Apple iPhone 6s: Australian Review

The iPhone has evolved — again. It now has 3D Touch, which adds the tactile, touchscreen equivalent of a right click to what was previously an all-or-nothing, tap-or-don't-tap device.

It has a massively improved camera, and the ability to shoot GIF-esque Live Photos that function primarily as still images, but that come to life with sound and movement when pressed. It has a much stronger chassis, more than twice as sturdy as the previous model. It's much, much more powerful and uses that power where you want it to, in the speed of Touch ID fingerprint unlocks and of apps loading.

All of these factors contribute to the iPhone 6s being, yes, the best iPhone ever.

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We tested both the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus for the purpose of this review, and all of our conclusions apply equally to both phones. Apple has done an excellent job of making the two phones extremely similar in usability, and it's really a question of whether you like small smartphones or large ones in your everyday life. The 6s is slightly less expensive, and forgoes the 6s Plus' optical image stabilisation on the rear camera. Its smaller 1334x750p 4.7-inch screen has a slightly lower resolution and 326ppi pixel density versus the iPhone 6s Plus' 1080p 401ppi. Beyond that, the two handsets are almost identical.

What Is It?

New iPhones launched in Australia on Friday, the 4.7-inch 6s and larger 5.5-inch 6s Plus. Available for a starting price of $1079 for the iPhone 6s and $1229 for the iPhone 6s Plus, and available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities, the new phones can cost as much as $1379 and $1529 if you go all-out on internal storage.

Specifications
  • Processor: Apple A9, 64-bit with integrated M9 co-processor
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Screen: 4.7-inch 1334x750 (326ppi), 5.5-inch 1920x1080 (401ppi)
  • Memory: 16/64GB/128GB, not expandable
  • Camera: 12-megapixel rear-facing, 5-megapixel front-facing
  • Connectivity: Category 6 4G/LTE (up to 300Mbps), Bluetooth 4.0LE, 802.11ac

And yes, there's a new colour — rose gold joins the existing silver, space grey and gold line-up, and it's already incredibly popular with most carriers showing it out of stock for quite a while. Apple will get you one within a couple of weeks, though, at the time of writing. Stock will improve as time goes on, of course, so if you're willing to wait then you'll be able to find whichever model you like most.

The iPhone 6s has a (nearly) identical design to the iPhone 6. It's defined by its single pane of glass across the entire, flat face, with its edges smoothly and consistently curving on all four sides and at the corners. On the Space Grey variant, the fascia is black, and it's white on all others.

The 4.7-inch 6s has a 1334x750pixel resolution, the 5.5-inch 6s Plus has 1920x1080pixels. Apart from the earpiece and (improved) front-facing camera, the only other design element on the iPhone 6s' front is the tactile, Touch ID-enabled home button — slightly recessed and therefore easy to find with a thumb or forefinger. And you'll find the same power button on the right, and volume controls and mute toggle switch on the left.

It's around the back that the first of a host of small, subtle, but extremely important changes is apparent. The iPhone 6s is the first Apple smartphone to wear an [S] badge etched into the rear, and that rear is constructed entirely of 7000-series aluminium, a material with the weight of standard, (previously 6000-series) mass-market aluminium but with the flexural strength of steel. Given the furore over (what was really a tiny number of) iPhones around the world being inadvertently bent in users' pockets, Apple's move to a stronger metal is a good idea, and it shows in just how sturdy the new iPhone feels — try and flex it as you might, and it just won't budge.

Up the top of that rear, there's a new 12-megapixel iSight camera — with improved image noise reduction, support for up to 63-megapixel panoramas, 4K video recording and 120fps 1080p slow-motion. You can also snap photos (at a reduced 8mp, the resolution of the video itself) while recording 4K. The 5.5-inch 6s Plus has an optically stabilised f/2.2 lens, while the 6s goes without. The same True Tone flash, too, makes for more realistic white balance when the flash is assisting ambient light, but the front-facing camera also benefits from a true tone screen flash, three times brighter than the usual maximum display luminance. At the base, there's a large eight-hole speaker grille, Lightning connector and 3.5mm headphone jack.

Inside, you'll find a brand new system-on-chip processor, the Apple-designed 64-bit A9. Apple promises "desktop-grade" performance, and seeing the graphs and charts that say it's more powerful than the Intel Core M in Apple's own 12-inch Retina Macbook in the Geekbench benchmark, and seeing the fundamental improvements to the rest of the operating system — like the speed with which Touch ID responds versus an older iPhone (effectively double) — I'd believe it. The new iPhone has double the RAM of the old model at 2GB, and that means switching between apps and multitasking is more fluid and seamless.

