Apple iPhone 6s arrives with a splash: welcome 3D Touch - PhoneArena

Apple iPhone 6s arrives with a splash: welcome 3D Touch


The cat is out of the bag: Apple has officially unveiled the iPhone 6s, possibly the biggest S cycle upgrade in the history of the iPhone.

The iPhone 6s brings an all-around upgrade with a few features that really stand out: the new 3D Touch technology built in the home screen, the upgrade to a 12-megapixel camera that is capable of recording 4K video, and a brand new Apple A9 system chip.

The iPhone 6s runs on the latest iOS 9.0 and it comes with a few visual tricks up its sleeve - you can now have animated wallpapers similar to the neat animated watchfaces on the Apple Watch.

Let’s not waste any time and start exploring the new features and name what’s remained unchanged right away.

Design and Display

The iPhone 6s follows the established tradition of Apple’s S cycle upgrades: it brings no substantial change to design, display resolution or size, that is.

The iPhone 6s retains the thin profile of the 6 with a very slight variation in the actual thickness (the new 6s is a hair thicker). All buttons are at the same positions - the round home key below the display, the clicky volume keys on the left and the power/lock key on the right.

In addition to the three color options that we’ve had so far - gold, space gray and silver - there is now a fourth, ‘rose gold’ one that is likely to appeal to the female population. Just as with the gold version, this one is a very gentle shade of pink that looks elegant and not over-the-top kitsch.

We’re dealing with the same, well-sized 4.7-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels (with pixel density of 326ppi). At this point in time, this resolution has proven to provide sufficient sharpness with research mostly agreeing that further bumps in resolution result in a very minimal perceived improvement in sharpness when using the phone at a regular viewing distance.

Interface: 3D Touch brings force sensitivity to iPhone 6s

Apple introduced Force Touch in the Apple Watch, and on the iPhone 6s it brings the evolution of that technology: 3D touch.

The technology that debuted on the Apple Watch makes its way to an iPhone for the first time with the 6s and will initially help you get things done faster, with less steps. You can 3D touch a location on the map to directly get navigation directions, for instance, and skip the extra steps usually required for this. This new technology comes with two new gestures called "Peek" and "Pop" that let you bring up contextual menus on home screen icons as well as within apps. Basically, Peek gives you a preview of the information you are touching, while with Pop you can go right into it.

Siri has also gotten more pro-active and more powerful. First - it’s always on. While previously you could only cold start the assistant using the ‘Hey, Siri’ command while your device is charging, now you can summon Siri with these keywords and without ever unlocking the screen even when your phone is not charging.

Then, there are the little things that Apple polishes to a maniacal level. With the iPhone 6s one such thing is the new animated wallpaper feature. Now, you can have a stunning live wallpaper play on your lock screen every time you check your phone, and just like on the Apple Watch, this animation is slightly different every time. It’s such simple tricks that make a big difference, and this one is particularly captivating.

12-megapixel main camera with 4K video support

The iPhone 6s comes with a brand new 12-megapixel iSight (rear-facing) camera with a larger sensor and more phase-detection auto-focus for even faster focusing.

Apple has worked on increasing the level of detail, as well as getting colors right with the correct exposure. Apple gave a couple of examples showing accurate skin colors and great exposure of highly dynamic images. 63-megapixel panoramas are now possible on the iPhone 6s, and that's another bump in resolution that brings even more, crazily detailed panoramic images.

4K video is now also available and you can not only shoot, but you can edit 4K videos right on iMovie on the iPhone 6s. Given the sheer amount of bloggers and video enthusiasts that have adopted the iPhone as - often - their main tool of choice, this will make a difference since 4K video traditionally comes with a higher bit-rate and the advantages of better chroma subsampling ratios for richer, more life-like colors.

It’s hard to say which of the three big new camera improvements we’re more happy about: first, the iPhone 6s brings an upgrade from the 8-megapixel sensor on previous iPhones to a 12-megapixel one for the main, rear-facing camera, which should result in more plentiful detail, but then we also have a very significant upgrade from a 1.2-megapixel selfie cam to a 5-megapixel selfie shooter, which is big news given that everyone seems to want a good-looking selfie. Apple has also added a new 'Retina flash' feature that has the screen lighting up in three times the regular peak brightness to light up your selfies.

Live Photos

The one surprise that Apple has with the iPhone 6s camera is a neat new feature called Live Photos. Basically, it captures a couple of seconds of video (a bit like a GIF) with every picture that you choose, and these new live photos are played by 3D touching the still image. Neatly, this new functionality will be supported by Facebook so that you can post Live Photos straight to the social network.

Apple A9 and M9 motion co-processor

The Apple A9 is the brainpower in the iPhone 6s and it comes with a new manufacturing process. 

What are the exact numbers? Quite impressive: the new SoC is 70% faster than the A8, or as Apple puts it - a desktop class performance, while on the graphics side it's 90% faster graphics for a 'console class' experience.

Along with the main A9 chip, Apple also introduces the new M9 motion co-processor that is now always-on to track your steps and it helps with having Siri always available.

On the memory side of things, the base iPhone 6s model still starts at 16GB of internal storage, and as always - there is no support for expandable storage. Apple executives have made the point that with the proliferation of cloud services, there is less need for additional storage, but fact remains with a few extra apps and some 4K video, 16GB will be very claustrophobic for many users. Those who want extra storage have the option to spend a $100 on top of the base model iPhone 6s price to get the 64GB version, or do away with $100 more for a 128GB model.

Battery life

Apple has just unveiled the brand new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and we've got the first official stats about the battery life on the two new phones.

It's easy to summarize the changes in battery life: there are none.

What are the exact numbers? We start with the iPhone 6s (and the numbers are exactly the same ones that we had on the iPhone 6).

Talk time: Up to 14 hours on 3G
Internet use: Up to 10 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 11 hours on Wi‑Fi
HD video playback: Up to 11 hours
Audio playback: Up to 50 hours
Standby time: Up to 10 days

Apple iPhone 6s price and release date

The iPhone 6s prices are the usual: the full retail price of the base, 16GB model stands at $649, the 64GB version costs $749, and the 128GB model retails for $849, while the on-contract prices with a contract would retail for $199/$299/$399. If you buy the new iPhone 6s on an instalment plan, the price will run at $27 per month.

The new iPhone 6s family release date is set for Friday, September 25th, and as usual Apple has timed this so that early adopters can use the opening weekend to get their new iPhones right away without having to take a day off.

Should you upgrade to the iPhone 6s? There are more reasons than ever to do this for iPhone 6 owners (but despite the multiple improvements, also, not any single killer feature that would make you buy it), while for earlier devices this upgrade is definitely very alluring.

At the end of the day, it is not just about the iPhone 6s anymore - the new 6s pushes prices of the already excellent iPhone 6 further and while Apple lovers might get the newer one, it might just turn out that Apple continues selling both the iPhone 6s and 6 in excellent volumes. Beware, Androids!

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