The new hardware is faster and more powerful, some of it to service the bigger screen and updated iOS 8 operating software. Eventually, it will lead to more sparkly games, faster and more powerful apps. Already, Apple has added its own Health app, of which more below.
Sadly, some of the newest, spangliest of features on the iPhone can’t be reviewed yet in the UK. One of the most striking is Apple Pay, which uses a combo of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a newly arrived NFC chip in the phone to turn the handset into a contactless credit card. Demonstrations we saw last week in Cupertino were certainly seamless and speedy, so assuming Apple is able to do the deals with UK banks and credit card companies that it’s done in the States, this could be a very big deal.
Of course, Android phones have had similar features for some time. EE customers have the Cash On Tap app on various phones, including the S5, which turns the phone into a virtual Oyster card, for instance. But NFC hasn’t really taken off yet. Apple Pay could change this.
Other phones have fingerprint sensors, too, but the Apple model is superb not least because it’s effort-free. By resting your thumb or finger on the home button as you would to wake the phone, the Touch ID feature is invoked. The Samsung Galaxy S5 by contrast requires a swiping movement to make it work - definitely a little less intuitive.
Similarly, there's VoLTE - that’s Voice over LTE - which promises to deliver voice calls through 4G data; handy if your 2G signal is weak at home, say. It needs both handsets to be on VoLTE and for networks to play ball. EE is involved but the service hasn’t been rolled out yet. The feature is partly made possible by a faster LTE chip which can deliver up to 150Mbps downloads, when the networks can match this.