iPhone 6 Plus release date, news and features
  • NEW read our iPhone 6 Plus review

Tim Cook took to the stage in Cupertino to announce the firm's eighth generation smartphone and showed us not only the iPhone 6 but a larger version called the iPhone 6 Plus.

The talk ahead of the announcement was of an iPhone 6L, but Apple instead went with the iPhone 6 Plus moniker. The chatter about a 5.5-inch screen was completely on the money however.

  • Check out the live blog from the event to see what happened and when

A phablet size smartphone is huge direction shift for the company which has, up until now, stuck loyally to the smaller form factors - the original 3.5-inch display was only upped two years ago on the iPhone 5 to 4 inches.

At 5.5-inches there's no question that Apple has the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, LG G3 and OnePlus One firmly in its sights with the iPhone 6 Plus, and now with all the details in hand and the phone on sale we'll just have to wait to see how it fares.

  • Read our hands on: iPhone 6 Plus review

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A larger 5.5-inch 1080p version of the iPhone 6
  • When's it out? Now! It went on sale on September 19
  • What will it cost? From $749 in US, £619 in UK and $999 in Australia SIM-free

iPhone 6 Plus name

We'd seen it referred to as the iPhone Air, and 6L but finally we got a leak about that 6 Plus name.

It's a little surprising from Apple, with many suggesting that iPhone 6 Plus is simply not the kind of name that Cupertino's finest tend to stick on their products.

But, we're sure that in a matter of weeks we'll all have got used to the name, and be talking about the chances of seeing a iPhone 7 Plus Air in 2015.

iPhone 6 Plus release date

The phone is out now. It launched on September 19 - with Apple following its now familiar trend of announcing on a Tuesday and then releasing ten days later.

iPhone 6 Plus price

The iPhone 6 Plus is not a cheap option - as you would probably imagine given that it's an Apple product and a large one at that.

In fact, with a two-year contract you'll still be forking over $299 in the US for the 16GB model, with the 64GB variant costing $399 on contract and the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus requiring $499 up front.

If you don't fancy being tied down to a two year deal then you'll need to brace yourself. Off contract, the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus is $749, £619, AU$999, the 64GB model is $849, £699, AU$1129 and the 128GB version will set you back a massive $949, £789, AU$1249. If you're in the UK you can check out our release guide for the lowdown on where to get it.

iPhone 6 Plus display

This is the major talking point surrounding the iPhone 6 Plus. A mammoth (for Apple) 5.5-inch display will take the fight directly to the current phablet market, and no doubt has the Galaxy Note 4 and Nokia Lumia 1520 looking nervously over their shoulders.

A big screen requires a big resolution, Retina won't cut it at this level as it will just look too pixelated.

Thankfully Apple has realized this and it's equipped the iPhone 6 Plus with a full HD - or "Retina HD", if you want Apple's marketing speak - display of 1920 x 1080 with a 401ppi density.

iPhone 6 Plus screen

While it may not be the QHD display you'll find on the LG G3, this resolution is more than acceptable and it's good to finally see Apple offering a full HD smartphone.

But it's not just the resolution that's been improved. The iPhone 6 Plus, like the iPhone 6, has higher contrast, more accurate colours at wider viewing angles and an improved polariser, for a clearer more natural image when using it with sunglasses. It's paid off too, as according to DisplayMate it's got the best LCD display of any smartphone.

To make the most of the extra large screen size Apple has added a landscape mode to the iPhone 6 Plus and included a Reachability mode, which shifts the screen down closer to your thumb with a double tap of the Home button, though in our review we found this felt like a bit of an afterthought.

iPhone 6 Plus design

Another major revision on the iPhone 6 Plus is its design - Apple has overhauled the squared off design which has been with us since the iPhone 4, with the 6 Plus sporting a more rounded, slimmer body.

At just 7.1mm thick the iPhone 6 Plus is thinner than the 4-inch iPhone 5S (7.6mm), which is an impressive feat of engineering - and it also explains why the camera pops out the back a little. Despite that it's still a little thicker than the 6.9mm iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 Plus

Its full dimensions are 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm, and the iPhone 6 Plus tips the scales at a respectable 172g. That makes it taller, wider and heavier than the G3 and One Plus One - both of which sport 5.5-inch screens too.

