Review of the iPhone 6s

It has officially been over a week since the first iPhone’s were released to the public, and I was in need of a new phone so I got my hands on one for myself the day after its release. Moving from a 4s to a 6s I had my reservations, but overall I’m pretty happy with the move and have to say that it really has been worth it. When I asked a lot of people about the size of their iPhone 6’s or 6+’s I was told again and again that after just a few hours with the bigger screen you would get used to it and maybe even wonder how you ever had such a small phone. However, I must be in a minority because I am still going to be hoping for that elusive 4 or 5 sized phone to come out with the internals of a 6s. Until then though I’ll continue to love nearly everything about the new 6s. I opted for the 128GB option so that I can have all my music on the phone without using iTunes match or Apple Music, but for most I think the 64GB would really work fine. In this article I’ll talk a bit about the newest features and draws of the iPhone 6s from a self proclaimed “intermediate user”, I’ll also talk a bit about who might want to upgrade and for whom it may not be worth it.

“Hey Siri”

As someone who almost always has their headphones in I thought that the Hey Siri function wouldn’t be too big of a deal for me. If you aren’t familiar “Hey Siri” is a feature that when turned on uses a coprocessor to always run your microphone waiting for you to say the words “Hey Siri”. In actuality the microphone doesn’t always pick up your voice, but it does save you from grabbing your phone or using your hands at all to start and end a task like reading a message or setting an alarm.

So far I can’t say that it’s my favorite feature, but it certainly has its uses. As somebody who loses their phone in their bedroom or in a couch it is a great feature to be able to activate in order to find my phone. This isn’t the most obvious use, but it isn’t a bad one. As Siri hopefully becomes more and more useful this function will become more useful, but it has already made me more productive as I use Siri much more than I did with my 4s already.

iPhone6s-Hand-SafariQuickAction-PR-PRINT-p1a17enjtsib5c6kg5313i6nnc_opt3D Touch

The big feature that had a lot of the hold outs willing to upgrade during this cycle was the 3D Touch feature, originally called force touch on the Macbook and Apple Watch. At the moment I’m honestly really not too sold on it to be honest. It’s really only been out for a short time now so I really think that it is too early to judge how other apps will begin to utilize the new function, but so far it isn’t too amazing. The default setting is far too hard for my liking, but once I changed the 3D touch to a lighter press I went through all my apps to see if the hard press did anything and it was, as expected, really only most of the Apple apps that utilized the feature. Using the harder press to use different parts of apps more quickly I think will take a little tinkering in order to find which quick actions users really want, but there are things that have been working for me out of the box.

Hard pressing and sliding on the sides can move you to a previous app without reaching up to the new “back to last app” button or using the app switcher. This and the ability to peek into links and apps without actually opening them are so far the best uses of the hard press, but hopefully we will see app developers begin to use the new feature in some new and interesting ways. The vibrating feedback that the new haptic engine gives you when hard pressing is also very satisfying, which means I’ll probably keep trying to deep press things in order to find more new uses as the become available.

Touch ID

The Touch ID was one of the features I was pretty excited about, and the new Touch ID technology has exceeded all of my wildest expectations. A lot of apps that I felt could really benefit from some extra security have adopted the touch ID as a sign in option and it works great. As I moved a lot of personal information and a lot of my banking onto my iPhone I was forced to join the club of iPhone users with a passcode. With the new Touch ID I rarely even see my lock screen. The Touch ID has really changed the way I use my phone, I find myself getting in and out of my phone faster and not regretting locking my phone and having to input the passcode over and over.

iPhone6s-RoseGold-BackFront-HeroFish-PR-PRINT-p1a17enjts103927nsob3r1kmu_optNew Camera & Live Photos

WIth the latest update to the phone came one of the biggest improvements to the camera. It sticks out of the back of the phone a little more than I had expected, but the step up from a 8 megapixel camera to a 12 megapixel  camera was pretty big. The camera’s sensor has also been improved upon vastly and it shows. The pictures I’m taking on my phone are light years ahead of the 4s, but you would really expect that to be the case. However, because this is the first time the camera has really been improved on the whole in a long time the difference between the 6s and the 6 is still extremely noticeable. The camera is capturing way more than you would expect from an iPhone and at this point it really makes you debate bringing a real camera places if it is any hassle at all.

Live photos have also been talked about a lot in the weeks coming up to the phone’s release and since, but I’m honestly not too impressed. They are on by default and don’t take up an awful lot of storage like everyone really feared, but they also aren’t too big of a deal yet. They are essentially a gif with sound, but I am sure we will start seeing more of them as social media apps start to host them. It’s a cool idea that you can capture a bit more of a moment than with just a photo, but really you need to have your phone at the ready and to be in the right situation for it to really be worth it.

