Why all the hype?

During the fall of 2011, around the time that Apple’s most formidable competitors Samsung released their Galaxy Note phone, the then Apple CEO Steve Jobs criticized the phone for being so large “you can’t get your hand around it”. A few weeks later the iconic co-founder of Apple Inc. passed, leaving behind a legacy of technological success. The company he had started in a garage with long time friend Steve Wozniak was seemingly dictating the market for premium gadgets.

Stock markets agreed, as Apple Inc. (AAPL) had a market capitalization greater than any other time in its 30-year trading history till that point.  With all the success the eccentric visionary had brought to the company, it followed that Steve’s way was best. If he thought phones with screen sizes in excess of 4.5 inches were a bad idea, no employee of Apple could say otherwise, especially after his death.

Steve Jobs during an interview

Steve Jobs disliked big phones because “you can’t get your hand around it”

As it turned out, they didn’t need to. The massive success of the Galaxy Note 2 and Note 3 generated enough profit for Samsung that in 2014, Apple could no longer ignore the phablet market. In fairness to the Cupertino company, iPhone sales had been breaking sales records with every release. One cannot blame them for ignoring the allure for more Samsung’s profits must have stirred up in their investors. Apple fought off the calls for change, focusing instead on streamlining their production process and even establishing a sapphire plant in Arizona. Tim Cook, a man with a great understanding of supply chain management, struggled to warm up to consumers. Where Steve Jobs was spontaneous and comfortable in front of a crowd, Tim struggled to elevate the product launch events into the game-changers his predecessor staged.

Cracks were also beginning to appear in their design choices. The iPhone 5S came in a gold option and had a fingerprint scanner on the home button. Such decisions showed that Apple recognized that Samsung’s ability to model their marketing campaigns on new features was the source of their soaring growth, and Apple’s shareholders wanted a slice of the cake. Fast-forward to 2014 and videos like the one below by television host Conan O’Brien began surfacing. Consumers were beginning to feel gap growing between their beloved iPhone and other flagship Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Sony Xperia Z2, HTC ‘s One M8, and the LG G3. Something had to be done and done in a hurry. Not only was Apple falling behing in the smartphone market, but also in the wearables market. Samsung, Sony and Motorola all had smart watches on the shelves. Apple on the other hand had not confrimed nor denied that they would enter the fast saturating market.

Conan O’Brien teases the upcoming iPhone 6.

As we approached September 2014, the scheduled month for some sort of device announcement, the rumour mill was abuzz with pictures of concepts. From the probable to the obscure, one thing was clear from the “leaked” images; Apple was finally going to produce a large screened version of the iPhone. Predicting this years iPhone turned out to be rather simple, with Tim Cook even joking during the launch that “all the rumours are correct”. The man who had enormous shoes to fill was growing into his role. So much so in fact that he threw in the old “one more thing” that Steve Jobs used as a sort of encore to introduce another device. When crowds thought the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus was all they were getting, Tim, to the pleasant surprise of everyone in attendance, announced the Apple Watch. But that’s a story for another day.

Apple CEO Tim Cook One More Thing

Apple CEO Tim Cook invokes the late Steve Jobs

The Verdict

The iPhone 6, and more specifically the iPhone 6 Plus are truly magnificent from what we’ve got on paper. The 5.5 inch screen, Apple Pay and the option for 128GB of storage space sound very enticing. However with the 128GB version of the iPhone 6 Plus being priced at $499 (on a 2-year contract), it remains to be seen just how popular these will be. Initial signs are positive for Apple, who have sold out their initial stock of iPhone 6 Plus’. At the time of writing, only the iPhone 6  is available for pre-order from the official Apple website.

I’ll do a full review once the phone starts shipping around the 19th of September according to Apple. Sadly, Bloomberg is reporting supply shortages which could delay shipping for the iPhone 6 Plus by as much as 4 weeks. Hit the follow buttons below for more as it develops.