Traditionally in Apple, the ‘s’ stands for significant. As in significant difference.
You might think Tim Cook was overstating things when he said “The only thing that has changed is everything”, but this time, there might be some truth in it. While the improvements announced might not be earth-shattering on their own, they add up to make for quite a significant overhaul in user experience overall. Don’t believe us? Read for yourself.
On the outside, everything looks the same, except for a new colour addition to the line-up – the blushy Rose Gold. But take a look under the hood and it’s all different. The iPhone 6S comes with a new A9 chip with the new M9 motion-co-processor embedded within to make your daily swipes flow even more smoothly.
Obviously, there is no jitter or lag in our short time with the iPhone 6S.
The Eye of the Storm
The iSight camera has been bumped up to 12 megapixels and now takes Live Photos. These are something between a Vine and a still shot. What it does is record 1.5 seconds of moving action before and after you hit the trigger so you capture the story behind the picture. To activate it, all you have to do is tap the new icon in the top bar within the camera app and it will flash Live to signal you’re in Live Photo mode. To switch back to the conventional still image, just tap the icon again and you’re gold.
There’s absolutely no point in taking a Live Photo of your breakfast (unless you’re eating live bugs), but we can see its appeal for capturing candid moments on vacations and all. If you’re concerned about how much space Live Photos will take up, an Apple exec told us it’s twice the size of normal photos on average.
The front-facing FaceTime camera maintains its megapixel count at 5MP, but what’s interesting is that you can now take selfies in the dark. The iPhone 6 utilises the display as a flash and in true Apple fashion, gives it a new name – Retina Flash. The hands-on area was too brightly lit for us to test out how effective and natural the flash is.
Look ma, 4K!
To be honest, we were pretty skeptical about 4K video recording on a smartphone because it doesn’t seem like a feature you will use on the regular on your tiny-screened smartphone. But once we caught a glimpse of playback on the iPhone 6s of a video of ducks (of all things), we were hooked. It’s killer sharp. You can pinch out to zoom in all you like and it’s still probably a lot sharper than your rapidly failing eyesight will ever be.
You do have to note one thing though. You can’t switch to 4K recording within the app itself. You have to jump into Settings to bring up camera controls to make the switch to 4K recording unlike with Slow-Mo’s frame rate changes which you can do within the app itself. While it’s a longer process, it makes a lot more sense since recording 4K video will eat up a lot more storage on your iPhone 6s and you don’t want to accidentally swipe into it when recording video.
Tapping into a new dimension
What’s known as Force Touch on the Macbooks and Apple Watch is now called 3D Touch on the iPhone 6S. And this is the epitome of a slight change creating a very different user experience. Just like we’ve been conditioned to swipe and pinch out, we’re on the cusp of being mentally reconfigured to apply pressure to every display from here on out with the new generation of iPhones.
Catchily called Peek and Pop (now these new terms we can handle for our near capacity Apple section of the brain), these two actions are the result of 3D Touch. Essentially, you Peek before you Pop when you apply pressure on content within native apps like Email and Messages. If someone sends you a URL in a text, press on it to Peek into a preview, a little window opening within Messages itself. And if you like what you see, just press a little harder to Pop yourself right into Safari.
Aside from allowing you to preview content before you decide to take further action, 3D Touch gives you shortcuts within your iPhone 6s. Just think of it as the right click on your mouse. If you press a little harder on 3D Touch-enabled apps, a list of three to four Quick Actions will pop right up. 3D Touching your Music app will let you play Beats 1 or play a recently played song while doing that on a third party app like Instagram will bring up the option to quickly post a photo.
It might take you some time to wrap your brain around 3D Touch. For example, we found ourselves just tapping and holding on an app, triggering massive app seizure also known as the option to move them around and we had to hit the Home button to start over. But as with all things Apple, your knowledge of multi-touch will grow to accommodate 3D Touch soon enough and you won’t be able to stop 3D Touching everything.
Everything checks out well on paper. And what’s probably the best loved feature on the iPhone – the camera gets interesting upgrades. If you’re packing an iPhone 6, changing up for a 6s might not make sense. But if you have an iPhone 5s or earlier, the iPhone 6s is worth checking out, especially since 3D Touch will probably get more and more use case scenarios.