You can’t expect too much from an iPhone “s” announcement. Despite any rumors (their numbers dwindling each cycle, thankfully) that might have suggested this year Apple would change up its system and go with a huge upgrade worthy of the ‘iPhone 7’ name, it was clear that we were going to see an incrementally upgraded iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
Of course, there are always some goodies to be excited about. 3D Touch should be useful, the upgrade to a 12MP camera was unexpected but certainly welcome, and voice-activation for Siri is a great idea. When you put everything together we're actually pretty excited about the new iPhones.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of glaring omissions.
16GB? What is this, an iPhone for ants?
It needs to be at least two times bigger than this.
Flagships just don’t start at 16GB of internal storage anymore; it’s not enough. When you factor in the modern demands on a smartphone, 16GB will barely get most users by. As the technology improves, operating systems become heavier, and the services we use get more complex, more storage is required to keep you going.
Samsung, HTC and even Sony have all switched to offering a minimum of 32GB in their flagship devices.
Even Apple knows something is up. Last year it got rid of the 32GB iPhone model, replacing it with the 64GB option (in the 32GB’s price bracket) and bringing in the heavy-hitting 128GB iPhone to cover the top-dollar spot.
Now, two years running, we have a 16GB model at the bottom, followed by a 64GB and 128GB. That’s an odd progression. Ditching 16GB entirely and starting off with 32GB at the bottom is a much more sensible way to go.
You can rest assured that this will be the case once the iPhone 7 rocks around in 2016, but it’s a shame we have to wait yet another year to see it happen.
The Retina display is looking a bit antiquated
When Apple introduced the Retina display with the iPhone 4s in 2011, it was a huge deal. Steve Jobs made it clear time and again that this was the ‘best’ possible resolution for the human eye. If you listened to Apple, there was no way a human could tell the difference between the 326 pixels per inch (ppi) on an iPhone 4s, 5, 5s, or 6, and anything with a more densely-packed screen.
That assertion turned out to be wrong. Androids and other phones alike have since blitzed passed Apple with pixel densities reaching 400, 500 and recently even over 800ppi. The verdict? You can definitely spot the improvements.
At which point the line should be drawn is still a point of contention, but if you’ve ever used a Quad HD display with 500ppi and gone back to an iPhone with Retina display, you’ll definitely notice a certain fuzziness around the edges of your icons (depending on how good your vision is).
Things were looking up last year when the iPhone 6 Plus debuted with what Apple called a ‘Retina HD’ (and everyone else calls 1080p) display. This gave the huge 5.5 inch screen of the 6 Plus a respectable 401ppi. Many, including us, thought that this could be the beginning of a new age of iPhones of all shapes and sizes following the Retina HD standard.
Alas, it was not to be. While the iPhone 6s Plus still boasts the same superior resolution and pixel density, the iPhone 6s has been left out with a level of clarity more befitting a phone of yesteryear.
Of course, pixel density isn’t everything. Apple still excels at colour vibrancy, contrast, brightness and everything else that makes a good display. If only Apple could gather up its pride and admit that there really are better resolutions out there, iPhone fans could start getting the kind of image quality they pay for.