The company introduced new gestures through "3D Touch," allowing the devices to distinguish force for the first time, such as a quick tap and a long press. "Capacitive sensors" integrated into the backlight of the retina display measure "microscopic" changes in the distance between the cover glass and the back light, Jony Ive, Apple's chief design officer, said in a video presented on-stage at Apple's event in San Francisco on Wednesday.
"This allows us to create shorter, more distinct feedback events, like a mini-tap lasting just 10 milliseconds and a full tap which lasts 15 milliseconds," he said.
Customers can pre-order the new iPhones starting this Saturday, and the devices will ship starting Sept. 25. With a contract, the iPhone 6s will start at $199 for 16 GB and the iPhone 6s Plus starts at $299 for 16 GB.
Here are some of the new features of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus:
In iPhone apps, you can press "lively" and it gives you a peek into the content, Ive said in the video. An on-stage demo showed that a "little bit of pressure" allows users to get a preview of an email, then return to the inbox.
"You can dip in and out of where you are without losing a sense of your context," Ive said in the video. "It provides distinct, tactile feedback for your actions, letting you know exactly what you've done and what to expect."
While you're peeking at an email, you can swipe left to delete it or right to mark it as unread.
Once you've used "peek" to preview an email, if you want to open one, you press "a little deeper," to open it.
3. Previewing Links
Using the new gestures, you can press a link someone sends you lightly, then the top of the page appears as it would in your Safari browser. And when you stop pressing, you're back in your message.
In the phone's messages, tapping a flight number can lead to more information about flight times. Without having to go to Safari, a website link in messages can also provide a preview of that site.
4. Reviewing Photos
You can review the photos you've taken while you're taking new ones by using "peek" and pressing lightly on a thumbnail image. Let go to continue taking photos.
5. Peek at a Location
If someone sends you an address, you can peek at it on a map without leaving the screen you're on.
6. Quick Actions
The new gestures can also work on the home screen by giving users short cuts to the things they do most often. To quickly call or message one of your "favorite" contacts, press the phone or messages icon on your phone, respectively. Or, you can start shooting video or take a selfie from the camera icon on the home screen.
Or press maps to get directions home, send your location to your friend or search nearby.
7. Make "Pressure-Sensitive" Drawings
In the Notes app, you can draw by pressing lightly for finer lines or deeply for thicker ones.
8. Camera Features
The new devices also have a faster 64-bit A9 processor and a sharper camera.
The new iPhones have a 12-megapixel iSight camera, 50 percent more pixels than before, with the ability to take larger panorama photos and, for the first time, 4K HD video. Apple vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said iPhone users can take video with better resolution. There is also a new 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera for more detailed photos. The flash on the camera offers TrueTone lighting, which matches the light with the ambient lighting.
Using 3D Touch, Schiller introduced "Live Photos," allowing details in the photos to move, such as a moving waterfall with the sound of rushing water. Press on any photo and get a short video, because the camera records 1.5 seconds of video before and after the picture is taken. A new icon on the camera status bar makes it easy to take Live Photos, just as you take traditional photos, he said.