The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus have been strong ‘tock’ follow-ups to the record-breaking flagship iPhone 6, which was released in 2014. According to early estimates, Apple managed to sell nearly 23 million iPhone 6S/6S Plus handsets in the September quarter. While the reviews have been mostly positive, many mobile device experts as well as iOS app developers feel that it might be just that bit more prudent to wait for the ‘tick’ iPhone 7 (to be launched this fall) than rushing to get the iPhone 6S. We here consider this iPhone 6S vs iPhone 7 debate on a point-by-point basis:
- One’s a flagship; the other’s an upgrade – This is something where the ‘tick’ releases have always stayed ahead of the ‘tock’ iPhones from the Cupertino company. iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 each came with new tweaks in their form factors (Retina display in iPhone 4, the first 4” display in iPhone 5, and the ‘large’ 4.7” screen in iPhone 6). The upgrades, like iPhone 5S and iPhone 6S, have come with additional features and functions on the same form-factor. Given that we are less than a year away from getting something absolutely new from Apple, spending money now on iPhone 6S (which would feel old in a matter of months) does not seem a great idea.
- iOS 10 will debut on iPhone 7 – If one glitch regarding the otherwise well-performing iPhone 6 is to be spotted, that would be the troublesome initial iterations of iOS 8. The hurried iOS 8.0.1 and iOS 8.0.2 fixes were useless, and the OS finally became stable with the arrival of the 8.4 update. On the other hand, general users and iPhone app developers agree as one that the iOS 9 platform (which arrived with iPhone 6S) has been a lot less problematic, with the company focusing on stability and performance reliability. Although unlikely, there remains an outside chance that the totally revamped iOS 10 will again have some early hiccups – and on that count, going for the iPhone 6S now would be a ‘safe’ option. You can always move on to iPhone 7 when the uncertainties over iOS 10 get sorted out.
- iPhone 7 will be slimmer – This one is a double-edged knife. The proposition of owning a slimmer iPhone is attractive – but it also has to be considered that there would be very little space in the iPhone 7 for its battery to be put in. This puts a question-mark over its battery performance. However, the probability of iPhone 7 having a larger battery than the one in iPhone 6S cannot be ruled out either – since the fabrication process involved will be smaller. Mobile app development experts expect iOS 10 to have new battery-saving features as well. Once again, there is some uncertainty about this – and unless you are a hardcore Apple fanboy, you might not want to be among the earliest adopters of iPhone 7.
- No ‘Home’ button, probably? – Apple has been toying with the idea of introducing edge-to-edge display screens on its new iPhones for some time now – and this might just happen in 2016. Several noted designers and those who make apps have opined that it is indeed likely that iPhone 7 would, in all likelihood, have the ‘Home’ button shunted to the side, providing users with more screen real estate. In any case, the arrival of 3D Touch has somewhat done away with the need for a dedicated ‘Home’ button, and it might disappear altogether from the screen in the next iPhone version.
- Processor speed and RAM – There is nothing to cringe about the A9 SoC chipset of iPhone 6S, but Apple is likely to take things a couple of notches higher with the A10 chipset in iPhone 7. The new processor should make the device significantly faster as well as energy/bandwidth saving. Add to this the fact that the new iPhone will have higher RAM space (probably 3GB) than the existing iPhone 6S – and this itself becomes a big reason to wait for a few months for iPhone 7.
- iPhone 7 will be tougher & more resistant – The Ion X dual glass cover of iPhone 6S is definitely an improvement over the Gorilla Glass display of its predecessor, iPhone 6. However, many experts from the domain of iOS app development feel that Apple missed a trick by not going for the Sapphire glass display this year – something that is almost sure to be rectified in the iPhone 7. Given that the sapphire glass screen of Apple Watch has already come in for uniform praise, it is only natural that it would make an appearance on the iPhone as well sooner rather than later. Also, the iPhone 7 will be fully waterproof, unlike iPhone 6S or any of its predecessors.
- Better camera features are expected – If the strong rumours in different online iOS forums and app development groups are to be believed, the iPhone 7 will be a stretch ahead of iPhone 6S in terms of camera capabilities too. A dual-lens system is likely to be included, along with high-end DSLR technology – building on the powerful new snapper that this year’s iPhone has come with. For users who love to snap photos with their smartphone, iPhone 6S is a very nice tool, but iPhone 7 will be better.
