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
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Apple A9 APL0898, Dual-core, 1840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1715 mAh(14h 3G talk time)
iPhone 6
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1810 mAh(14h 3G talk time)



1. ianbbaa

Posts: 332; Member since: Mar 20, 2013

so many innovations for every single model...truly innovative company this Apple really is...

5. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Hopefully you're being sarcastic because some of those were really stretching it. Since when was adding more Lte bands an innovation? A new color? But they did consider the font a new feature in iOS 7 so anything is an innovation when Apple does it I guess.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 22290; Member since: May 28, 2014

Innovations? Uh, no. Not for a long time now. Apple was innovative in the beginning, with its first few iterations of the iPhone. But not now. What Apple do, is that they excel at taking existing tech and making it work extremely well for their devices and their ecosystem. And that's not a bad thing. What's bad is when they label it "innovation" when it already exists or has already been done. That's not innovation. That's an evolution of an existing product.

28. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Sometimes innovation can come with the evolution of an existing product.

32. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

No innovation is creating a new product or features. What you talking about is simply copying and making the copy better than the original.

39. Mxyzptlk unregistered

You don't have to create something entirely new to innovate.

41. Mister-Z-

Posts: 175; Member since: Sep 07, 2015

The difference between Apple and Google is that Apple’s innovations come out polished and ready to change the world — not glorified betas the company loses interest in after the first wave of excitement wears off. More to the point, Apple’s innovations consistently make money. That’s more than I can say for Google. Understand iFanboy.

56. willard12 unregistered

Apple's mapping innovation compared to Google's was more polished? If the iphone 6 was "polished", why the need to innovate by using better aluminum in the 6s? Was their TLC nand flash memory was polished? Was iOS 8 polished? Okay. I also had no idea that Google was going broke or that profits were a measure of innovation.

58. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Lol let's not kid ourselves. Lollipop was far from being polished. It attracted more bugs than flies on horse poo.

68. Mister-Z-

Posts: 175; Member since: Sep 07, 2015

Apples products are simple plain and polished. Nothing major.

131. dazed1

Posts: 805; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

Spot on, cheap bastards. Using junk nand on premium phone, pathetic.

118. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

"Polished", as in it required several iOS updates in order for everything to work smoothly with no glitches or issues.

55. willard12 unregistered

Full Definition of INNOVATION 1: the introduction of something NEW 2: a NEW idea, method, or device

57. darkkjedii

Posts: 31328; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Which supports Mxys post #28.

59. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Exactly. He pretty much just confirmed what I said before.

99. willard12 unregistered

"Existing " and "NEW" are polar opposites. So, I'm not sure what you mean by that.

60. Mxyzptlk unregistered

VERB make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products: "the company's failure to diversify and innovate competitively" Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press

61. Mxyzptlk unregistered

From Bing search of "innovate"

52. darkkjedii

Posts: 31328; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I can't believe that was your response to post 28. Good point Mxy.

62. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Agreed +1. Darkk what do you think of the 6S so far?

70. Mister-Z-

Posts: 175; Member since: Sep 07, 2015

Still halfbaked, and yesterdays tech. O wow, so you gonna look iCool, with your 6s.

79. darkkjedii

Posts: 31328; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I like everything I've seen, it's what I haven't that bothers me. Split view, slide over, pic n pic, and the ram.

42. Mister-Z-

Posts: 175; Member since: Sep 07, 2015

Apple’s innovations make money because everything with an Apple logo makes money. But when was the last time they launched a truly innovative product?

63. Mxyzptlk unregistered

How do you think Apple got to that point in the first place? Let's not kid ourselves android flagships have all been largely the same - qhd screen, behemoth specs, high mp camera. Don't try and make this a one way street.

73. Mister-Z-

Posts: 175; Member since: Sep 07, 2015

I always felt that Steve Jobs’ approach to technology was that he was creating such fantastic gadgets — whether it was the original Macintosh, the iPod, or the iPhone — that they improved life for people just by virtue of existing. He didn’t worry as much about, say, sustainability or helping people in poor parts of the world receive an education because he thought the biggest personal contribution he could make was by doing the things he did.

74. Mister-Z-

Posts: 175; Member since: Sep 07, 2015

I can't think of many things Apple does better than Google. Just because legions of followers have bought into the Apple hype machine doesn't in reality make their products better, it just means they have more traction.

75. Mister-Z-

Posts: 175; Member since: Sep 07, 2015

Apple doesn't innovate just takes tech that already exist, adds a nice design and good press and an abusive price tag" and call it "new"?

107. AlikMalix unregistered

When did android manufacturers launch "a truly" innovative product. Show me your idea of innovation and I'll try to answer your question based on that! Mister z, with respect to you, I think you are mostly thinking of the term "invention" in your previous posts, innovation is something different.

53. meanestgenius

Posts: 22290; Member since: May 28, 2014

True, but that is rare, and has not been the case concerning Apple.

65. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Or pretty much any OEMs. What's your point?

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