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iPhone 6S: Is it worth the upgrade?

October 30, 2015

For those of you living under a rock, Apple released the newest model in their smartphone line this past September: the iPhone 6S. The 6S comes after a major redesign in the hardware of Apple’s iPhones that were the iPhone 6 and 6 plus.

Apple’s traditional release cycle stays true this year, as the company releases completely new models every other year, with “S” models coming during the in between years.

Externally, the iPhone 6S has virtually no difference when compared to the iPhone 6 from last year.

“The only thing that’s changed is everything,” was Apple’s slogan for the 6S this year, and for the average customer, that may not be true at first glance. For consumers that are into flashing their devices and showing them off, the only way to decipher between last year’s 6 and this year’s S model is the small “S” badge on the lower back of the phone.

Another hardware change is the addition of a new color: rose gold. This new color is a beautiful and refreshing change to the standard gold, silver and grey models we’ve been accustomed to, although it is definitely pinker than it is rose gold.

The final change in hardware is so miniscule that it’s almost not worth mentioning. In late 2014/early 2015, users began posting pictures and videos online of their iPhone 6 Plus models bending when put into a pocket. This phenomenon become known as “Bendgate” and was the subject of a lot of criticism towards Apple. The company did improve on this, making the body out of a thicker aluminum, making the phone slightly thicker and heavier but also capable of withstanding more weight and pressure.

What the iPhone 6S lacks in hardware, it makes up for in software. The new iPhone comes packed with the new A9 processing chip, and twice as much RAM (which helps the phone run multiple applications) making the phone faster, smoother, and just a blast to use. The camera gets an upgrade as well, with a 13mp rear camera and a 5mp front-facing “selfie” camera. Live Photos is also a new feature that lets you create GIF-like photos.

iOS 9 is the main feature of the software, with tons of improvements for user-friendliness, and a long-awaited battery saving mode that Apple users have been waiting for. The only downside is that the base model at 16gbs of memory clocks in at a whopping $199/$649 off-contract, something that has Apple fanatics in a panic, as 16 gigs of memory is just not enough in 2015.

Aside from just general software improvements, Apple did bring something new to the table with 3D Touch. This completely new feature brings an all-new experience that is bound to change the way people use their phones forever. 3D Touch uses a sensor to determine how much pressure is being applied to the phone and triggers different actions based on that.

For example, if someone sends you a link to a webpage in the Messages app, you can apply a little bit of pressure to it and it will bring up a quick preview of the webpage. Apply more pressure and it will open up Safari and take you to the full site. This new feature is definitely a step in the right direction, but with a limited amount of apps taking advantage of this feature, there is a chance that it will flop.

“I didn’t notice that much of a difference when I got mine,” said Sophomore Michelle Nafzinger. “I didn’t even know 3D Touch was a thing until someone had to point it out to me.”

These are pretty much the biggest differences you’ll find in the 6S and 6S Plus when compared to the standard 6 models. But this begs the question: is it worth the upgrade?

“I came from using an iPhone 4S, so using the 6S is definitely a big step up. 3D Touch is a great feature, but I have only actually used it in a real situation probably once or twice,” said Junior Matt Engebretsen. “It has the potential to be great, but right now it doesn’t have much practicality.”

The iPhone 6S is definitely another win for Apple. The low memory and sub-par battery life can easily be overlooked and are overshadowed by its countless new features, but it may not be enough to justify an upgrade. The iPhone 6 from last year is still a usable phone, so if you’re coming from an earlier model, such as the 4S or 5, definitely take that jump to the 6S. But if you have the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, your best bet would be to wait until September for the iPhone 7.

Cristian Corbett
News Editor

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