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Sibling rivalry: iPhone 6S vs. iPhone 6

The successor to Apple’s iPhone 6 has been unveiled: the iPhone 6S. Of course, with such an announcement comes the burning question: what’s the difference between this new model, and the one that preceded it? Below, we spell out the hardware specifications of both smartphones, and give a detailed analysis of the categories where you’re likely to see the biggest differences. This is the iPhone 6S vs. iPhone 6 comparison.

Related: iPhone Upgrade Program: Deals, Comparison, Guides

Apple iPhone 6SiPhone 6S

Apple iPhone 6iphone6-spec-vs-220x220

Size 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches
Weight 5.04 ounces 4.55 ounces
Display size 4.7 inches 4.7 inches
Resolution 1,334 x 750 pixels 1,334 x 750 pixels
OS iOS 9 iOS 8, Upgradeable to 9
Capacity 16, 64, 128GB 16, 64, 128GB
Processor A9 chip with 64-bit architecture, M9 motion coprocessor A8 chip with 64-bit architecture, M8 motion coprocessor
RAM 2GB (speculation) 1GB DDR3
Connectivity 4G LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, CDMA, HSPA+ 4G, LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, CDMA, HSPA+
Camera 12MP rear, 5MP front 8 MP rear, 1.2 MP front
Video 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 240fps
Bluetooth 4.2 4.0
Sensors Touch ID, barometer, gyro, accelerometer, proximity, ambient light Touch ID, barometer, gyro, accelerometer, proximity, ambient light
Apple Pay Yes Yes
Battery 14 hours of talk time on 3G 14 hours of talk time on 3G
Charger Lightning Lightning
Marketplace Apple App Store Apple App Store
Avg. Price $650, $200 with 2-year contract $549, $99 with 2-year contract
Availability September 25th on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
DT Review Coming soon iPhone 6 Review

Design

In terms of look and size, there isn’t much of a change between the two. The new iPhone 6S is 0.01 inches thicker and half an ounce heavier, but those are hardly noticeable differences. Both phones are 5.44 inches tall by 2.64 inches wide, and both feature a 4.7 inch display with a 1,337 x 720 pixels resolution. Both have the headphone jacks, Lightning charger port, and iconic circular home button we’ve come to expect from Apple’s mobile devices. Simply put: when it comes to differences between the two, it’s what’s on the inside that matters.

Winner: Tie

Power and productivity

Obviously, we haven’t had time to put the new iPhone 6S through the ringer quite yet, but based on the specifications Apple has provided, the overall processing capabilities of the upcoming smartphone will be a step up from the iPhone 6.

Immediately apparent is the inclusion of the 3D touch feature on the iPhone 6S. Essentially, 3D Touch is the result of having a pressure-sensitive screen, that can pick up an expanded array of inputs and genstures. However, while 3D Touch is likely to open up new forms of interaction with apps on the iPhone 6S, the real change is to the upgraded chipset. For the iPhone 6S, Apple has jumped from the A8 chipset, that was in the iPhone 6, to their new A9 chipset. Similarly, the 6S is upgrading from the M8 coprocessor to the M9. These upgrades translate to faster processing speeds — about 70 percent faster, according to Apple.

While we don’t know specifics, it’s safe to assume that an upgraded chipset and processor will net better performance. On top of that, the iPhone 6S will ship with iOS 9 as standard, while the iPhone 6 ships with iOS 8, though it is upgradeable to version 9. It stands to reason, however, that the performance of iOS 9 on the iPhone 6 may not be smooth as it is on the iPhone 6S, as tends to be the case with new versions of iOS on older hardware. The iPhone 6S also appears to have 2GB of RAM, which is double the RAM in the iPhone 6.

Outside of that, the two phones once again look remarkably similar: Both come in 16, 64, or 128GB versions; and both have the same connectivity (though the Bluetooth on the 6S is a newer version). They also seem to have equal battery life. So, while the iPhone 6S is the defacto winner here, simply due to the newer hardware, the iPhone 6 is still a worthwhile and powerful device.

Winner: iPhone 6S

Related: Best iPhone 6S Cases

Camera

In terms of major differences between the two devices, camera quality is night and day judging by the specs above. The iPhone 6S blows the iPhone 6 out of the water on paper, with a 12 MP rear camera and 5 MP front camera. The 6S is also capable of shooting 4K resolution video at 30 frames-per-second, and 1080p at both 30 fps and 60 fps. Compare this to the iPhone 6’s 8 MP and 1.2 MP cameras, and 1080p at 60fps or 720p at up to 240fps video support, and you can see that when it comes to resolution and image quality the iPhone 6S wins.

Winner: iPhone 6S

Price and availability

This one is simple: as of this writing, the iPhone 6S won’t be released until September 25. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 is available for purchase right now, and at a cheaper price point than the upcoming 6S. The iPhone 6S will retail for $650, whereas the iPhone 6 goes for $549. When it comes to price and availability, there really is no question, the iPhone 6 is the better deal.

Winner: iPhone 6

Related: iPhone 6S and 6S Plus Hands On

Conclusion

Clearly, the iPhone 6S is a better version of the iPhone 6 — it is an update after all. But, unless you’re after one of the new iPhone 6S-specific features, such as 3D Touch or the improved cameras, the truth is there isn’t a huge difference in the specs. Of course, our opinion could change once we get our hands on the new iPhone for a decent length of time, but, from the specs provided, we think it’s a safe bet to assume that the iPhone 6 will remain a worthwhile choice, especially since it’s now a cheaper option.

Winner: iPhone 6S

Order the iPhone 6s from: T-Mobile AT&T Verizon Sprint

Order the iPhone 6 from:  T-Mobile AT&T Verizon Sprint