iPhone 6 upgrade: 7, 8 and XR for budget users
Apple will stop offering new software updates for the iPhone 6 in September, which will cause many longtime iPhone fans to begin their search, if they haven’t already, for a new model.
So here’s a weekend project: Start thinking about a replacement.
Maybe you want the latest and greatest, or perhaps you’d rather save money with an older, less powerful iPhone.
Surprise. We just went over the specs between the iPhone XR (the most current entry-level model) and the two preceding devices (iPhone 8 and iPhone 7), and the differences are slight in every category but photography.
“That’s the one category where you’ll really see a difference,” says Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies.
The iPhone XR
You’ll pay $750 for a phone with a 6.1-inch screen, 12-megapixel camera, A12 processor chip, 64 gigabytes of storage and the best resolution of the three models being discussed here, 1792 x 828.
This model has a smaller 4.7-inch screen, the same 12-megapixel camera, an A11 processing chip, 64 GBs of storage, 1334 x 750 resolution and a price tag of $599.
You can pick up the 7, originally released in 2015, for $449, get the same 4.7-inch screen of the iPhone 8, same 12-megapixel camera, a slightly less powerful A10 chip, 32 GBs of storage and the same 1334 x 750 resolution.
All three models shoot video in 4K resolution, while the 7 captures slow-motion footage in slightly lower 720 resolution at 240 frames per second, vs. 1080p on the iPhone 8 and XR.
So far, you can see that the XR is bigger, has better resolution and a slightly more powerful processing chip.
How important is the chip?
The A12 chip was touted at the iPhone XR launch event as being “15%” faster than the previous one, and Bajarin says the A12 is so speedy, it’s “capable of 5 trillion operations per second.”
How do most of us use the processing power? For augmented reality apps (which have yet to take off) games or high-end photography, like capturing images in slow motion and processing them right away for viewing.
What about Photography?
Speaking of cameras, this is where consumers would see the biggest difference between the models.
If you’re happy snapping quick Selfies and group shots, capturing your food as it’s being delivered to your table along with quick video clips, you’ll have no issues with the iPhone 7 or 8 camera.
However, you do get a perk with the XR (and the plus versions of the iPhone 7, 8 and X series) that brings in extra features in the Portrait Mode setting. This is where you can blur the background, in the style of a professional level DSLR camera.
The XR, 8 and 7 all have one camera lens. The Plus versions of the 8 ($699) and 7 ($569) have two cameras, a wide-angle and medium portrait lens. So if you’re really into photography, these models make more sense because they’re more versatile.
Another bonus with the XR is the ability to create “animojis” based on your image and use them in text messages.
But if you’ve held onto the iPhone 6 for 5 years and haven’t felt the need to upgrade, then you probably won’t be itching for some of the cool new features of the XR, says Bajarin.
The new iPhones, which are expected to be released in September, will come in three new models, say analysts, and the top-of-the-line model is in line to have three camera lenses, with the extra lens being ultra-wide-angle.
Consumers looking to buy a new iPhone now would be historically inclined to hold off for after Labor Day when Apple announces the new lineup and tends to lower the prices of older phones by at least $100.
The new top-of-the line iPhone model is expected to again top $1,000, like the iPhone XS and XS Max.
In other tech news this week
In announcing its quarterly earnings, Amazon said the introduction of one-day shipping for members of the Prime expedited shipping and entertainment service had paid off with greater sales, and that there is more fast shipping to come.
Facebook said it would pay a $5-billion settlement to the Federal Trade Commission for its various privacy breaches.
Samsung said it would finally release the controversial Fold phone, the one that expands like a book, in September. In early press reviews, the phone broke for several critics. Wireless carrier T-Mobile said it won’t carry the phone, but AT&T will.