The new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus from Apple will be in retail stores across the nation this Friday. And there are more ways to buy the new phones than ever before. Apple now offers payment plans and carriers like T-Mobile are offering a low, up-front price for new Apple iPhones. If you are one of the few who doesn’t yet have a smartphone, your reasons for holding out are quickly running out.
It’s pretty much accepted as fact now that smartphones are here to stay, and the iPhone might just be the best all-around smartphone available. Yes, some phones have more computing power and others still have bigger or brighter screens, but the iPhone seems to personify the statement that some things are greater than the sum of their parts. It is and has been from day one an incredibly compelling device.
So, with that being said, should you buy one? If you already have an iPhone, you may be waiting for your current contract to run out. But if you’re an Android or Windows user looking to make the switch, or are in the market for an iPhone for the first time, this guide will educate you on all of the key talking points!
Software – iOS 9 and More
As evident by the number – nine – the latest mobile operating system from Apple is an evolutionary step on that improves on all of the versions that have come before it by optimizing existing features and adding new functionalities. And yes, while it’s true that iOS 9 will run on older iPhones, as is often the case with iPhone launches, this latest iOS has been designed specifically to run on the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. So, what are some of the OS’s new features?
Perhaps most simply, the new iOS 9 is intended to make Apple’s already intuitive user interface and user experience even more intuitive. How does it do this? One great example is Apple Notes. Yes, the home-built app with the yellow notepad avatar. With the latest version, you can now draw in it, attach web clippings, add photos, and create checklists. Apple’s many other apps have also been subtly improved. Apple’s Maps app (always in competition with Google Maps, which was booted several years ago to make way for Cupertino’s own) now includes transit directions, for example. The key here is that subtle, intuitive, and self-evident change is the name of the game. The new iOS is simply supposed to be “better,” for lack of a better word.
Hardware – New Processors and New Colors
For most people, the hardware updates to the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus can probably be summed up in two words: rose gold. Let’s face it, for many people, how the iPhone looks is far more important than what’s underneath the skin. And you know what? That’s okay. These things stopped being sold on their technical merits a long time ago; they are consumer items now, and the way they integrate into your life and the lives of millions more around the world should be seamless. But let’s say that the technical specs do matter to you. Well, the 6S and 6S Plus certainly don’t disappoint.
The new A9 chip found in the 6S and 6S Plus is fast. How fast? When compared to the outgoing A8 chipset, it is reported to be 90 percent faster when running GPU (graphics processing unit) tasks and 70 percent faster when running CPU (central processing unit) tasks. The new phone is also LTE Advanced-capable, with WiFi speeds of up to twice as fast as the current model. Internal storage space hasn’t increased, but that’s to be expected now that Apple is pushing its worldwide customer base into Cloud adoption.
Camera – 4K Video, “Live” Pictures, and Better Selfies
One of the coolest features found on the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus is the new “live” picture feature (Apple calls them Live Photos). The camera’s rearward facing camera (which now takes photos at 12mp resolution) takes 1.5 seconds of video footage when you take a photo, in addition to the high-resolution still. Simply click and hold on the image when browsing through your photo gallery, and the images come to life. Who knows if people will actually make use of this novel feature, but you have to admit that it’s a pretty clever way to answer that age-old question of what happened before the shutter clicked open.
The front-facing camera is also improved (significantly so). Finally recognizing that the front-facing camera seems to get almost as much use as the rear-facing one (we’re looking at you, selfies and FaceTime), Apple has included a 5mp camera with a flash that is three times as bright as the outgoing one. Considering that the old front-facing camera was just 1.2 megapixels, this is quite the improvement. True, even the rear-facing camera can’t compete with a DSLR, but for the everyday user, it’s a tremendously powerful and useful technical feature that can transform the way people document their lives and share with others.
3D Touch – The First True Innovation to the Touchscreen Interface?
When Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007, it seemed to all the world that the touchscreen interface had finally been perfected. It just felt natural to interact with the phone using its screen. This new-ish interface became so popular that its adoption became near universal. In fact, even in applications where touchscreens make little sense (automobiles, for one, but also televisions and desktop computers), they’re making inroads. That is the power of the touchscreen interface. But now, Apple wants to improve it even further. Enter 3D Touch.
The idea behind 3D Touch is to make your phone respond literally to the touch. Not figuratively. In the past, the device responded merely to the presence of a finger tap; you either interacted with the phone or you didn’t. But how you touch the device can be incredibly informative. Are you quickly tapping? Are you pressing firmly? Are you swiping back and forth slowly or quickly? Apple’s new 3D Touch should be able to recognize all of these gestures, and provide a unique experience based on each. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, believes that it is the future of the iPhone. Suffice to say, expect to see it take on a leading UX role in subsequent versions of Apple’s iOS.