Knocking it for 6s

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Apple’s new iPhone 6s may not look like much of an upgrade at first glance but Mat Gallagher explains the bigger picture for Apple fans.

 

Apple announcements these days are so reliable that you could set your watch to them – though if you already own an Apple Watch you probably don’t need to. The annual September conference, which delivers the the new number of iPhone, is followed one year later by the ‘s’ version.

While the move from 5s to 6 saw a design change (as the 4s to the 5 did before it), the s occasions tend to keep changes internal. For this reason, some may assume it’s less of a reason to upgrade – those on a two-year contact may never buy one, but beneath the surface a lot has changed here.

The big news that came out of the press conference on Sept 9 was the devices’ new 3D Touch. This is something that we’ve seen versions of on the Apple Watch and the Force Touch trackpad on the MacBook but is here for the first time for the iPhone. Basically instead of the touchscreen just registering a press, it can tell how hard you are pressing the screen, allowing different degrees of pressure to do different things. The idea is that this will allow you to preview links and gain quick access to other functions. Something that's likely to become as natural as the pinch zoom within weeks.

Technology wise, however, the interesting part of this new phone (in its 4.7in 6s and 5.5in 6s Plus forms) is the camera. The rear camera, already very capable on the 6, has jumped from an 8-million-pixel device to a 12-million-pixel device, plus it can now shoot 4k video – and even edit 4k in the iMovie app. Optical stabilisation for video remains with the 6s Plus only. The front camera – for all you selfie fans – goes from a 1.2MP to a 5MP, and uses the screen to mimic a flash for better lighting.

Where it borders on science fiction – or at least Harry Potter level magic – is the Live Photos function, which records video and sound 1.5secs before and after you press the shutter, to create a short clip, or a moving photo. Admittedly this is something we saw in Nikon compact cameras a few years ago but with the weight of Apple behind it, this time is might just take off.

All these pieces of new technology are of course only possible thanks to the new A9 processor chip, which promises up to 90 percent faster speeds and improved battery efficiency. Though with all the extra tasks, expect the battery life you get from the phones to be around the same – that’s 14hours talk, 10 days standby on the 6s and 24hours talk, 16days standby on the 6s Plus.

The 6s and 6s Plus are available on September 25, with pre-orders starting on Saturday September 12. Both models come in a choice of silver, gold, space grey and rose gold, and in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities. Prices start at $5588 and $6388. Apple.com

 

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