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India’s dilemma: Purchase the pricey iPhone 6s or opt for cheaper iPhone 6?

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With Apple pricing the iPhone 6s at a steep Rs 62,000 for the 16 GB variant in India (even if 16 GB is just not enough today), and going up to a jaw-dropping Rs 92,000 for the iPhone 6s Plus 128 GB, price-conscious Indian customers have a tough choice to make. Do the new 6s and 6s Plus justify their price tags or should prospective iPhone customers wait for prices to fall–which is unlikely to happen soon. Or should they simply go for the year-old iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which come at significantly lower prices? For instance, the current e-commerce bonanza in India is seeing the iPhone 6 selling for as low as Rs 24,999 after discounts and an exchange offer, a massive difference as compared to the Rs 62,000 price tag on the 6s 16 GB.

Based on a little under a day of using the new iPhone 6s, here’s a quick overview of the some of the notable features of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and how they stack up against the iPhone 6.

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Definitely faster

The A9 chip is Apple’s third-gen chip with 64-bit architecture and Apple claims CPU performance is up by close to 70 percent compared to the A8 chip powering the iPhone 6. Graphics performance is reportedly up 90 percent compared to A8.  And the M9 motion coprocessor integrated into the A9 chip ensures that Siri is always on. Just say “Hey Siri” for Siri to come alive. But the iPhone 6 is no laggard either on the speed front.

Built tougher

The iPhone 6 faced Bendgate, though admittedly, it wasn’t like every second phone got bent. Apple learnt its lesson though and the 6s and 6s Plus use 7000 Series aluminium alloy, which is blended with Zinc to make it tougher. 7000 Series aluminium is used in the aerospace sector. According to Unbox Therapy’s literal pressure tests, the iPhone 6S chassis is much tougher than the chassis of the 6–it didn’t start to bend until exposed to pressure of 80 lbs. The 6 chassis started to bend at 30 lbs of pressure. So, the 6s is clearly far tougher and better built than the 6 and hence it is slightly heavier too.

Futuristic 3D Touch

3D Touch is perhaps the coolest feature on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.  The original iPhone borrowed gestures like pinch and zoom, but now has broken ahead of the pack by introducing Peek and Pop. The iPhone 6s senses how much pressure is applied to screen and it responds with subtle feedback. So not only will you see the results of a press on the screen—you will actually feel it.

Pressing an icon brings that icon into focus while the background becomes hazy and you can select the sub-menu from the home screen itself. For instance, by pressing the camera icon, you get options like Take Selfie, Record Video, Record slo-mo or Take Photo. Conceptually, it’s a bit like clicking on the right button of a mouse. In a mailbox, it can definitely improve productivity because a push will get you a peek into an e-mail and options like Archive or marking it unread, and a further push will actually take you into that email. The Peek part gives you a look and you don’t need to click back to go back to the mailbox, thus eliminating an action and improving productivity.

Some app developers like Instagram have already started leveraging 3D Touch–no more clicking on a photo and clicking back to go back to the previous screen. It makes for a noticeable and welcome UI enhancement in games too and many, many iOS developers will leverage 3D Touch in the coming months.

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From the perspective of future iPhones, 3D Touch is a big milestone on the way to an iPhone without the home button. But that’s perhaps a generation or two away. From the apps perspective 3D Touch will start making an increasing impact, but for the immediate future if your iPhone doesn’t have 3D Touch you would perhaps just miss the coolest futuristic tech on an iPhone in the recent past.

Live Photos

Falling somewhere in between a still image and a video, Live Photos–on by default–is about the iPhone 6s capturing a photo but also 1.5 seconds of video before and after with sound. Click on a Live Photo and it comes to life. File size is around twice of a regular photo but Live Photos is a superb addition and is perhaps a step towards the journey where we may not have still images shot as a still anymore but always as part of a video. You can view Live Photos on any iOS device running iOS 9, but to create one, you need an iPhone 6s. And apps like Facebook may soon enable playback of Live Photos too increasing its reach. Thanks to Apple’s market penetration, expect Live Photos to become a big trend soon.

Camera

The camera is bumped up from 8 MP on the iPhone 6 to a new 12 MP sensor with new pixel technology on the 6s. Apple claims that its new image signal processor on the iPhone 6s works with iOS 9 to provide far better pictures. Front camera has been bumped up to 5MP from 1.2 MP and includes Retina Flash for better lit selfies—the screen flashes three times brighter than usual, combined with True Tone technology to account for location colour tone and lighting. But DxOMark, an industry standard for camera and lens image quality measurements and ratings, says the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are left behind by seven Android-smartphone cameras, including the Sony Xperia Z5 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy Note 4. The reviewers are blunt, saying, “…those looking to upgrade from the iPhone 6 Plus might not find it (the camera on the 6s and 6s Plus) appreciably compelling.”

What’s great though is 4K video recording (and with optical image stabilisation on the 6s Plus). And the A9 processor makes for some deft video editing using iMovie.

Instantaneous Touch ID

One thing I noticed was the near instantaneous working of TouchID, which integrates a fingerprint scanner into home button and does away with the need for punching in a 4-digit password. Apple made security unobtrusive with TouchID on the iPhone 5s and the 6s takes it one level higher, and it’s definitely another productivity win for Apple.

Battery Life

While the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus reportedly have slightly lower capacity batteries as compared to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, battery life has been reported to be the same by most reviewers and by Apple too, thanks to software enhancements. So perhaps nothing to worry about there, though bigger is always handier when it comes to battery life.

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