The iPhone 6s is the Sir Alex Ferguson of smartphones. It is Superman once the world’s been purged of kryptonite. It is a kebab you drunkenly ordered at 3am.
In other words: it is a surefire winner.
For Apple’s latest handset to not shift by the bucketload, Tim Cook would have had to have pledged allegiance to ISIS while unveiling it two weeks ago. The iPhone 6 was the world’s best-selling smartphone. As was the iPhone 5s.
So why innovate with the 6s? Apple doesn’t need to push smartphone tech forwards to make an obscene amount of money.
And yet Apple claims it has innovated, adding 3D Touch, a new 12-megapixel camera and the faster than ever A9 processor to what is already a supremely capable phone. With the iPhone 6s, Jony Ive and co say they’ve finessed every aspect of an already great product. Not sat on their laurels or chased the bandwagon in a never-ending specs war.
On first glance, the 6s looks near-on identical to its predecessor. On every glance, in fact, little seems to have changed from the iPhone 6. Even when you get right up close and even inside its svelte aluminium casing you’ll find a screen with the same resolution and as little as 16GB internal storage.
Where does the truth lie? We’ve got the answer.
It’s just, ah! A 3D Touch, ah!
3D Touch, or Force Touch as it used to be known, works by using haptic feedback
Let's get straight into it, the headline feature - 3D Touch. Practically every tweak that's been made has been so with the aim of cramming in the pressure-sensing tech.
3D Touch, or Force Touch as it's been previously known on the MacBook and Apple Watch, works by sensing extra pressure on the screen to activate extra features. And it rewards you with haptic feedback, so you receive helpful vibrations under your thumb or finger as the phone registers the increased force. The feature has evolved to become more than just the fancy right click it is on the new MacBook, too. It completely changes the way you interact with your phone by giving you options where you didn’t previously have any.
Take snapping a selfie, for example. Where previously you needed to tap two different icons with intermittent loading times, this action has now been shortened to one firm press of the Photo app icon. Then you can leap right into triggering the shot. Instagram obsessives, rejoice!
3D Touch also has some supremely convenient uses with other native apps - the ones Apple makes itself. You can can jump directly into a new email in Mail and open a new tab straightaway in Safari - shaving seconds off your smartphone navigation. That may seem small change in writing, but over the course of the months and years you may spend in the iPhone 6s' company it will equate to a snappier, more satisfying user experience.
In addition to skipping straight into everyday tasks, 3D Touch also offers up the ability to preview messages and emails, and even links within them. All you have to do is press down on them to read, and should you need to take further action, apply a little more pressure and you get transported into the task itself.
Apple terms the first glance as Peek and the full open as Pop, and they’re a prime example of what the iPhone 6s is all about: subtle changes that you have to feel for yourself. And unless you’ve somehow managed to get hold of a limited edition 128GB Huawei Mate S, you won’t find these features in any Android phone.
3D Touch is a typically Apple innovation then, right up to how you customise it: you can’t.
Even if you take Time-Lapse videos more often than you do Slow-Mo, the 3D Touch shortcut choice has been made for you.
Potentially, this feature will be even better when third-party app functionality kicks in. Imagine applying pressure in Real Racing 3 to speed up, just like you would gun the accelerator in real life.
Apple iPhone 6s review
"Everything's changed" is pushing it, but within the 6s' familiar body lies a surprising amount of innovation
Sweet camera with lovely extra features
Touch ID is we-can’t-believe-it fast
All round powerful performance
3D Touch is a time-saving delight
3D Touch and Live Photos could both do with broad third-party support