The iPhone 6S is almost here, this is what we know so far.
CGI concept: martin hajek – cc
There’s no intro “fluff” on this one – we’re going right into it. The next iteration of the iPhone is expected to hit stores in September after nearly a year of rumors and leaked photos of questionable validity. Amid predictions of sapphire screens, 4k video recording, and even dual rear cameras, I’ve done my fair share of research to separate the nitty-gritty from the hooey and deliver you the goods. Here’s what I’ve got.
iPhone 6S or iPhone 7?
A few leading tech experts had previously speculated Apple would drop the ‘S’ from the moniker altogether and instead jump straight to ‘iPhone 7.’ Even without the self-inflicted marketing wound that would cause, I’m thinking there’s just not enough cosmetic change to warrant a new number. Apart from the color changes presumed to cover the new frame (reminiscent of the change between the 5 and 5S), leaked photos of the frame show no visible differences, and certainly not enough to convince consumers they’re buying a completely new “next gen” device. I’d bet my mother’s gold tooth you won’t be seeing the “iPhone 7” for another year or so.
iPhone 6S Release Date
From what I can tell, the pre-order date is looking like September 11 with a potential in-store date of September 18. Yep, that’s soon, but it says nothing about the device, so… NEXT!
Possibly the biggest brouhaha regarding the new iPhone is whether it will have the traditional Gorilla Glass or the much anticipated sapphire screen as seen on the Apple Watch. While many experts have not ruled out sapphire screens for the 6S, citing large stockpiles created by Apple through a previous deal with GT Advanced Technologies, it’s not looking like it’ll happen. Though they may have learned a lesson or two from the embarrassing fiasco that severely hampered Apple’s hopes for a sapphire screen on the iPhone 6 (which ended up leaving their supplier in bankruptcy court), there’s a few other reasons you most likely won’t be seeing sapphire on the iPhone 6S.
1. Sapphire is expensive
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Sapphire would certainly please a lot of Apple fans who were a bit let down the iPhone 6 never came with it, but Apple still has shareholders to think about and therefore production costs to think about. Sapphire is harder to shape than traditional glass, it takes quite a bit longer to produce, and though costs are slowly coming down, a sapphire screen would cost anywhere from $10 to $30 while Gorilla Glass costs around $3.
photo: pocketnow – cc
2. Sapphire is heavy
Sapphire is hard, which is great, but it’s also more dense than Gorilla Glass which means it’s heavier. Sanford C. Bernstein, a research and brokerage firm for Wall Street, claims a sapphire screen for the iPhone 5 would increase its overall weight by as much as 10 percent. This could amount to even more for the iPhone 6S’s girthier frame, a number Apple has been very keen on reducing up until this point.
3. Sapphire is brittle
The sapphire used on screens is an artificial replication of natural sapphire. It’s melted down and “re-grown” in furnaces, then cut into thin, very hard, highly scratch-resistant slices. This hardness also makes it pretty darn easy to crack. While that might work perfectly for smaller surface areas like the Apple Watch, a full sized iPhone screen might be cracking more than Apple would like. “Crackgate” just doesn’t have the same ring that “bendgate” does.
4. This video
If you’re still not convinced Apple is passing on sapphire this time around, the video below might convince you.
video: EverythingApplesPro – cc
Is the video legit? Hard to say for certain, but our lead repair guru works around replacement screens like this every day and he seems convinced.
Bends in ONLY the right places
If you’re reading this article then there’s a pretty good chance you’re already aware of the iPhone 6/6 plus’s notorious reputation for frame bending. While I blame it largely on the tech-savvy crowd’s love for skinny black jeans, Apple has chosen to squash the bend jokes (hopefully) once and for all with the more durable 7000 series aluminum (a costlier composite of aluminum and zinc.) In a video posted by Unbox Therapy (the same guys that sparked “bendgate” for the iPhone 6 plus), a bend test is performed comparing the iPhone 6 frame to that of the iPhone 6S. The result? The newer iPhone 6S frame could handle about 2.5 times as much weight as the iPhone 6 frame before any bending could be noticed. I’ve got to tip my hat to Apple on that one.
Last year’s iPhone 6 came with an 8 megapixel rear-camera and a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, lagging a bit behind the Samsung S6’s 16 megapixel rear and 5 megapixel front. The iPhone 6S is anticipated to have a 12 megapixel rear camera, developed by Sony, along with a 2 megapixel front-facing camera. With Apple’s predicted inclusion of optical image stabilization (already present on the Galaxy S6) along with a beefed up image processor, the iPhone 6S could very well surpass Samsung’s renowned picture quality. Some images of an iPhone 6S frame with dual rear cameras (possibly for SLR quality photos or 3D video) have surfaced but have since been ousted as fake. The technology itself, however, is rumored to be a potential feature on the iPhone 7.
4K video recording has been rumored on more than a couple websites, but seeing as how the human eye can’t really tell the difference between 1080p and 4K resolution on a screen that small, I’m going to have to call that one poppycock. Ooh, I like that word.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from Apple’s record of ‘S’ releases, it’s that there has to be at least SOME sort of cosmetic change, however slight. Early photos of a leaked iPhone 6S frame lead me to believe this will be done entirely with color. Will all iPhone 6 colors be replaced? I’m going to say yes, or at least altered. I’m also going to say how smitten I am with the new “rose gold” option. As with the bump from the 5 to the 5S (sans finger scanner), I’m guessing the colors alone are going to be what give the iPhone 6S that little slice of “Oh this? Why yes, it IS the ‘S’ model.” You know who you are.
CGI mockup: martin hajek – cc
“Force touch” is almost definitely going to be available for the iPhone 6S. For those not in the know, this is just the ability to decipher the difference between a soft screen tap and a hard tap which allows for more user options. It’s neat, but I think it’s a bit gimmicky. One complaint with the Apple Watch’s force touch is not being able to tell which applications allow for the feature. Users repeatedly give hard presses until they eventually realize it’s not supported. Implementation on a wider array of apps as well as better accommodation with the soon to be released iOS 9 operating system could make this a bit more useful, however.
The iPhone 6S is expected to house Apple’s new A9 processor, a beefier (and smaller) replacement to the iPhone 6’s A8. The A9’s production will be split between three different manufacturers (one of which being longtime partner/rival Samsung), and is expected to use around 30 percent less energy while delivering about 20 percent more processing power .
There you have it. While I’m pretty confident in my predictions, they’re still exactly that. Please don’t go telling your friends what a loser I am if I’m wrong.
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