As recently as 2012, we made do with a single new iPhone every year. That seems a long time ago already.
If you believe what you read, this year it seems we’ve once again got two new Apple handsets coming our way. And we might even get a third.
That’s not all. We’ve also got a rose gold colourway incoming, a significantly improved camera, tighter Touch ID biometric security and a slimmer design. Because just as you can never be too rich, you can never be too slim either.
We’ve also got a beefy processor to look forward to. And it seems we can pencil in better battery life too, adding yet more heft to the notion that manufacturers are finally getting on top of one of biggest bugbears of smartphone users’ lives.
To help you keep up with all the chatter surrounding the handset, here’s our handy rumours round-up.
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iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus release date rumours
When will we get to see the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S for real? And when will you be able to buy it? Read on as we make sense of the dates swirling around the tech rumour mill.
UPDATE: It's official. The iPhone 6S is dropping on September 9th
Apple has announced it's holding a press call on September 9th. There's no confirmation that it's the iPhone 6S that's being unveiled. But you'd be a damned fool to think otherwise.
It’ll drop in September. As usual
When it comes to release schedules, only very occasionally does Apple break with tradition.
Assuming it sticks fast to its 12-month refresh cycle, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will be unveiled at a press event in early September, most likely in the second week of the month.
However, the phones’ actual street dates are likely to be staggered.
If last year is anything to go by, the iPhone 6S will land on shelves first and ought to be available to buy about two weeks after it's launched. So most likely the last week of September.
To ameliorate manufacturing logjams, the iPhone 6S Plus is likely to go on sale a couple of weeks after that.
Boom! It's all going down on September 9th
That's the word from sources at Buzzfeed, who also claim that Apple's new objects of desire are dropping exactly a year to the day from 2014's models.
Interestingly, they also claim the next-gen iPads are set to show their faces at the same event. That means we could finally get to see the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
iPhone 6S pre-orders go live 11th. And it'll be in stores from September 18th
German site Macerkopf named the retail date as September 18th. This is line with a UK Vodafone memo that leaked a matter of weeks before, as well as credible evidence from a Japanese site. Seems pretty nailed on to us.
Early bird? You'll apparently be able to get your pre-order on from 12pm on September 11th.
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus design rumours
If you believe what you read the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6s Plus will be the last-ever iPhones in which design don Jonathan Ive was involved in a day-to-day hands-on way.
With Ive now departed to an airier and more exalted design role, how’s his swansong shaping up?
It’s an ‘S’ release. So don’t expect major changes
Next to death and taxes, Apple’s nomenclature is one of the things you can rely on in life.
Under its rigid strictures, new numbers are reserved for handsets that represent a major upgrade, such as the iPhone 5, which introduced a larger screen and fresh design, and the iPhone 6 which supersized Apple phones' displays. These appear every two years.
Conversely, iPhones which retain the same number as their predecessor but add an ‘S’ to their name are iterative updates. That is to say they’ll feature relatively minor tweaks and improvements only.
The ‘6S’ tag for the forthcoming iPhones, therefore, all but confirms that we shouldn’t expect any sort of design overhaul.
That means the forthcoming phones will likely cleave closely to the look and feel of the iPhone 6, with the same back to the future curved edges and aluminium and glass blend build.
That said, there's a good chance they'll be a little lighter and thinner than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. But, as we'll see below, that's far from certain...
But a rose gold colourway could happen
The rather blingy rose gold version of the Apple Watch polarised Apple fans. But the mixed reaction it got from the iFaithful doesn’t seem to be enough to stop the colourway making its way to the iPhone 6S.
According to numerous reports, it won’t replace any of the existing iPhone colours, though, and will sit alongside the current silver, space grey and champagne options.
What is certain, though, is that it unlike the Edition iteration of the Apple Watch, the 'rose gold' won’t be actual gold and will just be a cosmetic gold spray job.
It'll actually be thicker for the first time ever
Every year the iPhone shrinks, prompting Apple to loudly trumpet its new contender as the 'thinnest iPhone ever'.
However, for the first time ever that could change with the iPhone 6S, reckons analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.
He predicts that to avoid a repeat of the 'bendgate' furore that dogged the iPhone 6, Apple will make the next-generation iPhone 6S thicker by around 0.2mm.
But that's only half the story. Kuo also claims that a larger 7.1mm-thick phone will afford Apple the extra space it needs to accommodate Force Touch tech.
In case you've not been keeping up ForceTouch allows iDevices to respond to pressure rather than just swipes, clearing the way for a whole set of new gestures with which to interact with your handset.
