iPhone 6s Release Date, Specs, Design

This is a complete guide to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus that will help you understand the devices, all of the options available and different ways to actually buy them.

Apple’s new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus look a lot like their predecessors, but there are some important new features that will make many people upgrade to the new models as soon as possible.

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available for pre-order starting on September 12, with the first shipments delivering to customers, Apple Stores and wireless carriers on September 25.

While the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are distinct products, for simplicity’s sake we’ll refer to the pair simply as the ‘iPhone 6’ throughout this article except when comparing the two models or calling out unique traits of either model.

 What’s New in the iPhone 6s? 

The iPhone 6s looks identical to the iPhone 6, which Apple released in 2014. That isn’t too surprising considering that Apple’s been in a tick-tock design pattern since it released the iPhone 3Gs many moons ago. While the iPhone 6s looks the same as the iPhone 6, there are several new features exclusive to the iPhone 6s.

Here is a promo video that gives a quick overview of the new iPhone 6s that touches on several new features.

Better Cameras in the iPhone 6s: 

The iPhone 6s has a pair of cameras that produce better photos and video than previous iPhones. The rear-facing camera is capable of capturing 12MP stills and 4K videos. The front-facing FaceTime camera also gets a major upgrade thanks to a 5 MP sensor. The iPhone 6s’ display doubles as a ‘Retina Flash’ when you’re snapping selfies. This means selfies will look a lot better, especially in dimly-lit environments.

The iPhone 6s has a more powerful processor that makes it possible to edit 4K videos and capture what Apple calls Live Photos, which add short video clips to every photo you take.

iPhone 6s 3D Touch: The iPhone 6s can tell how hard you tap, swipe or pinch on the display. This essentially expands the number of gestures you can use on the iPhone 6s, allowing users to access information more quickly and multitask easily.

This is also the first time Apple’s included haptic touch in an iPhone. Haptic touch is a feature that provides a slight vibration when the display is touched. While haptic touch has been included in Android phones for years, Apple claims that the haptic touch feature in the iPhone 6s is more precise.

iPhone 6s in Rose Gold

iPhone buyers got along just fine back when Apple offered just black and white iPhones, but Apple mixed things up when it introduced the gold iPhone 6 in 2014. The gold iPhone 6’s popularity exceeded just about everyone’s expectations, so it’s no surprise that Apple is expanding is adding another choice in its iPhone 6s color palette.  Rose Gold is the new shade and it will be exclusive to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.  If you absolutely want everyone to know that you have a new iPhone 6s, opting for Rose Gold is the only way to do so.

iPhone 6s is Stronger Than the iPhone 6

The new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are built with something called 7000 Series aluminum.  That’s the same sort of aluminum that’s used to build airplane components. Some users complained that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus bent too easily. Apple claims that the 7000 Series aluminum is the strongest its ever used in an iPhone, but stops short of making specific claims about it reducing accidental damage.

Stronger Display on the iPhone 6s

The new iPhone 6s has stronger glass than its predecessors and Apple claims that it’s the most durable in the industry. That should mean fewer scratches and a little more protection against drops, though it certainly won’t end the broken-display epidemic. Dropping the iPhone 6s without a rugged case will still often shatter the iPhone 6s display, just like in older models.

The iPhone 6s Has Better Touch ID

Touch ID is a pretty useful feature that allows users to unlock their phones, make App Store purchases and make Apple Pay purchases at retail stores…when it works. Touch ID on the iPhone 6 leaves a lot to be desired and Apple claims the improved Touch ID in the iPhone 6s is a big improvement.

iPhone 6s A9 Processor

The new iPhone 6s’ processor will help speed up everything from web browsing to editing 4K video. While the iPhone 6 isn’t slow today on iOS 8, iOS 9 and new iPhone 6 features like 3D Touch are more resource intensive. As with all operating systems, iOS 9 has more features than iOS 8, which means the iPhone 6 may soon feel a little long in the tooth. Another reason to upgrade the iPhone 6s is that app and game developers will be designing with the new iPhone 6s’ processor in mind.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s: So Many Choices 

iPhone buyers have are more decisions to make than ever since Apple’s offering four color choices for the first time.  There are a total of  120 permutations of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s available in the United States once you account for the two iPhone sizes,  four colors, three storage capacities, four wireless carriers and the unlocked versions that Apple is selling directly.

