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iPhone 6s and 6s Plus FAQ: The complete guide to Apple's new phones

Caitlin McGarry | Sept. 10, 2015
We sifted through all the information on the new iPhones to help you decide whether to buy or pass.

Apple is also lowering the cost of its other iPhones under two-year contracts, and ditching the 5c altogether. The iPhone 6 Plus will start at $199, the iPhone 6 at $99, and the entry-level iPhone 5s is free.

iphone price lineup

Which carriers are offering the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus? AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint will all carry the new phones in the U.S., and you can also buy phones without a contract to use on whatever network you like.

What colors can I buy? Colors include the standard space gray with black bezel, gold with white bezel, and silver with white bezel—and there’s also a brand new rose gold option with a white bezel. It’s similar to the Apple Watch Edition in rose gold, but less expensive because the body is made of aluminum alloy, and not, you know, actual gold.

The big changes

How do the 6s and 6s Plus stack up to the 6 and 6 Plus? This is an in-between year for iPhones, which means there are no major exterior changes. The 6s has a 4.7-inch display, just like its predecessor, and the 6s Plus has a 5.5-inch display, like the 6 Plus.

iphone6s 4color redfish pr print
Apple The iPhone 6s, including the new “rose gold” model

While they might look the same, the new iPhones are made of slightly different materials than last year’s models. Both the 6s and 6s Plus are made of Apple’s 7000 series aluminum alloy, the strongest of any iPhone ever made, which is also what Apple used to craft the Apple Watch Sport. The aluminum is aerospace industry-grade.

The phones also have what Apple calls “the strongest cover glass used on any smartphone in the world” thanks to a dual ion-exchange process that makes the glass stronger on the molecular level. The Retina HD displays offer the same resolution as last year’s models: 1334x750 for the 6s and 1920x1080 for the 6s Plus.

OK, but what’s under the hood? Don’t think that because the display looks the same, it actually is the same. Apple has completely reengineered its multi-touch display with new capacitive sensors built into the display’s backlight. Those sensors measure the tiny changes in the distance between the glass and the backlight—changes caused by the pressure in your fingertip. The new display, called 3D Touch, responds to that pressure in different ways depending on how long you press on the screen. This is all powered by algorithms that combine feedback from the capacitive sensors with the information from your phone’s touch sensors and accelerometer.

Sounds complicated, but the end result are new gestures that Apple calls “peek and pop” and “quick actions.” You’ll know which you’ve unlocked based on the new Taptic Engine, similar to the one found in the Apple Watch, which responds to your pressure with taps. Taps can be long or short depending on the action you’re performing, just like the watch.

 

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