AS EXPECTED, Apple has announced that the next iPhones will be the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, updates to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S Plus.
Anyone in the market for a new Apple smartphone, but not keen on a phablet, now has a choice to make: get the existing iPhone 6 now, or wait a little longer and pay more for the enhanced iPhone 6S. We've compared the specs of the two to see whether the iPhone 6S is a worthy successor or whether the iPhone 6 can still hold its own.
Dimensions and design
iPhone 6S: 138x67x7.1mm, 143g
iPhone 6: 138x67x6.9mm, 129g
Aesthetically, the iPhone 6S has stayed close to the design of the iPhone 6, with curved edges and a circular Home button. Again, this button doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
The two devices are extremely similar in size, so perhaps the biggest change is the iPhone 6S' new metal body. It's made of aerospace-grade '700 series' aluminium, which Apple no doubt hopes will help avoid the much-maligned bendiness of the iPhone 6. This added durability should make up for the extra 14g weight that the iPhone 6S has gained.
iPhone 6S: 4.7in 1334x750 resolution at 326ppi with 3D Touch
iPhone 6: 4.7in 1334x750 resolution at 326ppi
There's not much separating the two screens in terms of size or sharpness, but the iPhone 6S's 3D Touch tech is a big upgrade. 3D Touch allows the iPhone 6S to detect varying degrees of pressure, rather than just simple taps - similar to the Huawei Mate S's force-sensitive screen. This opens up the possibility of new ways of controlling apps, with light taps and hard presses performing different functions.
The success of this feature will depend heavily on third-party app support, but Apple has already demonstrated several interesting uses for 3D Touch, such as using gentle taps to preview emails without leaving the inbox or uploading to Dropbox straight from the home screen.
iPhone 6S: 64-bit A9 chip
iPhone 6: 64-bit A8 chip, 1.4GHz dual core, 1GB of RAM
In typical Apple fashion, the firm is staying tight-lipped on the new A9 chip's specific speeds. However, the firm did reveal that the A9 performs CPU tasks 70 percent faster than the A8, and GPU tasks 90 percent faster.
The A8 is already a speedy processor, so the A9 probably won't see a huge performance jump for everyday tasks. The differences are most likely to be apparent in highly intensive tasks like 3D games.
iPhone 6S: iOS 9
iPhone 6: iOS 8
The standard iPhone 6 will be upgraded to the newer iOS 9 this year, so it isn't truly competing with the iPhone 6S on these grounds. In any case, the upcoming operating system is a clear improvement in many respects, adding a battery-saving Low Power mode, six-digit passcode support, personalised News app, handwriting support for Notes and a new update delivery method that takes up less storage space.
Apple also said that apps will run faster and more efficiently in iOS 9 by using the new Metal API.
iPhone 6S: 12MP rear, 5MP front
iPhone 6: 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
No contest here. The front and rear cameras receive big upgrades in the iPhone 6S. The 12MP rear camera can also record 4K video, the first iPhone camera to be able to do so, while the 5MP will undoubtedly provide clearer video calling than on the iPhone 6.
iPhone 6S: 1,715mAh
iPhone 6: 1,810mAh
It's easy to find even an entry-level smartphone these days with a much bigger battery than the iPhone 6 offers. That makes it even stranger that Apple has actually shrunk the battery of the iPhone 6S to 1,715mAH.
This doesn't necessarily mean that the new device will offer fewer hours of use, particularly if iOS 9 can deliver on its promise of more power-efficient apps. In fact, Apple has claimed that the iPhone 6S will have the same 14 hours of talk time as the iPhone 6.
iPhone 6S: 16GB, 64GB, 128GB, no microSD
iPhone 6: 16GB, 64GB, 128GB, no microSD
Rumours suggested that Apple would ditch the 16GB option, Samsung-style, in favour of a more premium minimum capacity. Luckily for cash-strapped users, this was not the case, and the iPhone 6S will launch with identical storage options as the iPhone 6.
There's an argument to be made against Apple's annual cycle of planned obsolescence, but there's no denying that the iPhone 6S is, on paper, the superior smartphone. Only the lower price point of the iPhone 6 seems like a feasible reason to opt for the older model.
That said, with iOS 9 coming to the iPhone 6 this autumn, it will almost certainly continue to see widespread use and relevance even after the iPhone 6S launches. The latter is, after all, a collection of slight upgrades rather than a complete rework. We may have to wait for the inevitable iPhone 7 before the iPhone 6 really begins to die out. µ