By Paul Gorski
The press seems to love Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Rave reviews fill search engine results. Well, not here. I have been reviewing a new iPhone 6 from U.S. Cellular (http://www.uscellular.com) and I am here to tell you, yes, the phone is bigger than previous iPhone models, but just a little bit better.
First, I like Apple and Motorola smartphones because they have great antennas. I still use my smartphone for old-school phone calls, so having a good antenna in weak signal areas is very important to me; iPhone and Motorola smartphones rarely disappoint me as far as call signal quality is concerned.
Second, I prefer Apple’s iOS to Android for a variety of reasons. iOS is nearly identical in look, feel, and features across all the Apple devices, and consistency is important to me. Depending on your Android-based phone, the manufacturer may add a layer or two of junk on the phone. Note, though, the Motorola phones I like do not have this layer of junk, as Motorola runs stock Android on its phones.
Now, back to the iPhone 6. Apple’s new iPhone 6 measures 4.7 inches and the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches, and both feature brilliant, great-looking Retina HD displays. I tested the iPhone 6 and it was perky and light, almost too light. I started using cell phones with the old brick phones in the early 1990s; the iPhone 6 is a feather compared to my first phones. I am also used to the smaller, 4-inch iPhone 5c that I carry in my pocket. Suffice to say I could get used to the size of the iPhone 6, but the iPhone 6 Plus would be too big for me.
However, Apple released these larger iPhones for the millions of consumers who have purchased and love their larger smartphones from other manufacturers — I urge those users to look at iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. You will like what you see.
It is not all about the hardware, though, and Apple has released iOS 8 (and now 8.1) to complement these new phones. Apple claims this is the biggest iOS update in years; I just do not see it. iOS 7 was a more significant update because it updated (downgraded, in my opinion) the iOS look and feel to resemble the Android OS. In some regards, Apple is still playing catch-up to Android with iOS 8, as iOS 8 now allows third-party keyboards and additional font size customization, features Android has had for a few years.
There are some nice data sharing and integration features if you are have a Mac running Mac OS X 10.10 and an Apple mobile device running iOS 8.1. You can even make calls from your Mac through your phone, but I am not sure when I would do that. If that feature sounds cool to you, visit https://www.apple.com/osx/continuity/.
One of the most talked about, but least mature, features of the new iPhones and iOS 8.1 is Apple Pay, a new electronic, wireless payment system. Retailers need to make changes to their register systems to accommodate Apple Pay, so it will take some time before Apple Pay catches on.
Some vendors seem to be tacking on extra costs to the new iPhones, depending how you purchase them. U.S. Cellular’s pricing is straightforward and does not have hidden costs. You will find the iPhone 6 at U.S. Cellular here: http://www.uscellular.com/uscellular/cell-phones/showPhones.jsp?sort=0&device-category=device-category-smartphone&brand-os=device-os-iOS. U.S. Cellular also has a web-only special price of 1 penny for the iPhone 5s, which is a great phone for those folks looking for a standard-size iPhone.
Let me know what you like about your new iPhone 6.
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.
Posted Oct. 28, 2014