Apple iPhone 6S Hands-on and Initial Impressions

Apple's taglines for this year's iPhone smartphones are "The Most Advanced iPhones Yet" and "The Only Thing That's Changed is Everything." I, one hundred percent, agree with the first statement, but with the second one, I am not really sure about that especially this is an "S" year for Apple. Thankfully I had a chance but with limited time to check out the newest iPhone 6s (in Rose Gold) device and see what's in store for Apple fans and future users of this phone.

Last year, for the very first time, Apple released two flagship smartphones at the same time, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, these were also the biggest iPhones ever released in terms of screen size sporting 4.7" and 5.5" respectively. Not only that, these 2014 iPhones featured a completely different design language from their predecessors so you can imagine how excited fans were during this time. Apple is known to two-year cycle of offering almost identical phones before releasing new ones in terms of physical looks. For example, there was the iPhone 4 in 2010 and then an iPhone 4S in 2011 which looked very similar, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Now fast forward to the present, 2015 is no exception to this tradition, last year we had the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, this year we are being offered with iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Some bloggers even calling this "S Year" for Apple, and like any other S Year versions of devices we expected very minimal changes in the iPhone's design but big on the inside. That's why I was kind of hesitant to believe about the second tagline.


The packaging's looks did not change that much, it looks very the same as last year's white box with Apple logo and iPhone 6 naming on the sides. What changed? The image of the iPhone on the front side now sports some wallpaper which I am having a hardtime understanding what it is, is it a butterfly? a fish? a flower? a piece of colored cloth? Not really sure but I am betting on it as more of a flower, that's because of the new addition to the color selection, Rose Gold. : ) That might be an incorrect guess though. What about you, what do you think is it?

Lifting the outer box you will be greeted with the iPhone 6s itself upfront. Remove it from its place an you will see another paper divider that holds the SIM card ejector and some paperworks in it. Underneath this paper is where you will find the usual accessories that come with every iPhone we know. See images below.

As you can see in the last image above, there is the beautiful-looking Apple EarPods inside its own plastic box. Together with the most-loved Apple in-ear headphones, are the wall charger and the Lightning Cable for file transfer and charging purposes. And there is nothing more beyond this point. Those are the things that we see inside an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus box.

Let's have another quick look at the Apple EarPods.

Design and Build

Like I have mentioned above and also based on the previous generations of iPhones, there is nothing new to expect from an "S" version of a new iOS smartphone especially when we talk about physical design and feels when holding it. But if we only talk about all the S models, this is the first S generation of iPhones where Apple sports the biggest screen and a completely brand new look.

Having the same form factor as last year's iPhones, don't let that part trick you as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus really sport major upgrades both hardware and software wise.

On the iPhone 6s front panel, there we have the 4.7-inch Retina HD screen sporting the same as last year's 1334 x 750 screen resolution, the upgraded front came of 5MP (vs iPhone 6's 1.2MP) which means a lot  better quality for selfie photos and videos using this front camera, it can also record up to 1080p video, and then right below the screen sits the home key that also houses the fingerprint sensor or the second generation Touch ID which really work much faster than on the previous iPhone 6.

I got to tell that this device's Retina HD display is much clearer and more crisp than any other HD phone I have used. This is what I really love about iPhones, display qualities are just stunning and even the photos it produces through its rear and front cameras are just great. Speaking of photos, Apple introduced a new generation of how we look at them, this is called the Live Photos. When you take a picture, there is this built-in camera software that captures 1.5 seconds of moments before and after you click to the capture button, so its like a moving photo. Much like a GIF format but they don't move by default, you have to tap the image first to see it animates.


On the back panel is also the very familiar looking scenario, there's the Apple logo, the rear camera and true-tone flash. The iSight camera now boasts a higher 12MP resolution, that an upgrade from the older model's 8MP. This is where one of the major upgrades happened, this 12MP shooter can also now record up to 4K videos.

