Sunday, September 28, 2014

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iOS 8

...iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iOS 8...

Apple's New Hotness!

At BulletTrain, we've been busy working on the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 Plus, and our designs are almost complete! We hope to launch pre-orders for the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus on Kickstarter within the next month or so.

If you haven't already, check out our iPhone 6 SAFE Wallet Announcement!

Here are some of the highlights of what early adopters of the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6 are enjoying!

Customers have had the chance to check out the latest from Apple for about a week now, and there are some strong opinions forming out there! Let's take a look at the latest and greatest from Apple!

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

New Screen Sizes: 4.7” and 5.5”

Apple’s iPhones maintained a standard 3.5” to 4” screen since the iPhone’s inception in 2007, which only changed with the introduction of the taller screen on the iPhone 5 in 2012.

With the advent of the iPhone 6, the iPhone is now more immersive than ever, with beautiful high-pixel-density displays! The iPhone 6 holds the bar at 326 pixels per inch (standard Retina resolution), while the iPhone 6 Plus steals the show with a game-changing 401 pixels per inch–on what Apple calls its Retina HD display. Steve Jobs told us with the introduction of the original Retina display that the human eye could not discern anything above 326 PPI, but if you take a look at the iPhone 6 Plus, you'll clearly see otherwise... Pun intended!

It's also worth noting there are many different ways to measure the significance of these changes. The iPhone 5 family devices offer a 4-inch, 1,136 x 640 pixel display (640p) which equates to 728,178 total pixels.

The iPhone 6 offers a 4.7-inch, 1,334 x 750 pixel display (750p), delivering 1,000,500 total pixels–also commonly referred to as a 1 Megapixel display. The iPhone 6 Plus offers a whopping 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel display (1080p Full HD), with 2,073,600 total pixels–that means the iPhone 6 Plus has a 2 Megapixel display! It is profound to consider, while not that much larger than the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus features twice as many pixels!!!

The image below perfectly illustrates the profound difference between how the iPhone 6 Plus (left) and iPhone 6 displays handle pixel resolution. It's worth noting Apple has been quietly optimizing their native applications for these higher resolutions, so the on-screen elements dynamically display differently on both devices. The example below of the Maps App illustrates a more immersive and more detailed image of the San Francisco peninsula on the left.

Customers seem to be BIG fans of the larger screen sizes. The behemoth 5.5 inch iPhone 6 Plus is sought after by the hardest of core, but some customers find this newly enlarge screen to be "too big"! The 4.7 inch iPhone 6 doesn't offer the same level of immersion, but that seems to be fine for most customers. Where the 6 Plus has a split between those who "love it" and "hate it", the iPhone 6 is rather widely accepted by Apple's customer base.

The iPhone 6 might obviously be somewhat more portable, but the iPhone 6 Plus definitely provides the more immersive experience. Having handled both, I can safely say that BOTH iPhones feel like they are just the right size. The question of "which one is better" is truly a matter of preference.

Stay tuned to BulletTrain to see how we make the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus SAFER!

We have big plans for the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 - and especially the iPhone 6 Plus! The newly increased dimensions will afford space for some truly stunning features to be implemented in the new SAFE Wallets. To get your imaginations going, more height and width means that the SAFE Wallet could do MORE for you! How else would YOU simplify your life?

State-of-the-art Mobile Processors - A8 and M8

Apple’s new A8 processor gives the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus double the transistor count of the A7, clocking in at 2 billion transistors on a single chip! The A8 is complemented by the M8, which serves as a powerful co-processor aimed at tracking motion, elevation, and other activity metrics more accurately than ever! The newfound accuracy of these sensors most definitely contribute to the feature set found in the new Health App!

The lightning-fast reflexes of the A8 processor make the latest and greatest run as smooth as butter on the new hardware. Where iOS 8 and its features are pushing previous models beyond their comfort zones, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are a dream to operate!

This newfound horse power fueled by these powerful chips make the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus the fastest and most capable iPhones ever!

New, Super-powered Camera - Optical Image Stabilization and more!

