With Apple revealing the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus launch is just 10 days away, almost every exciting element of the new phones has now been leaked. But now there is a triple dose of bad news…
China’s cnBeta has a reputation turning up last minute Apple leaks and the site has done it again having obtained iPhone 6S Plus retail packaging. On the surface it looks familiar but stylish and gives credence to talk that iOS 9 will support dynamic wallpapers – including region specific options like the gold and black butterfly koi pictured here – for the first time.
The problem is cnBeta has also learnt something very concerning about the new iPhones: both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will have reduced battery capacities:
These aren’t huge decreases (5.3% for the iPhone 6S and 5.5% for the iPhone 6S Plus to be exact), but it is of particular concern for the iPhone 6S as battery life is already one of the worst features of the iPhone 6.
Then again whether these decreases equate to reduced usage times in real world use is open to debate. Apple has stressed iOS 9 will be more efficient than iOS 8, though with both new iPhones packing significantly more powerful hardware it is hard to understand why the company couldn’t at least match the battery capacities of their predecessors. After all, more powerful phones will result in more demanding apps and games.
Then again, the reason for this could lie in the second piece of bad news…
The ever reliable MacRumors has further bad tidings.
The dedicated Apple site has attained an iPhone 6S front chassis complete with the expected Force Touch component and confirmed the findings of Unbox Therapy: it is indeed thicker and heavier than the iPhone 6.
The good news is the difference is minor at 49.4 grams to 51.2 grams, but the concern is that Apple is not just letting this go. Instead it is looking to claw back the added 2g by thinning out the back of the iPhone 6S.
Given the back of the iPhone 6 is far from indestructible, I suspect many would rather see a few grams added to the weight of the iPhone 6S than the back being made thinner.
The savior could be Apple’s expected move to a stronger 7000 Series aluminium which could offset the thinness. But it comes with yet another side effect: Unbox Therapy found the iPhone 6S has a thicker internal chassis wall at the sides which may well explain why Apple has to fit the smaller batteries mentioned above.
What about the third piece of bad news? I’d argue it is the worst news of the three…
Lastly 9to5Mac states that it has a source able to confirm earlier reports that the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will not increase their base storage option to 32GB. Instead Apple will maintain the same storage tiers as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus of 16GB, 64GB and 128GB – something pricing leaks were also convinced about.
Given Apple is reducing the footprint of iOS 9 to free up an extra few gigabytes why should 16GB suddenly be a worry? It is all about the upgraded new camera…
The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will move from 1080p ‘Full HD’ video and 8 megapixel camera sensors to 4K ‘Ultra HD’ video and 12MP sensors.
Breaking this down: 4K video uses more than twice the storage capacity of the 1080p so it could fill 14GB (what’s left of a 16GB iPhone 6S after iOS 9 and core apps) in about 25 minutes. Meanwhile 12MP photos are 50% larger than 8MP photos so the combination means for all but the most camera shy, 16GB will no longer cut it.
But I’m sure Apple will be happy to sell you more iCloud storage…
Will The Good Outweigh The Bad?
All of which poses an interesting question: will the benefits of the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus outweigh these problems?
I suspect the answer is twofold:
Number 2 is crucial. There will be those who inevitably hate the new iPhones for not being enough of a step up from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but Apple actually designs iPhones based on typical two year upgrade cycles.
As such the step up from an iPhone 5, 5S or 5C to an iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus will be tremendous with massive performance and camera improvements. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners are expected to steer clear.
But, despite this logic, a part of me is still frustrated by these leaks. Why? Because every new iPhone seems to miss the opportunity to fully address the faults of the old model and it looks like that is going to happen again.
So the inevitable saying with technology is likely to remain true: Maybe next year…