ACL Consumer Intelligence Review: Apple Special Event September 2015 Part I – iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus

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Welcome to the very first ACL Consumer Intelligence Review!  My goal here is to deliver a sizable dose of important information and critical commentary without any filler.  This multi-part series of blog posts will look at the new products and services revealed by Apple, Inc. earlier today during their Special Event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California.  Today in Part I, we take a look at the newly introduced iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.  Without further ado, here’s what you need to know:

iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus:

  • The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus both have 12-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front cameras as compared to their predecessors’ 8-megapixel rear and 1.2-megapixel front cameras. This is a significant value upgrade, especially on the front camera.  FaceTime is going to look a lot better.  The Retina Flash on the front camera will make your screen 3x brighter for selfies – this is a definite plus too.  There are also claims that the iSight sensor tech on the rear camera has improved resulting in better focus, depth of field, and color precision among other things – I guess we’ll see when it actually comes out!
  • Both new iPhone models can take 4K resolution video @ 30 fps (predecessors had 1080p@60fps, which the new ones can also do).  Honestly I don’t think anyone needs to take 4K video from a smartphone (you should buy professional equipment if you need that resolution) and in my experience 30 fps is a significantly inferior frame rate in today’s world.  My opinion is that not only will 4K video at 30 fps appear choppy but it will hog the limited local storage available and force you to look at cloud storage options.
  • Both new iPhone models introduce 3D Touch technology – creating a new level of interaction with your device based on the pressure or force you apply (or don’t apply) when you touch your screen.  This adds a new dimension of interaction to touchscreen technology, just as multi-touch did in the past; however, I would argue it is not as revolutionary as multi-touch was when first introduced.  You can watch the official video including a brief demonstration from Apple narrated by Chief Design Officer Jony Ive on YouTube here: Introducing iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus with 3D Touch.  My opinion?  It definitely has potential, but let’s see what app developers can do with it before buying in.  As for it’s existing functionality with smartphone tasks you perform on a daily basis as demonstrated by Apple – it’s good but nothing spectacular .  It may actually create some frustration as people are going to have to learn and improve their touch skills to use it properly and effectively without unwanted results, and while Apple claims that iOS 9 software has been designed around 3D Touch, I’m sure as history has shown us there will be some kinks to iron out.
  • Both new iPhone models upgrade to the Apple A9 chip with 64-bit architecture and an embedded M9 motion coprocessor.  The A9 features a 70% improvement to CPU performance (processor speed) at a 90% improvement to GPU performance (graphics) over its A8 predecessor found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models.  This by itself is a huge plus in my book.
  • The official specifications and comparison for both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus can be found on Apple’s website here: iPhone 6s Specs.
  • You can pre-order the new iPhone models on September 12, 2015 beginning at 12:01 AM PDT.

So what’s the ACL verdict?  These are definitely cool devices – however I would not upgrade from an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. If I had an older model iPhone (5s or older), I would upgrade. The 3D Touch is not something I would upgrade for at this time; my main reasons for upgrading or switching to the iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S plus would be for the enhanced performance of the A9 chipset and the greatly improved front camera.  I currently use a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and am torn on whether I should go back to Apple.  Part II of this ACL Consumer Intelligence Review will look at the Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, stay tuned!  Until next time…

Disclaimer:  The independent editorial content presented here has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.

Trademarks:  Apple, FaceTime, iPad, iPhone, iSight, and Retina are trademarks or registered trademarks of Apple Inc. 


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