Apple reveals the iPhone 6S

Apple has officially taken the wraps off its new iPhone for 2015, the iPhone 6S. Unveiled alongside the larger iPhone 6S Plus, the new model improves on last year’s iPhone 6 in many ways, but looks almost exactly the same.

The biggest difference from previous models is the introduction of 3D Touch, a evolution of Apple’s multi-touch touchscreen technology. Similar to Force Touch on the Apple Watch, a user can push the screen with slightly increased pressure to introduce another layer of functionality, both in iOS and within apps. It can also give the user haptic feedback in the form of different vibrations.

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will be available for pre-order on Sept. 12 and will ship on Sept. 25.

Demonstrating the new 3D Touch functionality, Apple’s Craig Federighi showed how he could “peek” on an message in the Mail app or an event in Calendar, then press harder to open more functionality. He showed that a user could also perform functions in apps before you even open them: For example, opening the camera directly to the selfie cam just by holding your finger to the screen.

3D Touch also enables new gestures, such as switching to other apps just by pressing and holding on the screen with any other app on the screen.

Apple also showed how some other apps are building new experiences with 3D Touch. Instagram in particular will let users pop out specific photos in a top layer as well as let you open the app right to your activity feed.

The iPhone 6S is powered by a new A9 processor, which Apple says is up to 70% faster than the previous A8 chip in the iPhone 6, with 90% better graphics performance.

Apple says the iPhone 6S is the first iPhone to have its motion coprocessor — now called the M9 — built directly into the chip. The chip also allows the “Hey, Siri” feature to be on continuously even when the phone isn’t plugged into power, presumably through a low-power processor core dedicated to the task.

4K camera, better selfies, Live Photos

As expected, the camera gets a big upgrade. The rear camera is now a 12-megapixel iSight camera. The camera sensor has 50% more pixels as well as 50% more focus pixels, which help reduce noise and “crosstalk” during image capture.

Importantly, the iPhone’s rear camera is now capable of capturing 4K video. iMovie on the iPhone is also capable of editing 4K video.

The front-facing camera is much improved, too: It’s now a 5-megapixel camera, and Apple has introduced a way where the iPhone’s display can act as a flash. Apple’s Phil Schiller explained that the company’s engineers figured out a way for the display to act as a “true tone” flash, called a Retina Flash, so colors are accurate.

Another innovation: The iPhone 6S can capture a new kind of media called Live Photos. These are technically still photos, but they also capture a small bit of video (a few seconds) that can play when a viewer users 3D Touch when viewing them. Live Photos include sound as well.

Apple says Facebook will support Live Photos later this year.

More improvements and options

Indeed, Apple is also strengthening the durability of the iPhone. The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus casings will be made of 7000 series aluminum, which is said to be much more resistant to bending than the previous model.

Pricing on contract for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will be the same as previous models, with the 6S starting at $199 and the 6S Plus starting at $299. Installment plans begin at $27 a month for the iPhone 6S and $31 for the 6S Plus.

Storage options remain the same, with 16, 64 and 128GB capacities available.

Apple is, however, introducing a new color: Rose gold. The new finish joins space gray, silver and “regular” gold as the fourth color option for iPhone buyers.

The iPhone 6S is technically the 11th distinct iPhone model Apple has made. It’s the first Apple product that will ship with iOS 9, which promises a streamlined experience and several new features, including a new user interface for Siri, transit directions in Apple Maps and smarter search abilities. iOS 9 will be available for download on Sept. 16.

Author: Pete Pachal
Source: Mashable