Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus rumor round-up: specs, features, price and release date


In 2014, Apple made the biggest upgrade to its iPhone lineup: it finally introduced a larger iPhone. And there was not just one new device, but two models: the 4.7" iPhone 6 and the 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus.

This year, in 2015, rumors agree that Apple will stick to these two devices and preserve the design, but make some big changes to the internal hardware and the software.

With rumors flying from all kinds of sources, it's time to round up the picture around the 2015 Apple iPhones: the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, as most analysts expect them to be called.

Force Touch

A feature that allows the device to know the difference between a slight tap and a longer, more forceful touch on the display, Force Touch was first introduced on the Apple Watch and quickly spread to the new Macbook. These days, pretty much all rumors agree that Force Touch is coming to the new iPhone 6s family of phones.

Inside sources have already revealed the possible uses of Force Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: for instance, one could do a Force Touch on a destination in the maps app to start turn-by-turn directions immediately, saving two steps that is necessary at present to start navigation. Keep in mind that this convenience might be offered in the Apple Maps default app only, giving it a competitive edge over rivals like Google Maps.

Another implementation is said to be in the Music application, where a strong touch on a song listing gives users the option to add the song to a playlist, or hold on it to save it for offline listening. A third possible feature would have you Force Touch on a contact to go directly to voice mail. These are just some things that Apple is allegedly testing right now, and we'll see the full stack of Force Touch uses on the iPhone 6s in the near future, if this indeed becomes a feature of the new iPhone.

Keep in mind that Apple is working hard on making the physical response to Force Touch a consistent one, no matter when and where it is employed on the iPhone. It's also very likely to see the Force Touch option be made available to developers via an API in the near future for use in third-party apps.

A better, 12-megapixel camera and possibly 4K video

Apple first featured an 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4s back in 2011 and since then, all iPhones have used 8-megapixel sensors with slight variances in the size of the sensor itself. At the same time rivals like Samsung, HTC and Sony have started using 16- and 20-megapixel main cameras, which theoretically are capable of capturing more detail in daylight, but come with reduced pixels that make it harder to capture great low-light images.

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In 2015, it looks like Apple has also finally decided to make the jump to a higher-res camera, and rumors agree that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will come with a brand new, 12-megapixel camera. Naturally, this should allow the iPhone camera to capture more detail and give you more freedom when you decide to crop an image.

A 12-megapixel sensor would also allow Apple to enable 4K video recording, a feature that Samsung Galaxy phones and other Android flagships have had for a while. Another neat new option with this camera is rumored to be an even more impressive slow motion running at 240fps, but this rumor is a bit more sketchy.

We have also heard the various other rumors about a fantastically improved new camera in the 2015 iPhones. Some suggest there would be clip-on lenses by Apple, while others say the company is working on a futuristic dual-lens system using mirrors that would allow using the rear camera also for selfies. At this moment, these seem like a far stretch and even if true, we don't expect them to come to fruition this year.

Apple A9 and - finally - an iPhone with 2GB of RAM

Despite the Apple A8 chip being nearly one year old, Apple manages to stay in the lead when it comes to single-core CPU performance with its larger than usual cores and custom CPU design. This year, though, it will make another big jump as everyone is expecting the Apple A9 chip in the iPhone 6s family to transition to a new manufacturing process: a 14nm/16nm one. This alone would bring significant improvements in power efficiency and performance alone, while further improvements to the CPU logic could add on top of that. Last year, Apple stated that the A8 brings 25% more CPU performance and 50% more graphics performance while drawing only 50% of the power compared to the Apple A7, and we're curious to see what the numbers will be this year.

The change of process comes with a move from a planar chip design to 3D FinFETs. This move is important at the current scale of manufacturing, where planar architectures are often affected by power leakage, while FinFETs have their gate wrapping around the channel (rather than just laying on top of the channel) and are thus capable of keeping tighter electrostatic control.

And yes: 2GB of RAM! The 2015 iPhone 6s family is likely to finally make the jump to 2GB of high-speed LPDDR4 RAM. Having more RAM allows for more apps (or browser tabs) to stay open at the same time, so you will see less reloading and multitasking will be quicker.

In terms of connectivity, the modem is expected to be another substantial improvement over the current iPhone 6 family: Apple is rumored to upgrade the current Category 4 4G LTE modem that is capable of speeds of up to 150Mbps to the new Category 6 4G LTE Qualcomm '9X35' Gobi modem that will support double the speeds - up to 300Mbps.

No more #bendgate: tougher 7000 series aluminum

Ah, #bendgate! It seems that every once in a while an iPhone is involved in a major scandal, and last year, the iPhone 6 Plus was the victim as many found it bending even under relatively light pressure. Luckily, Apple would replace such units no questions asked, but the company seems to have taken notice: rather than using 6000 series aluminum (as in the 6 Plus), the 2015 generation of the iPhone is rumored to come with a sturdier 7000-series aluminum alloy. If true, this will likely not be a change that Apple advertizes widely: instead, it could quietly switch to the sturdier body to avoid the negative PR.

Interestingly, rumors also say that Apple is working on adding a fourth, ‘rose gold’ color option for iPhones along with the current gold, space grey, and silver models. We have seen pink phones from various phone makers including the trendy Chinese Xiaomi, so there does seem to be some demand for the color, yet this still seems like a sketchy rumor that may not actually come true.

Internal storage: 16GB base model expected to stay

With the majority of Android top-tier devices making the move to 32GB of internal storage for the base model, all eyes are on the amount of storage the new iPhone 6s family will ship with. So far, Apple has conservatively gone with three tiers of devices: a 16GB model, then a 64GB one that costs $100 more, and finally a 128 gig iPhone offered for another $100 more.

While there is no official information about the storage capacity of the iPhone 6s family, we've heard Apple's marketing guru Phil Schiller say in interview that cloud services along with the new Apple Music streaming app take a lot of the load off the internal storage, and that Apple feels comfortable offering 16GB as the base iPhone model. This is a very clear indication that the new iPhone 6s family is likely to ship with no improvement in internal storage for the base model, as it retains the 16GB/64GB/128GB tiers.

Apple iPhone 6s battery life

The Apple iPhone 6 ships with an 1810mAh battery, and that alone has been an area that many critics use to bash the phone: after all, the battery capacity of Android phones in the same category is often much more than that. So are we to expect a larger battery in the new iPhone 6s family?

We do expect a slight change, with the focus being on 'slight'. With the transition to 14nm silicon, we have seen the first leaked design pictures of the iPhone 6s show a different layout for the silicon, with the option to have more space for battery. Naturally, more space would translate into a larger cell and improved battery life on the new phone.

At the same time, we should not forget that leaked designs and Apple's engineering choices so far have made it abundantly clear that the iPhone 6s will retain the attractive slim profile of the 6. The company has said that having a thinner phone with a smaller-capacity battery is an engineering choice that it has made, and that's one more indication that change - if it's there - will be slight.

Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus price and release date

Finally, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are not likely to surprise us when it comes to their price and release date. Apple keeps a steady yearly cadence with its iPhone announcement, and if this year is part of that repetitive pattern, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus announcement should happen on Tuesday, September 8th with a release date on Friday, September 18th.

The prices will also likely be unchanged at $200 for the 16GB iPhone 6s and $300 for the 16GB iPhone 6s Plus on a two-year contract.

What do you want to see in the next iPhones and are you happy with the rumored changes? 

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