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Apple Release New iPad & iPhone


Update: Our ongoing iPhone 6S review puts Apple's new phone to the early test. Read that and about all its features below.

iPhone 6S is how Apple intends to spell success this year, even though the phone's design doesn't look all that different and it isn't really called the iPhone 7 after all.

With the new iPhone, it's what's on the inside that counts, as a teacher resembling Apple CEO Tim Cook may have once told you. The same applies to the updated nearly identical iPhone 6S Plus, too.

The most important iPhone 6S news is that you're in for a significant specs upgrade, with a faster performing phone, a novel 3D Touch screen and a much superior 12MP camera.

iPhone 6S
The new iphone 6S 3D Touch display is like a 'right click' for mobile

Is there enough here for an upgrade? Let's break down all of the details, from the iPhone 6S release date and price to the design, camera and battery life.

iPhone 6S release date

Apple's press conference at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco acted as the new iPhone launch date, but it isn't on sale just yet.

iPhone 6S
iPhone 6S arrives four days before the rumors Google Nexus phone launches

The official iPhone 6S release date is Friday, September 25 in a dozen countries, including the US, UK and Australia. You can order it before then however, starting Saturday, September 12.

iPhone 6S pre-orders begin at just after midnight in California at 12:01am PDT, and that means it'll be 3:01am EDT and 8:01am BST. Set your alarm or reminder via Siri before this weekend.

Long lines are expected in front of Apple Stores worldwide in advance of September 25, so the iPhone 6S release will be unlike the subdued Apple Watchlaunch. Pre-orders are still strongly encouraged.

iPhone 6S price

Apple answered all of the new iPhone rumors during its live event this week, including the all-important question: how much does iPhone 6S cost?

iPhone 6S prices are all over the place in the US but essentially the same

"Any iPhone you want is pretty affordable," according to Apple, which of course means it's going to be just as expensive. Apple never uses soft adjectives like "pretty" when words like "definitely" and "unquestionably" exist. It's thoroughly unapologetic about that.

The iPhone 6S price starts at $649 in the US, £539 in the UK and AU$1,079 in Australia. That's the same price as last year's iPhone 6 in the US and UK. It'll be $199 in the US on a two-year contract.

That's for the entry-level configuration, which again starts at a paltry 16GB. The iPhone 6S in a more accommodating 64GB is $749 (£619, AU$1,229) and 128GB is ($849, £699, AU$1,379). Once again, there's no 32GB iPhone when almost every Android this year began with that storage size.

iPhone 6S news

There's no price change, but a revision is being made to the how US consumers go about buying the new iPhone. Instead of "starting at $199," it'll cost around $22 to $30 a month from most carriers. Apple had to pivot to also mention monthly device payment plans being offered by Verizon, AT&T, Sprint T-Mobile and others.

Apple also introduced an "iPhone Upgrade Program" of its own that starts at $32 a month, includes a new unlocked iPhone every year for $0 and throws in its AppleCare+ protection. You end up spending $384 on the phone over 12 months and trade-in the working iPhone for the next one.

iPhone 6S: it won't bend

Apple attacked last year's iPhone 6 Bendgate problems head on, almost exactly like it addressed iPhone 4 AntennaGate flaws when the iPhone 4S was announced.

iPhone 6S features more durability thanks to less pliable 7000-series aluminum. This is an entirely new aluminum," said executive Phil Schiller, noting it's "the same alloys used in the aerospace industry."

iPhone 6S
Will iPhone 6S bend? Not so easily this time around

Apple didn't go into the science of it, but it likely has corrosion-prone zinc compounds and a thicker anodization coating that prevents said corrosion, as we've seen in this alleged bend test.

Your ultra-thin phone may be safe in your back pocket again, although I still wouldn't suggest tempting fate of a dented frame without an iPhone 6S case first.

There's good news for anyone who has smashed a phone screen. Schiller talked up the iPhone 6S glass being "the strongest in the industry, made with a dual ion exchange process."

iPhone 6S rose gold color and dimensions

There's a new rose gold iPhone 6S color, too, and it matches the pale pink tones of the more expensive rose gold Apple Watch. This metal case, however, is still made of aluminum.

iPhone 6S
Rose gold is this year's standout iPhone color

The rose gold iPhone 6S joins existing colors of gold, space gray and silver, and now the new iPhones are the only way to get gold. The popular color has beendiscontinued in older models.

Other than that, the iPhone 6S looks exactly the same as last year's iPhone 6 on the outside, at least with the naked eye. It's hard to tell, but the dimensions are bigger by a few fractions of a millimeter. It's 0.2mm thicker and 0.1mm wider and 0.2mm taller. There's still an iPhone 6S camera bump, I'm afraid.

3D Touch

iPhone 6SThe next-generation of multi-touch is here, and it's indeed called 3D Touch, confirming all of the rumors in the lead up to this week's Apple press conference.

Apple executive Craig Federighi gave the first live demo of 3D Touch, and it works a lot like Force Touch on the Apple Watch or new MacBook trackpad.