Beyond that, it's an iPhone — you know what it does and you know what it's like. It runs iOS 9, the latest version of Apple's operating system, which continues to get noticeable upgrades and overhauls in every new iteration. More than any other phone you can buy today, Apple's hardware is tied to the software that runs on it. At the risk of sounding like I'm drinking the Kool-Aid, there's a lot of sense to Apple's marketing catchphrase for the new iPhone. "The only thing that's changed is everything." The only thing that's changed — the changes are all small, unnoticeable to anyone who might compare them in the hand while switched off — is everything — the entire way you use the new iPhone is just different.

What's It Good At?

3D Touch is a revelation. It is, at both that hardware and software level, a fundamentally different approach to using an iPhone, and to using any kind of smartphone or mobile device. It's as simple as that. Having the ability to make a secondary selection just by pushing harder on the iPhone's touchscreen doesn't sound like it should be possible, had it only been explained in text and not in Apple's demonstration video. It's one of those things you have to see to believe. It's one of those things you have to try for yourself to understand the value of. At the moment, its implementation is relatively basic, but already it makes using an iPhone easier and faster and more versatile.

The value of 3D Touch readily becomes apparent from the iPhone 6s' home screen. Quick Actions are right-click functions that can be actioned on the icons of Apple's own apps like Messages, Camera and Notes — with them, by pressing into the iPhone 6s' screen rather than tapping on it, you're able to take a shortcut into a specific feature. In the Camera app, for example, you can Quick Action straight to the front-facing camera, saving yourself a couple of taps. In Maps, you can navigate home without having to open the app, hit the search box, and type in your destination. You can 3D Touch during sketching in Notes for thicker strokes, you can 3D Touch the iOS 9 keyboard to turn it into a trackpad to move the text cursor around.

The current go-to feature for my showing off 3D Touch to friends, though, is Peek and Pop. In Mail — and I get a lot of email across three different addresses — you can push an email that you'd otherwise tap to load, to take a Peek and bring up a preview of its contents. If it's worth further attention, press further and you'll Pop into it to browse as normal and respond. From Peek, though, you can swipe up to reply, forward or mark an email — all basic contextual responses. In Photos, Peek will show you a quick preview of the frame, and if it's video, it'll play as much as you want it to, and if it's a Live Photo you'll get a single play-through of sequential photos and accompanying audio.

The iPhone 6s' camera is significantly improved, too, from the already excellent camera of the 6 — a phone whose images held up against the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and other constantly updated and iterated smartphones that were released in the months after the now-year-old iPhone 6. The front facing camera enjoys a massive quality jump from 1.2 megapixels to 5, and it shows in the photos you take. But the back camera does the heavy lifting; at 12 megapixels it does capture more detail, shot for shot, versus the older model's 8-megapixels sensor, but it's also reliant on more powerful software that adds Live Photos into the mix.

Live Photos are a combination of the power of an improved 12-megapixel camera that takes better photos and better video, camera software that captures sequential frames after you hit the shutter button, and the 3D Touch pressure sensor that makes activating and viewing them easy. A Live Photo, enabled by default, captures a 12-megapixel image, but also a couple of seconds' worth of sequential photos and accompanying audio. It's almost like making your own GIF — it loops when done, and with a mostly-static object the effect is uncanny — and it's almost like shooting video. Especially for living, moving objects, it's a beautiful and unique experience both shooting and reviewing your photos.

Video recording, too, is a huge improvement in two key areas. Having 4K video recording isn't necessarily important for viewing on external devices like 4K TVs and monitors and the 5K Retina iMac; it's important for viewing on your iPhone, and zooming in while video is playing to see the intricate detail in what you focused on. Slow motion video, too, is a beautiful feature that's nice to keep enabled and then play with in post; the only downside is that you'll have to shoot in either 4K or 120fps 1080p, you can't have both. (And you'll have to have enough storage to keep these files stored locally, or a fast enough connection to offload them to iCloud or Google Drive or Dropbox.)

iOS 9 is innately tied to the new iPhone, and brings a host of features like faster Siri, improved battery life, a contextual back button, email attachment annotation, a much improved keyboard that doubles as a trackpad when Force Touched. It's the most stable iOS release I've ever used, with precisely zero crashes or obvious slowdowns in my week of testing. In terms of battery, Apple promises 11 to 12 hours of constant Web browsing on the 6s and 6s Plus respectively, or 11 hours and 14 hours of HD video playback; I'd say those numbers are pretty bang on the money from a couple of run-down tests using streaming Netflix and Stan and Presto over the weekend. A full day of heavy regular use is more than possible.

