The latest additions to the iPhone stable; the 6s and 6s Plus, were released on the 25th of September to 12 countries including the UK, USA, China and Australia. Ireland, along with Mexico, Russia and Spain is part of the second wave of countries in which the phone has now been launched. The device sold over 13 million units within three days of its launch, making it the best first weekend seller in Apple’s history, with sales in China considerably boosting numbers.
The models retain the same size and aesthetic appearance as the previous iPhone, with a 4.7-inch display on the 6s and 5.5-inch display on the 6s Plus. The only cosmetic differences are the addition of a small ‘S’ on the back of the device and the addition of a rose gold (pink!) colour option to the range.
The devices are now 0.2mm thicker, and are made out of stronger 7000 series aluminium, suggesting #Bendgate will be avoided this year! There is also the addition of a model with a hefty 128GB storage. Previously the iPhone had a maximum capacity of 64GB.
‘3D Touch’ is a brand new feature that allows users to access secondary menu’s by pressing slightly harder on certain objects (similar to right clicking). Pressure-sensitive ‘Peek’ and ‘Pop’ gestures allow you to preview certain objects such as emails without opening them by pressing gently, while pressing harder will open them fully.
"Peek and Pop let you preview all kinds of content and even act on it - without having to actually open it. For example, with a light press you can Peek at each email in your inbox. Then when you want to open one, press a little deeper to Pop into it"
Is it a must-have feature? Definitely not, but it is cool and developers will no doubt find interesting ways of incorporating this new feature into useful apps.
The iPhone camera, which has always been brilliant, has received another upgrade. The camera now packs an extra 4 Megapixels over the iPhone 6, taking it up to 12MP. While low light imaging has improved, and the new A9 processor adds a boost to image processing, most early reports are suggesting that the improvements to the camera aren’t greatly noticeable.
A fun new feature is 'Live Photo's', this essentially turns a photo into a 3 second video clip, with a minute and a half of video either side of the picture you have taken. With Facebook expected to support Live Photos in it's iOS app soon, this format may become increasingly seen in competing smartphones, it's certainly one to watch.
Somewhat creepily, Siri is now ‘always on’. This means you can activate the personal assistant at any time just by saying ‘Hey, Siri’. iOS 9 makes Siri a lot more useful, with the feature now becoming something you’d use on purpose, rather than a somewhat annoying feature prone to accidental activation.
What does it cost and where can I get it?
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are available unlocked from the Apple Store. The base price (16GB) for the 6s starts at €759, with the 6s Plus starting at €869.
Vodafone billpay plans start at €79.99 for the 6s and €179.99 for the 6s Plus with an €80 per month contract.
Meteor billpay plans start at €249 for the 6s and €349 for the 6s Plus with a €65 per month contract.
Three plans for the 6s start at €249 on billpay with a €55 per month contract and €699.99 on prepay. The 6s Plus starts at €349 on billpay with a €55 per month contract and is €799.99 on prepay.
But remember: The best value is almost always found by buying the phone outright rather than opting for a lengthy and expensive contract. See our post from August on finding the cheapest way to get an iPhone 6.
What's the 'iPhone Upgrade Program' all about?
The iPhone Upgrade Program is a new financing plan that allows users to upgrade to the latest version of iPhone as it is released each year. Subscribers pay a set amount each month and have the option of upgrading to the latest model each year or purchasing the phone outright after two years.
The arrangement is essentially a leasing model whereby the subscriber doesn’t own the phone but rents it from Apple, with the device either returned in exchange for an upgrade or purchased fully. However, as enticing as this model is, the fact is that if you sell your old iPhone you'll probably be able to upgrade for even cheaper.
"as long as you sell your old one—you can basically upgrade your iPhone any time you want at minimal cost"
This scheme allows Apple to keep customers loyal to the brand, with unlocked iPhones letting customers choose and switch networks as they please, while remaining committed to their payments to Apple, a savvy business move for the company.
The program is currently limited to the US at present, but we can see it being rolled out worldwide once the concept is proven in The States.