The iPhone 6S is Apple’s current flagship device. An “S” release that was debuted alongside the 6S Plus. The typical “S” upgrades mean faster, more advanced hardware, new features type of phone. The 6S packs all of that & more in the same design you’ll find on the 6. The only difference being the improved durability from the 7,000 series aluminum that makes the phone that much more stronger & less prone to bending/dents.
This review will break down my overall thoughts on the product & answer some of the major questions consumers may be posing such as what’s new & is it worth the upgrade?
The iPhone 6S features the following hardware
- A9 X CPU
- M9 Co-processor
- Retina 4.7 inch display (3D Touch Sensor)
- 16, 64, 128 GB variations
- Improved Touch ID Sensor
- 12-megapixel iSight Camera (720P 30 FPS, 1080P 30 FPS, 1080P 60 FPS, 4K 30 FPS)
- 5-megapixel FaceTime Camera
Price wise the 6S can range anywhere from $649-$849 depending on the model chosen.
The new A9/M9 CPU performs at outstanding speeds in everyday usage. Packaged with iOS 9 my experience with the 6S was efficient & it handled everything I threw at it. Despite my gripes with iOS 9 multitasking, gaming, and day to day use of the phone ran smoothly.
A noticeable difference in switching between apps & perhaps the most pivotal change in my opinion is the Touch-ID 2 sensor. This allows you get into your phone instantly, and I mean instantly. To the point where people have complained that you can’t just preview your lock screen unless you use your non Touch-ID finger. My personal favorite upgrade to the 6S it makes getting in & out of your phone secure but doesn’t at all compromise on efficiency.
What’s New in the 6S:
Aside from the obvious hardware upgrades & overall performance be it on benchmark testing or everyday usage here’s a look at some other things new in the 6S.
Camera- The updated camera more specifically the rear facing camera shoots amazing photos & videos. Still one of the easiest cameras to use, the iPhone has amazing quality with a very raw look to their photos. Great for those who like to edit their photos after the shot has been taken. Video wise you now have 1080P 60 FPS video (Sample Video) which is super fluid! Taking another step up you have 4K video at 30 FPS which is outstanding. While most people won’t shoot in this format it is an option. Additionally the Facetime camera features a software flash which has been overdue, and the new Live Photos feature. Essentially it makes a gif out your pictures recording a couple seconds before & after you take a picture. While its great to capture the moment surrounding a shot I honestly found myself just turning it off as I don’t use it all that often.
3D Touch– The 3D touch sensor within the screen allows for pressure sensitive based interaction. You can press deeper into the screen to get sub-menus to pop up as well as interact with certain items in iOS. This is what Apple calls peek & pop. While it seems gimmicky after spending time with the 6S you find yourself trying to force touch items on older iOS devices. The support isn’t all there across apps however the apps that do feature it make it that much more convenient to quickly access certain functionality. It’s a glimpse at how we’ll interact with iOS in the future & another control mechanism for apps. Certain gaming developers have already begun adding 3D touch based support to their apps.
These are the most noticeable differences aside from the already mentioned A9, M9 and Touch ID updated hardware in the phone. Though they’re slight additions to the phone if you use your camera on a daily basis (which I’m sure many iPhone users do) then its definitely a big difference. The 3D touch while a nice add on to iOS & the iPhone is still in its early stages. It’s not a selling point as of right to upgrade by itself much like Siri was or the camera upgrades on previous iPhones.
That said is it worth upgrading to the 6S? The phone itself is hands down one of the best smartphones out there without a doubt. However if your on last years 6 you can probably wait out this generation unless you simply just have the money to spend. Anything below an iPhone 6 then by all means the upgrade is 100% worth it. You get a phone while not different in looks except the new Rose Gold (Pink) color it comes in. Does pack a punch with its all new hardware. A faster and sleek device. For those who want the smaller screen size & portability coupled with speed the 6S is simply the best smartphone in that category. Backed by an amazing app store, iOS ecosystem, and hardware it’s the reason it’s the top selling phone for Apple & why their sales have reflected as such.
Are there better featured Android phones out there, certainly. However one thing I like about Apple is their patience to not rush out new features to appease the crowd. Rather they try to implement things when they feel they’ve near perfected it & made it such a seamless experience. This is shown in the Touch ID sensor, their camera & it’s software, the overall build of the device.
All in all the 6S is a great phone for most people, if you want a bigger screen sized iPhone than the 6S Plus is your best bet. For your other needs well there’s a phone for everyone but for iOS users and those looking to update their current iPhone line you can’t go wrong the 6S. Keeping in mind when I bought this phone along with the 6S Plus I was upgrading from an iPhone 5S. Which still to this day is one of my favorite iPhones. It was efficient for me and still is for most people but the significant jump from that to the 6S really showcased all that I was missing. The lighter & rounded form factor that is reminiscent of the earlier iPhones. From an engineering perspective I’m still amazed at the power they pack in year after year into these even thinner devices. A truly great device for all my day to day needs.
- The Camera hump on the back while aesthetically unpleasing didn’t bother me much case or no case.