Here are some images from the iPhone 6s Plus' 12-megapixel iSight rear camera, downsampled to 1920x1440 pixels:

What's It Not Good At?

I don't think that the software support for 3D Touch is mature yet. That's both a bad thing — you don't get to use the brilliant feature to its fullest in the current state of being of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus — and a good thing — it's only going to get better, and more app developers are going to think up hugely inventive features for it both in games and on the iPhone home screen. As it stands, Peek and Pop are hugely useful features that offer a genuine incentive to use the iPhone hardware — I can blast through a list of unread email faster on a 6s than on my iPad by peeking — but the real killer app for 3D Touch is yet to come. I don't think it's far off, to be fair. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Dropbox — all are getting 3D Touch updates imminently.

Live Photos takes some getting used to. For the last three days, about half of my photographs-as-videos have a point at the end where I relax my arms and drop the iPhone back down from its shooting position, and the Live Photo turns into a blurry mess — it breaks the illusion a little. If there were a way to trim the length of Live captures afterward, that would help immensely, but it's really just a different experience — significantly closer to the scene-making of a video than it is to the instantaneous capture of a photo — that needs some training and hands-on experience to get through the learning curve. Sharing Live Photos, too, just doesn't happen — you'll only be sending that initial JPEG to your friends — and that's a pity.

Any other complaints I have with the new iPhone 6s are complaints with iOS 9 and Apple's hardware/software design agenda more generally. I don't like not being able to customise my home screen apart from moving app icons around in series and into folders. I don't like not having widgets on my home screen. I don't like the two-paned approach to notifications. But these are all sharp delineations between Android and iOS, and I'll readily admit I've become comfortable with the way Android has done things for some time now. There's so much I like about the new iPhone's hardware that I'm willing to overlook my few and minor dislikes within the software.

Similarly, because this is Gizmodo and because we have plenty of passionate and vocal Android readers, yes, the new iPhone does not have expandable storage nor a removable battery. (It's like a new Samsung smartphone in that way.) That's an Apple design decision, and one that is becoming easily defendable with the advent of streaming audio and video services, the ever-increasing speed of mobile networks, and the increasing ubiquity of always-available Wi-Fi services like Telstra Air. By the way, I no longer think a removable battery is necessarily a good thing. I'd much rather have a larger battery overall, crammed into any extra space possible, and fast charging and useful accessories that make charging simple.

Should You Buy It?

If you want an iPhone, then this is the iPhone you should get. One hundred per cent. At a hardware level, it's a quantum leap; it does things that just weren't possible before. It makes impossible things — a tap becomes a push becomes a press, which sounds impossible on a flat, non-tactile touchscreen — possible. 3D Touch is to the current breed of iPhone what the App Store was to the original iPhone seven years ago; it changes the entire way an iPhone and iOS works. And with that in mind, the iPhone 6s offers something that no other smartphone currently in Australia can do. If you want the features that 3D Touch offers, then you're going to have to buy an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus — it's as simple as that.

Apple iPhone 6s
93

Price: from $1079

Like
  • Force Touch is a quantum leap.
  • Live Photos are beautiful and unique.
  • Plenty of processing power, good battery life.
Don't Like
  • Force Touch app support is limited (for now).
  • Live Photos can't be exported.
  • Expensive.

The iPhone is a flagship smartphone, and carries the requisite flagship pricing; Apple doesn't do mid-range or budget smartphones. (If you want a cheaper iPhone, you can buy last year's flagship.) That means it's directly in contention with the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge and S6 Edge+ — even the names are similar. But the new features — Force Touch being by far the most important and immediately useful, as well as the most likely to expand into something truly special, although the transformative power of a really good camera and really cool photo modes can't be underestimated — do an amazing job of selling the iPhone 6s. It doesn't feel like a waste of money, far from it.

The power of the new iPhone 6s makes it feel grown up. It works quickly and competently and without pause from the moment that you pick it up or take it out of your pocket, to when you unlock it, to when you talk to Siri, to when you Force Touch an app and jump straight into the feature you were looking for. Capturing a Live Photo is just about the most complicated new feature of the iPhone 6s, and that's a skill that's quickly learned in theory — if not yet in practice. It's a device that I'd be happy going on holiday with — no extra tablet, no extra laptop — and that's almost the biggest compliment I can give it.

