The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were released on September 25th, 2015 with a ton of under-the-hood upgrades. Apple’s slogan for the phones this year is “The only thing that’s changed, is everything”, and I’ll explain below why this is very true. I’ll breakdown the new features and how well they translate to real-life usage.
3D Touch: This is one of those things that has fantastic potential. The feedback you get from the new Haptic Engine in the phone is spot on and does a great job of adding a new dimension to the touch interface. However, there is quite a big learning curve involved, and I feel that it will be another year or two before 3D Touch becomes engrained in our muscle memory. As a technology enthusiast, I am always looking for ways to use 3D touch, but I have noticed from watching others using the iPhone 6S that they often forget that 3D touch is an option. Overall I am very interested in 3D Touch technology, and am looking forward to how it progresses over the coming years.
Haptic Engine: In order to make 3D Touch as effective as it is, Apple had to make changes to the vibrating engine so that feedback can be quick, abrupt, and distinct. Enter the new Haptic Engine for iPhone. With this type of vibration engine, the type of feedback that can be achieved is much more precise. It’s hard to describe in words, but the feel of how it interacts with 3D Touch is seamless. Another benefit of the new Haptic Engine is how all alerts behave differently now – there is less of a vibrating hum of older phones, and more of a tapping or knocking sound. It’s a subtle difference, but one that you’ll notice right away with the new phone.
Touch ID 2: Apple has upgraded the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and I can’t say enough about how incredibly fast and accurate it is. It’s actually impossibly fast. In fact, I rarely see my lock screen anymore because it unlocks so fast. And using it in other applications (1Password for example) it’s just as fast. This is truly a remarkably impressive upgrade!
New Cameras: Apple has updated to a 12MP camera sensor this year. Along with the new camera comes 4K video, Live Photos, and a simulated front-facing dual-tone flash. At this point 4K video is a nice-to-have, but 4K displays have yet to become mainstream, so I’m don’t have many places to watch my 4K videos – however, they will be awesome to have in 3-5 years from now when 4K displays are everywhere. As for Live Photos, this was a bit of surprise announcement by Apple this time around. It’s a neat feature, and kind of fun to play around with, but I’m still trying to figure out what it will really be useful for.
New Materials: Apple switched to series 7000 anodized aluminium for the iPhone 6S. It’s stronger and more durable than the 6300 anodized aluminum used in the iPhone 6, and has a slightly different texture – you really have to pay attention though to notice. It’s nice to see Apple improving upon every facet of the phone possible – including the case material.
Apple A9 64-bit dual-core 1.84GHz: The new processor bumps the processing speed from 1.4GHz to 1.84GHz and the speed increase is certainly noticeable. Coupled with the increased RAM (see below), the speed of the iPhone 6S is a significant improvement over the iPhone 6.
2GB RAM: This is very noticeable during usage – webpages and apps stay cached longer, which leads to quicker load times for recently used apps – and really helps with multi-tasking. You can now easily bounce back and forth between 3 or 4 different apps, without losing exactly where you were in the app. This is a very welcome improvement!
Higher Capacity Battery: Last but not least is a slightly larger battery – coming in at 1810 mAh, up from 1715 mAh in the iPhone 6. This is such a small difference, that you will likely not see any real world improvements in battery life with the iPhone 6S.
Overall, the iPhone 6S is definitely a huge step forward in the performance category, and offers some pretty great feature improvements too – mainly 3D Touch and 4K video. It’s definitely a worthwhile upgrade from the iPhone 6.