Although the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus aren’t expected to bring major design changes to Apple’s world-beating smartphone lineup, a bevy of hardware upgrades will make the new models faster and easier to use.
Even though we’re almost a week away from Apple’s 2015 iPhone unveiling, we pretty much know all the key features that are coming. Here’s everything we think know about the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which will undoubtedly become most popular iPhones ever.
iPhone 6s design
The iPhone 6s will come in the same form factor as the iPhone 6, only it might be slightly thicker. Like 0.2mm thicker. This is thanks to the new Force Touch display assembly.
Apple also made some upgrades to the casing, switching from series 6000 aluminum to series 7000 aluminum. It’s the same alloy used by the aerospace industry (and the Apple Watch), which will make the casing much stronger and less susceptible to bending.
New A9 processor
A new A9 processor will be added to the iPhone 6s, and according to leaked Geekbench scores, it could bring performance gains as high as 30 percent to the iPhone 6s. The benchmarking scores leaked last month show the new A9 chip achieved a single-core score of 2,090 and a multi-core score of 3,569, up from the averages of 1,611 and 2,892 on the iPhone 6.
If those new scores are in fact genuine, that would make the iPhone 6s processor faster than Samsung’s flagship Exynos 7420 processor used in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge+.
The A9 processor is expected to be 15 percent smaller than the A8, and boast 35 percent better power efficiency, which could lead to slightly better battery life (especially when coupled with iOS 9’s new Power Reserve Mode).
First iPhone with Force Touch display
Taking a cue from the Apple Watch, the iPhone 6s will come with a new Force Touch display that will unlock a new level of controls for users. Force Touch on the Apple Watch is used to bring up hidden menus and other options, but its implementation is expected to be slightly different on the iPhone 6s. Instead of hard-pressing to bring up menu options, Force Touch presses will be used to skip forward to certain commands, making navigating through iPhone menus and apps quicker than ever.
RAM upgrade for iPhone 6s
The iPhone 6 still uses a mere 1GB of RAM, while some Android phones pack 4GB. It’s time for Apple to put at least 2GB of RAM on the iPhone 6s, which should bring significant speed increases to users.
2GB of LPDDR4 RAM will be tossed into the iPhone 6s compared to the 1GB LPDDR3 RAM seen in the iPhone 6. The main difference between DDR3 and DDR4 are the price and the fact that the latter hits much higher clock speeds than the former.
Wireless boost for iPhone 6s
LTE speeds on the iPhone 6s are getting an upgrade thanks to a a brand new Qualcomm MDM9635M LTE chip that will be 50 percent faster than the old model. The new LTE modem will brings speeds of up to 300 Mbps, while the iPhone 6 is only capable of 150 Mbps.
Upgraded iSight Camera
The iPhone 6s will come with the best camera of any smartphone Apple’s ever made. Previous iPhone camera sensors haven’t pushed the boundaries of the megapixel war, but reports claim Apple is taking a big leap forward this year, moving up from the 8-megapixel sensor on the iPhone 6 to a 12-megapixel sensor on the new iPhone 6s camera.
With it’s higher megapixel count, the new camera will take larger and higher-resolution pictures than before. We expect other optical improvements have been made that will allow it to take much better pictures in low-light conditions as well. An upgraded image signal processor is also being added to the A9 system-on-a-chip that prevents images from getting washed out.
Perhaps the biggest camera upgrade of all is the expected addition of 4K video recording. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will be the first Apple devices capable of recording at 4K resolutions, and will offer improved image quality and clarity.
Best selfies yet with new FaceTime camera
The rear camera on the iPhone 6s isn’t the only one getting an upgrade this year. Apple is boosting the megapixel count on the FaceTime camera to 5 megapixels and adding a flash feature. Instead of providing an external flash, Apple is taking a cue from SnapChat and will just use the iPhone’s brightened screen as a flash for selfies.
Hardware leaks have revealed the new FaceTime camera is slightly larger than the one on the iPhone 6, which could indicate a larger aperture or wider focal length is coming. There are also reports that front-facing panorama capabilities and slo-mo 720p video recording will be added.
Same old storage
If you were hoping this would be the year Apple finally upgrades the baseline iPhone model to 32GB of storage, you’ll have to wait another year. Early leaks revealed that 16GB will still be standard on the cheapest iPhone 6s models. There will also be options for 64GB and 128GB.
iPhone 6s colors
Apple is set to introduce a new iPhone color: rose gold. It won’t be as pink as some leaks claimed, though. It’ll more likely match the rose gold color of the pricey Apple Watch Edition, only not made out of actual gold. Space gray, gold and silver units will also be available.
Pricing for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
We don’t expect Apple to change up its pricing structure this year, so it’s most likely the iPhone 6s will start at $199 and the iPhone 6s Plus will come in at $299 on contract. However, because carriers are starting to do away with on-contract pricing for smartphones, we might see Apple announce the price in terms of the monthly payment option that carriers have adopted, or the off-contract price.
iPhone 6s availability
iPhones typically launch on a Friday within two weeks of Apple’s annual iPhone event. That means you can expect to see preorders for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus start September 11 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, with the official release scheduled for September 16.
Lines are probably already forming at your local Apple Store, so you might wanna get you spot now.