A macro look at the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in micro-fine detail

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are brand new takes on Apple's iconic design. They're bigger, thinner, and their edges are rounded. The camera rises now from the casing even as the screen glides seamlessly into the edge. And the screens have gone from Retina to Retina HD to even denser Retina HD. Combined, how much of a difference does all this make? To find out I grabbed a Canon 5D Mark III and an EF 100mm F2.8 L IS USM Macro lens, and I shot the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6 alongside last year's iPhone 5s at every angle. Enjoy!

Above you can see the new iSight camera and updated, rounder, TrueTone LED flash. Below, the FaceTime HD camera, earpiece, and proximity sensor, and below that, the Touch ID fingerprint identity sensors.

You can see the difference in the edges both above the volume controls and and below the screens. It's designed so that, when you swipe across the bezel, it feels like one continuous object from metal to glass.

You can see it when you look head on. Gone are the sharp corners and in their place, strong curves. You can also see where the sleep/wake (or power button) moved from the top of the iPhone 5s to the side of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

With the increase in screen size from the iPhone 5s comes not only more pixels for the iPhone 6, but higher density for the iPhone 6 Plus as well. (In that order, from top to bottom.)

It feels silly calling each design generation of the iPhone even more of a precision piece, of an object, than the one before. But that's just what Apple is delivering every second year. The evolution from iPhone to iPhone 6 Plus is remarkable.

We've likely got another year of this design ahead of us, but the it's almost impossible not to imagine where Apple's industrial design team will take us next...

