iPhone 6s FAQ: Everything you need to know!

Unless and until Apple drops the mic, decides they've done everything that can be done in the phone space, and walks off to start a hot tub business, there will be new iPhones. And, if Apple sticks to the same pattern as previous years, that means we'll likely see an iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus as soon as September. Here's what you need to know about them!

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Note: We'll continue to update this FAQ as new and better information becomes available so bookmark it and come back often!

Why 'iPhone 6s' and 'iPhone 6s Plus'?

Since 2008, Apple has followed what's called a "tick-tock" update cycle. One year the number is incremented and the design refreshed, the next an 's' is added and the internals and features get a boost. 3G and 3GS, 4 and 4s, and 5 and 5s. So, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is the presumption for this year.

Apple can change the pattern at any time, of course, and product names are ultimately marketing decisions. We need to call them something for now, so iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus it is!

When will Apple release the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus?

For the last several years Apple has announced new iPhones sometime in the middle of the second week of September and shipped them at the end of the third week of September.

Again, Apple can change that at any time, but shipping the fall means being available for the all-important holiday shopping season.

But a bunch of other companies have already announced new phones!

Sure, but that happens every year. No movie wants to come out the same weekend as Star Wars, and no phone wants to be announce around the same time as the iPhone. Our advice, if you're looking for a new phone, is to wait and see what Apple—and everyone else—announces and then, come September, see what suits you best.

Will iOS 9 be coming with the new iPhones?

Yup! Apple typically releases the new version of iOS right before the new phones, so we should see both within a couple days of each other, and iOS 9 will be installed on every new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus that ships.

What size would the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus be?

Every "s" model to date has kept a nearly identical casing to the year before. If Apple keeps the same design for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, that would mean we'd get the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens.

What about a new-ish 4-inch iPhone?

There have been rumors of an iPhone 6c, which would be an iPhone 5c updated with iPhone 6-class specs. There are reasons why an iPhone 6c might make sense. Ultimately, however, Apple will decide how many new iPhones the company can optimally make and market at once, and what sizes best suit their customer base.

Will the new iPhones have a faster processor?

Since the iPhone 4 in 2010, every new iPhone has come with a next-generation Apple A-series processor. Since last year was the Apple A8 system-on-a-chip (SoC), this year would likely be the Apple A9 (SoC).

New chipsets usually provide more speed and better power efficiency, as well as improved image signal processing (ISP) for photography.

So, a better camera?

Apple loves cameras and they've also been a big focus of every event since the iPhone 4. Cameras are also among the most important features for iPhone owners, so there's no chance that'll stop any time soon.

In addition to an improved image signal processor (ISP) from the Apple A9, a higher resolution sensor certainly makes the kind of sense that does.

What about new colors?

With the iPod touch line, Apple has shown they can anodize pretty much any color they want. The iPhone 5s came with a new champagne gold finish option so, rumor has it, the company might use the iPhone 6s to introduce rose gold to better match the Apple Watch lineup.

Arguably gold was as big, if not bigger, a driver for the iPhone 5s than Touch ID. We're a superficial consumer base with little below the surface than more consumer surface. Having a new color, and one that shows off that you have a new iPhone, could become an important part of "s" years.

Any chance of Force Touch?

Apple seldom locks features to only one product. Force Touch was first introduced on the Apple Watch but actually shipped first on the new MacBook. That shows it can be implemented on a wide range of products. So, again, why stop at just a few?

Also, the iPhone 3GS got speed, the iPhone 4s got Siri, the iPhone 5s got a fingerprint sensor, so why not give the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus some pressure sensitivity by way of Force Touch and the Taptic Engine? On the Apple Watch, Force Click is used to bring up context-sensitive menu options. On the Mac, to simulate a trackpad click—or multiple depths of click—and to allow for adaptable drawing.

A lot of that would be great on the iPhone.

What about USB-C?

Apple only just adopted Lightning with the iPhone 5 in 2012. The company's previous interconnect, the 30-pin Dock, lasted 10 years. The Lightning-like USB-C does have standardization on its side, though Lightning itself is still more flexible.

Again, Apple can and will do whatever the company thinks is best for the business and for customers.

Wireless charging?

Apple already has wireless charging on the Watch. Qualcomm has new chipsets that can do wireless charging through metal. Whether or not Apple could fit the charging tech inside the same casing, and whether or not Apple considers the technology ready for the iPhone, however, remain to be seen.

Wireless anything?

Better radios, as usual! Wireless chipsets are always getting smaller and faster, and getting better support for different implementations and bands around the world.

So, how can I sell my old phone to help afford it?

