September 9, 2015

Apple's New iPhone 6S & 6S Plus Get 4K Video Recording

Apple iPhone 6S Gold
The new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus just got a 12MP camera upgrade & 4K video recording.

While Apple has mostly played it safe with their camera over the last few years, today they finally made a big leap into much higher-resolution photos and the ability to shoot 4K videos. Though the 1080p iPhone has already been used as a movie-making device with films like Tangerine, being able to shoot in 4K should make for much sharper videos — even if the final target is 1080p. At times smartphone video can turn to mush, so hopefully with apps like FiLMiC Pro, we'll be able to squeeze every last little bit out of the camera and bitrate to get excellent video on a phone. With lens accessories, it's very possible we're going to see more movies made with these phones everyday, and at the very least, you'll have some terrific BTS footage or video storyboards.

Here's a look at the 6S and 6S Plus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBYWGjIzvyw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSTEB8cdQwo

While some clever apps let you shoot 4K video with the older iPhone (without jailbreaking), this is the first time that Apple has officially supported recording in the format on their devices. Here's more on that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVbqYryFIoQ

We've got our first 4K sample video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow2t9OfH_40

They have improved slow motion slightly, but otherwise frame rates have mostly stayed the same. Here are the specs (for more on the camera, check out this page):

  • A9 chip with 64-bit architecture
  • 6S Plus: 5.5" 1920 x 1080 Display, 401 ppi and 6S: 4.7" 1334 x 750 Display, 326 ppi (Full sRGB standard)
  • 4K video recording (3840 by 2160) at 30 fps
  • 1080p at 30fps or 60fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Cinematic video stabilization
  • Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • 12-megapixel iSight camera with 1.22µ pixels (50% More Autofocus Pixels)
  • f/2.2 Aperture Lens
  • Optical Image Stabilization on 6S Plus Only
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
  • Live Photos: Take a photo like normal, and it gives you a little snippet of video, almost bringing the photo alive
  • Improving color on the sensor was a major focus (technologies like deep trench isolation)
  • 3D Touch: using Force Touch technology there are more options just by pressing and holding on the screen
  • Add Rose Gold as a color
  • Base model is 16GB
  • Availability: September 25th
  • Depth: 6S Plus: 0.29 inch (versus 0.28 inch on the 6 Plus) and 6S: 0.28 inch (versus 0.27 inch on the 6)
  • Weight: 6S Plus: 6.77 ounces (versus 6.07 ounces on the 6 Plus) and 6S: 5.04 ounces (versus 4.55 ounces on the 6)
  • iPhone 6S: $650 — 16GB / $750 — 64GB / $850 — 128GB
  • iPhone 6S Plus: $750 — 16GB / $850 — 64GB / $950 — 128GB

While Apple talked about the stronger aluminum on the new 6S and 6S Plus, they didn't really go into much detail about the fact that the phones are both thicker and heavier than their predecessors. These phones are already much heavier than their plastic counterparts, but Apple wanted to ensure that they don't bend as some phones did last year when they were first introduced. 

Hands-On from The Verge:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85jromAIgAE

One of the most exciting features to me, even though it's not really a creative tool, is the new Live Photos. I don't tend to get too amped about all of these Apple announcements, especially when watching the live event with people clapping, but Live Photos is one of those obvious features that you wonder why more smartphone makers haven't developed. Video is extremely powerful, and adding a little snippet to every photo can really bring you back there and give you a sense of the location:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvoDGjhHI6U

As far as the specific models, it would have been nice if Apple had upped the memory on the lowest-end model, but you're stuck with 16GB, instead of 32GB on many equivalent Android phones. Rather than listing out all the pricing options for the different iPhone models (which have all dropped by $100), it's a little easier just to look at:

Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus Pricing - Two Year
Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus Pricing - Monthly

They have also introduced a brand new iPhone Upgrade Program that is completely separate from the wireless carriers. I'm actually kind of surprised they didn't do this sooner, especially since people want an easier way to get new phones every year without having to think about their plan and whether they qualify for an upgrade. This new program may make it easier if you're constantly switching plans and don't want to deal with your carrier for a new phone — even though it does work out to be a little more expensive depending on your plan. You also get AppleCare+ with this new upgrade program, which starts at $32.41 a month for the lowest-end iPhone 6S and goes up to $44.91 a month for the highest-end iPhone 6S Plus:

Apple iPhone Upgrade Program

With this program, the payments are spread out over 24 months, but you're able to upgrade every year to a new phone after 12 months (which is 12 payments). This isn't too different from some other plans that carriers offer (though it does offer AppleCare+), but if you know you only want an iPhone every year, you may have a bit more freedom getting it straight from Apple.

