Apple has just introduced the next generation models of its iPhones-–the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus. While many of the new features had been accurately rumored, there were some surprises.
From a design standpoint, the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s plus look virtually identical to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus they supersede. The 6s is the 4.7-inch model and the 6s Plus is the 5.5-inch phablet.
Though the exterior design looks the same, Apple took its past Bendgate issues to heart and crafted the new iPhones out of what Apple says is a new “Apple custom” 7000 series aluminum, which should be stronger without being any heavier. As with the iPhone 6 that preceded them, the new S-series comes in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. Apple added one additional color too: Rose Gold. Its pinkish hue is actually stunning to look at and it’s easy to see how Rose Gold could become one of the most popular colors this holiday season.
The biggest new feature of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is its brand-new 3D Touch display. The display was borne from the Force Touch offerings found on the Apple Watch and latest MacBook trackpads, but on the new iPhones it takes on another dimension-–and looks to radically change the way users interact with and navigate around iOS.
The 3D Touch display works by using new pressure-sensitive sensors built into the display, combined with the Haptic engine, to provide physical, tactile feedback. This allows users to “peek” into content inside of apps. For example, if someone sends you a link to a website in Messages, you can force-touch on that link to see a preview of the webpage open up in a pop-up window. If you decide that webpage is something you want to navigate, you can press harder and you’ll be taken to that page in Safari. The same 3D Touch experience applies to, for example, calendar events. If someone emails or texts you a date or time, you can force-touch on that date and time to quickly get a view of your Calendar for that same period. Apply more force to that preview if you want to jump to the Calendar app.
The 3D Touch display also works outside of apps–-right on the iOS home screen. You can force-touch on the Phone app, for example, to see a pop-up of your favorites and touch their name to initiate a call–-no need to actually open the Phone app. Or, you can force-touch on the Camera icon and select “Selfie” from the pop-up menu–the Camera app will automatically open, ready to take a pic of you with the iPhone’s front-facing camera.
Speaking of the iPhone 6s’s camera: It’s got two new ones. The first is an all-new iSight camera. It’s been bumped up to 12MP and features 50% more pixels and also 50% more Focus Pixels, which means autofocusing is much faster than before. The new iSight camera will also record video in 4K–-meaning those of you who have the latest television sets might actually have a bit more content to watch now.
On the front camera side of things, there’s the new 5MP FaceTime HD camera. 5MP is a huge bump over the previous 1.2MP FaceTime camera. Apple has also built in a feature called Retina Flash that turns your iPhone 6s’s screen into the front flash while you take selfies with the new FaceTime camera.
Though the camera specs weren’t anything shocking (they had long been rumored), one surprise was Apple’s announcement of Live Photos. These are essentially high-resolution images that comprise a three-second time span. You take them with the iPhone’s camera just as you would a regular picture. When you view a Live Photo in your camera roll or set it as your wallpaper it looks like a still image. But force-touch on the new 3D Touch display and that image comes to life. The effect looks eerily similar to those moving images you see in the Daily Profit in Harry Potter movies.
There weren’t a whole lot of surprises in the specs department. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus feature an A9 64-bit chip that boast an impressive 70% faster processing power than the A8–-and handles graphics 90% faster. The new motion coprocessor, the M9, is also now built directly into the A9 chip. Thanks to the speed of the new A9, you can now also access “Hey Siri” even when your iPhone isn’t plugged in.
Besides the faster A9 chip, the new iPhones also feature a faster and more accurate Touch ID, which can read your thumb 2x faster. The new LTE Advance and Wi-Fi chips in the iPhone 6s also boost 2s speed improvements.
As with the previous models, the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus comes in 16 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB storage options. The 16/64/128 iPhone 6s will cost you $199/299/399 and the 16/64/128 iPhone 6s Plus will set you back $299/399/499 with contract. Pre-orders start September 12th. Both models ship on September 25th.