- Rose Gold is more a soft pink
- Phenomenal Battery Life (Apple claims 9-10 hours) however in reality I get everyday usage out of it & for the most part I’m always within a chargers distance
- Touch-ID is crazy fast. Hands down my favorite sensor upgrade.
- 1080P 60 FPS… I use this more than I do my DSLR which is incapable of shooting in such a format.
In typical “S” upgrade fashion it’s a phone that is that much faster & better despite it’s external likeness to last years model. It’s Apples best phone in that its their latest. Faster, more durable, and packed with their latest OS & features. The iPhone is Apple’s baby & lead selling device & the iPhone 6S encompasses the exact reason why.
Apple updated various mac based accessories for the first time since their release. Bringing new versions of their Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse, and Apple Wireless Keyboard. The big focus across all magic devices is that they’re redesigned & rechargeable. Moving from the classic AA batteries & to a charging solution based off Apple’s lightning connector.
Let’s breakdown the new hardware:
Magic Trackpad 2
The multi-touch trackpad brings the famous multi-touch trackpad from Macbook’s to the desktop. An accessory that can be bought separately or together with a new mac. The 2nd gen version sports an all new design thats sleek & in line with the other accessories. Redesigned in a complete metal enclosure with a white top to provide a sleek look. The surface itself features a sloped design but rids itself of the gap the former model had. A much more sturdier & responsive trackpad. Adopting Apple’s Force Touch technology we’re seeing across their iOS device & Macbook lineup.
The tracking surface itself is much more wider & provides an all encompassing surface for you to track/click. Housed with a lightning connector & switch to toggle power on the back of the device. The Magic Trackpad 2 will connect to your devices via Bluetooth.
However the all new trackpad will come at a steep price.
Price: $129 USD
Magic Mouse 2
The mouse received the slightest of changes. It adopted a modified design making the mouse a bit longer for easier tracking & ridded itself of the battery housing on the bottom of the mouse. While it still sports its odd ergonomic design it will now charge also via a lightning connector.
While its nothing drastic it’s nice to see the unification across the accessories & rechargeable feature.
Price: $79 USD
Seeing as the Apple Wireless Keyboard wasn’t named with the “Magic” tag this new updated keyboard won’t be receiving the “2” addition. The all new keyboard features a much more compact design while keeping the classic aluminum build & receiving the rechargeable update. The new keyboard rids itself of the unused space in order to make the function keys bigger. On top of that the keyboard will follow the design of the trackpad in order to fill the gap the former keyboard had. This makes the sloped design line up across both accessories & surely will provide a solid base for the keyboard.
Like the Trackpad the keyboard will connect via bluetooth & recharge over a lightning cable.
Price: $99 (Comes in various languages)
You can already purchase Apple’s new hardware from their site. Surely these will hit retail stores soon & we should be seeing price drops in the remaining old hardware. Overall the keyboard & trackpad designs are great to see & the unified rechargeable system Apple has implemented is a big update. No longer having to use 3rd party accessories to recharge the default hardware or spend money on batteries. On top of that updating the hardware to support Force Touch shows Apple’s push to get customers familiar with such gestures across all hardware desktop & mobile.
Grab you new “magical” hardware today!
The big question for existing or new iPhone users is what model should they go with. The choice being the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and the all new 6s or 6S Plus.
If your reading into this then I can only assume your an iOS user or looking to get your first iPhone so the Android phones are out of the question. Though some great alternative to said phones if you are interested in Android may be the S6, S6 Edge, or Note 5.
To Plus or not to Plus
The first decision to make revolves around the regular model or Plus edition. To simplify it here the Plus is the bigger model size wise. Thats really what it comes down to when deciding between the regular models & the plus editions. Both feature the same hardware with slight differences in battery life & benchmarks. The Plus screen size runs at 5.5 inches compared to the 4.7inches of the normal model. This size may run to big for the everyday user however with a shift into bigger screens some people may be interested in this size. If content consumption is your main use of the device videos, reading, etc. Then the Plus models may be something to look into & for that matter pay more for.
However both Plus models aren’t built the same.
The 6 Plus features older hardware in comparison to that of the 6S Plus. Namely the former A8 CPU chip vs the A9 CPU chip. Aside from hardware changes the new 6S Plus is made of a more durable aluminum to protect your phone overall durability.
So if you are settling for either a 6 Plus or 6S Plus it comes down to speed & the need for current hardware. If your set on getting a new iPhone & want a plus model then I’d recommend going with 6S Plus just to be ahead of the curve & able to skip or wait out the next upgrade. This assures you’ll be on the latest device & get use to new gestures such as 3D touch. If your upgrading from the 6 & want to go Plus then may as well go to the newer edition if your going to up the screen size to get the hardware benefits.
iPhone 6 vs 6S
This will be the more popular question for customers. If your coming from anything below a iPhone 5S then either phone will be a significant upgrade. The iPhone 6 will still hold many users over with the A8 CPU, Touch ID, and improved camera.
Major differences in the “S” model come in the form of
- Speed (Faster Hardware)
- Improved Camera (4k Support, Live Photos, Improved Sensors)
- 3D Touch Based Screen
- Improved Touch ID
So unless you want to be on the cutting edge of hardware or have the funds to spend then the 6 is still sufficient. There’s no real visual cues that differentiate the model unless you want the iPhone 6S in Pink… I mean Rose Gold.