The power/lock key has been moved from the top of the handset to the right hand side, making it easier to hit during one handed use. On the left hand side you get the separated volume keys below a mute toggle switch.

Those volume keys have been elongated too, to make them easier to hit, but despite all these concessions this is a phone which most people will probably be using with two hands.

iPhone 6 Plus power

Like the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus packs in Apple's new 64-bit A8 processor and M8 motion coprocessor, which should keep everything ticking along nicely.

It has stuck with a dual-core setup, which may seem a little odd considering the likes of the Galaxy Alpha are rocking octa-core chips - but Apple has never been about packing in the cores and previous iPhones haven't appeared to struggle.

The exact processor speed hasn't been confirmed, but it's believed to be clocked at 1.4GHz and while Apple hasn't revealed how much RAM there is, some enterprising users have taken their new phone apart and discovered just 1GB.

So it may not be enormously faster than the iPhone 5S but we should see at least a slight speed increase. Apple also claims that the A8 processor is up to 50% more power efficient than the A7 and the iPhone 6 Plus includes a new technology, dubbed 'Metal', which is designed to maximise the phones gaming performance, allowing for more detailed graphics and superior effects.

As for that M8 motion coprocessor, you'll be able to use it to track not just the amount of steps you've taken but also how far you've travelled and it can tell when you're in a car so you won't get a false reading. It can also track elevation changes so you'll finally get credit for all those stairs you've been climbing.

iPhone 6 Plus camera

The iPhone 6 Plus may be sporting a slightly protruding 8MP lens on its rear, but this is Apple's new iSight camera featuring a faster auto-focus, f/2.2 aperture, new wide angle lens, OIS (optical image stabilization - something that doesn't feature on the iPhone 6) and larger pixels for better low light shots.

6 Plus

Slo-mo video mode has been enhanced, and you now get the option of either 120fps or 240fps recording. There's also a new time-lapse mode, continuous autofocus and video stabilisation to ensure your videos are as smooth as possible.

You'll also find the front facing FaceTime HD camera has been upgraded, allowing in 81% more light and support for HDR video, ensuring you're always well lit.

Apple hasn't forgotten about selfie fans either, as that 1.2MP front-facing camera features a timer, improved face detection and a new Burst Mode, which can snap off ten photos every second.

iPhone 6 Plus battery

While the iPhone 6 has slightly better battery life than the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6 Plus is quite a lot better. Apple hasn't said what size juice pack it has, but it's been discovered that it's 2915 mAh, which is almost double the size of the battery in the iPhone 5S.

Apple has reeled off some stats, including the fact that it can apparently last for up to 24 hours of talk time, 384 hours of standby time, 12 hours of internet, 14 hours of video or 80 hours of audio.

Those are some impressive figures and can be explained both by a presumably bigger battery and the fact that the A8 chip is up to 50% more energy efficient than the A7 chip was. In our review we found them optimistic, but were still generally impressed by its battery life.

iPhone 6 Plus connectivity

Along with the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus supports 20 different LTE bands and can download data at speeds of up to 150Mbps over 4G LTE. Obviously you need to be on a network which supports speeds that high to take advantage of it and right now those are few and far between, but it should help future-proof it.

The iPhone 6 Plus also supports 802.11ac, allowing for Wi-Fi speeds that are up to three times faster than is possible on 802.11n.

iPhone 6 Plus operating system

The iPhone 6 Plus runs iOS 8, obviously. We've covered that in depth elsewhere, but highlights include third-party keyboard support, the ability for third-party apps to use Touch ID in place of passwords, more detailed and interactive notifications in the Notifications Center and a Health app which can collate data from various health and fitness accessories.

iPhone 6 Plus Apple Play

Apple has finally injected the iPhone with NFC, but not quite as you know it. While NFC elsewhere is used for simplified Bluetooth pairing, contactless payments from multiple providers and more, with the iPhone 6 Plus you'll only be able to use it for Apple Pay, which itself is a contactless payment method.

Apple Pay

Apple has partnered with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for this and it allows you to use your iPhone 6 Plus (or iPhone 6 or Apple Watch) to make payments in store with essentially a single tap. Contactless payment technology has been around for a while but with Apple on board the days of wallets might be numbered.