Every other year, Apple releases a new "S" version of the phone they released the year before. And nearly every time they do this, people joke about how the new iPhone isn't really an upgrade at all, but just a money grab where Apple attaches the "S" to the phone released the year before.
I suppose we've been spoiled. We're so used to Apple unveiling revolutionary products that incremental updates are met with scorn.
But this year's newest offering, the iPhone 6S, is actually more than just an incremental update to a previous phone. Outside of the new Rose Gold color, it looks the same. But on the inside, this is a huge step forward in technology for Apple that will define future iPhones (and smartphones from other companies).
If you're thinking about updating to the 6S (or 6S Plus), but aren't sure what, exactly, is different about the newest version, we're here to help.
Here's a handy listing of the things the new 6S can do that your plain old, now-outdated 6 just can't.
This is the biggest new addition to the phone. First seen in the Apple Watch and then the trackpad of the new MacBook and MacBook Pro, 3D Touch allows the iPhone to sense how hard you're pressing on the screen. A regular old touch operates the phone in the way you're accustomed to; this hasn't changed since the launch of the original iPhone.
But a hard press in certain areas will open up contextual menus that allow you to do things you've never before done in an iPhone. Press hard on a contact name, for example, and a menu pops up that allows you to choose if you want to call, text or email the contact. It's also used for "peeking" into the thing you're pressing on. So if someone sends you a link via text, you can press on the link and apply a little pressure, and a window will pop up previewing the site the link leads you to.
It's a cool new feature that will become a permanent part of the way we interact with our phones.
This was one of the coolest reveals of this week's Apple press conference. Live Photos are very much like gifs, which will make a ton of you happy.
With the feature turned on, the camera will record a split second of video before and after you actually take the photo. When you use 3D Touch (pressing hard) on one of your Live Photos in the gallery, it will play that video, giving you a "live" playback of the moment you took the photo.
This feature is actually going to be a bigger deal than many think, especially now that Facebook has pledged to support Live Photos in their own photo galleries. You're going to see Live Photos everywhere, and you can't take them with the regular iPhone 6.
5MP FACETIME CAMERA WITH FLASH
The front-facing camera on the iPhone 6S has received a significant upgrade from the old lens. It's now a 5 megapixel Facetime camera, which means your selfies will be better than ever. Oh, and the wizards at Apple have figured out a way to use the screen as a TrueTone natural skin flash, which means your selfies will also be brighter and more vivid without any of the weird colors that phone flashes usually add to them.
Combine this camera with the new iOS 9 "Selfies" folder and you've got a potent combo for sending photos of yourself to friends and family. Or to Tinder. Whichever.
12MP ISIGHT CAMERA
The 8mp camera that has been standard in iPhones is now 12mp, and it has the ability to capture twice as many pixels as the old one. The autofocus has also been drastically improved, as has the TrueTone flash for natural photos.
The new 12mp camera also has the capability to film video in brilliant 4K ultra-high definition resolution. 4K hasn't become a standard thing just yet, largely due to the monstrous amount of bandwidth it takes just to deliver a single 4K movie to the home via a streaming service.
But with the recent announcement of the world's first 4K Blu Ray player for the home, you're going to start seeing more and more 4K options available, and 4K television sets are beginning to drop into normal price ranges.
You'll be ready for the 4K invasion, because you'll be able to film all your home movies in the format.
The iPhone 6S features an increase of 70%-90% processing speed. The new Touch ID fingerprint sensor is much faster than the previous generation. And the phone's new LTE chip promises much quicker internet speeds on your phone than the previous generation.
As you can see, this isn't just a normal "S" upgrade. This one is actually worth it, especially if you're big into taking mobile photos. We can joke about the yearly Apple money grab all we want, but the truth is that the iPhone 6S represents a big technology advancement for the company, and it seems like it'll be worth the cost of upgrading.
What do you think?