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iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus: release date, prices, features, specs

With the Apple iPhone facing greater competition in the smartphone market than ever before from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2, the iPhone 6 needs to deliver a solid upgrade to keep the smartphone-buying public happy.

With the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple has gone for a serious screen size upgrade, hoping to appeal to Android and Apple users alike, whom wanted a bigger mobile phone in their palm.

Samsung and Sony have already launched new devices ahead of the peak Christmas season, in the form of the Galaxy Note 4 and Xperia Z3 respectively, so how else will Apple keep the iPhone 6 ahead of the pack?

Here's a round-up of all the features and specs of both devices.

HANDS ON: iPhone 6 review

HANDS ON: iPhone 6 Plus review

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus release date

The new iPhones will begin shipping on Friday 19th September with pre-ordering available now. iOS 8 will be made available as a free download on 17th September.

Apple has already announced record iPhone pre-orders, with four million iPhone 6 phones ordered in 24 hours.

MORE: Apple unveils new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

A few months back, many analysts expected Apple to unveil the iPhone 5 successor in September, following a traditional yearly announcement.

Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company was one of the first to speculate, reportedly predicting a September release date, although he also suggested at the time that sources weren't ruling out a summer launch – perhaps as early as June.

Chinese web portal Tencent was one of the first to suggest the iPhone 6 would be released on 19th September and Apple ended speculation on 28th August by confirming a launch event for Tuesday 9th September. Many expected the iWatch to make an appearance as well - and it duly did - but with a different name: Apple Watch.

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus: prices

The sim-free iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus prices are now live on the Apple Store. The 4.7in iPhone 6 will cost £539 (16GB); £619 (64GB) and £699 (128GB), the 5.5in iPhone 6 Plus will set you back £619 (16GB); £699 (64GB) or £789 (128GB).

The major mobile networks will all stock both versions of the iPhone.

Three recommends three of its plans, ranging from £38 - £45 per month with a £100 upfront cost for the phone. Data ranges from 1GB to all-you-can-use.

Vodafone offers 12- and 24-month plans, but expect to pay more per month on the 12-month option. Data options range from 4GB - 20GB. Plans also include a six-month subscription to Netflix and a choice of Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile subscriptions.

O2's refresh tariffs mean you pay separately for the phone and tariff per month. Select variants of the iPhone 6 are free, but come with a high monthly cost. A range of data options are also available.

EE also has a range of tariffs with various upfront costs and data bundles for each iPhone 6 variant. All are available to pre-order now.

iPhone 6 build and design

As many analysts predicted, Apple released two new iPhones: iPhone 6 sports a 4.7in screen while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5in screen - large by Apple standards.

Both devices are also incredibly slim: the iPhone 6 comes in at 6.9mm thick, while the iPhone 6 Plus is slightly thicker at 7.1mm. As a comparison, the iPhone 5S is 7.6mm thick.

Apple will release the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in familiar finishes: Space Grey, white and gold

One of the first pieces of information on the screen size came from analysts Acuri. In a note to investors, Arcuri said that bulk of the handset design was now in place – and a larger, 4.8in display bringing the iPhone into line with its main competitors is looking as if it'll be ticked off the list.

But more reliable sources confidently stated that there would be two iPhone 6 models coming our way this year, with sources quoted by Bloomberg suggesting the screen sizes would come in at 4.7in and 5.5in. A curved glass display was also mentioned, similar to the LG G Flex - not true, although the iPhones do have slightly curved edges to the screens.

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It backs up the rumours of a larger screen size, but also seems to be thinner. An iPhone Air, if you like. How accurate these images are remains to be seen.

It seems likely that Apple will be using sapphire glass for the screen of the iPhone 6 after the tech giant made a deal with GT Advanced Technologies to provide them with sapphire glass materials.

That news came from investor blog Seeking Alpha, which also claims that Apple is planning to use solar cells embedded into the screen as part of efforts to boost battery power; no doubt handy if you're someone who likes to use your iPhone while out and about during daytime. And it would help to go some way to improving the iPhone battery: the most commonly requested upgrade.

According to The Korea Herald, the iPhone 6 was going to feature a bezel-less screen, which would have increased screen size, while still allowing for one-handed use.

Leaked images purporting to be the iPhone 6 also appeared on Chinese social network Weibo, courtesy of Taiwanese pop star Jimmy Lin (Lin is known to have leaked accurate images of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini before their respective launches).

The images in question showed the alleged iPhone 6 against the iPhone 5S. Again it seemed the new iPhone is larger than its predecessor, cementing rumours of the larger screens.

iPhone 6 tech specs

With two different sized iPhones, there's two different resolutions. The iPhone 6 will be 1334 x 750 pixels, while the larger iPhone 6 Plus will be 1920 x 1080.

A new Apple-designed A8 chip has been used, which Apple says delivers "25 percent faster processing power and up to 50 percent faster graphics".

A 1920 x 1080 screen resolution was touted, while there were also suggestions that the new 802.11ac wi-fi standard would be incorporated into the new versions of the iPhone 6.

We expected the 64-bit A7 processor and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor of iPhone 5s fame to have a role to play in the iPhone 6, especially with the A7 being regarded as one of the leading mobile processors around. But instead we got a new A8 processor along with Touch ID.

Chinese site Wei Feng predicted the 5.5in iPhone 6 would come with a massive 128GB of onboard storage. The site also expected the smaller, 4.7in variant to feature 16 and 32GB storage options. This turned out to be partly true. Both iPhones received the same storage options: 16, 64 and 128GB.

Battery power has long been the enemy of many smartphones, and the iPhone range is no different. According to AppleInsider Taiwanese battery manufacturer Simplo Technologies managed to create a battery that is thin and flexible. Apple says the iPhone 6 can provide up to 14 hours of 3G talk time, while the 6 Plus offers 24 hours. Standby times are quoted at 10 and 16 days respectively and video playback is claimed to be 11 and 14 hours respectively.

French website posted images of the supposed iPhone 6 battery back in July. They showed the power rating to be 1810mAh. A step up from the 1560mAh one found in the iPhone 5 range, but a lot smaller than the 3000mAh beast found in the LG G3.

AppleInsider claimed that the 5.5in iPhone 6 would come with a more powerful processor than the smaller, 4.7in variant. However, details and specs of the processor were not given.

iPhone 6 features

Both iPhones will come with an all new 8-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture and True Tone Flash. The iPhone 6 Plus will get the added benefit of optical image stabilisation. A new burst selfie mode will allow users to take several photos of themselves in quick succession too.

Previous rumours suggested the iPhone wouldn't come with a 16MP camera that many were expecting.

Other rumoured iPhone 6 features set to play a big role in the new iPhone include iBeacon, Touch ID and Passbook, which could help bring mobile payments to the iPhone. Recent rumours also suggest this could be the first iPhone to include NFC.

The iPhone 6 will also, of course, come with Apple's latest iteration of iOS: iOS 8.

The new version will come with a whole host of new features including the ability to create group conversations within messages, a much improved Spotlight search and HomeKit which allows you to control all smart devices in your house under one digital roof. We're hoping to hear more about that at the iPhone launch event.

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