Some of the best camera features of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are vast improvements on previous features which now perform like they are ready for prime time. Improved autofocus (using new Focus Pixel technology), dynamic face detection, exposure control, and bigger and better panoramas up to 43 megapixels are among the repertoire of both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The video camera feature can also now record at 1080p at 30 or 60 fps!

The iPhone 6 Plus will feature an exclusive new optical image technology that stabilizes like never before using the A8, the M8, and sensed motion and lighting information to produce images that are richer and clearer than ever! This creates a pronounced divide between the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6, even more so than the screen size.

Another killer feature is the improved slow-motion video built into the iPhone 6’s camera. The iPhone 5s introduced this slow-motion feature, letting users capture video at 120 fps. Now, on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, users will be able to shoot video at a stunning 240 fps!

Better Batteries All Around!

The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus have gotten a hefty upgrade to their batteries. It also comes as no surprise that the 6 Plus is equipped with a larger battery. The iPhone 6 has a 1,815mAh battery, and the 6 Plus is rocking 2,915mAh. 

Those numbers speak volumes for some, but here are some runtime statistics provided by Apple, which paints a pretty good picture!

iPhone 6
Talk time: Up to 14 hours on 3G
Standby time: Up to 10 days (250 hours)
Internet use: Up to 10 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 11 hours on Wi‑Fi
Video playback: Up to 11 hours
Audio playback: Up to 50 hours
iPhone 6 Plus
Talk time: Up to 24 hours on 3G
Standby time: Up to 16 days (384 hours)
Internet use: Up to 12 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on LTE, up to 12 hours on Wi‑Fi
Video playback: Up to 14 hours
Audio playback: Up to 80 hours

It’s interesting to see how the numbers above vary. For instance, 3G Talk Time on the 6 Plus is up to 24 hours, up from 14 hours on the iPhone 6; this difference represents a 71% increase in effective capacity.

On the other hand, the iPhone 6 Plus will only have a 1 hour boost in Wifi Internet Use over the iPhone 6’s 11 hours; this yields only a 9% effective increase. Below, you can see our full analysis of the effective battery usage between iPhone 6 models.

iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
Usage Difference
Usage Difference (%)
Talk Time
Standby Time
Internet Use (in hrs; 3G, LTE, Wifi)
10 / 10 / 11
12 / 12 / 12
2 / 2 / 1
20% / 20% / 9%
Video Playback
Audio Playback

Many early adopters are reporting that battery life isn't clocking in as high as Apple's reports did. To an extent, this is to be expected, but weren't some early reviewers reporting that the fabled "all-day" iPhone batteries had arrived? It is yet to be seen exactly how well the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus batteries will stand up to scrutiny.

However, as many experts and developers have reported, as the 2-3 day "re-entry" period of re-indexing your data and updating all your user data to the iOS 8 environment comes to an end, so too should the battery life start to perform as expected. Again, results have been mixed. We hope to see some certain improvement with some future software updates!

When Apple's upgraded batteries take full effect, will we need to charge less? Or is it possible that everyone is using their new iPhones so much more, that battery life will take another hit? Regardless of exactly where the dust settles, our commitment to make future SAFE Wallets as accessible as possible has never been greater. We are pleased to report that our prototype of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus is compatible with 100% of third party Lightning cables and headphones!

Stay tuned to BulletTrain for more in coming weeks!

Better and Faster LTE, Faster Wifi

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus mark the first time the iPhone supports the latest consumer standards of 802.11ac. This means that the iPhone is going to get some – theoretically – screaming Wi-fi speeds! The LTE antenna in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also gives a steady 50% boost in data LTE speeds, up to 150 Mbps! Now the only question is: which major carrier will step up to the plate and deliver 150 Mbps LTE?

Apple has also designed the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to support VoLTE (Voice over LTE) - an emerging technology that places cellular calls over the LTE network rather than over the traditional 3G/4G cellular bands. The result is that two VoLTE-connected devices experience richer call quality (note - this is not limited to Apple devices)! 

