So those new iPhones -- the 6s and 6s Plus -- took their tour of the stage here in San Francisco and are being prepped for a worldwide launch on September 25th. Now the question is whether or not all the new goodies Apple crammed inside them make these updated phones worth some more of our collective dollars. The (very) early answer? Yes, but it'll take time for these things to really shine.
At some point while I was snapping photos of the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, I started feeling a little silly -- these things look damned-near identical to the iPhones we already have. That notion starts to evaporate when you pick them up. The aesthetic might be identical, but there's just a little extra heft around the phones' waists and what feels like a few more grams baked into their bodies. Most of you won't even notice the shift, but it's there and it gives the phones a sense of density that the 6 and 6 Plus sorely missed.
Of course, all of the big changes have taken place inside those aluminum bodies. These things are tricked out with new A9 chipsets, a fact that isn't all that apparent when you pick one up and start fiddling with it. The current-generation iPhones aren't exactly slow, and I didn't notice much of a gap in performance while swiping through home screens and pulling down the notifications blind like a frenzied nutbar. What makes this new batch of devices feel like such a step forward from the original 6 twins is the addition of 3D Touch, which adds an even more sensitive version of the screen-pressing mechanic we first got on the Apple Watch.
Using Force Touch on the Apple Watch can be sort of weird because the Watch is a tiny target on your wrist. That's obviously not the case here. The biggest compliment I can pay 3D Touch right now is that it feels completely natural. It isn't without a learning curve -- you'll probably spend a little time trying to remember how much pressure goes into a "peek," the quick-glance pressure gesture that's about to pop up in all your apps. Right now, only a few app developers have customized their apps to work with 3D Touch -- Facebook, Instagram and WeChat are probably the biggest examples. You'll be using the Peek press to load previews of webpages, bring up flight information or jump into specific actions inside an app without opening it. They're mostly little things for now, admittedly, but when I Peek-pressed something for the first time and got the option to very quickly update my Facebook status, I couldn't help but wonder how much time the old, long way would have taken.
That's what the 6s and 6s Plus really have going for them -- they're a little better at saving your time than the iPhones that came before. There are other updates here, to be clear. The front-facing camera has an on-screen flash that did a fine job of lighting up my ugly mug even in a poorly lit corner of Apple's demo space. Shooting "Live Photos" -- sort of like those old HTC Zoes -- is dead-simple and sort of fun. The upgraded 12-megapixel camera seems to take really nice photos, but it still has that distinctive hump. It's not hard to see how early tipsters would have called the new rose gold option (pictured above) pink, but someone out there will probably dig it. Anyway, we're still poking around this cavernous space, so stay tuned for videos and deeper dives into Apple's new hardware.
Get all the news from today's iPhone event right here.