iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus tidbits and first impressions

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 25 Sep 2015

iPhone 6s Plus unboxing photos

You probably know everything about the iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 6s Plus, and the recent teardown of the new iPhones seems to have confirmed the other unknowns such as the amount of RAM and capacity of the battery.

But here my first impressions and some interesting tidbits about the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus I thought were worth sharing:

  • The first thing you notice is the box. The iPhone 6/6 Plus box you might remember featured a white, textured silhouette of the device inside. I wasn’t a big fan of it. As you can see, iPhone 6s/6s Plus Plus box now comes with a colored, silhouette of the device with the photo of one of the animated live wallpapers. The color of the silhouette and even the wallpaper matches the color of the device. The iPhone 6s Plus box looks a lot better and livelier.
  • iPhone 6s/6s Plus casing is made of new “7000 series” aluminum alloy. This may be subjective but like the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus feels slightly different to the touch. I found them a little less slippery. I am seriously considering using the iPhone 6s Plus without a case, especially since I have taken AppleCare+.
  • The iPhone 6s which weighs 143 grams is slightly heavier than the iPhone 6 (129 grams). The iPhone 6 was so ridiculously light that the slightly heavier iPhone 6s makes it a little bit more comfortable to hold.
  • The iPhone 6s Plus which weighs 192 grams is slightly heavier than the iPhone 6 Plus (172 grams). The gain in weight is noticeable. The heavier iPhone 6s feels a bit more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 6, but I can’t say the same thing about the iPhone 6s Plus.
  • The iPhone 6s back casing for the first time has an [S] inscribed below the iPhone to highlight that the device is an “S” upgrade. The ugly FCC logos are still there. So it should be easy to spot if someone is using the new iPhone unless of course it is covered with a case that covers the back.
  • The camera sensor still protrudes out from the body. It seems to be the same as the iPhone 6. It should be a non-issue if you use a case, but will be a minor irritation to some of you who don’t use a case.
  • The 64GB iPhone 6s reports capacity as 55.6GB, with 51.6GB available. Meanwhile, the 128GB iPhone 6s Plus reports capacity as 113GB, with 109GB available. Some of the storage space is taken up by iLife and iWorks apps such as Numbers, iTunes U, iMovie, Pages, Keynote and GarageBand, which can be deleted.
  • You can now set a new type of wallpaper called Live on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It is a 3-second animated wallpaper, which works with 3D Touch. The new iPhones comes preinstalled with 9 Live Wallpapers, but there is no new Wallpapers under Dynamic and Still category.
  • The build number of iOS 9 running on the iPhone 6s is 13A342 and iPhone 6s Plus is 13A343, and not 13A344, which was the build number of the iOS 9 public release. It doesn’t matter as Apple has released iOS 9.0.1 on Wednesday, and also released it for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus yesterday.
  • The other good news is that despite the slight increase in size, most of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases work without any issue on the new iPhones, so you can continue using them.
  • The Geekbench 3.0 app (iTunes link) confirms that iPhone 6s comes with a 1.84 GHz A9 chip with 2GB RAM (finally) and iPhone 6s Plus comes with a 1.85 GHz A9 chip with 2GB RAM. iPhone 6 was powered by a 1.36GHz A8 chip with 1GB RAM.

iPhone 6s - Benchmarks - A9 Chip

  • The iPhone 6s got a single-core score of 2510 and iPhone 6s Plus got a single-core score of 2525. They got a multi-core score of 4360 and 4408 respectively, making them significantly faster than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which got a single-core score of 1612, and multi-core score of 2918 and 2881 (higher scores are better). Apple has said that the A9 chip that powers iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus offer up to 50% faster CPU performance, and up to 50% more graphics performance.

iPhone 6s Geekbench Benchmarks

  • iPhone 6s model number is iPhone8,1 and iPhone 6s Plus model number is iPhone8,2, so the iOS firmware files for the iPhone 6s will start with iPhone8,1 and iPhone8,2 respectively.
  • The new iPhones comes with the second generation Touch ID. It is incredibly fast. It’s so fast that it unlocks the iPhone every single time I press it. The only way to access the Lock screen now is by pressing the Sleep/Wake button. It is that fast and responsive.
  • The Taptic Engine which provides feedback for 3D Touch also works as a vibrator for notifications. It feels a lot nicer than the previous vibrator motor.
  • Some initial thoughts on the 3D Touch feature.
    • It works really well. You do take some time getting used to it. Initially, I found it a little difficult to put the apps in wiggle mode, because I was accidentally invoking Quick Actions. The trick is to just place your finger on the icon rather than tap to put it in jiggle mode if you want to move or delete it.
    • Instead of double-pressing the Home button, you can now press on the left edge of the display to access the app switcher. It took me some time to get used to it. I used to end up going to the Spotlight page. You have to press hard to access the app switcher. If you swipe all the way across, then you can switch back to the previous app, which is very neat. If you press and swipe, then you can access the app switcher where you can switch to any previous application. It seems like a more efficient way to switch between apps when the “Back to App” shortcut is not available.
    • The most intuitive was the Peep and Pop feature. You can press lightly to get a peek into an email from the list of emails in the Mail app, and then press harder to pop into it. It works great for links in Safari as well.
    • You can also press the keyboard to turn it into a trackpad.
    • Overall, the 3D Touch feature works very well and is really addictive. At the moment, features like Quick Actions are only supported in the stock apps, I hope developers can add support for Quick Actions soon.
  • I am really not sure of what to make of the Live Photos feature. It creates a 12 MP JPEG file, and a three-second movie file, which is usually quite shaky. You can’t access the files separately in the Camera roll, but you can see them using Image Capture on the Mac with the same number index.
  • I did not notice any difference in the quality of speakers between the old and new iPhones.

I will update the post with more observations shortly. So stay tuned! Let me know if you’ve any questions.

Let me know if find anything interesting in the comments below, and will update the post.

Don’t forget to check out our iPhone 6s unboxing photos and iPhone 6s Plus unboxing photos.