10 things you should know before buying iPhone 6 or 6 Plus
Launch day is over, and now the weekend warriors descend on Apple and cellular carrier stores looking to buy iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Expect mayhem everywhere. Not since 2010 has there been such long lines for or insanity about a new "i" device. I expected nutsville, even with preorder option, but nothing like this.
To be honest, the frenzy defies logic and there must be some kind of mob mentality driving it. I am reminded of Windows 95's nearly 20 years ago. Some people will point to past iPhone launches as being as big or bigger. No. iPhone 4 was the last gigantic debut weekend, before Apple started taking preorders, a mechanism that shifted sales away from the big day. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are much larger when factoring in those 4 million first 24-hour preorders (and others) ahead of September 19 store openings.
If you're prowling about for either of Apple's newest handsets, I present 10 things you should know (in no order of importance):
1. iPhone 6 Plus is even bigger than you think. Unless already using a phablet, you will find the Plus-size device to be just that. It is ginormous. I stood alongside a woman in a Verizon store yesterday as she compared her iPhone 4S to to the 6 Plus and gasped: "It's so big!" Strangely, the store only displayed the larger handset, which was sold out. She almost bought the 5S, until another customer pulled out the 6. "Oh, that's good", she said.
2. Good luck finding iPhone 6 Plus. The thing is sold out pretty much everywhere. I randomly called Apple Stores this morning, and none had the thing. You can wait or go smaller, which is my recommendation for the majority of buyers. By the way, shortages feed the Apple marketing machine -- and I question how often they're deliberate. Short Plus supplies ensure lots of blog posts, news stories, and social shares, which are worth millions in free marketing.
3. It's a design feature, not a flaw. For reasons that make no sense to me, the new iPhones have roundish rather than flat sides. In my handling iPhone 6, it's a slippery sucker as a result. No phone has ever made me worry about drops. I bought my first cell phone in 1997 and have never busted one, but holding Apple's handset makes me as jittery as watching the latest "Paranormal Activity" installment. If you need a case to use a super slim smartphone isn't there something you should question about the design?
4. So, yeah, you really want to slap a case on the back. Apple's cases -- five in leather and six in silicon -- are excellent choices and really are the only ones in stores today. They feel great and provide the grip that should be on the device but isn't. What an upsell gimmick, eh? So add at least $35 to your purchase price.
5. Do spend the extra $99 on AppleCare+. The plan extends the warranty to 2 years and gives you up to two breakage/damage replacements for $79 each. Given that these phones are larger than what existing iPhone users are accustomed to, the slickness of the aluminum back, and questionable roundish sides, drop risk should concern everyone.
6. Try buying at your cellular carrier store first. With past launches, the carriers sold out pretty fast. But in my checks around San Diego yesterday, they generally had iPhone 6 all day with much shorter lines. Outside Apple Store Fashion Valley, hundreds of people waited three hours after opening, while only a half-dozen at the Verizon shop less than a mile away. In the evening, long lines remained at Apple but not at the carrier, which still had 64GB gold and 128GB white iPhone 6 available.
7. If you're creative, you can still buy even if not eligible for upgrade. For example: If you have home phone service with Verizon. The carrier also will sell you the Ellipsis Android tablet for $250, from which line you can buy discounted iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. That will save you about $200 off the full, no-contract price.
8. Don't buy either of the 16GB models. You will regret the decision later on. Spend the extra $100 for 64GB. It's what Apple wants you to do it anyway, otherwise 32GB would be the smallest option (damn, retail tactics). The 16 gigger lets the company keep the $199 entry price but, by comparison, makes the four-times capacity model a better value -- long as you don't mind spending more. To emphasize: You will want the extra storage. Just ask anyone trying to scrape off 6GB of free space on older iPhones to install iOS 8.
9. Expect problems setting up with Apple ID and restoring apps. As I often say, sync is the killer app for the cloud-connected device era. But in observing two different iPhone 6 models, iCloud sync either needs work or labors under the load of way too many people setting up new devices all at once (hopefully the latter scenario). My restore from backup is slow that a day after receiving the phone, it's not done. So I tried manually installing from the App Store Geez. Should Beats or Pages take 12 hours to download? As I write, they're not installed yet.
10. And finally, iPhone 6 is better than you think. The iSheep -- as the Android Army and other fanboys call them -- can only grow in numbers now. Because iPhone 6 is arguably superb (except for the little dropsy thing). The device feels great, looks better than in the photos, and performs outstandingly in all the ways that matter most (my full review will explain why. I strongly recommend the 64GB model for most buyers, many of whom will be Android Army deserters.