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Apple iPhone 6s: Here’s everything that has changed

by Brandon Russell | September 25, 2015September 25, 2015 3:16 pm PST

Apple has a new ad campaign currently running for its new iPhones that says, “The only thing that’s changed is everything.” At first glance, it might not seem like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus offers much of an upgrade over last year’s models. But look deeper, and you’ll find that a lot has indeed changed. Compared to previous “S” upgrades, Apple’s new iPhones offer the most in terms of value, not only improving internally, but introducing some exciting new technology called 3D Touch.

Below is a list of some of the biggest changes you can expect if you decide to pick up one of Apple’s new iPhones.

7000 series aluminum

When the iPhone hit last year, a small minority of people made a fuss about the phone’s aluminum design. People didn’t complain that it was ugly (though the antenna lines were hideous); rather, when put under continued stress, people found that the iPhone was susceptible to bending. This set off an entire “Bendgate” movement, causing mobs of people to question Apple’s design standards.

This year Apple has addressed the issue by using 7000 Series aluminum, which we’ve already seen is much, much stronger. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus enclosure is made from the same grade used in the aerospace industry, and created from a unique composition of elements to make it the strongest alloy ever used in an iPhone. In other words, no more bending.

Stronger glass

This is something that plagues all phones: shattered glass. Although glass used in smartphones is getting stronger, even the most innocuous of drops can lead to a shattered screen, but luckily Apple’s iPhone 6s uses some incredibly strong glass. Apple says its new devices uses a special dual ion-exchange process, making the glass stronger at a molecular level.

Slightly larger bodies, heavier

Because of the revamped internals and 7000 Series aluminum, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are slightly larger and heavier than last year’s models. But not so large that the cases you have now won’t work with Apple’s new devices. You do notice the extra heft when holding the devices, so keep that in mind, but chances are you’ll get used to it in no time.

3D Touch

Probably the headlining feature of Apple’s iPhone for years to come. 3D Touch adds another layer of navigation to the iPhone, and senses how much pressure is applied to the display. So in addition to tap, swipe and pinch, users can take advantage of Peek, Pop, and Quick Actions, changing how users interact with the new iPhones. A Taptic Engine has been included as well, giving users real time feedback based on how deeply a users presses on the display.

Live Photos

In addition to Peek, Pop and Quick Actions, 3D Touch also supports Live Photos, which turns photos into quick videos. With the feature turned on, your iPhone will automatically shoot video before and after you take a photo, bringing images to life. It might not seem like a huge feature, but it captures those small moments you might otherwise have missed. On that note, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus also support dynamic wallpapers, breathing that extra bit of life into the experience.

Improved cameras, 4K video

Apple has stuck with an 8-megapixel sensor for the past couple of years, but that’s finally changing with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus. With a new 12-megapixel sensor, Apple says users will get even more amazing photos—and more amazing video, too, as users can now shoot 4K video. We have an entire gallery of photos shot by the iPhone 6s, so you make the call of whether or not the new 12-megapixel sensor is an upgrade or not. Oh, and by the way, the front-facing camera has been upgraded to 5 megapixels, meaning your selfies will look even sharper.

A9 chip

This was an expected upgrade, but welcome nonetheless. Apple included a new A9 chip inside the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, promising better CPU and GPU performance. In fact, Apple claims its third-generation chip with 64-bit architecture offers a 70 percent faster CPU performance over the previous generation, which is no small jump. Users should expect to see a smoother experience overall, which is all that matters anyway, right?

Improved Touch ID

Touch ID has always been great, but it’s even more advanced this year. We haven’t done any formal tests, but based on our early hands on, it seems quicker and more accurate. That’s saying a lot, too, because Touch ID was very good in last year’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Faster Wi-Fi and LTE

This is an update that will probably fly under the radar, but will make a huge difference over the long run. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus supports up to 23 LTE bands, LTE Advanced, and improved Wi-Fi. Over LTE Advanced, speeds can get up to 300 Mbps down, and up to 866 Mbps over Wi-Fi, which is insane. Of course, it all depends on what carrier you’re on and the coverage they provide. But, overall, you should expect much faster speeds when browsing the Web and watching YouTube videos. And the new iPhones support VoLTE, too, so your calls should sounds even better.

Wrap-up

As you can see, a lot has changed over the last twelve months. I should also mention that the iPhone 6s has finally upgraded to 2GB of RAM, though the battery is slightly smaller compared to the previous model, though Apple promises battery life should be the same.

Although 3D Touch will dominate headlines as the technology matures, Apple has included a lot of upgrades inside its new devices. Should you upgrade if you already own a model from last year? Probably not. But we’ll keep an open mind as we continue to test out Apple’s new devices.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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