This will also enable iPhone users on CDMA networks (like Verizon and Sprint) to finally use cellular data while on a call! Major carriers are expected to fully roll this technology out in 2015, and some Verizon markets are getting access before the end of the year! It will be exciting to see how the wireless capability of the new iPhone fully come to light. It's a shame that consumer telecommunications are behind the curve!

ApplePay and NFC - Apple’s Answer to Mobile Payments

NFC technology is nothing new, and neither is the concept of using a smartphone as a payment method. While Apple’s implementation of the technology isn’t completely revolutionary at a surface level, the security of the system seems to be greater than other mobile payment systems that have come before it.

Some of you may recall the quiet launch of Google Wallet in 2011. Many critics hailed that this was a sign of things to come – that Apple had missed the boat, and that Google would forever reign supreme in the mobile industry. This major undertaking by Google is often heralded to be a "flop" due to a staggeringly low adoption rate by Android users.

Learning from Google's folly, Apple has forged partnerships with VISA, MasterCard, and American Express to make ApplePay a widely compatible solution for all major credit and debit cards. To make things even more accessible, addition of cards is a 2-step process, requiring only a photo of each side of the card and verification of a small pending charge to the card. 

To make it even simpler, an ApplePay payment over NFC is authorized using your Touch ID - so its as simple as a press of your finger! Some critics have found potential security concerns, but it’s worth noting that Apple is still perfecting their payment system for prime time. 

In the announcement on September 9, 2014, it was announced that ApplePay would be introduced as an update to iOS 8 by the holidays. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for iOS 8.1 and ApplePay!

At BulletTrain, we identified even before the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 5 that the world was moving in a direction of digital payments. Apple plans to introduce some amazing new mobile payment features this year, but will this mean you don’t need a SAFE Wallet anymore?

Nonsense! ApplePay is a wonderfully innovative solution - there’s no doubt about it! But how soon will we see ApplePay as a national payment standard accepted at 100% of points of sale? My thought is we are very far from this as a reality. Additionally, we carry more than just credit and debit cards every day! What about your Driver’s License? State ID? RFID for work? Insurance card? Membership card? Business cards? Not to mention - what about a few low-profile cash bills? 

ApplePay is shaping up to be a huge boon for convenient payments, but even that level of convenience can’t compete with the SAFE Wallet! The SAFE Wallet simplifies more than just payments - the SAFE Wallet is a way to simplify your life!

iOS 8 New Features - A Quick Rundown

Health & HealthKit

Apple's new Health app tracks input from compatible devices and applications (like the Apple Watch, and other fitness trackers) and puts the information to work for you! The Health app also adds a much-needed Emergency Card available on the Lockscreen under “Emergency”. Apple even has a custom API - HealthKit - that developers can call in their apps to make new uses for your data!

At the advent of HealthKit and iOS 8, this feature set looks very promising. It would be reasonable for us to expect to see this platform grow into its own in the next 6-12 months.

Wi-Fi Calling

This new feature will let you make calls on your Wifi network without needing cellular signal. It is currently supported on T-Mobile in the US, and EE in the UK for now. 

This feature does seem to require carrier authentication, apparently so the iPhone will be able to transfer the calls back and forth between cellular bands and Wifi.

Let's imagine the practical implications here. We've all been at those spots with no cell signal, right? Well just imagine - as long as you have data through Wifi, you can make calls without cellular signal. This goes way beyond FaceTime audio calls, because it is 100% universal! This requires no apps, no special accounts, and it will even seamlessly drop back onto cellular bands when available!

If this performs like it should based on the concept work, this will be a huge boon to all iPhone users!


From what we’ve seen, Handoff looks a little clunky, but it does provide a simple way to hand emails off between devices. 

For those who aren’t deeply and intimately familiar with how their email account(s) and/or their “Drafts” box works, then it provides a simpler solution to a potentially daunting task.

iCloud Drive

iCloud is getting a complete functional overhaul with iOS 8, which some critics say will “fix” the currently-limited performance of iCloud. For those who never used iCloud’s predecessor, MobileMe, iCloud greatly simplified what was a robust cloud-based storage system.

