Thanks to a budget price tag, solid hardware and quality software, the iPhone 5s is still a very solid smartphone nearly two years after its release. But how will it stack up with the rumored iPhone 6s? Here we take a look at what we expect from the iPhone 6s vs. iPhone 5s matchup.
Its been nearly two years since Apple announced the iPhone 5s and the iOS 7 update. And while the iPhone 5s has gotten older, it remains a budget option for those looking to score a high quality smartphone without a wallet-busting price tag. Apple sells it for $99 and $149 on-contract but you can find it for much less through third-party avenues.
The iPhone 5s’ hardware isn’t top of the line but it’s going to be good enough for a lot of people. The phone also stands to improve from Apple’s upcoming iOS 9 release. The iOS 9 release date is unknown but what we do know is that the software will bring tangible performance improvements to older devices. If you currently own an iPhone 5s, there’s reason to be excited.
Still, there are certainly going to be some iPhone 5s users who will be looking to upgrade later this year. Those who signed two year contracts in the fall of 2013 will be eligible for upgrades soon. There are a ton of options on the table right now and there will be more options coming in the future.
The iPhone 6s will likely be one of those options. Apple hasn’t confirmed anything yet but it’s clear that it has at least two new iPhone models on the way. Rumors also point to the arrival of an iPhone 6c though those rumors are far more flimsy than the iPhone 6s rumors that’ve seeped to the surface this year.
With current and prospective iPhone 5s users in mind, we want to take a look at a few things we think you can expect from the iPhone 6s vs. iPhone 5s matchup. Our goal here is to help put set your expectations as we push deeper into the summer towards the inevitable iPhone 6s launch date.
iPhone 6s Launch Date
“How long do I have to wait for the iPhone 6s?” That’s a common question we’ve been getting from iPhone 5s users as iPhone 6s rumors have started to build. And while we don’t have an official iPhone 6s launch date just yet, it appears that we are closing in on one.
According to BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski, a reliable source, Apple will host an iPhone launch date on September 9th. This is the same day that it used to launch the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last year and it fits in with everything we’ve heard about iPhone 6s production and the device’s release date.
If this date holds, and it should, we could see Apple send out media invites as soon as this week. Last year, the company shipped out media invites on August 28th. Perhaps we’ll see the same this year.
We would expect Apple to host a live stream of the event on its website giving those not in attendance a chance to follow along. And if you’re interested in buying, or replacing the iPhone 5s, you’d be wise to tune in if given the opportunity.
iPhone 6s Pre-Orders
The iPhone 5s didn’t go up for pre-order ahead of its release date though that was an anomaly. Apple almost always takes pre-orders for its iPhone and it hasn’t been surprising to see rumors point to an iPhone 6s pre-order date that falls shortly after the launch event on September 9th.
The iPhone 6s pre-order date is rumored to be September 11th, or, the Friday after the launch event. This date is rumored for France.
France is typically among the first to get the iPhone. The United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, UK, and China are the others. So, there’s a good chance that iPhone 6s pre-orders will start on September 11th in the U.S. as well.
If Apple takes iPhone 6s pre-orders, expect them to start on September 11th. This is standard Apple protocol and it lines up perfectly with the iPhone 6s launch date.
You should also expect to have to act quickly. Apple typically starts pre-orders at midnight PST and the device usually sells out within hours. So, if you decide to buy it in favor of the iPhone 5s, you’ll probably need to act fast if you want the device on release day.
If you decide to buy the iPhone 5s instead of the iPhone 6s, you shouldn’t have any problems. Even if Apple decides to stop selling it, many retailers and carriers will still have it in stock.
iPhone 6s Release Date
“When is the iPhone 6s release date?” This is another question we’ve been getting from iPhone 5s owners and smartphone shoppers.
The iPhone 6s release date isn’t confirmed but it’s rumored for September 18th or September 25th with September 18th emerging as the most likely candidate for the first iPhone 6s release date.
Apple likes to release its iPhone the week after launch. It also likes to release the iPhone on Friday. September 18th fits the profile and that’s precisely when to expect the iPhone 6s release date if you live in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the UK.
We’d expect Apple to use a series of release dates with some countries getting the iPhone 6s (and iPhone 6s Plus) a few days or weeks after the initial run.
Cheaper iPhone 5s
We’re still not sure how Apple’s iPhone lineup will change once the iPhone 6s is released though you can expect one thing for sure. The iPhone 5s will be cheaper than the iPhone 6s, probably by a long shot.
Apple’s done pretty well for itself at the $199.99 on-contract/$650 off-contract starting price point and we wouldn’t expect anything to change this year. Apple seems comfortable with the iPhone’s price point and customers seem comfortable with it as well.
Exactly how the iPhone 5s will fit in is a mystery though we wouldn’t expect its $99/$149 price points to hold, at least not at Apple.
We’d expect to see a number of iPhone 5s price cuts emerge in and around the iPhone 6s release date. We wouldn’t be surprised if a number of places started selling it for free on-contract. Free on-contract or not, expect the iPhone 6s to command a much higher price point.
The iPhone 5s’ rear camera is still able to shoot solid photos and video though you shouldn’t expect it to be able to match the iPhone 6s’.
