As expected, Apple also unveiled its next-generation iPhone models, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Sporting the new third-generation 64-bit A9 chip that promises 90 percent better graphics performance from the previous generation, the headline feature on the new models is a new 3D Touch feature which uses force touch sensors similar to the Apple Watch to provide an additional layer of navigation through the iPhone user interface. 3D Touch gestures will allow users to access shortcuts to frequently access features from the home screen icons, which appear as contextual style menus that pop up near the icon, enabling actions such as quickly taking selfies from the Camera icon or quickly composing a new email from the Mail icon.
Users can press lightly to peek at content — such as pulling up a map view from an address in a calendar appointment, pulling up a web page preview from a link in an email, or pulling up a calendar view when looking at a proposed meeting time in an email message. Pressing slightly harder will take the user directly into the new content area, and releasing closes the “peek” to return the user back to their original content. The new 3D Touch also enables distinct tactile feedback for actions. The app switcher can now also be accessed with a 3D Touch gesture at the end of the iPhone screen to more naturally bring up the panel of apps and then swipe across to switch apps. Selected third-party developers such as Dropbox, Facebook, and Instragram have also already implemented support for 3D Touch.
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus now also include a new 12MP iSight camera with improved sensor technology that maintains optimal image quality with 50 percent more pixels and 50 percent more focused pixels for faster and more accurate auto-focus. 4K video is also now supported, and a 5MP front FaceTime HD camera has also been added. For FaceTime HD photos, the front screen will now serve as a “True Tone” flash, not just illuminating the screen but matching colors and providing up to three times more brightness than normal when it’s being used as a flash. A new “Live Photos” feature will allow users to capture photos that will automatically grab a second and a half of imagery before and after the photo to allow animation of the photo, which can be triggered via a 3D Touch gesture. Swiping across photos will also provide a brief animation as users scroll through. Live Photos will be viewable on other iOS devices, Macs, and even the Apple Watch, where they can also be used as animated watch faces. Developer APIs are also being added to allow third-party apps such as Facebook to support capturing and displaying Live Photos as well.
Additional new features on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus include an M9 motion coprocessor, the ability to use “Hey Siri” even when the iPhone is not connected to power, and a second-generation Touch ID implementation that Apple claims is twice as fast at recognizing fingerprints. The new models will be constructed from the same 7000 series aluminum used on the Apple Watch Sport, and include upgraded wireless hardware, providing LTE Advanced support for speeds of up to 300mbps, support for 23 bands of LTE networking in a single device, and 866 Mbps Wi-Fi. The prices for the new models remain the same as last year’s versions, with the iPhone 6S at $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 64GB, and $399 for the 128GB, while the iPhone 6S Plus will sell for $299, $399, and $499 for the 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions, respectively. The new models will be available for pre-order on Sept. 12 in twelve countries, and available for retail purchase on Sept. 25.