iPhone 6S Plus – release date, news and rumors
While the iPhone 6S is likely to be Apple’s best-selling smartphone this year, there’s sure to be strong demand for the iPhone 6S Plus too.
Apple’s only recently made its first foray into phablets and the iPhone 6 Plus made for a seriously impressive first stab… that said, there’s certainly room for improvement.
Given that Apple only tends to refresh its hardware designs every other year we expect the iPhone 7 (or more likely the iPhone 6S Plus) will look a lot like last year’s model, but we’re hoping for big changes under the hood.
The rumor train is rolling along smoothly and it seems that big changes are exactly what we’re going to get. A September launch is likely (more specifically an announcement on September 9 with it hitting stores on September 18) so we don’t have long to wait and we’re starting to get a clear picture of what we might see.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The phablet version of Apple’s next flagship iPhone
- When is it out? Apple has confirmed a September 9 announcement and rumours suggest it’ll be on sale September 18
- What will it cost? A lot, at least £619 / $ 749 / AU$ 1149
iPhone 6S Plus / iPhone 7 Plus release date
Apple has sent out invites for an event on September 9, which is when it is widely assumed that Apple will unveil the iPhone 6S, along with a possible iPhone 6S Plus phablet as well.
We’re lucky enough to have received the invite so we’ll be there waiting to find out what Apple has in store, and you’ll be able to live stream the event to your device on the day.
Until then we don’t have much to go on, though the invites did contain the phrase “Hey Siri, give us a hint”. Of course, trying to get some juicy info out of Apple’s virtual assistant proved to be fruitless, but we do know that Apple will be holding the event at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
This 7,000 seat venue is much larger than last year’s location at the Flint Center in Cupertino, so it looks like Apple is planning some big announcements – perhaps the perfect time to unveil the iPhone 6S Plus.
So if the iPhone 6S Plus does get announced on September 9, how long will we have to wait to get our hands on one? According to German publication Macerkopf the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will be ready to be picked up in store on September 18.
That’s the second Friday after the announcement, which follows the pattern of previous iPhone launches.
iPhone 6S Plus / iPhone 7 Plus design
So far the majority of rumors refer to the iPhone 7 or iPhone 6S rather than the iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 6S Plus, but going by 2014’s phones they’re likely to be very similar devices once you get beyond the screen size.
Assuming they are similar there’s quite a bit to go on, starting with the design, which is likely to be visually similar to the iPhone 6 Plus, but possibly with a Series 7000 Aluminium Alloy build. That’s the stuff used by the Apple Watch Sport and it should make it significantly stronger.
Indeed a photo of the iPhone 6S Plus’s back cover has leaked and apparently the material seems stronger than it did on the iPhone 6 Plus. Other than that the design seems similar, albeit with a screw hole for the loud speaker in a different position.
We’ve also seen the iPhone 6S on video, with suggestions that it will be both reinforced and incorporate zinc for extra strength. All of this will presumably apply to the iPhone 6S Plus too and should help Apple avoid a repeat of bendgate.
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChUsy8gWwvo
iPhone 6S Plus / iPhone 7 Plus screen
The screen could get tougher too, as the long rumored sapphire glass display has been touted once again. It might also get a resolution bump, as one source reckons the iPhone 6S Plus will have a 5.5-inch 2K display.
According to industry sources who spoke to UDN, this tech could put a price premium on the iPhone 6S Plus, with the sensor costing 2.5 times as much as it does for the Apple Watch due to the increase in screen size.
iPhone 6S Plus / iPhone 7 Plus power and camera
A new processor is all but guaranteed and it’s likely to be an A9 chip, which is said to be 15% smaller, 20% more powerful and 35% more power efficient than the Apple A8 processor. It could also beboosted to 2GB of RAM and of course it’s bound to run iOS 9.
Leaked benchmarks have also emerged that claim to the the iPhone 6S Plus’ A9 chip in action, beating the iPhone 6 Plus’ A8 processor by around 20% to 30% in single and multi-core performance, which is roughly in line with other rumours we’ve heard.
The camera could get a big upgrade to something approaching DSLR quality, though that possibility is being disputed in some quarters, with other rumors pointing to a 12MP snapper on the back and a 5MP one on the front, as well as support for 4K video and 240fps slow-motion footage.
We’ve also heard whispers of other exciting but unlikely features, such as the possible presence of theApple SIM to give users network freedom.
iPhone 6S Plus: what we want to see
1. A more grippable shape
The iPhone 6 Plus was Apple’s first phablet, so some stumbles were to be expected, but the biggest was the size and shape of the device.
Obviously with a 5.5-inch screen it was always going to be big, but the large bezels above and below the display make it bigger than phones with similar size screens, like the LG G4, which can make reaching the full expanse of the screen and even gripping the phone quite tricky.
