As expected, today Apple announced refreshes to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with both being upgraded to “S” versions, which means that while the form factor stayed the same, each model received internal upgrades that will improve performance in many different aspects.
While both the 6S and 6s Plus are shaped the same as their predecessors (so your cases and other accessories will still fit), there are some significant differences in the construction of each phone. To start with, Apple has upgraded the body of the phones to a new 7000-series aluminum alloy, which is purported to be much stronger than the alloy used in previous phones. This should ease any worries about the phones’ durability and avoid another Bendgate. Additionally, the display glass has been upgraded to an Ion-X glass panel (the same used on the Apple Watch), which is stronger than any used on an iPhone before and, according to Apple, “the most durable in the smartphone industry.”
Beneath that extra-strong glass is one of Apple’s premier features, 3D Touch. 3D Touch lets the iPhone touchscreen recognize the variable amount of pressure a user applies when interacting with the phone, assigning different levels of touch the ability to perform different tasks. In many apps, this can take the place of a double-tap. Touch a thumbnail of a photo in your gallery to open that photo, press a little harder to zoom in. It’s likely most native iOS apps will take advantage of this. Working in conjunction with the new 3D Touch system is the all-new Taptic Engine system, which provides haptic feedback quicker and more accurately, promising an all-around quicker, more responsive interactive experience.
Other promising refinements include a new 12-megapixel camera module, which should improve the already class-leading image quality of the iPhone 6. The new camera also allows for the capture of “Live Photos,” which exist somewhere between a GIF and a short video clip, capturing the sound and brief moments before and after you snap a picture. Rounding out the new features of the main camera is 4K movie capture, giving iPhone filmmakers some serious video chops. Around front, the FaceTime camera has been bumped to 5-megapixels, and is complemented by Retina Flash, a feature that turns the iPhone display into a camera flash, ensuring your selfies are always perfectly lit.
Underneath it all, the new A9 processor promises to run phone tasks up to 70% faster, with a bump in graphics processing up to 90%. iOS9 promises to be more responsive, intuitive and secure, while extending battery life. Users can also expect faster Wi-Fi and LTE speeds. And of course, Apple Pay and Touch ID are both present in the new models. Preorders for the new iPhone 6s and 6 S Plus start on September 12th, with the phones available on September 25th, in the familiar iPhone 6 colors—Silver, Space Gray, and Gold—along with a new Rose Gold finish.