What makes the iPhone 6s better?

Is the 6s a significant improvement over the iPhone 6? 

Kiichiro Sato/AP
A customer tries out the new Apple iPhone 6S at an Apple store in Chicago on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.

The S versions of iPhones aren’t known for being significant improvements over their predecessors. Is the iPhone 6s any different? Some say yes.

“The iPhone 6s can only be seen as ‘boring’ by some because it has the same design as the iPhone 6. But everything else is different, making it a much better proposition to buyers than last year’s phone,” says Chris Smith, writer for Boy Genius Report, a site that focuses on the mobile and consumer electronic markets.

While the design of the 6s looks a lot like that of the 6, the new model does have a few hardware upgrades. Not only did it gain some weight, it’s made from different metal and has a stronger screen. The model also houses a new A9 processor and has 2GB of RAM.

In what was dubbed "Bendgate," the iPhone 6 drew criticism for bending under stress. The new iPhone 6s is manufactured from Series 7000 aluminum which means “bends are a sign of the past,” says Forbes’ Gordon Kelly. The stronger screen should also lessen the chances of screen cracks, as Apple claims it’s made from the most durable glass in the smartphone industry, reports Joanna Stern for The Wall Street Journal.

One of the most significant changes though comes in the form of 3D Touch. Comparative to a mouse right click, 3D Touch allows the user to bring up shortcut options based on the amount of pressure applied to an app’s icon. A “deep” press on the email app for example gives you a preview of the email without fully entering the app, whereas a “deeper” press will open the app full screen.

3D Touch also allows for cursor control. “In a text entry field, press on the keyboard and you can slide your finger around as a cursor, to make text editing easier,” says Gizmag.

But Mr. Kelly says “3D Touch is unlikely to come into its own until the iPhone 7.”

Additionally, the iPhone 6s introduces the Live Photos capability. When taking a photo, a bit of live action on either end gets saved. That means when you take a look back at photos, you can essentially watch a short video of the moments just before and after your snapshot.

Ms. Stern also points out, “The new Touch ID fingerprint sensor is at least twice as fast. You barely place your finger on the button and you’re in.”

But reviewers don’t come to an overall consensus. Mr. Smith says the iPhone 6s is “Apple’s best ever S update yet.” On the other hand, Stern concludes, “It is a slightly better iPhone – that must be what the S stands for.”

“Right now they look a lot like other S-year iPhone updates: better than last year's models, but owners of those phones will do just fine standing pat,” says Gizmag.

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