The number and scale and scope of improvements to the iPhone 6s, over last year's iPhone 6 and the 5s before it, more than justify it as an upgrade purchase. It looks (nearly) identical, and it functions just as a normal iPhone should, but in those small things that we use our phones for every day — the note-taking that used to take half a dozen taps, the email reading that was half a dozen taps and swipes, the occasional selfies — it's entirely different. It has changed that process entirely, and I think Apple's competitors will adopt that technology on both a hardware level and a software level in the months and years to come. Just like the original iPhone was the first multi-touch smartphone that spawned an entire industry after it, the iPhone 6s will change that industry fundamentally and completely.


Comments

    Good review Campbell,

    The phone is lighting fast as is the touch ID, I use to be able to give it a quick click just to see the time on the lock screen, no more just touching it unlocks the phone!

    It now has 3D Touch, which adds the tactile, touchscreen equivalent of a right click to what was previously an all-or-nothing, tap-or-don’t-tap device.
    Wasn't long press already fulfilling that role?

    The Samsung Galaxy has had a "hover to peek" kind of thing for a few years now, but I never found it that useful.

      You still have long press though. And push/press is quicker than a long press, although it's hard to remember which to do sometimes.

        Im assuming with time, it will become less of a thought, more of a reaction.
        (Android Fanboy) - Still impressed with this tech, first great phone feature to hit the market in years.

      I think as the review says, once you use it you realise its value. It's the next killer feature that no doubt other manufacturers will be rushing to include.

      Zak if you can bare it go into the apple store and try it out, its not the same. I have had a lot of phone in my life iOS, Windows and Android 3D touch feels like nothing else.

    Awesome - now get rid of those fucking ugly antenna lines, shrink the screen back down to 4 inches and you'll have a phone that's attractive and usable.

    I've tried Android twice (and hate it), but I'm seriously considering trying a third time if next year's iPhone 7 doesn't look a damn sight better and have a smaller screen option.

      That's the reason I continue to love the 5S. Perfect size for me, personally (although I like Android on a larger screen...)

        Agree...Still rocking my 5s as it's the perfect size and strength. Although tempted to try 3d touch.

      Can I recommend trying 'Aviate' as an OS skin for Android. Its free and it will change how you use your phone. The way it is customisable and categorises your apps is the best I've seen from any OS. I don't like IOS but I know why people do and I'm first to recommend it to anyone who isn't tech savvy. But I prefer a choice of handset don't like being locked down. I have the note 5 and it will be a while before the iPhone comes anywhere close on specs. In short, it's a beast.

    Any idea when we will be able to use the nfc chip that is in iphones for something other than apple pay?!?!?!?

      What for?

        Tap to interact with phones, cameras other devices to transfer content such as contacts, images, video and so on......

          Like AirDrop you mean? Many decent cameras these days have WiFi now for transferring content as well.

          NFC is literally useless and I haven't yet seen one good use for it besides mobile payments.

      No mention of battery life? I've found that the 6s is not all that impressive even over my 2yo 5S. Maybe because I have been using it more because it is new is the reason why I find battery life is disappointing but I don't know, it still isn't great. Can we get 1 or 2mm thicker and get AWESOME battery life? Like thinness is not a feature to me but 12-20hrs extra battery life would be a far greater feature for me.

      The camera is amazing , the speed of Touch ID is heaps better and 3D Touch is cool but needs more support from third parties. Customizing the options when using it would be a good feature as well.

      I love the bigger screen when compared to the 5S the 6S Plus would be hard to handle even with my big hands.

      Aside from battery life this definitely is the best phone they have ever made.

        If you want a thicker phone with more battery buy a battery case, there are plenty of them around. Personally I'd rather a thin phone since I hardly ever go below 50% battery anyway.

        Last edited 28/09/15 3:34 pm

          I'd rather have extra battery in the phone itself. I've noticed that battery cases really kill the cell signal when in use.

          Do you think you'd really notice an extra mm or two?

            Absolutely, my nexus 4 was a couple of mm thicker than my iphone 6 and it feels like a brick in comparison. You could always get the plus model if you're happy with a bigger phone with better battery.

              Ask said I find the plus too big.
              I think the vast majority of users would prefer a 8 or 9mm phone and decent battery life than thinness seeing as the majority of people have cases anyway.
              For, the discussions I've had I dare say you are the outlier in preferencing a thin phone over one with exceptional battery life.

