hoped Apple would have a winner on its hands this year, a new iPhone that would woo me like no other smartphone has done before. And it does. Kind of. But, it's not the 4.7in iPhone 6, it's the 5.5in iPhone 6 Plus which was revealed on Tuesday (opens in new tab).
Yes, it's the darn new phablet on the block! And that's a problem. Having to go for a phablet to get the best iPhone is extremely limiting and stupid. Where's the normal-sized iPhone 6 that everyone can call the best iPhone yet? This one? I'm not feeling it. It's rubbish. What have you done, Apple?
This has got everything to do with the specs. I am not the first person to call Apple out for using hardware which someone had to raid a parts trash bin to find. The iPhone 6 that I've been waiting for does not feel like an iPhone with sub-par hardware. It just doesn't. The important bits are clearly inferior to Android flagships (heck, even top Windows Phones, which were known for using lesser hardware in the past) and iPhone 6 Plus, and, as you can well tell by now, I am one step away from using curse words to describe it. I'm trying not to go there. No promises that won't happen before the last period.
The screen size is neither too small nor too big. It's just fine. And that's fine. Fine is something I can live with. And pay for. But I can't live with and I sure won't pay for that downright low resolution. What is that? 1,334 x 750 is slightly better than 720p. And which company still uses that in a flagship smartphone today? Not even a Windows Phone maker stoops that low right now in a so-called flagship. It's pathetic. 1,920 x 1,080 would have been so, so much better. And I would have gladly accepted that. But, no, that is reserved for iPhone 6 Plus. Why?
Because common sense dictates that Apple couldn't make iPhone 6 as energy-efficient as it needed to be in order to meet the same battery life ratings as it does now. But couldn't Apple just have stuck a bigger battery in there? Well, no, because iPhone 6 just had to be thin. So thin that you might even struggle to grab it. That last bit doesn't sound likely, but still... Apple should let go of this silly obsession of pursuing the ultimate thinness. We can all live with a slightly thicker iPhone; the last one wasn't all that thick to begin with. That would mean space for a bigger battery, which would lead to better battery life. And we all want that, don't we? Kinda like the iPhone 6 Plus offers.
But, wait, maybe that higher thickness would mean a bigger camera sensor would also fit. You know, one that has optical image stabilisation, but doesn't have as few as 8 megapixels. And it's not like the current sensor and overall design make much sense together either, as the camera lens sticks out a bit. Why? I mean, it's not an elegant solution. I would know. I'm an engineer and, to me, that looks like Apple designed the whole phone and then remembered it had to put a camera in there. Sir Ive, were you indisposed when that decision was made? No matter, it can't sit flush so it has to stick out now. Maybe if it had optical image stabilisation that would have been fine. Maybe...
Sure, we have seen other manufacturers making the same mistake, but at least I can find a reasonable explanation for the bump. Nokia, for instance, has designed Lumia 1020 with that hump on the back because the sensor is too big; making the outer lens element sit flush would have meant a really, really thick phone. The same goes for Samsung's Galaxy range, even though they use smaller sensors.
Speaking of the camera, why not make it slightly bigger to also make 4K video recording possible? I know it's a feature that many of us may not want now, but with the push towards 4K-ready TVs and monitors, it makes sense to have a future-proof smartphone that can deliver crisp content on all modern displays. Sure, it can do 240 fps in 720p, but, like a good friend pointed out, it's still 720p. When I see 720p videos, I immediately look for the toggle which lets me see them in 1080p or better.
Also, unless Apple has been disconnected from the world this past year, a lot of smartphones can already do 1080p video recording at 60 fps, which is also one of the highlights of iPhone 6, and 4K video recording too, which, as I pointed out, is a big missing feature. So, the best that it can do is not the best other rivals can do.(opens in new tab)
Now, I am sure many people will pre-order iPhone 6, queue to buy it (opens in new tab) and renew their mobile operator contracts for one. But, to me, it's just not worth the asking price. Maybe if it would have been sold for $100 (£60) on contract or $600 (£370) off-contract, with 64GB of storage in tow it would have made sense. But, right now, iPhone 6 is a failure in my eyes. From where I'm standing, Apple has simply missed the opportunity to lure those Android users tempted by the idea to move to a bigger, but not phablet-sized, iPhone.
On the other hand, just look at iPhone 6 Plus. It has a bigger screen, with a much higher resolution, which gives it a pixel density that Apple can still be proud of in 2014. Its camera, even though it is still an 8 megapixel unit and its lens still sticks out, has optical image stabilisation for stills, which means that it will take better photos more often. Oh, and because it is also thicker and has a bigger battery, Apple is able to claim it gets better battery life too. What do you know, it's not rubbish.
It still has a couple of problems, from a design and specs standpoint, but, as an expensive smartphone purchase, it makes much more sense. That is even though it is $100 more expensive (£80 in the UK). I hope this is not the case, but right now I won't call anyone crazy for saying iPhone 6 exists just so people can see it as rubbish and opt for the bigger iPhone 6 Plus instead. I hope that's not the reason why it's so darn unimpressive.