Oh. So. Many. Ways.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

55 Comments
  • Don't joke about the espresso and beer dispenser please! That's just cruel. :)
  • With regard to phones I'm pretty sure, along with many others, that Apple's not going to release a small phone this year, and that's too damn bad. But, if correct, that means I have another year to save up for Fall of 2016's new releases. Unfortunately, I think that any future "small" iPhone gear will feel a lot like getting an iPod Touch - the hardware specs will intentionally be a step behind whatever their current-year, new releases will be - that always drove me nuts using an iPod Touch - but, in the end it worked, Apple got me to buy an iPhone 5S with their antics ... I mean, strategy. All of that is to say, I fear the age of small phones is gone and I will be compelled to get a monster phone by this time next year if I want to upgrade. I'm a performance-driven user of all things Apple. When I upgrade I've got to have the latest CPU, maximum RAM, best video components, screen technology and etc. Besides needing the performance in my reality, it dramatically helps downplay hardware obsolescence over time. So, I'm going to spend the next thirteen months getting use to the idea of carrying around a monster-sized iPhone. When I pickup the phone and look at the big, beautiful screen, and luxuriate in the responsivness of the UI, I will have absolutely no issue, but, when it's time to put it away and hit the road, in the pocket it will not go. That means, back on the belt, (which I came to really loathe), and, I just don't do the back pocket - just don't. Life is tough - isn't it?!
  • I disagree. There's definitely a market for a cheaper iPhone. Let's just hope if it's released, it ships with more than 8 GB. There's no reason why they can't make the 5S into a 6C and start at 16 GB.
  • I think you missed some of my point. Not looking for a cheaper phone, I do agree there is/will be a market for it, but, that won't help me because the 6c most likely will not have the latest CPU. And I always buy with maximum RAM.
  • Then the 6C is not for you.
  • You're confusing RAM with storage capacity. The current iPhone 6 and 6 Plus all have only 1 GB of RAM. (Random Access Memory), but have several storage capacity options (16, 64, and 128GB) There is no option NOT to "buy with the maximum RAM"
  • I think he just means the latest and greatest. For example, the 6 has more RAM than any iPhone before it. If a lesser spec'd small iPhone was released it would more than likely have the 512gb of RAM of older models.
  • Both the iPhone 5, 5c and 5s had 1 GB of RAM so technically the iPhone 6 didn't have more RAM than the phones before it :)
  • Oops. I couldn't remember what they bumped it up. So many phones to keep up with. LOL
  • Steve Jobs was all about quality so I wonder how he would have felt about a "cheap" iphones. He'd probably say it was "shit" since that was his favorite word according to his biography book. LOL
  • Innovation died at Apple when Steve Jobs could no longer go on. Business started when Tim Cook took over.
  • Thanks for the laugh. Did you steal that line or thunk it yourself :)
  • The truth is funny, hey?
  • A tired cliche, beat to death but please enjoy your "truth"
  • Well, the 5C was a popular seller, even though it's quality and durability were below market averages. We've had every iPhone since the 3, and currently have four 5C's and 6 (wife sold her 4S last month), and the 5C was definitely the low point.
  • The iPhone 6 is a very good size. I use the 6plus and my wife uses the 6. After carrying around this monster I would gladly go for a 6s if it has the same features as the plus. Although the battery life of the plus is far better than the 6. Have you held and used a 6? I don't think it feels big at all. Sent from the iMore App
  • I went from a 5s to a 6 several weeks ago. The 6 is definitely less comfortable to hold and much clumsier to use single-handed. While I like having the big display and easier to use keyboard, I prefer the 5s size. I rarely have 2 free hands - whether walking the dog, carrying my stuff to/from work, eating, cooking, etc.... I think having a phone that you can use without requiring the significant inconvenience of needing 2 hands is a big plus. I would love the power and features of the 6 in a 5s size.
  • I completely agree with you, just because some people want a smaller phone it does not mean that they want a "lesser" phone. My wife has tiny hands and held off on the 6 because there wasn't a 4" option, she'll get the 6s regardless of a 4" option since her 5 is getting long in the tooth but she won't be happy about it.
  • Just be glad your not looking for an android phone. I'm an android user, and would love a phone at around 5"... Unfortunately, it looks like 5.5" is about the average size for any flagship. I'm using the G4, but wish it was smaller.
  • Let's say they end up sticking with Lightning. Will they switch the other end of the cable that goes into the powerbrick to USB-C? Or keep it USB-A?
  • They can't do that yet, they only have one machine right now with USB-C. Still too early.
  • At least they have to adopt USA-A to USB-C (in Phone) I/O.
  • Yeah.... It'll take at least 4-5 years for Apple to add that. Lol Posted via the iMore App
  • I'm most interested in battery life. Will they reduce the number of components to include a bigger battery? Apple always comes out with gimmicks like Force Touch to distract from the fact they make little progress on battery life.
  • Get the "+", you won't be disappointed ;¬)
  • That's a poor solution. iPhone users should expect better.
  • Well my Android phone has a 1000 mah bigger battery than my iPhone 6, but my iPhone consistently gets better battery life.
  • Same here! My 2014 Moto X with its 2300 mAh battery seems to last for much less time than my iPhone 6 with an 1810 mAh battery.
  • Yup. My M9 has a 2849 mAh battery, and can't touch my iPhone 6 especially in standby. The big thing on my Android phone is mobile data. On wifi the battery life is similar. But when I'm away from wifi the M9 drains so much quicker.
  • I have the 6+ and I still have battery life when I go to charge it at night, maybe that is because I use the watch for my notifications and quick calls but overall very happy with it, will try to get one for my Mom because she is ready to get a smart phone but I will never go back to a small phone even if it had a much larger battery. I have a vision issue but the accessibility feature has made even my watch very usuable - but I would as I already mentioned really like to see the wireless charging in the next large phone simply because I live the charging plate on my desk plunk the phone down and it only fills it up till fully charged and not overcharged especially nice if I am headed out to the city after work for a show/concert
  • I agree, but you have to admit overall apple's software is an amazing.
  • I'm just wondering how will they differentiate the 6 & 6 Plus to justify the 100 price increase. I bought the 6 Plus on launch day... Definitely enjoy the bigger screen/battery life.. camera as well. But will they leave out OIS again on the 6s... I doubt it. I think it would rub customers the wrong way.
  • I think you already said both of the things that will be the main differentiators in the 6S vs 6S Plus; the larger screen and the better battery life. Even in the 6 vs 6 Plus, the only hardware difference is the optical image stabilization for the rear facing camera. Comparing pictures from my 6 Plus vs those from my buddy's 6, there isn't a huge difference. You're paying for the screen and battery life.
  • I just a few weeks ago grabbed an iPhone 5S 64 gb from my carrier due to the size. I don't like big phones. I want power and portability. I've used Android and although it's Ok, they are all too big these days. So what I can't do in the iphone I just