iPhone 6s review: Pretty on the outside, a beast on the inside

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The iPhone 6s is Apple's best smartphone yet. But is it worth the upgrade?
Apple hits another home run.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iPhone 6s is a mirror image of its predecessor at first glance, but thanks to improved internals and innovative new technology, it’s very much a different beast.

With Apple’s latest A9 processor, a new 12-megapixel iSight camera, Live Photos, and 3D Touch, this is much, much more than just an “incremental” iPhone upgrade. It’s the iPhone that will change the way you use your iPhone. It’s Apple most exciting smartphone in years.

Spectacular without surprises: What critics think of iPhone 6s

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Check out our iPhone 6s metareview.
Photo: Apple

It’s been two weeks since Apple announced its latest iPhones, and the first reviews are in — letting the rest of the world know what we can expect to find this Friday (or possibly before, if you’re an AT&T customer.)

So what do reviewers think? Mainly that 3D Touch is the way of the future, that Apple should concentrate on battery life, and that the iPhone 6s may just be Apple’s greatest handset yet… although the iPhone 7 will be better.

Yep, it’s a mixture of insane expectations coming into contact with an iPhone that was only ever going to be a marginal improvement on last year’s best-selling iPhone 6.

Check out the highlights below:

iOS 9 review: It’s all about speed

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Here's what time iOS 9 is landing in your area.
iOS 9 is going to shift your mobile life into the fast lane.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iOS 9 won’t shock you with a bunch of whiz-bang new features or a drastic new look, but in many ways, Apple’s latest mobile operating system is more important than its two immediate predecessors. While iOS 7 and iOS 8 laid a foundation that embraced the future of mobile design, iOS 9 is making all those changes worth a damn.

Apple drops iOS 9 today, bringing a more intelligent UI, better built-in apps, a smarter Siri and much more. Our iOS 9 review shows how the new software makes everything you do on your iPhone or iPad easier — and far faster — than ever before.

Stress-busting app will engross your inner child

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Who knew coloring could be so restful, even for adults?
Photo: Recolor

One way I can often determine if an app is worth my time is by putting it through a specific test. If I get so sucked into an app that I forget I’m actually supposed to be gathering thoughts to write up a review, it’s because that app is generally pretty awesome. I had this somewhat rare experience with Recolor, a new coloring book app for adults on iOS.

OnePlus 2 review: A pretty powerhouse that won’t break the bank

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The new OnePlus 2 is faster and prettier than its predecessor.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

The latest “flagship killer” from Chinese startup OnePlus is getting even more attention that its predecessor. And rightly so: The OnePlus 2 is better looking and more advanced than the OnePlus One, with a faster Snapdragon 810 processor, up to twice as much RAM, and a new 13-megapixel camera sensor.

The device also comes with OnePlus’ latest OxygenOS software pre-installed, which offers a pure Android experience with some added extras.

All these things come in a pretty package that costs just $329 with 16GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. (You can bump up to 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM for $389.) But is this a great smartphone that’s worth waiting for?

Radar Cast lets you Watch for bad weather

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Radar Cast can make you feel like a meteorologist on the five o'clock news.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

If you’re like me, you spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to pick out the perfect weather app for your iPhone. Apple’s Weather app just doesn’t cut it and it’s very hard to find something that has a little bit of every detail without being cluttered or downright ugly. That happy medium for me is Carrot Weather but unfortunately it’s been crashing on the iOS 9 developer beta. In its place I’ve been testing Radar Cast, a slightly unusual weather app that attempts to deliver all the most crucial information to your iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

Cord-protecting Juiceboxx will save you a trip to the Apple Store

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Juiceboxx is a $20 accessory tha protects your Mac charger from fraying.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

My MacBook Air’s charging cord was basically destroyed after only about two years of owning it. I just kept putting black electrical tape around it but that only seemed to make it worse. I finally waved the white flag, went to the Apple Store and bought a new charger for a whopping $79. If you’ve been through this before, listen up, because Juiceboxx will help you out.

Juiceboxx is a plastic case that wraps around your MacBook’s power adapter and forces the cord to point straight forward at the base. That way when you need to wrap it up and go, the cord isn’t dealing with the stress of being bent and twisted. More importantly, your cord won’t fray as it tends to do, leaving you with more money in your pocket and one less trip to the Apple Store.

Shoulderpod’s iPhone grip helps you shoot video like a pro

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ShoulderPod's S1 grip is a fantastic addition to your kit.
ShoulderPod's S1 grip is a fantastic addition to your kit.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

So you want to take video with your iPhone, because you realize that it’s a fantastic camera with some great features like slo-mo and time-lapse, and you also know that the best camera for any video or photo shoot is often the one you have with you.

If you’re like me, though, chances are you’re a bit shaky-handed. Or you have big mitts that tend to cover your whole iPhone, and they constantly end up hitting the Sleep button when you don’t want them to.

In short, shooting video with any sort of professionalism or polish is much more easily accomplished with a camera you can grip. That’s where ShoulderPod S1 Pro iPhone Grip comes in.

Apple Watch review: Futuristic, fun and fan-flipping-tastic

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Apple Watch is a great early adopter device. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple Watch is a great early adopter device. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo:

Apple Watch is the most confounding device to come out of Cupertino since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. Is is it a watch? Is it a tiny computer on your wrist? It’s both — and it’s so much more.

After four days playing with the Apple Watch, we’ve found it to be far more futuristic — and far more fun — than we could have imagined. (It’s even more impressive if you’ve tried any of the other smartwatches on the market.)

Apple Watch isn’t without its disappointments, though. If you’re still unsure whether to shackle yourself to Jony Ive’s fabulous timepiece, here’s our take on what works — and what doesn’t.

Darkroom is like having the best of Adobe Lightroom on your iPhone

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We compared Darkroom to having Adobe Lightroom on your iPhone in our full review, and it’s not hard to understand why Apple featured it on the front of the App Store.

If you’re looking for an excellent, full-featured photo editor for iOS that can let you make your own filters, this is the ticket.

Available on: iPhone

Price:

Download: App Store


Adobe’s Lightroom app for iOS is actually pretty good, but you have to pay for a Creative Cloud subscription to use it.

What if you could have the power of an editing suite like Lightroom without all of the extra fuss? You want just one app for editing pictures on the go, but it needs to be easy to use and full featured.

Enter Darkroom, the hottest new photography app for iPhone.