Apple has finally unveiled the iPhone 6s at a massive event in San Francisco. Additionally, Apple has also announced the release of its next generation phablet, the iPhone 6s Plus. This handset is a sequel to the iPhone 6 Plus that was such a success for the consumer electronics giant last year.
Although there were other device releases announced in Apple’s native California, there is no doubt that the emergence of the iPhone 6s was the highlight of the afternoon. Apple fans will already be looking forward to getting their hands on the handset, but will the corporation be able to convince consumers to upgrade from the previous iteration in the series, the iPhone 6?
Up-and-Coming Small- and Mid-cap Portfolio Managers #MICUS (Morningstar Conference)
Notes from Laird Bieger of Baron Capital, Mark Wynegar of Tributary Capital Management, and Amy Zhang of Alger Funds' presentation from the 2020 Monringstar Investment Conference. Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Up-and-Coming Small- and Mid-cap Portfolio Managers Our manager research team has been publishing its semiannual Morningstar Prospects report for several years. Read More
Apple has, unsurprisingly, largely stuck with the design of the iPhone 6 with both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. But there are a couple of significant differences. Firstly, Apple has included the aerospace-grade 7000 series aluminum that was widely anticipated by analysts, with the intention of fending off a repeat of the Bendgate headlines.
Additionally, both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are available in a new rose gold color option. To the layman or woman, this is essentially pink!
Despite the fact that the iPhone 6 Plus was the largest mobile phone that Apple had ever produced when it was released last year, it still remains a relatively sleek handset. With dimensions of 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm (6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 in) and with the unit featuring a relatively light weight of 172 g (6.07 oz), the iPhone 6 Plus certainly compares favourably to any of its phablet competitors in this department.
Apple has very much followed the fashion for ever sleeker mobile devices in recent years, and this ensured that the iPhone 6 was a particularly slim handset. The iPhone 6 measured 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 in) which contributed to a unit that was significantly smaller than its Samsung Galaxy rivals. The iPhone 6 also weighed in at 129 g (4.55 oz), making it lighter than Samsung’s Galaxy range.
It was largely anticipated that Apple would not diverge significantly from the design of the iPhone 6 Plus when it released the next generation phablet, and this has emphatically turned out to be the case as all dimensions, measurements and weights remain identical in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
The iPhone 6 Plus was something of a pioneering device for Apple, as it was the first mobile phone released by the corporation to feature a full HD display. However, the days when such a screen resolution impresses the general public are long gone, and it was widely anticipated that Apple would look to improve on the 1,080 x 1,920 pixels (401 ppi pixel density) which the iPhone 6 Plus was capable of displaying when the iPhone 6s Plus was released.
The existing iPhone 6 did not deliver full HD resolution, with the smartphone capable of displaying 750 x 1,334 pixels, which represents a 326 ppi pixel density. The smartphone-sized iPhone 6 unit also featured a 4.7-inch screen.
Apple has perhaps lagged behind its competitors in this department to a certain extent, and there was some pressure on the consumer electronics giant to improve the quality of the display in the iPhone series. But Apple has refrained from doing so, and the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus feature identical displays to their predecessors.
Throughout the build-up to the release of the iPhone 6s, it was widely rumored that Apple would significantly improve the camera technology included in the smartphone. Although the iPhone series has always performed fairly well in terms of its photographic capabilities, the megapixel rating in the iPhone 6 had certainly fallen significantly behind competitors. The 8-megapixel unit in the iPhone 6 was half that of its Samsung rivals, even though Apple has always punched above its weight with the iPhone by delivering a unique proprietary software and hardware package.
Well, this impression turned out to be correct, and this is the first major area of difference between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. Firstly, Apple has bumped up the megapixel rating in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to 12-megapixels. This will certainly make images captured by the smartphone both sharper and more detailed.
