Since last year’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were the first iPhones to exhibit an arguably significant size increase for the iPhone line, it would be a tough act to follow. However, as most know by now, the “S” variant is more about improving the internal aspects rather than changing the design, and this year is hardly any different.
Although there were a couple of design improvements made to the 6’s housing for the 6s, the most notable additions come in the form of spec bumps and new features. With a new camera, faster processor, 3D Touch and “always on” Siri functionality, is the 6s worth the upgrade?
If I didn't already carry an iPhone 6, I think it would be a tough call. Inevitably, with the release of a new iPhone, last year’s model has dropped in price ($99 on contract; $549 full-price). I think the iPhone 6 is still a great phone. I've been using my iPhone 6 on iOS 9 beta for a hot minute, and the iOS 9 update makes the iPhone 6 faster, smoother, and is a subtle (but clearly advantageous) OS upgrade. It also helps (in favor of the 6) that both the 6 and the 6S start at a base amount of 16GB of internal memory, so in that regard the extra $100 you would be paying for the 6s does nothing.
The iPhone 6s is $100 more ($199 on contract; $649 full-price) and features a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera over the 6’s 8-megapixel camera; a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with “Retina Flash” over the 6’s 1.2-megapixel without any type of flash; 3D Touch, which allows for “pressable” haptic feedback to help with more convenient menu options, among other things; finally, the 6s also has the always on “Hey Siri” feature - which is also available in the original iPhone 6 models, but only when connected to power. The 6s improves the feature to work whether you're plugged in or not.
The iPhone 6s also uses the new Apple A9 processor, which allegedly improves CPU performance by 70% compared to the previous generation’s A8, as well as a 90% graphics performance increase. Allegedly, the 6S also features 2GB of RAM, as opposed to the 1GB in the iPhone 6 - but this has yet to be officially confirmed.
So, overall, where does the 6s stand?
I think current iPhone 6 users won't feel left out if they forego the upgrade this year. The numbers are fancy, but I think for the general user it's not a “must have” - unless you're directly comparing the two models, performance isn't an issue in the iPhone 6. For just about anybody else, I think the $100 price jump is justified with the new features and spec bump. Likewise, I think the original iPhone 6 is a good buy if somebody is looking to save a little cash. As I mentioned previously, I am happy with the performance and changes that come with iOS 9 in the iPhone 6.
Even for current iPhone 6 users who are itching for the 6s, it's not like it would be particularly hard to obtain. With carrier early upgrade programs like T-Mobile Jump!, AT&T Next, Sprint’s iPhone Forever, and most recently Apple’s own iPhone Upgrade program, getting a new iPhone before 2 years – the traditional amount of time one was expected to keep a phone – is now easier than ever. However, with those programs come a myriad of new obstacles (like whether you're the type of person who doesn't mind renting a phone rather than owning it) are presented. But that's a discussion for another day. The point is, you don't have to jump through as many hoops to get a new phone, even if it's only been a short amount of time since you last upgraded.
Yes, the iPhone 6s is worth a look if you’re in the market for a new iPhone. It has a couple of great advantages over the 6, and if $100 isn’t much to you then it’s clearly the better option. With that in mind, I wouldn’t completely rule out the 6 – for some people, that $100 would be better used elsewhere.