Hands on with the iPhone 6s

Hands on with the iPhone 6s

If you have an iPhone and are considering an upgrade, you’ve probably already read a lot about the iPhone 6s, but I’m adding my two cents anyway!

I received my new phone in the mail last Friday, so I’ve had almost a week to try it out. Visually, there is no difference in the style of the 6s versus the 6. When I pick both phones up, it is obvious the 6s is slightly heavier, but I  really don’t notice the difference in every day use.  The extra weight is almost entirely due to the new 3D Touch display, and to me, it is well worth the added ounces. (The 6s is also made from the tougher new series 7000 aluminum but that doesn’t add to the weight. It should prevent any “bendgate” issues that surfaced with last year’s 6Plus.)

3D Touch is what makes the 6s stand out from other models. It is a totally new way to interact with your phone that I think will eventually be as ubiquitous on smart phones as pinching and zooming.

What exactly is 3D Touch?

Bascially, when you apply pressure to your screen, it will sense it and allow you to access further options. When I read about this new feature, I wasn’t sure it was something that would make that much difference, but after using it a few days I am definitely a fan. I continue to incorporate more of these short-cuts each day, and they are becoming a part of my normal interaction with my phone.

For example, when I apply pressure to the Clock icon, new options pop up on a new screen. I can then quickly create an Alarm, start the Stopwatch, or start the Timer. The screenshots below show some examples of how I use force touch most frequently. Most native apps ( Calendar, Mail, Notes, Camera, Photos, News, Videos, Contacts, Music, Safari, Maps) offer short-cut options with force touch.

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Some third party apps are also already available (Twitter, Instagram, Dropbox, Pinterest, Genius Scan, Pandora), and I’m sure there will be many more to follow. Most of the apps are simply short-cuts, but Magic Piano is the first app that I’ve seen that shows how force touch can be utilized in more creative ways.  Magic Piano is a free app that allows you to create your own music or to become an instant pianist by touching the circles that cascade down the screen. On the 6s, you can make the tones softer or louder by changing the pressure of your touch
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Magic Piano App

These are all examples of “Quick Action”.  The other two components of 3D Touch are called Peek and Pop. If you press down on a new email or web link, you’ll get a peek at the contents. You can then swipe up to reveal a menu of options, such as Reply, Forward, Mark, or Move Message in the Mail app. If you let go, you’ll be back at the main screen, or you can press harder to “Pop” in to the actual message or link.

The News 360 app is a 3rd party app that incorporates peek and pop in a very useful way. Rather than opening an article to read, you can first take a peek by applying pressure. You are then given a 3 sentence summary of the article to help you decide if you want to pop in to read the entire article. By swiping up you can also choose to save for later, share, or let the app know whether you’d like more  similar articles, as shown below.  (News 360 is a free personalized news app for iOS.)

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There is so much potential for innovative and creative ways to utilize 3D Touch, and I am eager to see what developers have in store for us.

  Built for speed

While 3D Touch is my favorite aspect of my new phone, there are other changes worth mentioning. The first thing I noticed was the speed. Everything is faster. The touch ID reads my fingerprint so quickly I don’t even see the lock screen before it immediately transitions to my home screen. All of the new iOS 9 features work very smoothly, apps

Fun with photos

The new 12 megapixel camera with a five-element lens is another winning feature. I’ll save the details on that for my next post where I’ll compare images from the iPhone 5, 6s, 6s Plus and my Canon 7D Mark ii.

Recommendations

If you have an iPhone 4s, 5 or 5s, there is no question that it is worth the upgrade. If you have an iPhone 6, you will be fine until the iPhone 7 is released, especially if your phone is still under contract. The iPhone 6 still takes great photos for a smart phone, and we have all lived without 3D Touch until now. There are already rumors circulating that the iPhone 7 will be waterproof, and it will be the new best thing we want next year.

Wishlist

While the battery life is supposed to be improved, I still need to charge my phone at least each night, and some times more frequently, especially if I am using the camera or experimenting with new features! I would really like to see a major improvement in battery life in the next iteration of the iPhone.