With summer in the rearview and changing leaves in the forecast, Tim Cook and company once again graced an auditorium stage in Cupertino to preview all the latest and greatest gadgets Apple has worked tirelessly at perfecting. Among announcements touting new band colors for its prized Apple Watch, an impressive overhaul of its Apple TV, and a brand new iPad, Apple also (unsurprisingly) shared all the new details about the S lineup of its flagship iPhone 6.
Related: Apple’s September 9 Event
Leading up to the September 9th event, smartphone fans knew Apple had some sort of news up its sleeve regarding the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, but until the veil officially lifted, it wasn’t clear exactly what the updates would be. With the dust finally settled concerning the showing, we now know exactly what makes the 6S and 6S Plus the true next step for Apple and its smartphone technology. To get an idea of just what sets the 6S Plus apart from its predecessor, we’ve decided to pit the two against each other in a spec comparison. May the best phone win (spoiler alert: they aren’t that different).
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
|Size||6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches||6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches|
|Weight||6.77 ounces||6.07 ounces|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080 pixels||1920 x 1080 pixels|
|OS||iOS 9||iOS 8, upgradeable to iOS 9|
|Storage||16, 64, 128GB||16, 64, 128GB|
|SD Card Slot||No||No|
|Processor||Apple 64-bit, A9||Apple 64-bit, A8|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, 802.11ac||4G LTE, 802.11ac|
|Camera||12MP rear, 5MP front||8MP rear, 1.2MP front|
|Fingerprint sensor||Touch ID||Touch ID|
|Battery||24 hours of 3G talk time||24 hours of 3G talk time|
|Marketplace||Apple App Store||Apple App Store|
|Avg. Price||$300 for 16GB with 2-year contract||$200 for 16GB with 2-year contract|
|Availability||September 25th on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile||AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile|
|DT Review||Coming soon||4.5 out of 5 stars|
Apple’s design for the iPhone 6 Plus was beautiful simplicity, wrapping rounded edges into glass in an unassuming style typical of past iPhones. Apple decided not to fix what wasn’t broken, bringing back a nearly identical style for the 6S Plus. However, it did improve the phone’s enclosure, borrowing a page out of the aerospace industry’s book and wrapping it in an alloy of 7000 Series aluminum. In other words, this is the strongest and most durable iPhone yet.
Aside from the dimensions of the 6S Plus registering one-hundredth of an inch bigger in height, width, and thickness, these two phones are mirror images of each other. Back is the same 5.5-inch screen with the same gorgeous 1920 x 1080 screen resolution owners of the 6 Plus came to know and love. Where the iPhone 6S Plus does diverge a bit from the 6 Plus is its available colors. While the 6 Plus comes in just Space Gray, Silver, and Gold (the Gold has been discontinued), the 6S Plus comes in Space Gray, Silver, Gold, or Rose Gold, giving buyers an even greater opportunity to customize their new smartphone.
Related: Check out these iPhone 6S Plus cases
Power and Productivity
Without having the opportunity to give the 6S Plus an extended whirl ourselves, it’s hard to say exactly how much more powerful Apple’s new A9 chip is, compared to the A8 chip that powered its predecessor. During the presentation, Phil Schiller did mention the A9 chip packs desktop-class performance, claiming it runs an astounding 70 percent faster than the A8, with a GPU that’s a staggering 90 percent faster. The iPhone 6S Plus also features 2GB of RAM, which is double the 1GB that was in the original 6 Plus.
Apple also demonstrated the phone’s impressively fast performance by showing it play a wide number of available mobile games, all of which looked to perform incredibly smoothly. With iOS 9 rolling out now, Apple also took time to show just how intelligent and advanced the new operating system is. From an upgrade to its Maps application to a new-and-improved Siri, iOS 9 functions beautifully on the new phones. The iPhone 6S Plus also touts what Apple calls 3D Touch (no, it’s not just a renaming of Force Touch) which grants users an extra level of touch sensitivity. For instance, a slight touch on an application brings up a table similar to a right-click menu you might see on a computer. Apple claims this improves user productivity and streamlines the smartphone experience when time is at a premium. Although you can get iOS 9 on the 6 Plus, it won’t support the new 3D Touch feature.
Related: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus tips and tricks
The one area where the iPhone 6S Plus arguably blows the 6 Plus out of the water concerns its camera functionality. Instead of an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a sub-par 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, the 6S Plus touts a gorgeous 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. In other words, Apple continues to make it easy for casual photographers to ditch digital cameras altogether and rely solely on the contraption they have in their pocket. Apple showed off an array of gorgeously shot photos during the event, all of which it swore were shot exclusively with a 6S or 6S Plus. For years, it’s continuously boasted about the iPhone’s camera prowess but it seems this next generation of iPhone legitimately raises the bar.
Packed within the camera’s massive upgrade is also the ability for users to not only shoot HD videos, but incredibly detailed 4K videos. Obviously it’s tough to put much stock in 4K actually mattering on something with a screen as “small” as an iPhone 6S Plus, but the videos Apple paraded across stage certainly looked a whole heck of a lot better than anything shot on a 6 Plus. Moreover, with 4K gaining popularity and momentum in the HD community, why not include it if the tech is there?
Amid the new features, similar design, and flashy colors, Apple did announce its lineup of 6S phones would be available to the public beginning September 25, with pre-orders starting September 12. As always, the 6S Plus comes in three different storage sizes, each sporting its own relevant price tag. The 16GB 6S Plus comes in at $749 (or $299 with a two-year contract), the 64GB at $849 (or $399 with a two-year contract), and the 128GB at $949 (or $499 with a two-year contract). That means that the iPhone 6 Plus drops in price to $649 for the 16GB or $749 for the 64GB version (the 128GB model has been discontinued).
As is typically par for the course for Apple, it rolled out its new line of iPhones calling them the most advanced smartphones ever created. With a new processing chip, a much-improved camera, a new operating system, and two extra snazzy colors, the iPhone 6S Plus is set to be a massive hit among phablet users. If you’re in the market for an upgraded phone and have yet to try Apple’s latest lineup of iPhones, then you should definitely consider pre-ordering a new iPhone 6S Plus. The improvements look worth the extra $100 over last year’s 6 Plus. But if you’ve already joined Apple’s ranks as a 6 user then fret not, the announced upgrades aren’t nearly drastic enough to make you feel like you’re missing out in a major way.