Design blueprints for case-makers corroborate the 'thicker' rumours
Sourced on uSwitch Tech's behalf by our copain @OnLeaks, AKA Steve Hemmerstoffer of Nowwhereelse.fr, design blueprints intended for case-makers suggest that the iPhone 6S could be incrementally thicker.
While the iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick, the iPhone 6S is 7.1mm, according to our source.
The iPhone 6S Plus, which was the iteration most closely linked to the 'bendgate' scandal, could apparently go from 7.1mm thick to 7.3mm.
No alarms and no surprises
Leaked photos sourced by 9to5Mac show what's purported to the shell of the 6S. Assuming they're the real thing, there are no changes to look forward to at all.
The range of buttons and ports and their positioning is exactly the same as the iPhone 6. And the design and dimensions appear to be unchanged too.
No, really. Nothing new here
A leaked front panel for the iPhone 6S showed that the front-facing camera and Touch ID configuration are unchanged from last year, mirroring the lack of changes suggested by other leaked parts.
No news is the only news in town, it seems.
The aluminium used in the Apple Watch will be at iPhone 6S's core
Once again, this one comes to us courtesy of Kuo. He forecasts that Apple will swap the current build for 7,000 Series aluminium used in its smartwatch.
At the time of the Apple Watch's release this was touted as 60% stronger than regular aluminium and was described as being a third of the density of stainless steel.
Or maybe it's a mystery new material
In July, parts specialist Future Supply uncovered leaked rear shells for the next-gen iPhone 6S.
According to their experts, there was little different about the phone's design. However, it was fashioned from a smoother and stronger material, thought to be an alloy.
Blend not bend: aluminium, zinc and iron will all figure in more robust handset
MacRumors' analysis of the phone's rear shell confirmed that the iPhone 6S will indeed swap the 6,000 Series aluminium used for the iPhone 6 for a tougher 7,000 Series grade.
It also added heft to reports that it will include zinc in its alloy (apparently about 5% or so), as well as iron.
Waiting for the iPhone 6S? Ensure you're first to hear about it and get notice of the very best deals here: iPhone 6S deals and availability email update
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S camera rumours
How does exactly does Apple plan to make us snap happier this time around?
From more megapixels to an even larger aperture to let in more light, here's what the rumour mill reckons is going down.
There’s a major upgrade in megapixels on the way
In recent years, Apple has contented itself with merely tweaking the iPhone’s camera. Not this time, though, it seems.
Instead of upgrading the megapixel count, it’s added larger apertures capable of letting in more light and fresh photo effects.
Not this time, though, it seems.
For 2015, Apple is reportedly upgrading the eight-megapixel lens to 12 megapixels.
That still doesn’t bring it in line with rival devices on megapixels alone.
But combined with an improved sensor, it seems like it could still be a contender for the best smartphone camera around.
Dual lenses are coming
A patent uncovered by Apple Insider suggests that the iPhone 6S will feature a telephoto camera that sits alongside a standard or wide-angle lens.
So what does that mean for photo-fanciers?
Well, it means a better optical zoom for starters, which is in itself better tech than a digital zoom.
A dual lens also ought to translate to better images too, chiefly through allowing more light in to the sensor.
Or maybe none of that's happening
Photos sourced by 9to5Mac show what's claimed to be the iPhone 6S shell with camera holes for the lens, mic and LED flash that are exactly the same as the iPhone 5.
You don't have to be John Gruber to work out that this appears to pour cold water on rumours that major changes are afoot.
It certainly seems to rule out the dual lens camera that some have claimed would be front and centre. And it doesn't augur too well for those other rumoured improvements either.
The front-facer's getting a drastic overhaul
Code unearthed in iOS 9 indicates that the 'selfie' camera will feature a flash, as well as panorama and slow-motion modes. It's also rumoured to offer 1080p video recording.
Assuming that happens it ought to bring the FaceTime camera more in line with the likes of HTC's Desire Eye.
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus iOS 9 software features
iOS has come in for some severe criticism over the last few years, with Apple's flawed iOS 8 requiring a blizzard of so-called ‘point-releases’ in the months after their release to fix deep-seated glitches.
Will it be different when iOS 9 lands at Apple’s WWDC expo in June? Are there some frisky new features to look forward to?
Or will Apple sacrifice new features for stability and software that ‘just works’? Let’s see what the rumour mill thinks, shall we?
