I’ve had the iPhone 6s now for about 24 hours. It replaces an iPhone 6 which replaced an iPhone 5S which replaced an iPhone 5 which…well, you get the idea. I’ve had every iPhone going back to the first one. Here are some random observations after my first day with it.
- To my hand, it’s noticeably thicker and heavier than the 6. Not by much. Only .02 mm thicker, according to Apple, and just 14 grams heftier, but I could tell when trying to. My cases all seem to fit, however.
- The damned thing is fast. The “s” is thought to stand for “speed” and it’s noticeably quicker in things like app switching, web page loading, and camera functions.
- The TouchID is now essentially instantaneous in unlocking the phone. So quick, it’s nearly impossible to read the notifications on the screen before it brings up the home screen.
- The home button is a little clicker than the 6’s. Crisper and sharper.
- The Taptic Engine creates a much more authoritative vibration than whatever made the 6 vibrate. Like the difference between a ’78 Cylon and a ’04 Cylon.
- 3D Touch is pretty nifty, though I admit I’m still training myself to use it. There aren’t a lot of apps that support it yet, but I’m sure there’ll be more soon. Next time I’m using my iPad I’ll probably press down on the screen expecting something to happen in the same way I used to wait for my iPad Air to unlock just by leaving my finger on the home button.
- It may be my imagination or that the new phone has arrived during a slightly less greasy moment of my life, but it seems like the 6s screen doesn’t get as smudged as much the 6 screen did.
- I can see the difference the 12 megapixel camera makes. I’ve only taken a couple of shots but the detail seems sharper. Still a hell of a great camera.
Needless to say, my ninth iPhone is the best I’ve ever had. Should a normal person upgrade from the 6? I dunno. 3D Touch is cool and the camera is better, but not having 3D Touch means not missing it and the 6’s camera is already pretty damned good. Most of the speed increases are incrementally small and the kind of thing you soon adjust to either way. If you’re using any other iPhone, upgrading to the 6s is a no-brainer.
I’m not sure if bendgate is going to be a real thing or not. The media loves to swoop down on these issues when they pop up because if there’s something other than winning the American public loves, it’s seeing someone else screw up. Of course, other metal phones bend, too. Just as other phones had reception issues if you blocked their antennas with your hand. But those phones don’t have Apple logos on them.
I had an iPhone 5S that bent. It was in my pocket while I was hiking and I took a tumble and landed on it. Even though it was in a LifeProof case, it ended up getting bent. The Apple Store guy said it wasn’t an issue covered under warranty or Apple Care since it was still functional. Luckily, the headphone jack eventually got jacked and I was able to exchange it. I imagine the standard line from Apple will be the same for pocket-bent Sixes.
I don’t have my iPhone 6 yet so I’ll withhold final judgement, but I had already formed the suspicion that Apple’s drive to make the thinnest phone possible had gone too far. I based my thinking on the dubious design decision that gave us the camera bump. I’d rather they made the phone that much thicker in exchange for better battery. Nobody — not one person — outside Apple headquarters has said the 5S was too thick but plenty (like, everyone else) have said a longer battery life would be swell. Jony Ive might rather make a phone thin enough to shave with, but I’d bet most users would trade in a millimeter or two for a 5-10% increase in battery life (a number I just totally made up — no idea how much extra battery they could have put in there if the phone was thicker). Now, we’re presented with the prospect that the phone is excessively bendy due to its extreme thinness. And this is another smack against the larger size. Of course when you make something too big to fit comfortably in a pocket, there’s going to be issues. Either it’ll dig into you or it’ll give in to the pressure.
I’m a huge fan of Apple design and always have been, but sometimes it seems like they make decisions in favor of aesthetics over how real people will use their devices. Off the top of my head, I think of the beautiful yet rediculously scratch-prone iPod backing and the too easily nicked chamfered edge of the iPhone 5 and 5S.
Design is about trade-offs. That’s one of its core tenets. In this case, I wonder if Apple is too willing to trade durability and practicality for an arbitrary aesthetic. The camera bump is arguably a subjective design choice (though I’d argue back that instability when laying on its back on a flat surface impacts its functionality, if just a little). Durability is not subjective.
It is not unreasonable for a person to think that among the elements tested during the design of their nice new phone was whether or not it would stand up to being used in exactly the way every single person in the world with pockets uses them.