iPhone 6 and 6 Plus release date: preorders, price, AT&T vs Verizon

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus release date are upon us – but even with that particular question now answered by Apple, numerous questions still remain. Is it wise at this point to place a preorder, or to plan on getting in line at a retail store on launch day? Is AT&T or Verizon the best iPhone 6 option at this point? And with such a dizzying array of new iPhone models, what are the various price points? We tackle all of the above…

First, the iPhone 6 starts at $199 for the 16GB model on Verizon and AT&T, increasing to $299 for 64GB and $399 for 128GB. The larger iPhone 6 Plus steps up a hundred dollars for each model: $299 for 16GB, $399 for 64GB, and $499 for 128GB. As for which of the two carriers is preferable, that depends on a few factors. AT&T has modestly reduced its pricing for most of its plans over the past year, making it somewhat of a value play. But Verizon still has the top rated network, and is further ahead in 4G LTE rollout. Still, the most important factor is how well each carrier performs in your house, the places you visit most often, and the routes in between.

Preorders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have reached a combined four million already, and those placing their orders now – particularly for the Plus, which appears to be under manufacturing constraint – will face significant delays in shipping and arrival. Those who want their iPhone 6 or 6 Plus now should plan on getting in line at an Apple Store for the retail release date, which of course is this Friday, September 19th.

Stalled: iPod touch 6th generation release date ahead of iPhone 6

The iPod touch has never been one of Apple’s flashier products, but it’s been a consistent if quiet seller – and it’s traditionally been updated alongside each new (non-S) iPhone model. But the iPhone 6 reveal came and went yesterday without a hint of the iPod touch 6, which begs the question: is the iPod touch 6th generation release date delayed, or is something else going on altogether?

On the iPod front, a sea change occurred this week: Apple silently discontinued the iPod Classic. The old click-wheel product had become so obscure in the touchscreen era that most people probably didn’t even know Apple still offered it. Its demise now raises another issue: is this the beginning of the end of the iPod touch as well?

Apple is still selling the fifth generation iPod touch, suggesting it may stick around for awhile. That could be due to engineering issues, as the sixth generation iPod touch would have to be made to resemble the iPhone 6 in both styling and size, and perhaps Apple didn’t want its engineers spending time on it until the new iPhone was out the door. But what if, after seven years, Apple has decided that the iTouch no longer serves a major purpose?

It was originally intended to serve as a bridge for those customers tied to other carriers back when the iPhone was AT&T only. Then it morphed into something of a toy for children whose parents didn’t want them to have a real iPhone, and a point of sale device for retail businesses. But is that alone enough to motivate Apple to bother delivering a sixth generation iPod touch now – or ever? Those waiting for the iPod touch 6 release date could be waiting for some time.

Nouveau iPhone 6 to outsell Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 combined

Apple has received some good news as it preps its neuveau iPhone 6 for launch: the aging iPhone 5S is already outselling the flagship phones of its two primary smartphone competitors combined. Despite having been on the market for the better part of a year, the 5S still ranks as the world’s number one selling smartphone device, even as one Android vendor after another has stepped to the plate this year with new headlining models while Apple has remained quiet. That sets up the iPhone 6 to enter the market at number one with a bullet, as its newly designed body and bigger screen will drive its initial sales far higher than that of the iPhone 5S. But Apple still has some work to do.

While the big-screen iPhone 6 will perform strongly at the top of Apple’s smartphone lineup, the rest of the lineup is less certain. Apple may opt to keep the iPhone 5S around as its $99 mid range phone and the iPhone 5C as a free with contract option. But that will put buyers in the position of having to pony up two hundred dollars if they want anything more than a four inch screen, or a phone with this year’s specs. While the Galaxy S5 sells in that same price range, the critically acclaimed but comparatively poor selling HTC One M8 will likely find its way to a significantly lower price point by the time the iPhone 6 makes its debut.

Another option for Apple is to introduce the iPhone 6 at $99 but make the introductory model more basic, while saving the feature frills, the premium color choices, and the dual processor for the $199 version. That could impact margins negatively if too many consumers settle for the base iPhone 6 model. However the same Counterpoint Research study which crowned the iPhone 5S the king of smartphone sales has also made clear that the iPhone 5C isn’t selling well. That means most iPhone buyers have chosen the more expensive 5S over the cheaper 5C, a trend which Apple could hope to capitalize on. Still it’s more likely that Apple will keep the 5S and 5C around at $99 and $0, respectively, while initially positioning the iPhone 6 at the $199 mark and then authorizing third party deals to adjust pricing down the road if need be.

The iPhone 6 will have a rather long window of opportunity as well. Apple will introduce it in the September 2014 range, and if its rivals continue true to form when it comes to their launch schedules, the iPhone 6 will remain in the top sales spot until at least the spring when Samsung introduces the Galaxy S6 and HTC reveals its successor to the M8. The only major Android phone which may debut before the year over is the successor the Nexus 5, which may appear around October if its launch patterns holds.

Of particular interest is just what screen sizes Apple will offer for the iPhone 6. A larger model is a given, ostensibly in the 4.7 inch range, and Apple will almost certainly offer the iPhone 6 in the current 4.0 inch size as well. There are widespread rumors of a 5.5 inch iPhone 6 model, but that seems unlikely given that the sweet spot of the sales market for smartphones in 2014 is clearly in the 4.0 to 5.0 inch range.