With iOS 8, iCloud brings back what iDisk did right - navigable folder file management. iCloud Drive’s storage rates are also reaching more competitive price-points compared to those of Dropbox and Google Drive.

Apple ID Family Sharing

Having spent a solid year troubleshooting as a part of AppleCare, I can say with confidence that the Apple ID is something that people often do wrong. If someone doesn’t have 4 Apple ID’s each with different purchased content, then they might be a parent unknowingly giving their child free reign on iTunes Store purchases - and giving themselves a big headache.

Family Sharing can fix both of these major issues, by letting you link Apple ID’s in a “Family Group”. The Apple ID’s can be invited based on the email addresses, and can be given different levels like “Adult” or “8 years old”.

Linked Apple ID’s can access content from other linked accounts, meaning that you no longer have to worry about which Apple ID you’re logged into! Additionally, the Parent/Child relationship comes with some really slick request-based permissions for purchases.

QuickType and third-party keyboards

A new predictive suggestion will display words above the keyboard, allowing users to type out text messages and emails faster. By using context suggestions, different patterns and styles of writing are predicted based on who you are contacting.

One really cool example of how this context-driven suggestions work is that if you receive a message saying “Do you want to get pizza or a sandwich?”, the suggestions will auto-populate the options “pizza”, “sandwich”, and “I don’t know” before you even start typing.

Additional and third-party keyboard support will also come with iOS 8, paving the entrance for major alternatives, such as SwiftKey. TextExpander now works in potentially any app too with their own custom keyboard!

Interactive notifications

Users can now pull down from a notification and reply there and then, without having to leave the app you're in. The greatest use for this is obviously in Messages - that means we no longer need to switch apps to Messages in order to reply!

This is a HUGE deal to the iPhone Jailbreaking community, where one of the biggest reasons to Jailbreak is a function called “Quick Reply”, which Apple has found a way to elegantly integrate into iOS 8. In addition, more and more developers are starting to roll this out in their apps, further increasing the added convenience!

SMS Support in iMessage

Traditional SMS messages will now synchronize across iMessage to other devices, including Macs. This means that you’ll be able to see all of your messages in all places, which, depending on the situation, could be a good thing or a bad thing.

One upside of this feature is that iPhone owners will finally be able to send SMS (rather than just iMessage) from your iPad and Mac computer! This is a big improvement, the real test will come over time to see if Apple will redeem themselves after the “iMessage Deactivation” debacle earlier this year.

Photo Sharing Improvements

iCloud has been helping people share photos with friends, family, and even their own devices with Photostream and Photo Sharing; but it’s a bit clunky. Apple has completely changed how the Photos app shares photos.

Now, all photos taken in the Camera app are automatically uploaded and browsable on iCloud, and can be shared automatically with all Family Group members (see Family Sharing above). Photostream notifications are now faster than ever, too, letting you see invitations and more for shared Photostreams at a moment’s notice!

Safari/Share Extensions

Safari and other built-in elements of iOS have always been pretty locked-down. Now, in iOS 8, developers can design their apps to work inside the operating system like never before!

One of the best examples is that applications 1Password and LassPass have extensions that let you access your saved passwords right inside Safari. Another way Apple opened this up is with a Share extension. This is similar to the Safari extensions, but lets you build in app-specific functions to send content to.

Enterprise features

iOS 8 includes a number of enterprise-focused and manageability features, including Device Enrollment Program, which sets up your device automatically — like apps, mail, contacts, and more. This is great for Enterprise users, but doesn’t mean much to the everyday iPhone user!

In Conclusion…

Apple has given the public good reason to be excited about the new iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, and iOS 8. The direction of Apple’s new designs are certainly promising, and seem to bring a new degree of ease of use to its flagship smartphones, even at the larger form factors!

As we’ve reported, we already have our designs for the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 Plus nearly complete, and will soon be prototyping and launching pre-orders! If you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to sign up for our newsletter to get updates from BulletTrain on new product announcements!

Thanks for reading, and feel free to post in the comments below, or to send your thoughts by email!

Warmest Regards,

Alex Davie
Director of Operations


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