Earlier this week we wrote about a new report which stated that the new iPhones would come with a new type of display that’d incorporate Apple’s Force Touch mechanic introduced with the Apple Watch and the MacBook. At Apple’s event earlier today, the company announced the two new devices and low and behold, they also announced 3D Touch, and it looks actually pretty darn awesome.
Apple is touting this new iPhone as more than just an annual refresh, and they’re certainly not lying. No longer is this just a device with similar specs but a handful of new improvements here and there. Apple has done the full works with the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, most notably is the 3D Touch display.
So, what is 3D Touch? In brief it’s a unique blend of the press-and-hold “right click” that’s been available on Android for some time, but deeper. As well as the user pressing and holding, the new 3D Touch display recognises this pressure with light presses allowing the user to see previews of messages and app shortcuts, and harder presses allowing that preview activated by the light press to “pop” into a full-screen app.
Apple demonstrated this a number of ways, first with an email. A light press allows you to preview the contents of the email and you can either release the press to dismiss, or swipe to see a number of quick features such as reply, mark as read, or delete. Going deeper, you can then press harder to “pop” the preview into a full app, and continue as you would if you opened the email initially.
Another demonstration was on the home screen. A light press on an app will no longer set it wiggling, instead you’ll be offered a menu of shortcuts to access, such as with the camera, you can instantly access the front-facing camera, record a video, or simply take a picture.
It’s pretty in-depth and developers have full access to the tools needed to bring this into their apps. Instagram among a few others have already done this, allowing more functions within their apps at the end of your finger. It’s actually really impressive.
Within all of these actions, Apple has made use of the Taptic Engine too which offers haptic feedback to the user so they know when they’ve successfully completed an action.
The phones themselves look pretty much the same as the previous devices and maintain the same screen sizes as before. This time however there’s a brand new colour for users to choose from, Rose Gold. This pinky-gold is a pretty welcome addition to the family and will likely go perfect with the new Rose Gold Apple Watch.
What’s more, the metal casing for the devices have been improved with Apple’s custom alloy aluminium which is super strong. Pair that with the Ion-X display, this device certainly won’t end up as part of a Bendgate.
The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus is also running on a new 64-bit processor, Apple’s A9. Apple didn’t offer too many details about the new processor, but say that it’s 70 per cent faster at CPU tasks and 90 per cent faster at GPU tasks than the processor found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
In terms of the camera, Apple has also tossed in some improvements on that too. It’s now a 12-megapixel camera and is the first time Apple has bumped up the megapixels on their camera since the iPhone 4S. The reason for this is because more megapixels means more noise on pictures, and Apple didn’t want that. Fortunately the engineers at Apple have figured out a way to fix that and thus, a camera with 50 per cent more megapixels.
The camera can also record 4K video and has an improved autofocus thanks to the improvements of the sensor. Unfortunately the lens still sticks out from the back of the device.
The front facing camera is getting a change too, it’s now 5-megapixels and is offering the chance for users to finally use a flash, but not with an LED on the front, they figured “why not use one of the best LED displays as a flash?” so they’ve adopted a similar flash-style as LG and will light up the screen – matching the tone of the image – to offer a front-facing flash. It also apparently lights up three times more than it usually would thanks to some additional tech reserved just for this feature.
Apple also introduced something pretty exciting to the camera software, a new feature called “Live Photos” which essentially create short two or three second clips each time you take a picture. These then utilise the 3D Touch display to play the image. The 12-megapixel image is still going to be in the center of the video (though Apple assures us that this is still a photo) and the camera automatically records the first and last one and a half second.
The odd thing is that this is on by default, so if you don’t want it taking up your precious space, no matter how much Apple claims that they’re “space efficient” you may want to switch it off, unless it’s something you want to keep on, of course.
The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus also has faster wireless and LTE, and Touch ID is also supposed to be much faster in these models. As for storage, contrary to the rumours, Apple is still keeping the 16GB model, with a 64GB and 128GB model also coming. The good news however is that they’ll be taking over the current prices of the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be getting a price drop.
It’ll now cost US users $199 on a two year contract for the 16GB model, with higher tiers going up by $100. In addition to this Apple also unveiled that they’ll be offering the 6S at $27 a month on a two-year contract. But the best offer of all. For $32 a month, you can lease an iPhone from Apple, and then return it every year for a new model. It also includes Apple Care+, the device is unlocked too. Currently this is only available to US users.
Preorders begin September 12, with sales beginning September 25, the same day iOS 9 launches to all Apple devices.