iphone 6s hands on

By now you probably feel like you know everything there is to know about Apple’s new iPhone, Apple TV and iPad Pro, but thus far, you’ve only seen the devices from either afar or in marketing materials. Sure, all products look good in staged or rendered settings, but what are they like in real life?

Following today’s event, Apple gave a select group of journalists the chance to spend some hands on time with the aforementioned iPhone, set-top box and iPad, in an effort to garner some initial feedback. So naturally, we’ve rounded up some of these first impressions in a single, digestible post.

iPhone 6s

The Verge:

There’s a consistent use case for 3D Touch: “peeking” into the thing that’s being linked. So you can peek in camera functions from the camera icon, you can peek at an email without opening it from your inbox, and you can peek at a website when somebody sends you a link. I expected that 3D Touch would be a slew of hidden menus and options, but so far Apple is always giving you hints about what you’ll get: a peek into whatever it is you’re pressing on. Smart.


Using Force Touch on the Apple Watch can be sort of weird because the Watch is a tiny target on your wrist. That’s obviously not the case here. The biggest compliment I can pay 3D Touch right now is that it feels completely natural.


The new rose gold finish may surprise some, given quite how pink it is. Maybe it’s the relatively small scale of the rose gold Apple Watch, but on the expanse of iPhone it looks almost salmon-like. Some will love it, others might find the finish they’ve been demanding isn’t exactly what they thought it would be.

Things get interesting when you turn the Phone 6s on. 3D Touch takes a little mental rejigging: I’m used to thinking in terms of “long-press” not “firm-press”. Once you’re familiar, though, it’s clear to see this could be the iPhone 6s’ most enduring feature.


[3D Touch] is an over-branded way of giving you quick access to the things you’re probably looking for by opening that app, or flipping into that email. I’d call it right-click for the iPhone, but that feels like a dig, so…actually yeah, it’s right-click for the iPhone. But that’s great! For a lot of users, it might remain a completely invisible piece of the software, an interface shortcut you never discover. If you never use it, your iPhone will work as it always has. But when you discover it, everything feels faster, more direct—it makes the iPhone a less like a collection of apps and more like a single, cohesive thing.

…The other big upgrade seems to be the camera, as per usual. The new 12-megapixel camera and 4K video recording are hard to measure in any useful way inside this gigantic demo room. But the photos and videos I’ve seen look insane. Like, incredible. 

Apple TV


There’s a lot of impressive technology happening inside the Apple TV. The search works really well, letting me narrow down from “find me science fiction movies” to the exact Star Trek episode I was looking for. It’s fast, it’s as straightforward as the last one (which is to say, straightforward enough but a little overly spartan), and the remote works well. 

The Verge:

Overall, it’s a welcome — and meaningful — upgrade to the Apple TV, but there’s nothing in this first look that makes it seem like it’s going to usher in a massive TV revolution. It’s now competitive with the latest from Roku, Amazon, and others, and the potential of real processing and graphics power coupled with the App Store is enormous, but it’s hard to say more until that stuff goes live.


I played the Apple rep a game of Crossy Road (which I thought was kinda like Frogger, but with chickens). I was impressed with how easy it was to control the movements of the game using the touchscreen at the top of the remote. I used side-to-side movements with my thumb over the touchscreen to move the chicken, then pressed the screen to make the chicken jump. It worked well, and I caught a hint of how addictive that game could be when played from the couch. Whole days could go by unnoticed.

iPad Pro


The $99 Apple Pencil will appeal to those who want more precision, those who like to handwrite their notes, or artists and illustrators. The accessory is made primarily of white plastic that actually looks more like an Apple accessory from a decade ago during the company’s “white plastic” phase. The pen is light and easy to hold but a bit glossy and slippery and it doesn’t fit in particularly well with the rest of the iPad’s design.

That aside, while we were scribbling with it the pen seemed to work more or less as Apple described. It responded to light and firm presses, and as we tilted the pen the lines we were drawing changed. Palm and wrist rejection also seems to work well—at one point an Apple rep running a demo laid his entire forearm on the iPad’s screen without affecting the pencil. Apple includes an undisclosed number of replacement tips for the pencil, since they’ll wear down over time (the representative we talked to compared it to a ballpoint pen refill), and Apple will also sell replacement tips separately.

The accessory charges with a Lightning connector that plugs directly into the iPad Pro or an included dongle—this connector is used to pair the Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro the first time you use it. The connector is hidden under a removable magnetic cap at the top of the device. Apple says the pencil should last about 12 hours, and that in emergencies 15 seconds of charging can provide about 30 minutes of use.


I know we tech bloggers say this a lot in hands-on posts, but it feels lighter than it looks. That’s not to say I’d want to use this much in portrait mode; it feels a little too top-heavy in-hand. But in landscape, the height is actually on par with the iPad Air 2’s height in portrait mode; it’s just wider. That makes it pretty manageable in horizontal use. And while the iPad traditionally has been designed for portrait mode, I suspect is how most iPad Pro-optimized apps were actually meant to be used anyway.


The 12.9-inch display offers a lot of real estate. It’s slightly larger than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (12 inches) and has a higher resolution 2732 x 2048 Retina versus the Surface’s 2160 x 1440. This will make it a great companion for iOS 9’s new multi-tasking features. I saw a bit of this in action and noticed just how much space there is to work with. You’re not squeezing in a tiny web page on one side and a full size email window on the other. There’s really room to work. Photos and video also looked beautiful. And if you want to read news in the new News app, it looks and feels like you’re holding a magazine.