It's like a "right click" for the iPhone 6S, and it results in a context sensitive pop-up window in front of translucent backgrounds every time you apply a little bit of pressure on the screen. In the Mail app, for example, you never really need to navigate away from the inbox to read or reply to your messages.

"Take action on apps without even having to open them," explained Federighi. From the home screen, he was able to make calls to favorites, view directions from an address given to him in iMessages and take "emergency selfies" right from the front facing camera, all without opening the usual app menus.

3D Touch is also going to change playing games on iPhone 6S, with new developers taking advantage of the new multi-touch technology in their interactive apps. Since games are among the No. 1 apps in the Apple App Store, they may put 3D Touch to use the best.

New iPhone 6S camera

At long last, there's going to be a much-improved iPhone 6S camera, and Apple showed off the accurate skin tones and incredible depth of field possible. This is thanks to photos taken with the new 12MP camera sensor.

iPhone 6S
The iPhone 6S camera gets a much better sensor

Everything from beautifully detailed close-up macro shots, to sweeping panoramic photos without visible stitching lines could rival the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5. Both new iPhones are have the same focus pixels-filled sensor, but only the bigger iPhone 6S Plus has optical image stabilization for photos and video again.

Videos are shot in 4K, with 8 million pixels via the rear camera. The front-facing camera will now be 5MP, and a TrueTone flash is simulated thanks to the Retina display that lights up the screen three times brighter than normal. This "Retina Flash" is ideal for lighting up darkened selfie environments.

iPhone 6S
4K video and Live Photos are also upgrades

Apple claims to have invented an "entirely new technology" with Live Photos, which are short bursts of moving pictures and sound. At first, it seemed ridiculous, as if it was claiming to have invented video or high-resolution GIFs.

But Live Photos are automatically turned on for the iSight camera, capturing 1.5 seconds before and 1.5 second after you press the shutter button. Pressing down on the 3D Touch screen brings them to life, or even swiping through your photo gallery shows a little bit of movement for a really neat effect.

It's like Burst Photos put to better use. Don't worry, Apple says that Live Photos won't take up too much space. That's a wise move for anyone brave enough to buy the space-limited 16GB new iPhone.

Faster than ever

Apple claims that Wi-Fi is twice as fast when using the new iPhone 6S. That means the slowdown on your phone's connection at home and at work can properly be blamed on your ISP.

More importantly, the iPhone 6S specs include the all-new A9 processor with with embedded M9 motion coprocessor. It's not as speedy as the iPad Pro A9X chip, but it'll be plenty fast for a new phone.

iPhone 6S
The specs make major leaps every year, this time thanks to the A9 chip

Apple's System-on-a-Chip is snappier than ever, with a CPU that's 70% faster than the iPhone 6, and the GPU sees on 90% performance boost. The co processor has better activity tracking and it enables you to issue "Hey Siri" commands at any time. Previously, your iPhone had to be plugged in to take advantage of this always-listening virtual assistant mode.

The iPhone 6S is suspected of having 2GB of RAM. It's a key spec that translates into letting you have more apps and tasks open at once. Since the iPhone 5, we've been dealing with just 1GB of RAM.

Apple only likes to go so deeply into its iPhone specs, or maybe it's that the new phone might look bad on paper next to 4GB Android handsets. Either way, we should know whether or not the 2GB of RAM is part of the iPhone 6S when the first teardown happens on the morning of September 25.

Battery life

Like the iPhone 6S price and the overall look, there's no difference in the "all-day" battery life for the new 4.7-inch phone, according to Apple at least. It has the same 14 hours of talk time and 11 hours of continuous HD video playback.

iPhone 6S
We're testing the iPhone 6S battery life right now for our review

That doesn't mean the battery capacity is the same size, however. Those are two different specs, as an Apple promo video clearly labels the iPhone 6S battery as 1,715 mAh instead of last year's 1,810mAh.

How does it maintain the same charge duration without the same battery size? Hardware changes, and also iOS 9 software tweaks are extending battery life across the board for iPhones.

Should you buy an iPhone 6S?

With the exception of the new rose gold color, this looks and feels like a hard-to-read S upgrade, as we say in our iPhone 6S review. But it does pack in powerful enough specs to consider pre-ordering.

iPhone 6S
Should you pick one of these up?

The new 12MP camera is important for anyone who takes iPhone photos every day (read: everyone) and the 5MP front-facing camera's Retina Flash is ideal for anyone who only takes selfies (narcissists). It's the most important app to phone users these days, and therefore the biggest upgrade.

4K videos and Live Photos may be fun to play around with, even if they're not revolutionary, and the jury is still out on 3D Touch. Right now, it's a nifty menu shortcut convenience taken from the Apple Watch.

The aluminum 7000 build quality, Apple A9 processor and faster Wi-Fi and Touch ID sensor make this a speedier and stronger phone upgrade next to the iPhone 6, especially if you're ready to move on from that two-year old iPhone 5S.