Apple has also included a new feature that it has dubbed ‘deep trench isolation’, which is intended to help the mobiles reproduce more accurate and deeper colors. And the front-facing camera has also been improved to 5-megapixels with the intention of serving the selfie generation. Another interesting innovation is the inclusion of a new front-facing flash feature, intended to enhance the flash of the iPhone 6s’ secondary camera further still.
Another new innovation in both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is the ability to shoot 4K videos. This means that the iPhone 6s camera is capable of capturing 8 million pixels, at least according to the consumer electronics giant itself.
Apple has also looked at the low-light shooting of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and concocted some improvements. The display of the iPhone 6s will effectively glow 300 percent brighter when the camera shooting takes place, ensuring that the light available is significantly enhanced.
Battery life has also been an issue in the iPhone series for a while, and even the most ardent fans of the iPhone 6 have suggested that the non-removable Li-Po 1810 mAh battery included in the unit was inadequate. Although Apple has already proclaimed that iOS 9 features power saving functionality that ensures the iPhone 6s will have a superior battery life to earlier units, potential consumers of the iPhone 6s were still looking for Apple to significantly upgrade the battery in the device.
The battery in the iPhone 6 Plus was notable for being significantly larger than the unit included in the smaller iPhone series, and this was certainly justified considering the larger and higher resolution display that the handset embraced. Nonetheless, the battery life of the non-removable Li-Po 2915 mAh cell included in the iPhone 6 Plus certainly wasn’t excessive, and idealistic Apple fans would certainly have hoped for more than a mere iOS 9 power saving functionality improvement in this department in the iPhone 6s generation.
Apple has yet to release the full battery details for the iPhone 6s, or iPhone 6s Plus so we can’t be certain of the size of the cells included in the next generation iPhone. However, we do know that Apple states that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus deliver 10 hours of battery compared to 7 1/2 hours that the iPhone 6 produced. It seems likely that this is based on software rather than hardware improvements, but the proof of this will be in the pudding.
It was a certainty that Apple would include a superior processor in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and this suspicion has indeed come to fruition. The A9 processor is really the key update in these next generation handsets, providing 70 percent faster processing speeds than the iPhone 6, with a GPU that is 90 percent faster.
This will translate to outstanding performance when the iPhone 6s is released, and particularly with regard to graphical display and processing. Apple has aggressively attacked the gaming market with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and it will be interesting to see how successful this strategy is.
Apple has yet to confirm the amount of RAM memory in the device.
The major new feature in the iPhone 6s is the inclusion of Force Touch, except that for the iPhone series Apple has rebranded this feature as 3D Touch. The taptic engine has also been updated so it can give different feedback for different gesture touch commands. Apple took some time during the presentation to demonstrate this element of the iPhone 6s, and it is clear that it will deliver more complex functionality than was possible with the Apple Watch.
Additionally, Apple also demonstrated animated screensavers during the events, and it is now possible for Android users to easily transfer all of their data over to an iPhone should they wish to purchase the Apple handset.
The pricing for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been frozen, as was largely anticipated. This means that the contract version of the mobiles will be priced at between $199 and $399 for the iPhone 6s and $299 and $399 for the iPhone 6s Plus. Interestingly, both iPhone 6 units will drop in price by $100 when the iPhone 6s is released.
It is certainly appropriate that Apple has branded this device as an S version of the smartphone, as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are certainly no more than upgrades of the existing iPhone 6. The public and social media response to the iPhone 6s has been mixed, with some responding to the upgrades with indifference, while others believe that the inclusion of 3D Touch coupled with an extremely powerful processor upgrade will deliver the most advanced iPhone package yet to be released.
Considering Apple has frozen the price of the iPhone 6s units, and also delivered a smartphone that is significantly more powerful than the iPhone 6, this could be seen as a very good value for money unit. Apple could also benefit from increased iPhone 6 sales now that it has slashed the price of on-contract models by $100.
Whether this will be enough to reverse the fall in the Apple share price remains to be seen.