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Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: what’s new?

|September 11 2015 |Apple iPhone, Apple, iOS, Comparisons

“Let’s compare the new iPhone 6 and 6s with last year’s models”

In 2007, when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone to the world, the world welcomed it with open arms. Apple went on to emerge as the top smartphone manufacturer displacing Nokia from the top spot. That is until Android came in with its huge army of smartphones, which brought the power of mobile computing to the masses. Currently, the market realities are very different. With Samsung holding the top spot (IDC) and all its flagships for the year already out, Apple might need to buckle up. The Cupertino major has just unveiled the new iPhones and as expected, the naming conventions follow the usual trend. The Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are now officially out, but how do these new models fare against their predecessors? Here's what's new.

Design and display

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Last year, Apple shocked everyone with its iPhones – not just with their larger displays, but with the new form factor. While the iPhone 6 (review) was pushed to 4.7-inches, the biggest shock was its big brother - the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus (review). The new iPhones were also visibly slimmer than before, and featured rounded edges too. With the letter ‘s' suffixed in the model names, it’s obvious that this year’s iPhones recycle the same designs and screen sizes as their predecessors. So while there's no change in the looks, the new handsets are a tad bit thicker and heavier than the previous models. Also Apple has used some new materials - namely newer and tougher series 7000 aluminium and a stronger ion coated glass for these devices. The new iPhones will also be available in a new Rose Gold colour option, in addition to Gold, Silver and Space Grey.

Performance

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While Apple has always been discrete about its CPU configurations, the speeds speak for themselves – they are fast. Last year’s phones included the homegrown A8 processors which can still put most of the competition to shame. And carrying the legacy forward, Apple has integrated an A9 chip in their new devices. The new processor is claimed to be 70 percent faster than the previous generation and for the gamers out there, the graphics have been upped by 90 percent. The new chip also promises better power management than the last one and has the new M9 motion processor integrated within. 

Cameras

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The iPhones are known for their cameras. Though set at 8-megapixels, the iPhone 6 was among the best camera phones in the market. The iPhone 6 Plus also showcased optical image stabilisation to make the camera even more capable. The newly-launched smartphones too, are loaded with hefty optics which are better than the previous models. After four years, Apple has finally upped the megapixel count to 12, promising even better image quality. The phones now also support 4K video recording over last year's models which were limited to full HD. The front shooter, which Apple calls FaceTime HD, has been upgraded to 5-megapixel (from 1.2MP) and now supports True Tone lighting, ramping up display brightness (by three times) to provide sufficient lighting while clicking selfies in low light. Another new feature is Live Photos. When you click an image the new iPhones also record glimpses (of 1.5 seconds) before and after the shot is taken. This makes the photos come alive while browsing them in the gallery – tap and hold, and you can watch your images move. Keep in mind though, that these images are neither GIFs nor videos… they can be best compared to those animated photographs in Harry Potter movies. Or to HTC's Zoe feature, if you aren't a Harry Potter fan. 

Other Features

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Be it Siri or Fingerprint Scanner, iPhones with the letter “s” have always had cool additional features. It's no different this time too. For one, the new handsets now come with a 3D Touch technology, which debuted with the Apple Watch as Force Touch. Now the touchscreen also responds to pressure, making way for new gestures based on applied force. With 3D Touch, you can access shortcuts for individual apps right from the home screen - just apply light pressure to the icon and watch a contextual menu appear. This feature is also embedded into all stock apps like Photos, Mail, Camera, etc. and third-party apps too are harnessing this technology, as was evident at the launch.

Next up, with M9, the device can now measure running / walking speed apart from distance and steps taken. One big asset of M9, is that one no longer needs to press and hold the home to activate Siri – now you can simply shout “Hey Siri” and the voice assistant pops up in an instant. Though this functionality was previously available in the iOS, it required the phone to be connected to a power source for it to work.

The fingerprint scanning has been improved too with the new Touch ID 2.0,  along with updated LTE bands and Wi-Fi. In fact, Wi-Fi is claimed to be twice as fast than the previous generation. 

Storage, Pricing and Availability

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Apple has maintained the same storage configurations – which means there still is a 16GB version, along with 64 and 128 gigabyte models. The pricing remains the same for US markets. If we take a hint from Apple’s UK pricing, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus should start around Rs 55,000 and Rs 70,000 respectively. As per the availability, Apple has promised to bring the iPhone to 130 countries by the end of this year. But if habits are any indicators, you can expect some fireworks around Diwali.

Overall, the new iPhones share the same look and feel of their predecessors, but that’s where the similarity ends. The phones boast of some powerful upgrades over the last years models and are hence worthy successors. They are stronger, swifter and snappier… maybe that’s what the “s” stands for.



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