The iPhone 6 Plus changed the way people used the world’s finest smartphone. Now, Apple is making the jumbo phone even better with a faster processor, newfangled 3D Touch capabilities, and a revamped camera. This is the iPhone 6S Plus, and it looks predictably terrific.

Design

The new iPhone 6s Plus looks just like the old 6S Plus, but it’s made of different stuff. The aluminum used is the same 7000 alloy that’s used in the Apple Watch, and it’s stronger, so hopefully you can stop worrying about bending the big old thing. The new iPhone 6S Plus will also come in a rose gold color, as well as the classic silver, gold, and space grey.

Apple promises a new type of glass is stronger than the old generation, and the 5.5-inch touchscreen features capabilities, similar to the Watch’s ForceTouch. Apple’s calling the iPhone version 3D touch.

3D Touch

This is going to confuse a lot of moms and dads. Heralded as “the new generation of multitouch,” this combination of hardware, software, and design innovation allows the iPhone to detect how hard you press on the screen. With this new input variable, apps can recognize a new layer of interaction. For instance, you can push hard on the Mail app and see a menu of choices.

At first, it’ll take some getting used to since the iPhone will do new things that you haven’t seen before. Over time, however, you can imagine how app developers will come up with all kinds of quicker, more convenient user experience designs. 3D Touch looks like it’ll work great for previewing messages and links in the short term. Down the line, the feature will undoubtedly change how we play games on iPhone. Read more details about how 3D Touch works here.

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Camera

As we expected, the new iPhone 6S Plus will get a big boost with a 12-megapixel iSight camera. That comes with 50-percent more pixels and 50-percent more focus pixels for faster autofocus. All kinds of technical details that Apple says you “don’t need to know about”—including something called “deep trench isolation”—also ensure more detailed and more natural-looking photos. The bigger sensor also allows for bigger panoramas, like 64-megapixel big.

But the big upgrade is 4K video capabilities in the new iPhone. The breaks out into 8-million pixels per frame. Which, wow, so many big numbers it’s hard to tell what matters.

The front camera also gets an upgrade. It’ll be 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera that uses the phone’s Retina display for a flash for “detailed selfies.” Apple claims that the new capabilities will now let the display light up 3-times brighter for a flash that’s comparable to the TrueTone flash on the back. Thanks to the new 3D Touch capabilities, Apple is also offering a feature called “Live Photos which basically let you make little animated GIFs when you hold down on the screen. Live Photos is on by default and captures 1.5-seconds on either end of the shutter.

Guts

The new iPhone 6S Plus will include Apple’s new 64-bit A9 chip, which the company claims is 70-percent faster at CPU tasks and 90-percent faster at graphics tasks. The performance looked fantastic in an on-stage gaming demo. The iPhone 6S Plus also comes with a new M9 motion coprocessor built into the A9 chip. New Touch ID hardware also promises to be twice as fast as the last generation.

The wireless chip is also getting an upgrade. New 300-Mbps LTE technology will be up to twice as fast as the last iPhone. There are now up to 23 LTE bands available, and the 866-Mpbs 802.11 ac wifi is twice as fast.

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Oh, and there are new charging docks and cases available.

Price

As usual, Apple is bumping the old phones down a hundred bucks. So the new iPhone 6S Plus will start at $300 with a two-year contract. That breaks down to about $31 a month on a typical installment plan. Apple is offering a new iPhone upgrade program for $32 a month that lets you choose a carrier and get an unlocked phone with AppleCare+. Apple says that means you can upgrade your iPhone every year, which is a similar promise that some carriers already make but hey, if you can avoid that red tape you should.

Pre-order starts Saturday, September 12.


Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.
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