Digital Trends:

You don’t need an iPad Pro. But iPads are rarely necessary for anyone. Unless you lack a phone or PC, an iPad is always luxury tech. But the iPad Pro is some damn nice luxury. It’s fast, has an eye-popping high-res screen, sensible multitasking modes that increase its usability, and two accessories that make it useful to whole new groups of people.

Obviously these are just initial impressions, gleaned from a short amount of time with each product in a very controlled environment, so opinions could change in the coming weeks. Real world usage is a whole different ballgame—particularly for features like 3D Touch and Siri on Apple TV.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will be available for pre-order on Saturday, but won’t land in retail stores until September 25. The other two products have far more vague launch dates, with Apple saying ‘late October’ for the Apple TV and sometime in November for the larger iPad Pro.

  • tariq

    Im not a fan of iPhones since 4S.. But they have improved so much I might change back to iPhone from my Sony Z3c

    • Mark S

      Hmm I’ve been a bigger fan since the 4. That’s the iphone apple should have initially made.

    • Alberto Espinal

      Good for you, you are going to see how fast and reliable this iPhone is going to be, welcome back if you do

      • tariq

        Sony and iPhone are both reliable. But iPhone works more smooth. I’m just gonna miss having waterproof phone and taking selfies in pool and oceans

    • Shingo

      dont change u could buy z5 and 6s, just spent double!

      • tariq

        Z5 premium got my attention pretty well with the 4K screen. But the 6S has live photos which totally blew me awa . And I wish I could afford both lol

  • Slifur

    Ahmm so am i missing something? No USB Type-C on iphones?

    • I’m thinking maybe iPhone 8. They won’t jump the gun on that quite yet.

      • Andres

        I dont think they should have USB Type-C on iPhones, they just introduced the Lightning charger in 2012. It replaced the old school 30-pin connector. Tons of accessories are available for Lightning and more are been implemented, I know some car makers still sell cars with the 30-pin connector. If Apple does introduce a new type of connector way in the future it would be something “new and innovating” and not a Type-C usb that’s been in their MacBooks for years now-(thinking in the future)

      • Right, all the more reason I said iphone 8 maybe. No reason to fully change.

    • Josh

      why change when lighting connection is basically the same? if it isn’t broke don’t fix it…

      • BobNation

        well usb c will kind of become like a standard. also being able to transfer audio and video, so we wont need to buy expensive lighting to hdmi type cables.

      • :D

        Check out Duet Display – it’s a good alternative in the meantime (unless you want to use it for video games and movies)

    • Shingo

      its a good decision not to change so i could still charge using my Qi Wireless

  • Hot12345

    Iphone how much RAM? 1 or 2? If its stil 1 GB, i dont get the upgrade

    • Chindavon

      I don’t know but it runs like it has 4GB in it. Fast!

      • BobNation


      • Dan

        Refreshes safari pages and apps like it has 512mb though.

      • Chindavon

        The 6S does?

      • Dan

        Thought you were talking about 1GB RAM device.

    • lou111

      as much as you need now 😉

    • Shingo

      not as big as andromeda but double the speed from andromeda, satisfy?

    • Jack Wong

      Why you care about the specs so much? Is it running very slow for you?

      Don’t get iPhone, search for 3 or 4GB ram smartphone then you will be happy.

  • Dodgy Debjit

    From everything I’ve seen so far the “3D touch” could easily be accomplished by press and hold. Its just a fancy marketing for a right-click feature.

    • Chindavon

      Long press is one tier. 3d touch has multiple. There actually is a big difference.

    • Joonyaboy

      You couldn’t do what he did in the video with long-press. I think it will be amazing for viewing links. A light touch gives me a preview, and if I want to go to it I just press harder. Very intuitive.

  • and still no waterproof iphone…

    • Shingo

      u want to play game underwater or while swimming? if u could hold breath as long as maybe they will consider LMAO

    • DevXav

      Yeah!!! Man that’s so useful!

      A9 processor, better graphics, 3DTouch, 12mp camera and everything else is just gimmick..

      I need a waterproof phone because I have to swim everyday when I go to work, while I’m on business meetings, fighting crime, classes, dating, hanging out with friends, etc.

      Also when I’m home I can’t do much with it because I live underwater and that is totally not cool.. 🙁

      – Aquaman.

      • Dan

        Or maybe he wants to walk on the beach/pool and take pictures?

      • DevXav

        Dude, seriously?

        Yeah, nobody does that yet with an iPhone because water is it’s INSTANT weakness.

        1 single drop of water AND BOOM!!!!!!!!!! iPhone gone..


      • Dan

        Stop being an @sshole dude, some people want other features than you.

      • DevXav

        Clearly i’m not the one being an @sshole here.

        Remember: You can always buy a waterproof case for the iPhone. (I bought a special plastic bag and used mine at the Beach Park without any problems..)

        So, yeah, the solution to your “feature” is this simple.

      • Dan

        Yeah making fun of someone because he is disapointed the phone doesn’t come with a useful feature, not being an @sshole as all. You have got your head so far up your @ss you can chew your food again on the way out. I’m done here.

      • DevXav

        You seem to like that word..

        Enjoy being one!

    • tariq

      I’m disappointed too, deciding between waterproof (xperia z5 premium) and 3D touch is really hard..

    • tariq

      And to that asshole who thinks waterproof is not important, wait till you see someone take pics underwater. I took plenty pics during spring break at Panama and Destin, in middle of ocean. And it’s a good/fun feature to have.