The most important decision to make is to decide if the iPhone 6s or the iPhone 6s Plus is right for you. The most obvious difference between the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is that the iPhone 6s Plus is a lot bigger than the iPhone 6s. The larger’s iPhone’s display offers a lot more screen real estate for enjoying video, reading articles and playing games. However, the larger iPhone 6S Plus is too big to hold comfortably with one hand for some people and stuffing it in some pockets can be challenging. The iPhone 6s is a lot easier to manage with one hand and you won’t strain your fingers stretching for the upper corners of its display.

Apple offers the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB capacities. We don’t recommend the 16GB versions because 16 GB simply isn’t big enough to hold all of the apps, games and movies available for download.  The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus also come with cameras that shoot higher resolution photos and videos compared to older models, which means they’ll gobble through 16GB before you know it.  The 64 GB model offers enough space for most people, but those who shoot a ton of photos and videos or who consume a lot of media will appreciate the extra capacity offered in the 128GB iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

iPhone 6s Pricing

‘How much does the iPhone 6s cost?’ is a question that’s really difficult to answer. While Apple lists the starting prices for the iPhone 6s at $649 and the iPhone 6s Plus at $749, payment plans and other carrier schemes make things really confusing.

No matter the sales scheme, everything sort of backs in to the following prices

  • iPhone 6s 16GB: $649
  • iPhone 6s 64GB: $749
  • iPhone 6s 128GB: $849
  • iPhone 6s Plus 16GB $749
  • iPhone 6s Plus 64GB $849
  • iPhone 6s Plus 128GB $949

Just for reference, these are the ‘on contract’ prices for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus:

  • iPhone 6s 16GB: $199
  • iPhone 6s 64GB: $299
  • iPhone 6s 128GB: $399
  • iPhone 6s Plus 16GB $299
  • iPhone 6s Plus 64GB $399
  • iPhone 6s Plus 128GB $949

It wasn’t too long ago that wireless carriers subsidized everyones’ iPhone purchases to the tune of $450 per unit. That allowed Apple to openly market entry-level iPhones for $199. But AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are trying their hardest to do away with wireless contracts and the large subsidies that go along with them. Wireless carriers will still subsidize the iPhone 6s for certain customers who sign certain agreements, but most often in roundabout ways. For example, AT&T and Verizon offer those on payment plans monthly service discounts to offset the full cost of  new iPhones.

For the first time, Apple is offering a scheme called the iPhone Upgrade Plan that allows iPhone 6s buyers to get a new phone every year. The iPhone Upgrade Plan is essentially a lease that gets rid of the need to sell your old iPhone before buying a new one.  AppleCare+ is included, which serves as insurance for Apple that your iPhone 6s will be in good enough condition to resell on the second-hand market.  The iPhone Upgrade Plan starts at $32 per month for the 16GB iPhone 6s and $37 per month for the 16GB iPhone 6s Plus.

Read: iPhone Upgrade Plan Offers New Way to Buy iPhone 6s

It’s important to remember that no matter what Apple, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon tell you, you’ll be paying the full price of the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus ($649 to $949) one way or another. The payment plans may help in terms of convenience or cashflow, but you aren’t going to get an iPhone for the $199 price point that will be advertised. If you think you’re paying $199 for an iPhone 6s, you’ll be paying a higher than necessary wireless bill.

iPhone 6s Commercials

This is the first of two iPhone 6s promotional videos Apple released at the iPhone 6s launch event in San Francisco on September 9, 2015.