Every year, Apple improves the iPhone camera. Both the hardware and the software. Last year, Apple made some tweaks to the iPhone 6 camera that put it a step above the iPhone 5s’. While they both come with 8MP sensors, the iPhone 6 is able to shoot better photos in low-light. It’s also able to focus faster and it can shoot footage at a higher frame rate per second.
Analysts believe that the iPhone 6s’ two cameras will be two of its biggest selling points. iPhone 6s camera rumors have focused on a 12MP rear camera. If this is true, you can expect the iPhone 6s to shoot photos in higher resolution. There’s also talk of 4K video and that could be another advantage it holds over the iPhone 5s and its camera.
We’ve also heard that the iPhone 6s will sport a 5MP front-facing camera. If that’s true, and we’ve seen tons of rumors hint at a change to the FaceTime camera, the iPhone 6s could provide better looking video chat and selfies.
The iPhone 6s is rumored to have a new A9 processor with a new Qualcomm chip on board. These upgrades should help the phone deliver faster LTE data speeds and improved battery battery life when using LTE. LTE can drain battery pretty fast and it looks this new processor/MDM9635M chip combo will help to mitigate that.
The iPhone 6s is also expected to feature 2GB of RAM, the first iPhone to do so. That, combined with the other upgrades, should ensure that the iPhone 6s delivers top notch performance.
We expect the iPhone 6s to be the most powerful iPhone it has ever created. So if it’s horsepower you’re looking for, the iPhone 6s might be your pick.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus also come with an NFC, a feature that allows users to use Apple Pay without an Apple Watch. The iPhone 6s is rumored to have NFC and there’s no reason to believe that that won’t happen. Apple Pay is only getting bigger.
Bigger Screen & Force Touch
The iPhone 5s comes with a small 4-inch Retina Display. Some people love still love the size (this could be why the company is reportedly planning a 4-inch iPhone 6c). If you fall into that group, you might not like what you see from the new iPhone.
iPhone 6s rumors and leaks point to the same 4.7-inch screen size that Apple debuted on last year’s iPhone 6. We haven’t seen any rumors point to radical changes so this is what we’d expect. We’d also expect it to come with solid resolution though don’t go expecting it to come with Quad HD like the Galaxy Note 5.
You should expect the iPhone 6s to come with another powerful display upgrade that’s not found on the iPhone 5s. That upgrade? Force Touch.
Force Touch made its debut on the Apple Watch and new MacBook but rumors suggest that Apple will bring it to the iPhone this year. If true, and we expect that it is, it would allow users to use pressure-sensitive gestures to easily clear notifications or use shortcuts within certain applications.
This is a feature that the iPhone 5s will never get so you’ll really want to pay attention to the feature if and when Apple announces it on stage.
Designs & Storage
If you’re hoping for a redesigned iPhone 7 next month, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Instead, you can expect the iPhone 6s design to look at whole lot like the iPhone 6 design. If you’ve ever seen an iPhone 6, you have some idea about how it will compare to the iPhone 5s.
The iPhone 6s design is, however, expected to come with at least one major change. Apple’s current iPhones feature Series 6000 aluminum. This is an extremely common material though as last year’s Bendgate debacle showed, it comes with a weak point. A weak point that Apple apparently fixed.
Analysis of an alleged iPhone 6s back plate points to the use of a new Series 7000 Aluminum. As we’ve noted, this is most commonly used in aerospace.
Due to the change, the iPhone 6s might be wider and thicker than the iPhone 6 though we’re talking about a difference in millimeters. It’s still going to be thin and easy for most people to hold in one hand. Just like the iPhone 5s.
The iPhone 5s is available on a ton of carriers. Expect the iPhone 6s to be available on a ton of carriers as well.
T-Mobile’s already confirmed plans to stock the next iPhone and we expect other major carriers like AT&T and Verizon to follow suit.
We’d also expect smaller regional and pre-paid carriers to stock the iPhone 6s giving you a wide range of data plans and network sizes to choose from.
iOS 9 & Beyond
As for software, expect the iPhone 6s to run iOS 9 out of the box, though, you shouldn’t expect it to run the same iOS 9 that comes to the iPhone 5s.
Apple always tacks on some exclusive software features to its iPhone “S” models. And while we don’t know what it has up its sleeve for the iPhone 6s, you should expect there to be some differences between the two operating systems. Maybe it’s a feature that relies on hardware that the iPhone 5s doesn’t have.
The iPhone 5s will improve thanks to the iOS 9 update so if you already own the iPhone 5s, you might want to wait to see how it performs before making your move.
iPhone 6s Release Date Announcement
The first thing you need to know about the iPhone 6s release date is that the announcement should come on September 9th.
Apple will reportedly host an iPhone launch event on September 9th. Invites haven't gone out yet but if the company follows protocol, we could see the company issue them sometime this week. Apple sent out invites for last year's September 9th iPhone 6 event on August 28th.
Apple always confirms specific release date details at its iPhone events and it's there that you should plan on hearing about the official iPhone 6s release date for the first time.
If you're at all interested in the iPhone 6s and its release, this is the date to circle on the calendar. And given the source, it's probably alright to circle it in pen.