Discover What’s New in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and iOS 9

By Nancy C. Muir

Apple’s iPhone gets its features from a combination of hardware and its software operating system (called iOS; the term is short for iPhone operating system. The most current operating system is iOS 9. It’s helpful to understand which new features the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus phones and iOS 9 bring to the table. New features in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus include

  • Improved display: Apple says that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have a stronger glass face, but also a better touch sensor to accommodate their new 3D Touch feature.

  • An A9 chip: This 64-bit chip is 70 percent faster handling basic processing functions and 90 percent faster handling graphics tasks.

  • An M9 coprocessor: This updated motion sensing coprocessor makes it possible for your iPhone to detect and monitor data that provides information about your motion even more efficiently than its predecessor does. This capability supports lots of interesting fitness apps, including the Health app from Apple.

  • The case and charging docks: Both new iPhones are offered in gold, silver, rose gold, and space gray with the new 2000 series aluminum case. Additionally, Apple has come out new charging dock accessories for your phone.

  • A 12mp iSight camera: The camera in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus offers such features as a True Tone Flash sensor that knows when flash is needed for a shot and a new display chip that lights up three times brighter than previous flash features.

  • Camera frames per second: The camera offers 4K video quality with 8 million pixels in every frame (that means your photos are super clear). For FaceTime calls, you can take advantage of the SMP FaceTime HD camera.

  • 3D Touch and Quick Actions: This new feature for iPhone 6s Plus allows you to use three levels of pressure on the iPhone screen to select, preview, or view an item such as an email or map. Additionally, Quick Actions allow you to press an app on the Home screen and get shortcut options for things like messaging a favorite contact or quickly open the camera app for taking a selfie (a picture of yourself).

  • Apple Pay: This feature offers the ability to pay at selected retailers using the Apple Pay feature and Touch ID feature built into the Home button. With iOS 9, even more credit and store cards are compatible with Apple Pay. You can also double-tap the Home button from the lock screen to make a payment. Set up Apple Pay from the Wallet & Apple Pay settings on your iPhone, or visit Apple’s website for more about setting up and using Wallet.

  • Improved battery life: The iPhone 6s supports up to 24 hours of talk and up to 14 hours of video viewing. The 6s Plus can give you as many as 14 hours of talk and 11 hours of video. With iOS 9 comes a Lower Power mode, which stops power-draining features such as updating and downloading emails automatically to save power. Also, there’s a sensor that detects when you place your iPhone face down and goes to the lock screen to save power.

Any iPhone device from the iPhone 4s forward can make use of most features of iOS 9 if you update the operating system. This update to the operating system adds many new features, including

  • The News App: This new app is an intelligent news aggregator, which means that it gathers news stories from various sources in one place. It’s intelligent because it “learns” to present you with stories that are similar to other content you’ve viewed.

  • More integrated Notes: The Notes app gets a facelift with iOS 9, with the ability to add photos, maps, and URLs to notes. In addition, you can create instant checklists, and even sketch in your notes. You can also share items to Notes using the Share feature in apps such as Photos.

  • Improvements to the Maps app: With iOS 9, Maps gets a Transit view for finding information about public transit in select cities around the world. Also, the Nearby feature provides suggestions of nearby businesses and services, such as restaurants, bank ATMs, and gas stations.

  • Improved Siri suggestions and search: Siri, iPhone’s personal assistant feature, can now offer suggestions of items you might be interested in even before you ask. For example, if you read a newspaper the same time every morning, Siri might suggest the publication to you. Siri can even search for a photo or video based on the date and location where you took the photo.

  • Move from Android to iOS: If you have an Android phone and are moving to iPhone, you can download the Move to iOS app and use it to transfer contacts, message history, photos, mail accounts, calendars, and more to iPhone easily.

  • Stronger passcodes and 2-factor authentication: With iOS 9, longer passcodes provide more security, while 2-factor authentication helps your iPhone make sure you’re you. With this feature, when you try to access any accounts or information from a new device, you’re asked to retrieve a code from an email to sign in, in addition to your account information.

  • Car Play: Car Play is a new feature that is largely still on the drawing board because car manufacturers are only now planning to build it into their car models. If you buy a car down the road with Car Play, it will allow you to control several features and use apps and play content from your iPhone from a graphical screen built into the dashboard.