So hopefully the iPhone 6S Plus will have smaller bezels, but we wouldn’t complain if Apple went even further. We love how slim the iPhone 6 Plus is, but a curved back would help it sit more comfortably in the hand, further aiding grip-ability.
2. A lower price
At upwards of £619/$ 749/AU$ 1,149 the iPhone 6 Plus is anything but cheap. That’s to be expected in some ways. We’ve got used to paying a premium for Apple products and this is Apple’s biggest phone yet, so of course it’s going to be pricey.
But we still struggle to see quite how it justifies the price hike above comparable Android phones, so we live in hope that Apple will sell the iPhone 7 Plus at a more reasonable price. Then again, we reckon it could be quite a wait for that one given Apple’s history…
3. Better battery life
With moderate usage you can get a day out of the iPhone 6 Plus’s battery, which isn’t bad but it’s about the minimum we’d hope for.
Ideally we want to see two days or more of life from our phones, even though that’s still far from the norm. The battery life of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is already an improvement on the iPhone 5S, but hopefully the iPhone 6S Plus will push things even further.
4. An end to 16GB models
Without a microSD card slot (which we’ll never see on an iPhone) 16GB of storage is a truly tiny amount, especially with a good chunk of it being eaten up by the operating system.
Many games now stretch into multiple gigabytes and if you’re thinking of fitting your movie or music library on the phone you can think again with that little storage, so we want Apple to up the minimum size to 32GB and preferably charge less of a premium for the jump to each successive size.
5. Improved ‘Reachability’
In an attempt to make the iPhone 6 Plus easier to use one-handed Apple created a ‘Reachability’ mode, which drops the top section of the display to the middle with a double tap of the home button, so you can reach things which were previously in distant corners.
The idea is sound, but the implementation is ugly, with an empty black square appearing on the top half of the screen when the content shuffles to the bottom.
So hopefully by the time the iPhone 7 Plus rolls up Apple will have improved it. Making it look good is step one, but finding a use for all that empty space would be even better.
Perhaps Apple could maximise the extra space, rather than just fixing the issues it causes, by allowing two apps to run side by side and simply swapping them around with a double tap. We wouldn’t complain if the name changed either.
6. A non-protruding camera
It’s hard not to worry about the camera on the iPhone 6 Plus when you see it sticking out the back, but concerns that it will get scratched up have proved unfounded thanks to a hearty covering of strong sapphire glass.
That’s one problem solved, but we can’t help but feel that it would look better flush with the phone. Given the presence of OIS that may not be possible while keeping the handset so slim, but we could live with it being a few millimetres thicker – and it would help the battery life.
7. Better lowlight photography
Despite just having an 8MP sensor the iPhone 6 Plus has one of the top cameras around, but like so many smartphone snappers it suffers in lowlight compared to the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6, so we’d like to see some improvements there on the iPhone 6S Plus.
Whether that means bigger pixels, a better flash or something else entirely we’ll leave to Apple. But if we want to take photos at night, with no lights, in a cave then dammit… we want them to look good.
8. Better speakers
The iPhone 6 Plus has a single solitary speaker so you can forget about stereo sound. The positioning is questionable too, with it on the base of the phone where your hand is likely to end up covering it when holding the handset in landscape.
For the iPhone 7 Plus we’d love to see Apple take some inspiration from the HTC One M9 and put a pair of speakers on the front.
That doesn’t totally remove the possibility of covering them with your fingers but you’re unlikely to end up blocking them both at once, plus having two speakers potentially allows for better sound and having them pointing at you is just common sense.
9. A stronger build
The last thing Apple needs is another bendgate on its hands, so making the iPhone 6S Plus stronger seems like a no-brainer.
Maybe it will do that by making the iPhone 7 Plus thicker, which would have the handy bonus of allowing for a larger battery, or maybe it will use a stronger material, like the Series 7000 Aluminium Alloy used by the Apple Watch Sport which has been rumored for it.
Something needs to be done though as Apple doesn’t want that bad press again.
10. More power
We don’t like to overstate the importance of a power boost in new phones, especially not when the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 already have more power than they know what to do with, but the iPhone 6 Plus could legitimately do with a bit more oomph.
Its 1.39GHz dual-core Apple A8 processor and 1GB of RAM gets the job done, but we’d be lying if we said there wasn’t room for improvement, as it’s noticeably slower than recent Android flagships.
It’s well past time Apple made the jump to 2GB of RAM and we may well see that in the iPhone 6S Plus, as the iPad Air 2 has already been given a RAM boost. Couple that with a new processor, ideally one with more than two cores, and our power concerns should be addressed – plus given Apple’s efficient use of its engine, apps could become even more awesome.