If your on the the 6 currently & thinking whether or not you should upgrade go through the basic questions.
- Cost to Upgrade
- Contract Length
- How does your current phone serve you
For the most part your iPhone 6 will remain viable especially with the new iOS 9 release for the next 1-2 years. So theres no need to upgrade to the “S” model. If money is no worry for you then upgrade to your hearts content but that goes without saying.
The “S” editions are simply faster. There is no major physical differences or selling features that the “S” introduces that’ll change the way you use your device. 3D Touch is the closest thing to what Siri was for the “5S”. This enables you to use iOS differently depending on how long & hard you touch the screen. Is this something everyone is raving over? Not at all.
The “S” devices are always the second wind of an existing device. Bringing a faster & better device with subtle hardware changes while keeping the overall design the same. This year we received a more durable metal, new color, and faster hardware (A9/M9 chips), and improved screen with 3D touch sensors. Offering a phone that is faster but nothing evolutionary when it comes to smartphones. It’s the iPhone you know & have seen around with 6 & 6 Plus.
If your already on the previous model & it serves you fine as is then there’s no rush to upgrade or for that matter can be skipped over. If your a new iPhone user or switching then your options are more wide spread. The previous models have been knocked down in the price & may be more appealing if you have a budget, however if your simply looking for the best phone to hold you over then go with the “S” lineup to avoid any worry for future support & longevity.
For a great detailed breakdown & a more technical approach check out Apple’s comparison tool here.
Previously I published an article on what to expect at Apple’s “Hey Siri” event. Leaving off the iPad’s from said list. Until now rumor mills have been going back & forth whether or not we’d hear about iPad’s at the event. Some saying Apple had a bigger focus thus requiring the bigger space they rented in order to showcase multiple new products. While others argued that Apple would certainly have a secondary event solely for the iPad.
However more news has come to light that this will probably be Apple’s sole fall event. Thus bringing the iPad releases into said “Hey Siri” event for a big release alongside the new iPhone & Apple TV.
So what exactly can we expect for Apple’s famous tablet lineup.
The long awaited iPad pro is said to add power user like specs to the iPad line & bring a bigger screen size at 12 inches. The rest of leaked specs are as follows-
- 2732×2048 resolution
- A9 Processor w/2GB of Ram
- Force Touch-Enabled Stylus
- Stereo Speakers Top & Bottom
Thats right a stylus. While thats something we probably wouldn’t see years ago under Jobs with the addition of Force Touch technology a stylus could be a good addition to the tablet. However this is still up in the air as users are mostly fine with the finger precision.
As far as design goes the iPad Pro will share the looks of the previous two iPad models Air & Mini just harboring the faster hardware, screen size, & of course “Pro” tag.
iPad Mini 4:
Apple is also said to update the iPad Mini alongside the Pro release adding in a thinner design, better camera at 8 megapixels, and improved display (fully laminated). There’s still question as to whether the mini will receive the A9 update or the A8X CPU to coincide with the rollout of iOS 9.
iPads have no doubt been in a league of their own for quite awhile. It’s Apples product where we haven’t quite seen true competitors to it’s design, ease of use, and app support. The Pro isn’t for the everyday user rather the power user. Those who want more out of the iPad & to truly replace that of a laptop, as if that can’t be done already. Pro model would be a perfect fit for iOS 9 & the new series of games/apps that’ll be released with it. Also finally rounding up their tablet line from Mini, Air, to Pro (or whatever they call it).
Stay tuned for more coverage following the event.
Apple Music makes its big debut today on 3 main platforms iOS, OS X, and Windows. This signifies Apple’s official move into the music streaming business since its acquired Beats. The streaming service will offer a 3-month free trial & proceed to cost $10 a month following the trial. The highly talked about service will feature millions of songs in its library & focus on some other aspects such as radio through Beats One, Connecting fans & artists, and music curation.
All that said how do you go about getting Apple Music on your specific platform?
Currently Apple’s rollout of the music service will be delayed till an unannounced date for said platforms. So you’ll have to hang tight if you want to try it out.
For all iOS users be it iPhone, iPod, or iPad its as simple as an iOS update. Going into your Settings, General, and Software Update will prompt for an iOS 8.4 update that will be required to get the all new Apple Music app. After updating you’ll be presented with the new stock app that will allow you to sign up via your Apple ID or if your a previous Beats Music subscriber you can simply login through there importing all music, playlists, and so on.
Mac users will have to run the update via iTunes to get access to the service. Specifically iTunes 12.2. At the time of launch iTunes servers are all over the place preventing many from updating. Be patient as Apple sorts out the update & pushes it across to all OS X users. The same can be said for Windows users, you’ll need to have iTunes on your PC & update it to the latest version once the server situation is sorted in order to get access to Apple Music.
Read more about my thoughts on the Apple Music service here & enjoy then newest player in the streaming game. With a 3-month free trial you’ll surely be able to test it out to see if it’ll take place as your new go to streaming platform & or replace services such as Spotify or Tidal.