10 things you need to know about the iPhone 6S Plus
The iPhone 6S Plus is here. It's the second go at Apple's 5.5-inch phablet design, and from a distance it looks pretty much just like last year's phone.
Should we be angry? Should we be disappointed?
There are actually loads of changes, big and small, in this year's new Apple giganto-phone. Here are the 10 things you definitely need to take on-board about this year's iPhone phablet upgrade.
1. It's the same size
Apple hasn't messed with the size of the iPhone 6S Plus. No surprise there. It only blew the design up to 5.5 inches in 2014, and now would just be too soon to make the phone even bigger.
It has a 5.5-inch screen as before, and still has a 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS LCD screen. Apple clearly thinks the 4K Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is bonkers just like we do. For the spec-heads out there, the display gets you density of 401ppi.
2. You can get it in rose gold colour
Tired of space grey and and silver? Wouldn't touch a gold phone with a bargepole? Apple will now make its phones in 'rose gold'.
It's not really gold at all, but a sort of pinky shade that is probably not going to be embraced by big burly blokes whose pecs you can see through their shirts. But, hey, who knows?
If you won't want the new shade, you can still get the iPhone 6S Plus in gold, space grey or silver.
3. iPhones are now that bit stronger
The bodies are made from 'all new' 7000 series aluminium, so basically a stronger version of the aluminium used in the iPhones of the last few generations. It's likely because of all the fuss made after someone claimed to have bent their iPhone by keeping it in their pocket while… well, sitting down.
Apple has upscaled the glass on the front too. It now says the iPhone 6S Plus now has the strongest mobile phone glass around, a clear suggestion that it's better than the Gorilla Glass 4 we see in quite a lot of phones these days.
How hard is it? That we don't know, but Apple says it's made using a dual-ion exchange process, which sounds suitably scientific and impressive. Expect to see the first iPhone 6S Plus destruction videos appear in about two weeks.
4. 3D Touch is the ForceTouch we've been looking for
Probably the main new exciting tech to obsess over this year is something called 3D Touch. You may have seen this rumoured as ForceTouch, but apparently Apple's not calling the technology this for its iPhones.
It gets you the same basic function as we saw in the new MacBook though: the iPhone 6S Plus can tell between hard presses and softer ones.
How? It uses a sensor layer to discern the subtle differences in the distance between the front glass layer and the backlight as you press down. Yep, your phone isn't quite as immovable as it seems. What this will let iOS 9 do is to give you quicker access to some of your favourite features, and bring up quick menus in apps before they're even launched. Devs will also be able to use it as a 'gesture' within apps, we imagine.
5. New Touch ID is twice as fast
The fingerprint scanner of the iPhone 6S Plus looks just like the old one. However, Apple says the new phone has a second-generation Touch ID sensor that is twice as fast as the old version.
We think the first one is pretty snappy as it is, so with any luck this one should be incredibly fast. We recently saw a 'second-generation' scanner from Huawei in its Mate S phone, and one of the lead benefits there is that it works better when dealing with a wet/moist digits. Fingers crossed Apple will have worked this sort of optimisation in too.
6. More megapixels for the first time in years
Apple hasn't increased the iPhone camera resolution since 2011. It was eight megapixels all the way from the iPhone 4S, until now. The iPhone 6S Plus has a 12-megapixel main camera sensor.
While Apple hasn't told us exactly how big the camera sensor is, by the way it was described it suggests there has been a significant hit to the size of the sensor pixels. In other words, the size of the sensor itself hasn't been dramatically increased from the 1/3-inch iPhone 6 sensor.
To keep noise down Apple has used similar deep trench isolation to what we saw in the Samsung ISOCELL sensor, used in the Samsung Galaxy S5 and other phones since. What this does is to reduce crosstalk between the sensor pixels for an all-round cleaner images: less noise, better colour.
Apple didn't mention about optical image stabilisation, but we image it'll stay as-is: the iPhone 6S Plus gets it, the iPhone 6 doesn't.
7. 4K video and selfie flashes are in
The iPhone 6S Plus will be among the first phones natively able to shoot video at 4K. Some clever geeks managed to hack it into their iPhone 6 recently, but you won't need such jiggery-pokery going forwards.
On the fluffier side of the camera, the iPhone 6S Plus will also add a TrueTone flash feature to the selfie snapper. It's not with dedicated flash hardware, but using the phone's screen to fire out a colour that'll suit the scene.
It all sounds very silly, but the display driver actually turbo-powers the backlight to make the display even brighter. Prepare to be annoyed by groups of morons with ultra-bright screens pointed at themselves, littering the streets of every major city.
8. It uses the Apple A9 CPU
The iPhone 6S Plus predictably has a much faster CPU than the old model. And, sure enough, it keeps the same naming convention. It has an Apple A9 CPU. Apple says it the CPU part is 70 percent faster, and the GPU an impressive-sounding 90 percent faster.
Not bad, right? That means more fancy graphics, more enemies on-screen at once and all that jazz. Pity 90 percent of the games out there will still be free-to-play casual dross.
However, efficiency improvements may actually end up being more noticeable for some. Apple says the architecture has changed. It hasn't exactly told us what to, but it's not hard to work it out: the Apple A8 is made using a 20nm process and the Apple A9 will be made with a 14nm process. We'd bet our last Rolo on it.
We've seen this kind of architecture in Samsung's latest phones including the Samsung Galaxy S6. It helped keep those phones nice and efficient, and should hopefully help the iPhone 6S Plus in the same manner too.
9. It'll be out on September 25
Pre-orders for the Apple 6S Plus go live on September 12. Get your debit card details ready if you're keen. Then, as ever, the phone will actually go on sale two weeks later.
Apple doesn't like to keep us waiting for too long. And we like that. You can expect the queues to start forming at the world's biggest Apple stores around… now.
If you want to get an iPhone 6S Plus on launch day, we strongly recommend setting a calendar reminder on your phone for the pre-order day. This one is going to sell out.
10. It'll cost about the same as the iPhone 6S Plus
If you think the iPhone 6S Plus sounds a bit too familiar, a bit too like the iPhone 6 Plus, at least the prices are the same. During the demo Apple just gave us all its US pricing details, with the iPhone 6S Plus starting at $299 on a contract.
Buying in the UK you'll have to pay through the nose unless you're on a high-end, expensive contract. And SIM-free starting price will be £619, rocking up to £699, and £789 for the top-end version. As before, you can get the phone with either 16GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.
All in all, the iPhone 6S Plus seems like a good buy, but remember there's also the iPhone 6S knocking around out there.