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The 'S' factor, or why the iPhone 6s is Apple's biggest mid-cycle upgrade yet

The 'S' factor, or why the iPhone 6s is Apple's biggest mid-cycle upgrade yet
From the iPhone 4 to the 4s, and the 5 to the 5s, we saw many innovative functions make a cameo, but there have never been such a smorgasbord of new features introduced in a mid-cycle upgrade, as Apple just did with this year's "s" edition. The iPhone 6s brings with it more innovations when compared with the previous version than any other "s" upgrade before, both in sheer numbers, and in usability.

Apple usually doesn't go for the latest mobile fad, or the specs race du jour, be it the ever-growing screen and camera resolutions, or the silicon wars of Mr GB or Mrs MHz. It is rather careful with the features it puts in its phones instead, introducing a technology only when it thinks that tech will add a real, not perceived value to the end-user experience with its iPhones. That caution usually prevents it from being a pioneer, but when it introduces a new feature, it is usually done right, like the Touch ID finger scanning tech that made a debut on the iPhone 5s, or the 3D Touch pressure-sensitive screens on the 6s and 6s Plus now.

There are usually less than 10 worthy new features from one iPhone to its "s" version the next year, as you can see in the chart above (hit the infographic link below for the exhaustive list of those). The biggest upgrade count was from the iPhone 4 to the 4s, which saw nine innovations introduced, compared to the predecessor, both hardware and software ones. How many novelties does the iPhone 6s introduce compared to the iPhone 6? Let's do a bit of counting, and by no means is this an exhaustive list.

With 3D Touch, a camera now in the double MP digits with 4K video, a new rose gold color, dynamic wallpapers, record LTE bands count, and other major novelties compared to the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6s has way more than ten mid-cycle upgrades, making this "s" version the most worthy to get for owners of its predecessor than ever before. 

We'll see how sales pan out, but this panoply of novelties is a hint that it won't be only iPhone 5s owners flocking in droves to the iPhone 6s, but there are quite a few iPhone 6 owners in the wings, too, who might already be eyeing an upgrade. What do you think?

Infographic: FinancesOnline

Related phones

iPhone 6s

PhoneArena Score:


User Score:

  • Display 4.7 inches 1334 x 750 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 5 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A9 APL0898 2GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1715 mAh
  • OS iOS 14.x
iPhone 6

PhoneArena Score:


User Score:

  • Display 4.7 inches 1334 x 750 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera) 1.2 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A8 1GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1810 mAh
  • OS iOS 12.x


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