Since the first iPhone came out in 2007, production has followed a predictable schedule: Every two years, Apple has given its new iPhone — the iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6 — major upgrades, like increasing the size and resolution of the screen, and changing the shape and design of the phone.
In the intervening years, or the so called “s” years, the phones have gotten incremental internal upgrades, like faster processors, increased stability, and some iterative features, like improved cameras and the addition of a fingerprint sensor.
You could say that these “s” phones — the Phone 3GS, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s, and as of Wednesday, the iPhone 6s — are less revolutionary, and more evolutionary.
But they’re also the best phones to use.
I’ve owned every iPhone since the 3GS, and looking back, I’ve liked the changes in the “s” models the most.
That sentiment remains true for the iPhone 6s, which Apple announced Wednesday.
The iPhone 6s looks nearly identical to the iPhone 6 on the outside, but it includes a significantly better camera, a display that can detect the difference between a normal and deep tap, and a new Rose Gold colour, among other features.
The camera in the iPhone 6s is by far the best camera Apple has ever made — and it will be enough of a reason by itself to convince people to upgrade. This is first time in years that Apple has increased the number of megapixels from 8 to 12, which means that images will look much crisper on bigger displays.
There’s also a cool new feature in the iPhone 6s called “Live Photos,” which essentially turns static images into short videos, like animated GIFs.
Perhaps the biggest addition to the iPhone 6s is the new display technology Apple calls “3D Touch.” It’s going to change the way I interact with apps by letting my press deeper to access quick shortcuts and navigate without having to make a bunch of finger taps.
The iPhone 6s is just another example of how Apple methodically iterates on its existing smartphone design every other year.
Sure, we got a flashy new hardware design with the iPhone 4, but the iPhone 4s introduced Siri, which remains an incredibly important Apple product — and a tent-pole feature of the new Apple TV.
The iPhone 5 increased the device’s screen size, but the iPhone 5s included the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which completely changed the way I unlock my iPhone, and on the iPhone 6, the way I pay for things.
The iPhone 6s has been reinforced to make it less susceptible to bending, according to leaked parts that YouTuber Lewis Hilsenteger obtained in the weeks leading up to the Apple event.
That may not seem like a big deal, and Apple didn’t address it during its media event on Wednesday, but considering that I accidentally bent my iPhone 6 twice, it’s a design change I welcome. Without the Bendgate controversy surrounding the iPhone 6, Apple may never have tweaked the design of the iPhone 6s.
I like the “s” iPhones because they build on the design from the previous year and give Apple an opportunity to iterate with refinements and new features that didn’t make it into the previous year’s model. 3D Touch would have been great on last year’s iPhone 6, but it builds on the larger screen Apple introduced with the 6 and makes it even better.
As of September 25 (or September 12 if you want to pre-order), you’ll have the choice of paying a bit more money for the iPhone 6s instead of the current iPhone 6. If you’re on the fence, go with the “s” model. It may not look much different on the outside, but like most good things, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
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