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:
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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:
We've got our first 4K sample video:
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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:
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:
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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:
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:
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.