Apple has just announced its new iPhone 6s and the larger iPhone 6s Plus phablet, and like every iPhone “S” model, it is an update over its previous model without having an all new design. This time around, it is more than just incremental performance upgrades. The new iPhone 6s uses tougher materials to silence its bendgate critics and it incorporates its Force Touch and Taptic engine features from the Apple Watch. There’s also a new colour for the iPhone that’s called Rose Gold.
This is possibly the biggest iPhone incremental “model update” since the iPhone 4S.
Like the iPhone 6/6 Plus duo, the new iPhone 6s/6s Plus retains the same 4.7″ and 5.5″ Retina Display option. No changes in display resolution but underneath its metal unibody shell is an upgraded 64-bit A9 chip that promises up to 70% better performance over its previous A8 processor. The M9 motion co-processor that keeps track of your activities is now integrated onto the A9 chip, which helps to improve performance and battery life. Now it gets the additional ability to track your running as well as your walking pace in addition to steps, distance and elevation.
While the overall design looks the same as the previous model, the iPhone 6s/6s Plus is actually slightly bulkier and heavier than its predecessor. This is probably due to its new use of material that comprises of 7000 series Aluminium, the strongest they’ve ever fitted on an iPhone and special dual ion‑exchange process glass which they claim to be the strongest in the smart phone industry. As a result, it adds 0.1-0.2mm to its thickness, width and length. The weight should be noticeably heavier with 14 grams extra on the iPhone 6s (6s: 143g, 6: 129g) and 20 grams more on the iPhone 6s Plus (6s Plus: 192g, 6 Plus: 172g).
In terms of colours, Apple is still retaining the same Silver, Space Grey and Gold but it now gets a Rose Gold colour option which is a more feminine with a pink hue. Nothing has changed in terms of storage as Apple continues the same 16GB, 64GB and 128GB capacity options. Personally we wished Apple had killed the 16GB option and set 32GB as the bare minimum for a flagship.
After toying around with Force Touch trackpads and watches, the pressure sensitive tech has finally made its way onto the iPhone as 3D Touch. This gives the multi-touch display another form of interaction as it is able to differentiate soft to hard presses. With a gentle touch, you can now preview links while hard presses bring up additional shortcuts and menus on iOS 9.
From the home screen, you can jump straight into selfie or slow-mo videos by hard pressing on the camera icon. Alternatively you can jump straight to Inbox or New Message when you do the same on the Mail icon. In short, this is like having a right click function on a computer. Developers can also take advantage of 3D Touch as well with games making use of the finger pressure for additional controls.
The iPhone 6s/6s Plus also gets a Taptic engine which gives a more immersive feedback as you force touch into the display. Like the Apple Watch, this gives you a sensation of a glass being tapped or pressing through the glass that feels more realistic than the conventional buzzing vibration. Speaking of touch, the Touch ID fingerprint scanner has been improved with its 2nd generation unit, promising quicker response time than before.
As the competition beefs up its camera capabilities, Apple has finally upgraded its iSight camera in pixel count from 8MP to 12MP with f/2.2 aperture. This is the first major camera upgrade since the iPhone 4S. It still gets dual-tone LED flash for more natural lit pictures while the 6s Plus has the additional feature of Optical Image Stabilisation. Finally 4K Video recording is supported and you can make ultra high resolution movies on the fly with its built-in editing tools.
For Selfies, the front FaceTime HD camera has been upgraded from 1.2MP to 5MP f/2.4. To illuminate your face in the low light conditions, the new iPhones get Retina Flash, which basically increases the front display brightness by 3X as a light source.
Another neat feature is Live Photos where it starts shooting before the point of shooting a picture until after a few seconds after that. This gives you a short clip which actually consists of multiple shots and it is done automatically on every single photo that you take, which is kind of similar to HTC’s Zoe. To preview the Live Photo, just simply press harder onto a picture in the gallery for a quick playback.
Only for the US, Apple has introduced its iPhone Upgrade Program where anyone can switch to the latest iPhone every single year. It works quite similar to Maxis Zerolution where you sign up for a 24 months installment plan with an added option to change phone every 12 months.
According to Apple, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be priced the same as its predecessor at launch and they have reduced the price of its current models. The iPhone 6 Plus in the US carries the same contract price tag as iPhone 6s. With immediate effect, the iPhone 5C has been discontinued, making the iPhone 5S their new entry-level smart phone available. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are still in the market but it is now limited to just 16GB and 64GB options. Colour wise, you’re limited to just Space Grey and Silver. So if you want to get a gold iPhone, you’ll have to go for the very latest model.
Pre-order starts this Saturday on 12th September with official sales to begin on 25th September in first wave countries. As usual Malaysia won’t be among the early batch of countries but if you want, you can try your luck in Singapore, Australia, China and Hong Kong.
When it gets here, we can only assume there will be another round of price hike due to our weakening Malaysian Ringgit against the dollar which currently stands at US$1 = RM4.34. For more info, you can check out the Apple iPhone 6s page.