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

36 Comments
  • 5d Mark II not 5s
  • Fixed, thanks!
  • thats what I call fixing it. also changing it to a mark III. way to go! :)
  • Nice comparison thanks for sharing Sent from the iMore App
  • The screens sure are pixelated compared to the high end Android offerings. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • These comments are getting old. Every post it's the same thing. Troll. Sent from the iMore App
  • Just ignore him. He's insecure.
  • I'm using a massive macro lens. Don't make me break it out on a PenTile display. You won't like it when it PenTile's :p
  • Rene, these pics are quite misleading. None of these phones look pixelated. You should show a regular shot (unpixelated to the naked eye) then juxtapose a magnifying glass over top of it to show that you are using a massive macro lens. Just a suggestion.
  • Dude, I really think you should seek counseling. I'm not sure why you feel that you need to build yourself up by putting others down. Maybe your prom date stood you up, or you were always picked last on the playground. But its getting old. Its kind of sad that you can't experience the same sense of happiness we iPhone fans have. And when was the last time an Android phone release made international news? Its like you keep having to keep justifying the phone choice you made. Its ok. We understand. You get a pat on the head, poor you. Any time you want to switch phones, you're welcome to.
  • It's picture of a screen taken with another camera! Hold a iphone, you can't see pixels! These comments are really getting old. Sent from the iMore App
  • Ha, I love jokes, thanks!
    Just imagine you're actually using your smartphone with a loupe on each eye like a crazy jeweler so you can actually try to see any pixels.
  • Love the design of the 5s. Not so sure about the 6. Sent from the iMore App
  • Paul I love the design of the 5S as well, but after using the 6 plus for a week it's a welcome change IMO. Something about the rounded edges help give it a better feel. Sent from the iMore App
  • That is kind of how I feel (felt?) until reading this article. I still, haven't let myself see the iPhone 6 in person as my job won't let me get one until some time in November and every year I torture myself. Still, this article makes me feel better about the iPhone 6 (not buying the 6 plus as I just cant wrap my head around buying such a large phone Apple or otherwise when I have my iPad Air). I will still have to see it, and as much as I love the iconic look of my iPhone 5 (my favorite phone release of all time with Nexus One being a close second) and iPhone 5s I love how the display wraps toward the back and I assume that will be wonderful when using the back by swiping the display. I'm falling for it little by little, but I still miss the iPhone 5/5s no matter how much I like it. I love the back of the iPhone 5/5s.
  • Very helpful! Thanks! Sent from the iMore App
  • Hey Rene - Nice pics. Any ETA on the iMore app update properly scaled/taking advantage of the real estate on the 6 Plus? The blown up look is a turn off (as with many other apps at the moment).
  • I thought that the 5S and 6 had the same ppi? The screens look completely different. The 6 actually looks the best of the lot.
    Also it’s great how things can be worded isn’t it?
    The camera rises…..no it protrudes. Rises, suggests a smooth bump. Protudes, suggests that it looks like an afterthought. Which it does.
    WTH is a strong curve?
  • I agree. I think the pictures from the 6 look the best in this post. Sent from the iMore App
  • Don't you make fun of my bad poetry, Emeroid! :) Macro is tricky, both screens look great. iPhone 6 has better screen tech than iPhone 5s, even though they're the same density.
  • LOL, I’m a bit tetchy at the mo.
    Apple man since 2000, PowerMac G5, Mac Pro, Mini MBA, MBP, Airport, TC lots of peripherals and iDevices in my immediate family. But I’m getting really disillusioned with Apple fanatics, (not you), tarting things up and ignoring Apples faults, (when they exist of course). That camera is the one thing that stopped me upgrading my 5S.
    I’m a little pedantic about design sometimes), no I’m not a designer). I remember the days when the inside of a Mac looked better than the outside of most PCs. I’m the kind of person that thinks that If I can see screwheads or any exposed paintwork on the inside of my car from the drivers seat it’s a bad design. Forums like this used to be a nice place to go, but these days anybody that criticises Apple, (even legitimately), is a demon.
  • Why is the iPhone 6S more pixelated than iPhone 6 if it has higher PPI? You sure you didn't mix them up? It looks like iPhone 5S > iPhone 6+ > iPhone 6.
  • I saw that too and assumed the pics were in the wrong order.
  • The screenshot of the 6+ is a bit larger, or more zoomed in, than that of the 6, therefore, the pixels appear more pronounced.
  • I have a 6, and while it's better in many ways than my old 5, aesthetically it's rather depressing. The back, with those gigantic antenna lines is flat out ugly, and the protruding camera is very un-Apple like. Design flaws like this make it feel almost like an Android device. I hope the 7 puts things right.
  • Look at the design of the camera parts they had to use, it extends past the unibody shell, they had to do this to have a good camera, I think that's pretty amazing and you are going to see the same thing in iPhone 7 because they will push the boundaries of being even thinner, unless they can develop a camera as thin as a credit card, I would not say that not possible when it comes to Apple. Sent from the iMore App
  • That protruding camera...Meh! I'll wait for the 7s. My 5s has the best design currently. Sent from the iMore App
  • "We've likely got another year of this design ahead of us, but the it's almost impossible not to imagine where Apple's industrial design team will take us next..." And who knows, maybe they will figure out how to make the next one not to crumple in half in order to make it look so "precision".
  • Well, let's see you come out with a better idea? Sent from the iMore App
  • Was so-so on the design at first. I couldn't get that camera bump out of my head. After having it in hand I loved it. My 5s immediately looked outdated compared to it and a week after I don't even mind that stupid camera bump. Still would rather have it flush with the body of the phone if I had a choice though. No question. Case arrives tomorrow. Now I don't want to cover it but gotta think about that resale value when it comes time. Sent from the iMore App
  • I’m with you about the camera bump, but take a look at other TOTL mobiles’ bumps and suddenly, the one on the 6 doesn’t look too bad ;¬)
  • I like the soft metal curves there of the silver one.
  • iPhone 6 looks like a resized iPod touch 5th Gen. I wish Apple makes one of the next iPhones with a 4" screen with the same design. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Most likely they will not go backwards?, only forward. Sent from the iMore App
  • I read that the iPad Air and the iPhone 6 and 6 plus were the last designs that Steve Jobs had down on paper, that said with the next generations to debut in the future Apple will no longer be riding the coat tales of Steve Jobs, they will be doing this all on their own without Jobs support, I hope this will not be a problem. Sent from the iMore App
  • I still like the design of the 5s BETTER