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Apple’s iPhone 6S range upgrades… everything

Processor, body strength, camera, connectivity, OS, Touch ID all tweaked… plus, 3D Touch

For a range serving as the interim step between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7, the 6S models do what most fans expect: upgrade everything.
For a range serving as the interim step between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7, the 6S models do what most fans expect: upgrade everything.

As is now the norm with iPhone launches, Apple investors have adopted the jitters over the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, introduced yesterday in San Francisco by a jubilant Tim Cook and confident Phil Schiller.

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But for a range serving as the interim step between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7, the 6S models do what most fans expect: upgrade everything.

As Apple smugly says of the new models on its own Store websites, "The only thing that's changed is everything." The 4.7-inch iPhone 6S and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus may both be the same size as their last-generation counterparts and carry the same LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen with 16M colours, but those screens now come with 3D-Touch, also known as Force Touch, which reacts to the amount of pressure on the screen.

A light touch will have one function, while a stronger press will have another. For example, a strong press on an SMS message in a list view might take the user to a screen that displays that message, but releasing the press makes the handset return to the previous screen, giving more navigation options.

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Both handsets have more power inside, with Apple's own A9 chipset. The 64-bit architecture, according to Apple, delivers up to 70% more zing from the CPU and up to 90% more from the GPU this time around.

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The 6S' chassis is made from a new alloy of 7000-Series aluminium, which Apple says is the same grade used in the aerospace industry and the cover glass is "the strongest, most durable glass used in any smartphone", according to Apple. In addition, a rose-gold finish is now available, along with space-grey, silver and gold and an improved Touch ID sensor is designed to detect fingerprints faster than previous iPhones.

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The 6s range also introduces a souped-up signal processor that works with iOS 9 to provide "better temporal and spatial noise reduction as well as third-generation local tone mapping" for the main camera, which has a 12MP sensor with advanced pixel technology. Every pixel in the sensor has been re-engineered to prevent crosstalk between sub-pixels, which allows Apple to fit more pixels in the sensor for "a sharper photo with less noise and truer colour".

The 5MP front (selfie) HD camera also includes Retina Flash, where a custom display-chip drives the display to flash three times brighter than usual. This mixes with True Tone tech to enhance image fidelity in lower light.

The camera on the iPhone 6s Plus features optical image stabilisation for videos as well as photos.

In iOS 9, a system called Proactive makes Siri a little smarter. For example, if you are watching a video and she hears you saying "What did he/she say?" Siri will rewind for 15 seconds.

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The iPhone 6S range supports LTE-A (advanced long-term evolution), which means, in theory, that browsing, uploading and downloading should be twice as fast, but this will depend upon carrier service.