- Qualcomm chip will make way – Reports from reliable sources like VentureBeat suggest this. Apple will be collaborating with Intel, to include the powerful LTE 7360 modem chip in iPhone 7 (in place of the Qualcomm LTE 9X45 chip present in iPhone 6S). Already, a large team from Intel has been appointed for creating the new chip in time for the 2016 release of iPhone 7. Accessing and exchanging data over the 4G network is likely to become a lot faster and more secure. Along with the new fabrication, the Intel chip should make the iPhone 7 the most efficient iDevice till date.
- The Xc series might make a comeback – With the market share of Samsung dipping fast in China (along with a gradual fall in its share in the global smartphone market as well), Apple should, and probably will, try to ramp up the pressure on the South Korean company. Market analysts and iOS app development professionals feel that the ‘iPhone Xc’ line of phones might make a return with iPhone 7. The broad principle will be like that of the under-performing iPhone 5C, although Apple has its task cut out for making it a much more user-friendly ‘budget’ smartphone. Also, iPhone 7C (if it indeed comes) is likely to arrive in a ‘tick’ year for Apple – and that means 2017, not 2016.
- OLED screens will replace LCD screens – Apple will be playing a catch-up game here, since several Android smartphones already have OLED screens. The Cupertino tech giant has got its feet wet with OLED display on the Apple Watch, and the positive feedback on it indicates that it is likely to replace the LCD screen of iPhone 6S soon enough. A major advantage of OLED is that it can generate light on its own, unlike LCD (which needs backlighting for the screen pixels to be illuminated). Why bother buying an iPhone with LCD screen, if one with the much more efficient OLED screen is just around the corner?
- Wireless charging will be a convenient feature – And it is more than likely to make its debut on iPhone 7, feels most experts from leading software and mobile app companies worldwide. Patent applications for the technology have already been forwarded to the Patent & Trademark Office in USA, and it will be a big surprise if Apple does not manage to implement it in time for the release of the new flagship iPhone version. Android fans might scoff about Apple thinking about introducing wireless charging only now…but still, it’s a start, and it’s something iPhone 6S does not have.
- Chances of a full HD iPhone finally arriving – Rumours were rife that iPhone 6S will have a full HD display (along with, probably, a quad HD feature for the iPhone 6S Plus phablet). Apple, however, managed to disappoint users and developers alike – by keeping the resolution at the same level as it was in the 2014 iPhone 6. While it cannot be said for certain that the iPhone 7 will have full-HD pixel quantity, it is reasonably sure that the display resolution will be improved significantly.
- 32 GB storage at entry level – The very fact that Apple has persisted with a 16GB entry level model till now is baffling in itself. Consider this: you spend big bucks to buy a 16GB iPhone 6S – click and store a few 12 MP images, and run out of space within a matter of weeks! Not pleasant, right? Thankfully, this model is all set to be ditched in 2016. iPhone 7 will be available 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models. Entry-level buyers will get a better option.
- Sidewall display in iPhone 7 – Yet another piece of innovation that makes the upcoming iPhone 7 a more attractive device than the existing iPhone 6S. There have been reports and leaked images filtering in from Apple developers and testers, which suggest that the display of iPhone 7 might stretch all along the device (sidewall display). What’s more, Apple is likely to take a cue from the Samsung Galaxy phones, and introduce curved display. The thinnest-ever smartphone certainly looks like it will have a whole new form factor!
- Better battery performance – Although the lesser thickness (between 6.0 to 6.5 mm) of iPhone 7 does cast a shadow over how the battery will be fitted in it – the overall battery performance is certain to be better than that of iPhone 6S. A recent ValueWalk survey revealed that more than 90% of the 3000+ respondents were not happy with the battery juice of this year’s iPhone model. In addition, 3 out of 10 people felt that battery life can be enhanced by using better chips in the phone. Now, we know that iPhone 7 will have A10 chipset and a new Intel chip – so its battery should last longer.
Although it seems rather far-fetched at present, there is a growing buzz about iPhone 7 having a built-in application that would enable users purchase the Apple Car (most developers and Apple enthusiasts do not feel Apple Car will arrive before 2019 though). There was no change in the pricing of iPhone 6S from its predecessor – but iPhone 7, with all its new features and design improvements, will surely be more pricey. For those with deep pockets and a love for new features should definitely wait for the iPhone 7. Only if you feel that the new specs listed above won’t be of any great use for you (and your need for getting an iPhone is immediate), go for the iPhone 6S.
After all, the wait is not long!