I tried recording some video clips in 4K, the recording was so smooth and does not show any issue. The only thing is, while 4K recording capability of this phone is so cool and future proof, you won't be able to fully enjoy your 4K clips until you watch them on a display that supports 4K resolution. Apart from 4K, users can also record in 1080p and 720p, they just need to switch in which quality they want to start capturing, however switching modes is not that convenient based on my short time with the iPhone 6s as there is no quick settings inside the camera app that will let you do so. I might be missing it, but to do the switch among these resolution qualities, I needed to go directly to the settings app and scroll down to cameras. As an Android user, one of the most convenient ways to access an app's settings is having an in-app shortcut to its settings . And I think the case is same to all pre-installed Apple apps in this iPhone.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6

Fortunately we also had an iPhone 6 on site, thanks to Sunshine of Everybody's Sunshine blog (another fellow Davao blogger), so we were able to sit these siblings side by side and see differences, if there is any. And as you can see in the last image above, everything looks exactly the same. The only thing that will tell you whether you are looking at an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6 is the "s" right underneath the iPhone branding, and yes the color if it is in Rose Gold. See more comparison images below.

iphone 6s 12

iphone 6s 4

Two other things about these two iPhones in the images, the iPhone 6s is a bit thicker and heavier than the old iPhone 6 and that is I believe due to the type of metal being used on the newer model to make sure that is way stronger and sturdier than the older counterpart. However, these difference won't really bother you at all and you really won't be able to see and feel these differences until you have them both in your hands. You might also think, it's because of the battery why the latest iPhone is bulkier than the older, well to be honest the battery in this iPhone 6s is smaller (1715mAh) than the iPhone 6's (1810mAh).

iphone 6s 2

Bendgate No More

One of the most embarrassing moments Apple and most disappointing experiences users had from last year's iPhones was the the "bendgate" issue. A number of users reported that they iPhone 6S Plus, most especially, bent even though just sitting in their pockets. Also a number of bloggers and vloggers have tested the issue with their iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units and many of them were proven to have the bendgate issue. And today, to address this case and to prevent it from happening again, Apple significantly upgraded the type of metal they use for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The company now uses Series 7000 aluminum alloy for the casing of these new smartphones which is the same metal used in aerospace industry, it is much stronger and very very less likely to bend. I examine the phone itself, and I can assure you that this iPhone 6s really feels so solid. Apple really did a good job on addressing the bendgate controversy, I believe it is not going to happen this time around.

iphone 6s 1

The 3D Touch, Previously Known as Force Touch

So you think it stops at stronger chassis, upgraded cameras, Live Photos, Rose Gold etc? Well think again, here is one of the main stars of the new-generation iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the 3D Touch. If I am not mistaken, this is a first on a smartphone. Apple has this what they call the Peek and Pop, where you need to add a little force when tapping an app to have a quick look (Peek) at what other things you can see inside or do without launching the entire application (Pop). Watch the video below to learn more about this new way of interacting with the touchscreen functionality.

Of course I did not let the opportunity to slip away without trying this newest and coolest feature on the iPhone 6s. At first I was not doing it right, or rather the force I was applying to the screen was not harder enough that the touch panel was recognizing it as a normal long press. I really needed to push a little harder, and when I did it right the phone would vibrate a little and I would hear a click and those were my queue that the screen recognized my 3D Touch attempt. I kept on trying it until I was able to get used to it.

While it is a nice feature and pretty sure many users are looking forward to it to try, only a couple of Apple-made apps are currently supported by this 3D Touch which means we won't fully enjoy it until third party developers start to adapt to this technology on their current and future iOS applications. And I think they will update their apps fast enough or before we get to see the 2016's iPhone 7.

Processors and iOS version

Before I forget, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus' processors and co-processors are also upgraded here which are now an A9 chip and its motion co-processor called M9. Apple claims the A9 to be 90% faster than last year's A8 and more energy efficient as well, so even though we have smaller battery pack in iPhone 6s we can still expect the same battery lifespan as long as iPhone 6's, according to Apple. Furthermore, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus come pre-installed with iOS 9 right out of the box.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are now available on Smart Postpaid and come FREE at Plans 2000 and 2499 respectively, you can check out my other post about this offering here to learn more and see perks you can get out of these two plans from Smart.

Thanks to our fellow blogger Ria Jose of, for letting us borrow her newly-received iPhone 6s in Rose Gold unit from Smart for this article.

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