Thursday, 11 September 2014

10 Reasons: iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus or Something Else?

Short Version
Let's say if the rumours of a 5.5" iPhone turned out to be false I was going to move forward with an iPad Mini purchase (having previously evaluated the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom). But Apple have announced UK pre-ordering for the iPhone 6 Plus starting Friday 12th September 2014.

I'm probably going to go for the white/silver colour.



Long Version
Remember I am framing my decision around compact capablities, clutter reduction, media acquisition and production - with an established baseline of a device with every-day communication and messaging capability. Convergence in a world of natural divergence.

Firstly, shooting video and then also recording digitial audio through the lightning connector is going to require power. The bigger the battery, the more shooting before recharging is needed. When recording using the Apogee MiC or other Lightning microphone, the port is not available for simultaneous charging. While workable on an iPhone 5s and prior comparable devices (I have shot an entire frugalwave feature film on iPhone 4S), having a bigger battery that lasts longer reduces admin and increases confidence. An iPad Mini is great in this respect, but just like the larger sized iPad, it does not have the compact capability to slip into a pocket. So the iPhone 6 Plus seems a good choice.

Secondly, when monitoring video I find the iPhone 5s screen is not an ideal size. It's fine for close-ups but more difficult for me to judge long shot compositions for focus points. Again, I find the iPad Mini is a great size for this, but yet again the call of pocketability sees me gravitating toward iPhone every time. So a 5.5" screen on the iPhone 6 Plus seems like the perfect middle ground.

Thirdly, continuing on the established theme of the iPhone 6 Plus, it has optical image stabilisation when taking video. Although the iPhone 5s digitial image stabilisation is pretty good (and apps like Hyperlapse co-ordinate with the device's gyroscope to make it even better), the iPhone 6 Plus will offer a definite, if incremental, improvement.

Fourthly, I am digging Touch ID on the iPhone 5s. There is currently no class of iPad that offers Touch ID (although they are undoubtedly coming).

Fifthly, I have already consolidated my wallet with my iPhone 5s using a Pack&Smooch. Getting an iPad reverses my personal minimalism trend by giving me "one more thing" to carry about.

Sixthly, the iPhone 6 Plus has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 and supports shooting 1080P video at 60fps. The iPhone 5s can shoot 60fps, heck it can even shoot 2K and 4K but it is unsupported by Apple. That means those unsupported modes may not be as robust as I need it out in the field. The Plus fixes that concern.

Seventhly, editing video on the 5.5" screen of the Plus will be a dream compared to editing it on the 5s 4" screen. Secretly I'm also hoping that the 5.5" phablet will also unlock some of the 'iPad only' features of iMovie like L-cuts and J-cuts - then I might even consider editing something longer form on iOS (my aforementioned feature film was shot on iPhone 4S and edited on a MacBook using Final Cut Pro X).

Eighthly, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus 'focus pixels' that bring DSLR autofocus speeds to iPhoneography are a welcome addition. Considering this may be the last expensive thing I can buy for a long long long time, it makes sense to have as much useful capability packed into it as possible.

Ninethly, let's face it, that 5.5" screen will totally trump the 4" screen for gaming. When I had an iPad Mini I was totally into racing games like the Asphalt and Need For Speed series, but with my older eyes those games put me at a major disadvantage on a 4" screen.

Tenthly, I continue to be impressed with iPhone audio given the constraints on playback and recording. As far as I know, Tomlinson Holman remains an audio consultant to Apple. I expect the number of useful Lightning audio peripherals to expand over the next decade.


Conclusion
So for me, for the intended purpose, it seems like the iPhone 6 Plus would be a good buy. Since we're talking HD video acquisition and editing, it would be foolish to plump for anything other than the 128GB version in terms of storage.

But what colour?

I have given this some thought, as you might expect. I really like the black faceplates, I really like them, all Monolith-like. So I decided I will get the white and silver version.

Why?

As much as I like the black, the white faceplate makes it much easier to see the edges of the frame you are shooting and thus potentially aid in composition. That's the only practical reason. My other reasoning is purely psychological - white looks 'lighter' which somehow looks 'smaller' and 'airy' - so what other colour would the airninja choose?!


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