iPhone 6S, 6S Plus sales surpass 13M through first weekend

29 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple sells record 13 mn iPhones in weekend launch.

“The only thing that’s changed is everything,” says the slogan Apple unveiled along side the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Yes, the “s” models look more or less like their predecessors, but for quite a while Apple has used these cycles to upgrade a lot of the stuff on the inside. Apple has also unveiled new lease and finance terms for US customers, which analysts said could boost sales and shorten the upgrade cycle, at a time when carriers are moving away from smartphone subsidies. One of the key new features is called “3D touch,” which responds to pressure exerted on the screen to allow users to look inside messages and applications. While Apple’s new 2015 phones seem indistinguishable from last year’s models, if you check carefully you’ll discover they’re slightly larger and heavier.

I absolutely couldn’t tell the difference, and the Apple leather case I’ve been using on my iPhone 6 for the last year slipped onto the 6s without any trouble. (Extremely tight, precisely made cases might have trouble fitting the new models, but I’d wager that most cases won’t have any trouble being repurposed for a newer model.) The change in weight, on the other hand—which appears to be related to the addition of 3D Touch sensors under the display, and possibly the new Taptic Engine—well, that’s noticeable. Early reports suggested that the metal surface of iPhone 6S models, which use the stronger 7000-series aluminum Apple also uses in the Apple Watch Sport, was somehow more tacky or “grippable” than the older phones. When I asked Apple about this, they declined to say anything, and if I’m reading between the lines I think the suggestion there is that Apple doesn’t think there’s any difference.

Part of it could be a placebo effect, but my guess is that some change in Apple’s production process-either the manufacture of the aluminum itself or, more likely, the anodization process that each aluminum backplate undergoes—has introduced some variation in the texture of the iPhone’s surface. If you’re on the home screen and push a little extra harder on an app icon, you’ll usually (apps have to be updated to support this feature) see a menu of up to four Quick Actions. As the menu pops up, you’ll also feel a slight vibration coming from the phone’s Taptic Engine, which can create much more subtle vibration patterns than previous iPhones. Apple has done a great job integrating haptic feedback into 3D Touch, and the combination of your own sense of pressure on your fingertips and the vibration of the Taptic Engine is greater than the sum of its parts. Because the vibrations provide instant feedback about how hard to push in order to trigger 3D Touch, I never really had a problem triggering the feature accidentally.

The items in Quick Actions menus are essentially links to different features or areas of the app whose icon you’re touching, allowing you to open the app and jump quickly to a specific area. For example, rather than opening the Camera app, tapping the icon to switch from the iSight camera to the FaceTime camera, and potentially swiping to get the app into Photo mode, you can just choose Take Selfie from the Quick Action menu. If you want to know more, you can press a little bit harder and you’ll get a stronger vibration as the window “pops” open, just as if you had tapped on it to begin with. I’m a believer in 3D Touch—it provides a fantastic collection of power-user features, but feels natural enough that I think it’ll be adopted by more than just the nerdiest among us. When you enable Live Photos (by tapping a new Live Photos icon when in the Photo setting of the Camera app), the iPhone is always shooting video and caching it temporarily.

When you take a picture, the app grabs the last 1.5 seconds of video and the following 1.5 seconds, and saves that as a movie, alongside the still picture. But I admit I’m a little disappointed about how Live Photos are implemented: When you 3D Touch on a Live Photo, the beautiful 12-megapixel still fades away and is replaced by a 1440-by-1080-pixel (1.55 megapixels) video running at only 15 frames per second.

As a bonus easter egg around a still picture, Live Photos can be fun and silly, but if I’m ever in a situation where I want to capture movement, I’m going to shoot video instead. I imagine that all of those filmmakers who love shooting stuff with iPhones will snap up these new iPhones immediately, just because of the 4K video support. More importantly, Apple has built in a selfie-flash mode that uses the iPhone’s display itself as a flash, driving it to up to three times normal brightness and adjusting the color of the flash to one that’s appropriate for the scene.

The M9 offloads tasks and runs with very, very little power use—handy for things like counting how many steps you take while your phone’s sleeping in your pocket. This doesn’t necessarily lock Siri to your voice, but it reduces the chance that a voice other than yours will set it off accidentally.) The A9 processor itself is faster than the A8 found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus—and by a whole lot more than you might expect.

More RAM lets the entire system breathe.” Everyone who switches between apps or between pages in Safari will benefit from that increase in RAM, even if they don’t have any idea why everything seems more instantaneous than on their old iPhones. However, iOS 9 was tweaked to extend battery life on all iOS devices, and presumably Apple is factoring those improvements (as well as possible increases in battery savings from updated internals) into its battery estimates. Apple continues to balance the thinness and weight of their devices with battery life, shooting for a target battery life that it feels is sufficient. Yes, you can stick a battery case on your phone if you need more battery life, or carry a little external battery with you, but my gut feeling is that iPhone battery life should be getting better, and it just isn’t. I’m sure this policy is doing wonders for Apple’s average selling price, but the 16GB model with the price that gets ‘em in the stories is a severely compromised product.

Every year it seems like there’s just not much more Apple can do to improve upon the previous year’s iPhone, and every year Apple manages to one-up itself. What’s more remarkable is not that this year’s iPhone is once again the best model ever, it’s the margin by which it improves on last year’s model.

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