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will be available for pre-order on Saturday, September 12th, and will be released on September 25th.       

Your Comment

12 Comments

I can smell the Apples fan/haters discussion incoming in 5...4...3...

September 9, 2015 at 6:42PM, Edited September 9, 6:42PM

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Tommy Plesky
Director / D.P / Editor
1971

Seems like a cool phone. Though the Apple presentation of it would have you thinking that it was made by the bare hands of Jesus and was filled with all the knowledge the universe could possibly contain.

September 9, 2015 at 7:43PM, Edited September 9, 7:43PM

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Dantly Wyatt
Musical Comedy & Content Creator.
578

4k dope! Super excited. Im going to tattoo apple on my face

September 9, 2015 at 11:58PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1181

iPhone 6s/+ are not actually 4K 4096 x 2160 but 3840 x 2160 so is in fact UHD, or ultra high definition. Which is still cool and useful.

September 12, 2015 at 12:27PM

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George Spyros
Creator of Filmakr app + Director/DP & Executive Producer
74

I've been on Verizon since 2006. I was always mad that iPhones were ATT exclusive. It wasn't until 2011 that the iPhone 4 was carried by Verizon.

I was in school at the time for graphic design. I had an interest in video but I knew nothing about cameras, or I was still putting the 5D mkII on a pedestal. I used to peruse cameras at Target. Not knowing any of the right terms I'd ask employees if these cameras did those cool out of focus backgrounds and if they had manual controls. That iPhone 4 gave me 720p video and then the 4S gave me full 1080p. I micromanaged the shit out of that 16gb of storage, built tripod mounts, added an Ollo clip, recorded with FilmicPRO, and edited in Premiere. The iPhone was my first solid filmmaking tool. I learned so much on it, I shot anything I could, years before I would invest in a DSLR.

4K on a phone is great but I know Samsung does it as well. But 1080 slow mo is very welcome. I am very excited for this myself. There's also younger me wishing he had this phone this whole time.

September 10, 2015 at 7:24AM

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Luis Cardenas
DP, Editor
90

I think the 6s is the first phone without the 5 minutes limit shooting at 4K... However I'm still waiting for a smartphone using Hardware Optical Stabilization at 2160p with Dolby Vision HDR, HEVC 120FPS 12bit 4:4:4 :)

September 10, 2015 at 10:39AM

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Vizzywig 4K already gives you Hardware Optical Stabilization at 2160p 24fps and 30fps at up to 160Mbps on an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Give us a little more time on the Dolby Vision HDR, 120fps and 12bit 4:4:4. Probably less than 5 years though. :)

September 10, 2015 at 5:25PM

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Michael Zaletel
Founder, i4software
825

I'm perplexed by Apple constantly pushing filmmaking on their iPhones, yet they always leave out basic functionality of an entry level camera. Still no 23.98, still no manual control over shutter and aperture.

September 10, 2015 at 1:03PM

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Steve Yager
Filmmaker
308

Oh great, 4K vertical video...

September 10, 2015 at 4:37PM

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Craig Swanson
Editor
43

The moment I get my hands on the 6s, I want to post some 4K comparison footage shot with Vizzywig 4K so we can see the differences between the 5s, 6, 6s and GoPro 4 Black. I'll use Vizzywig 4K's multi-camera mode in 4K to trigger all four cameras shooting the same subject at the same time. Right now we support 160Mbps 3840x2160 at 24fps and 30fps on the iPhone 6. I wonder if the new A9 processor will enable us to push that even higher?

September 10, 2015 at 5:15PM, Edited September 10, 5:15PM

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Michael Zaletel
Founder, i4software
825

I'm curious why they upgraded the facetime camera to 5MP but left the video for it at 720p. At 5MP that camera should be able to easily do 1080p for video recording, even if they only used 720p for facetime calls to save bandwidth.

September 11, 2015 at 2:16AM

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Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
689

iPhone 6s/+ are not actually 4K 4096 x 2160 but 3840 x 2160 so is in fact UHD, or ultra high definition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution http://www.apple.com/iphone-6s/cameras/?cid=wwa-us-kwg-iphone

September 12, 2015 at 12:23PM

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George Spyros
Creator of Filmakr app + Director/DP & Executive Producer
74