Touch ID is being overhauled
Apple’s fingerprint security is reputedly being tightened up with iOS 9 to further discourage grabby youths on BMX bikes and bar-room opportunists from stealing them.
It’s thought the move is clearing the ground for broader, international rollout for its Apple Pay system, which lets you pay for low-ticket goods and services by swiping your iPhone over a reader.
You’ll get feedback when you interact with your iPhone
Already implemented on the Apple Watch and latest MacBook, Force Touch technology allows gadgets to recognise the amount of pressure you put on and respond accordingly.
That’s in contrast to the current iPhone, which can only recognise that you’ve inputted a command with your digit or swiped the screen.
Assuming the rumours are true, Force Touch's inclusions on the iPhone 6S should mean it's better at handwriting recognition and drawing and gaming.
Less excitingly but no less practical, it also means every time your interact with the screen you’ll feel a vibration to let you know that your latest command has registered.
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S screen rumours
Bigger? Better? Beefier? Where’s the next-gen phone's display headed? Here's what's being said by Apple-watchers...
The screen dimensions will be unchanged
Rumours about Apple’s plans for the iPhone 6S screen have been thin on the ground. That seems to suggest that no major changes are in store.
Certainly, it seems hugely unlikely that the standard iPhone 6S will have a screen larger than the 4.7-inch display on the iPhone 6.
And, in turn, it seems equally improbable that the iPhone 6S Plus’s display will be larger than the iPhone 6 Plus’ 5.5-inch screen too.
But a smaller screen model, aka the iPhone 6C, is also incoming
Believe the hype and the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will be joined by a cheaper model with a four-inch screen.
Aimed at people who don’t want a phone with phablet dimensions, the budget-priced, plastic handset purportedly features a four-inch display.
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus processor rumours
Might is pretty much always right when it comes to processors and chipsets.
The question is just how much bench-pressing have Apple’s 2015 iPhones really been doing?
A new A9 chip is going to be on board
That’s the chatter doing the rounds, with leaks indicating that Apple’s new processor will be backed up by a hefty 2GB of RAM.
However, it’s apparently still just a dual-core model. That's in contrast to the seriously sinewy octa-core processors that you’ll find in the highest-end Android phones.
It’s worth noting that the A9 was tipped to be on board the iPhone 6 but never showed. For us, that makes an appearance this year that much more likely.
And it's a bit of an animal
Benchmark tests seen by 9t5Mac showed that the iPhone 6S's A9 processor will deliver a 20% speed boost for tasks that require just single-core of the A9 and a 68.6% boost for those that enlist multiple cores.
In anyone's language, that spells a major improvement when you're multi-tasking and running resource-heavy apps and games.
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus connectivity rumours
5G ready? Support for any new Wi-Fi standards? Here's the lowdown.
Double Trouble feat Rebel MC
Word is that the inclusion of a new Qualcomm processor could mean the iPhone 6S is capable of connection speeds of up to 300Mbps. That's double the maximum of 150Mbps that the iPhone 6 can manage.
Of course, whether you'll be able to actually get those sort of connection speeds in practice depends very much on your network.
iPhone 6S and iPhone Plus storage rumours
Conflicting reports abound over the storage options Apple will choose for its next-gen smartphones.
Last time out, you may recall that it dispensed with the 32GB iteration and went with 16GB and 64GB instead. The strategy was seem in some quarters as a cynical ploy to force punters who wanted a 32GB phone to shell out for the more costly 64GB option.
This time, some have claimed that 32GB will be the entry level model and they'll no longer be a 16GB option. Conversely, some reckon there's no such plan and that Apple will stick with the same internal storage options as last time. We shall see...
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus software rumours
We've now had a good look at iOS 9. And we know that it brings with it truckload of new features.
From the top, we've got a smarter, more helpful version of the Siri voice commands app, and a new edition of Apple Maps with public transport directions.
There's better battery life too and the arrival of the contactless payments system Apple Pay in the UK.
We've also got the Apple Music streaming service to get to grips with, with the offer of three months' free from the get-go.
Want to find out more? Check out our round-up of the key features of iOS 9 here: Five things you need to know about iOS 9
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus price: how much is it?
Expect the iPhone 6S to set you back just shy of £550. Want the iPhone 6 Plus? That’s likely to be priced around £620 or so.
If you fancy the 6S on a free-phone monthly contract, you're looking an outlay of at least £45 per month.
Last time around, the 6 Plus wasn’t free on any deals from the get-go. But you could get it for £55 per month, with a one-off charge of £50 or so. So if you want the 6S Plus, you'd best start saving.