Just like the rumor-mill has predicted, Apple at its media event in San Francisco this morning announced a pair of new iPhones: the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus.
“What we have to show you today is really awesome,” said Tim Cook.
Although the design hasn’t changed over the present-generation iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as is the norm for S-upgrades, the new devices pack in some major hardware improvements.
There is a brand new rose gold finish and the devices use a stronger Series 7000 aluminum alloy. And yes, there is a pressure-sensing screen that they’re calling 3D Touch, not Force Touch as previously thought.
3D Touch works on both the Home screen and inside applications themselves, providing user interface shortcuts and making possible all-new gestures such as peek, pop, mini tap and full tap. You also get distinct tactile feedback.
3D Touch users capacitive sensors that are not integrated in the backlight. The sensors pick up the force between the cover glass and the backlight. That data is combined with input from the accelerometer and gyroscope sensors to increases the accuracy and precision.
3D Touch shortcuts are implemented across all stock apps, including Messages, Maps, Safari, Phone, Music and more. Actually, you can just press firmly on the Phone icon and a brand new menu pops up right on the Home screen with shortcuts to your favorite contacts.
Or, you can press firmly on the Facebook app icon on the Home screen to update your status. 3D Touch can be also used to navigate between apps. If you apply just a little bit of force to screen sides, you can flip between active apps, which looks similar to iOS 9’s new app switcher.
And of course, games developers have shown a few games that take advantage of 3D Touch. As for tactile feedback, they have actually built a new version of the Apple Watch’s Taptic Engine that achieves even richer tactile feedback while consuming less energy.
Oh, and a much improved Touch ID on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is more reliable than ever and recognizes your fingerprint twice as fast, said Apple.
The new iPhones are powered by the all-new Apple-designed A9 processor, the company’s third-generation 64-bit mobile processor. The A9 sports a new transistor architecture and consumes less energy than the A8 processor inside the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones.
The A9 is up to seventy percent faster in CPU tasks and approximately ninety percent faster in graphics tasks, providing “console-level performance” in graphics-rich apps and games.
And for the first time, the A9 chip embeds a new motion coprocessor dubbed ‘M9’ with always-on performance. The new A9 with M9 allows for new features like the always-listening ‘Hey Siri’ feature.
12MP iSight camera
The back shooter has finally been upgraded in terms of the number of pixels.
Now with a twelve-megapixel sensor that has fifty percent more pixels than the previous-generation iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the new iPhones can capture more detail so you can crop out and zoom into them without quality degradation.
The higher-resolution camera takes 63-megapixel panorama photos, up from 42-megapixel panoramas on the previous generation. In terms of video capture, the camera can now capture video in 4K resolution, up from full HD 1080p video capture on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
5MP FaceTime HD camera
The front-facing camera, which Apple refers to as FaceTime HD, has received a major resolution upgrade so it’s now five megapixels instead of a paltry 1.3-megapixel shooter on the previous generation.
The FaceTime camera lacks LED flash, but uses a software trickery to achieve the same effect. If you turn on the flash feature in the stock Camera app, the new iPhone takes advantage of a custom display chip to flash the screen with three times the intensity to illuminate your face in low-light situations.
The new iPhones support motion wallpapers via a new feature called Live Photos.
You just pick one of Apple-designed Live Photos and set it as your background. Additionally, you can take your own Live Photos. You don’t have to do anything different than you would in order to take a Live Photo.
As you take pictures, the iPhone does that automatically provided you have flipped a new switch in the Camera app. Doing so extends the capture moment just before and after you took them. Live Photos are not animations, they are still twelve-megapixel still images each animated to look great.
Faster wireless, new accessories
The new phones feature faster LTE with an additional 23 bands and with support for upcoming 300Mbps cellular networks. Wi-Fi on the new iPhones has been upgraded, too, and now supports data transfer speeds at up to 866Mbps.
To go along with the new iPhones, Apple has designed brand new charging docks. There are also new leather covers in five finishes and new silicon covers in eleven colors, including Product(RED).
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are available in Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold at $199/$299/$399 for 16GB/64GB/128GB versions after a contract with your carrier.
The previous-generation iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been discounted by a hundred bucks and now cost $99/$199/$299 for the same 16GB/64GB/128GB models and after a contract with your carrier.
The iPhone 5s has become Apple’s new entry-level iPhone. The device, which has replaced the iPhone 4s, will be available free on most carriers with a contract.
You can pre-order new iPhones starting Saturday, September 12, ahead of their release on September 25 in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Greece, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy and Puerto Rico.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available in more than 130 countries and over 400 carrier partners by the end of this year. As for iOS 9, it will release next week on September 16.
New iCloud storage pricing
In a surprise announcement, Apple said it’s cutting iCloud storage upgrades in half. So starting today, you can upgrade your entry-level iCloud account with just five gigabytes of free storage to fifty gigabytes for a monthly fee of 99 cents.
If you need more than 50 gigs, $2.99 per month will upgrade your iCloud storage to 200 gigabytes. The flagship tier with one terabyte of storage is now $9.99 per month.
iPhone Upgrade Program and switching from Android
The company mentioned that customers now have expanded choices as to how they would like to buy their iPhone. In addition to the usual subsidized pricing and non-subsidized models with carrier installment plans, iPhone buyers can now enroll into Apple’s own installment offering.
They are calling it the iPhone Upgrade Program and it basically lets you upgrade to a new iPhone once per year for a fee which starts at $32 per month. Other perks included in the iPhone Upgrade Program: you get to choose your carrier and they’re also throwing in the Apple SIM and extended Apple Care+ coverage for your device.
Oh, and those are unlocked phones.
Last but not least, Apple will be releasing another Android application of its own (in addition to the upcoming Apple Music for Android app): Move to iOS. Like its name suggests, Move to iOS will make the switching process a lot easier for Android customers.
With just a few taps, the app will transfer a user’s settings, preferences, media and personal information like contacts, calendars and more from their Android smartphone to an iPhone.