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A Look at New Apple Devices

November 2015

By Tom Stibolt, MD, Mobile Musings Column Editor

In September 2015, Apple released two new models of the iPhone. The existing devices are upgrades to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus called the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It is unclear why Apple did not just name them iPhone 7 since they are completely redesigned.

On the cosmetic side, the new phones add two new colors, gold and rose gold to the traditional silver and space gray. They are the same height and width as the original 6 models but both new models are slightly thicker and heavier. The display resolution and color capability are unchanged.

The processor is the Apple A9 instead of the A8. The A8 used a separate motion processor which is now integrated into the faster A9 chip. The cell technology is now LTE Advanced, which is an improvement over LTE offered in the earlier iPhone 6 phones. The WiFi has been upgraded as well to support multiple input/output frequencies for faster processing. The fingerprint sensor in the home button is now a second generation version.

A new feature for the touch screen has been added called 3D touch. The device now senses how much pressure the user applies when touching the screen and uses this to enable the ability to preview content in an app without actually opening the app. This allows previewing emails or websites. There is also a new feature called Quick Actions which lets users do the things they do most often faster and in fewer steps. One can start a message to favorite contacts, immediately get directions home, or instantly bring up the camera to snap a selfie. Many of these actions can be done with a single press, right from the home screen.

Speaking of selfies, the front camera has been increased from 1.2 to 5 megapixels. Video capability is unchanged at 720p resolution. The rear camera has been upgraded from 8 to 12 megapixels. Tone mapping and noise reduction have also been improved. Panorama capability has been increased from 43 to 63 megapixels. Support for 4K video has been added, as has zoom on playback.

Although the battery is apparently slightly larger, the increase is balanced out by the new processor’s power needs so the effective battery life is unchanged. Sensors are unchanged and include three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and a barometer. Both models are now available with 128 GB of memory, in addition to the original 6 series phones 16 and 64 GB.

The price remains the same as the older iPhone 6 models when they were released, although the older phones are still available with a decrease in price of $100 for each.

Later this month, a new iPad will be available called the iPad Pro. This is a larger iPad measuring 12 by 8.68 by 0.27 inches. It has a 12.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display with 2732-by-2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch. It is powered by the fastest processor available in an Apple mobile device, the A9X. It has 1.8 times the processing power of the processor in the iPad Air 2 and an increase in graphics performance so that, even with the larger display, it is claimed to be twice as fast as the iPad Air 2. The iPad Pro starts at $799.

Editor’s note: The ATS does not endorse any of the programs or products mentioned in this column.

Last Reviewed: September 2017