iPhone6s-4Color-RedFish-PR-PRINT-p1a17enjtsi011okj15ag1es61c81_optAll That Ram

The iPhone 6s was the first iPhone in a while to get a RAM upgrade in quite a while, but they finally have 2GB. For those that aren’t so technologically inclined you might notice that other smartphones often have 4 or 5 GB RAM, but because iOS is much more efficient with its RAM there are only a few times you could really notice a difference. That said the iPhone 6 really should have gotten more RAM. Apple usually doesn’t publish things like the RAM in their phones and so no one can really know if there will be an improvement until the phones come out. The RAM upgrade was the last thing that I needed to convince me to finally upgrade. This should really mean the phone will be able to handle iOS updates for a number of years to come.

iOS9 & the Battery

One of the big improvements that I didn’t really expect was on the battery life. It was said that the 6s’s battery life would be just about the same as the 6’s because of a slightly smaller battery and a more efficient processor. I didn’t know that all that extra battery meant that I’d be able to go through a whole day and more of regular use. As I’ve been traveling my phone doesn’t always make it onto a charger every night for a full charge come morning. However, I often find that I can make it to about the next afternoon after a full day’s use and a night of just being on.

Obviously moving from a two year old phone to a brand new one with brand new batter will do this. And even my iPhone 4s benefitted from the new iOS with a bit of extra battery, but it is still nowhere near the battery life of my previous iPhone when it was new. When buying and researching my phone I had pretty much come to terms with the fact that my phone’s battery wouldn’t last. iPhone’s are one of the most known culprits, but more smartphones these days sacrifice battery life for things like form and function. However, so far I’ve been rather happy with the battery life I’ve gotten from the new iOS9 as well as the new phone.

Conclusion

People have a lot of differing ideals about upgrading your phone at different time, but I must say that despite looking the same the 6 and 6s are pretty different. The 6s is a huge step up from the 6 and probably worth that extra hundred dollars because of that RAM and the 3D touch which should hopefully keep the phone from becoming obsolete too soon. I decided to go for the iPhone Upgrade Program for a variety of reasons, but really I would say it is a great idea for anybody who feels they need to upgrade every year or those that would buy applecare for their phone. If you have a 6 I think you may want to wait to upgrade, as your phone should still be running very well and is really only missing one usable feature, but if you have a 5 or earlier the 6s might be the right phone to upgrade to. Of course if in a few months a smaller iPhone comes out we’ll see how I feel, but so far I’m loving the purchase and won’t be looking back anytime soon.

Is The iPod Waiting To Die?

Last week I took a look at the newly released streaming service Apple Music, which certainly has its bugs, but Apple Music is just one of many services and technological changes that are slowly but surely pushing the very product that brought the company back from the dead into the ground. Phone storage sizes are getting larger, cloud services and streaming are become more and more prevalent as smartphones continue their takeover leaving very little room for the iPod to remain. With the release of the newest iPod touch apple’s website doesn’t even warrant the product category a navigation button at the top of the browser. My first iPod was the first iPod nano, and now as I look to hopefully upgrade to the new iPhone 7 or iPhone 6c in a few months, depending on my budget, I am at the point of replacing my iPod touch with a phone.

iPodFamily-NewColors-PR-PRINT_opt

Since the iPod’s introduction in 2001 this little piece of technology became one of the most talked about and used audio devices in the world. It seemed that we had been waiting for something just like the iPod and had been just getting along with things like minidisc players and mp3 CDs up to that point. The interface was intuitive and the idea that you could have more than a hundred songs with you at any time was amazing. Looking back now I would complain about the small amount of storage because of the size of my library, but at the time being able to hold more than 20 songs with something that could fit into your pocket made me start saving up for one immediately. With the later introduction of cross compatibility and the iTunes store the iPod had pretty much locked up the market. I was happy with a few thousand songs in my pocket and couldn’t see the reason to ever really need an iPhone when they originally came out.

When my iPod ended up getting stolen I made the decision to go big instead of going home. Meaning that I went and bought the biggest iPod touch I could at the time, not that I went crazy trying to figure out a way to get revenge on whoever stole my iPod. I came home with a 64gb iPod touch and immediately fell in love. I could do nearly everything an iPhone could with the state of data streaming at the time, I was just secluded to use my favorite apps while in wifi. This lasted me long into the time that many of my friends had smartphones, as I was usually living on a college campus or in a city where I could get wifi relatively easily.

However my iPod now is generally unused unless I go on long trips or am doing something like going to the gym. With an iPhone and a few GBs dedicated to music that I listen to frequently, and the rest streamable from the cloud it is no wonder that people don’t see much of a reason to buy new iPods, but instead would rather have a phone with a bit more storage. My iPod now has no apps other than the default few that came with the now out of date iOS and needs to be cleaned up every time I need to add some new music or a playlist to it.

It strikes me that the whole reason the iPod got so popular, along with the walkman and similar predecessors was to free yourself from the radio while you were out and about. However, many streaming services’ big draws now are that they can pick the songs for you and create playlists off songs you don’t know for you. This seems eerily similar to finding a radio station that fits your tastes, albeit with more customizability, and these streaming services allow you to listen ad-free, but the similarities are still there. It seems that the thing that has or at least is killing the iPod is an evolution of the thing that it almost drove to extinction, the radio.

Should the latest iPod touch be the last installment in the series? What do you use your iPod for if you still own one as well as an iPhone?