​Apple iPhone 6s review roundup: Much ado about 3D Touch

3D Touch is the topic of the day as Apple iPhone 6s reviews land. Is the iPhone 6s upgrade worth it?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

The reviews of Apple iPhone 6s have poured in and the big takeaway is that the device is worth an upgrade if you have a iPhone 5s or below, but not necessarily for an iPhone 6.

Not surprisingly, the iPhone 6s reviews are positive---they generally are---but the primary questions revolved around whether a few new features such as camera improvements, 3D Touch and performance gains were worth the time.

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A meta review of the reviews includes:

  • TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino who argued that the iPhone 6s is more than just an iterative upgrade. He bolsters his argument noting an "an enormous processing power upgrade" as well as 3D Touch, 4K video recording and Live Photos.
  • Re/Code's Walt Mossberg noted "fundamental, core improvements." The biggest one is 3D Touch, which enables the screen to react to the force of your finger. Mossberg wrote: "This is one of those potentially huge user behaviors -- like swiping, or pinching and zooming -- that seem odd or minor at first, but which Apple historically is able to make deeply important and useful. And it's not just a software tweak. It involved serious re-engineering of the display."
  • Joanna Stern at The Wall Street Journal delivered a dose of reality: "The iPhone 6s is... an iPhone. The best iPhone yet. But it's also proof that smartphone innovation has plateaued and what we demand most in our newest phones are improvements to the essentials."
  • The Verge's Nilay Patel touted 3D Touch and said icons become dynamic objects. Patel said: "It's not some insane lightning bolt of inspiration; Google is doing something very similar with Material Design, and Microsoft has been sliding things all over the screen since someone was drunk enough to approve the name "Windows Phone 7 Series." But 3D Touch is by far the most aggressive and interesting step in this direction anyone has ever taken."

Some folks have noted that 3D Touch is essentially a right click function. Others said that take is too simple.

Brian X. Chen of the New York Times noted that he had mixed feelings about how useful 3D Touch and other features really are.

In the end, these takes are notable, but won't change the obvious. Apple will enjoy a new upgrade cycle with the iPhone 6s and probably entice more customers to buy an iPhone 6, which now gets a price cut. Either way, Apple will take the cash to the bank and keep the iPhone engine, which is estimated to account for 60 percent of fiscal 2015 revenue, humming.

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