                I also prefer the thinner phone, by the time you slap a case on a 9mm phone, it feels like a brick.
                There is almost nowhere that you can't find a place to charge your phone now. The car, libraries, work, off your laptop, or if you must, a usb power bank.

                  I spend a lot of time in the country on farms.

                  @Keith: What part of being on a farm limits your ability to charge the device? Vehicles still have charging options, houses presumably have power and you can make use of power banks.

                If you spend a lot of time on country farms I would imagine that most the people you speak to absolutely would prefer thicker phones with 5 days battery life. But no doubt a huge portion of the market want a slim stylish phone. If you think apple releasing a 9-10mm flagship wouldn't negatively effect sales you're kidding yourself.

                I don't remember the last time my phone went flat on me anyway, wouldn't be in the 3 years at least. I have a cradle in my car, on my desk at work, next to my bed and in the lounge so phone rarely gets below 50%.

                  Mate whatever apple puts out will sell extremely well. Don't matter if it's a damn banana or a piece of steak as a phone it will sell gangbusters.
                  Phones will get thicker, design principles will change and you can only get so thin and I'd be hugely surprised if they stick to thin phones throughout the entire lifecycle of the iPhone.

                That's a big assumption. My phone (6 Plus and now a 6s Plus) gets me through a day easy, and if I have to use it an awful lot I generally have an opportunity to charge it further. Sure, people might be happy to add a case to their phone, but they'd probably still want the case so you're making the phone larger still as opposed to substituting a case for the battery. People add a case to protect the phone, not because they necessarily like the bulk it adds.

                I'd much rather the smaller device and have the option to charge more frequently (in my car, at my desk) or use a battery case, although I don't find I need to do that as it is anyway. To that end I think the battery life is already more than decent.

                  The 6S plus has a battery that is heaps larger in capacity to the 6S so no wonder why it lasts.

                  I would love an iPhone with the 6s screen size and the 6S+ battery capacity without having to worry about charging the thing twice a day or worry about battery cases that reduce reception in areas that already have limited reception. It's not such a great ask is it?

                  You lot are the first lot of people who regard thinness as something worth more than extra battery life that I have come across and nearly everyone I know would not give two hoots if the device was 10 or 15% thicker.

                  @Keith: It's a case of not being able to please everyone. There's a lot of people out there that do appreciate more compact phones. I won't call my 6 Plus compact, but the fact it's not overly thick is what allows me to comfortably pocket it in my jeans. It's not "too much to ask" pre-se for more battery life, we're all entitled to our own wish list.

                  There's ways around it as people have suggested, or of course looking at the 6 Plus as an alternative. Those options add bulk (size and weight), yes, but so does making the battery larger and in the end of the day you could give the phone a full two days battery life and people will still ask for three.

                  I'm not completely dismissing the need for greater battery life, but I'm happy with what they have now so if I had to choose between a smaller device with the same battery life or a larger device that gets a few more hours and still requires an overnight charge, I'll take the smaller device. Extra battery for me only helps 99% of the time if it means getting two straight days of use.

    quantum leap

    is a smallest jump possible, like when an electron moves from one energy state the next.

      It's a fundamental change, a change in state, like going from 0 to 1. It's not anything to do with being tiny, it's to do with it being complete and comprehensive and foundational difference.

    "3D Touch is a revelation. It is, at both that hardware and software level, a fundamentally different approach to using an iPhone, and to using any kind of smartphone or mobile device. It’s as simple as that." You mean you get the same result from 3D touch that you've always got from a long-press on any touchscreen running Windows 7/8/10, and even ZuneHD's CE-based OS. Welcome to 2007, iPhone users.

    "Live Photos are a combination of the power of an improved 12-megapixel camera that takes better photos and better video, camera software that captures sequential frames after you hit the shutter button, and the 3D Touch pressure sensor that makes activating and viewing them easy." AKA a combination of features Lumia phone owners have been enjoying for several years. Welcome to 2010, iPhone users.

    Keep up this pace of innovation and iPhone might eventually catch up to the present day in a few more years.

      The deep press options are faster to get to than a long press and you still have long press, so it does actually add extra functionality.

      Except no, man. 3D Touch is so different to a long press, which you'd understand if you read the other 3000 words you didn't quote. Sure, Live Photos are not a new concept, but the implementation is better than any I've seen, HTC Zoe et al.

      Your attempt at trolling is really not great this time around.

        Campbell, there is no doubt Apple have put more functionality into it but the physical process - press harder versus press longer - achieve the same result. Now that Apple have started to market the bejessus out of it, through willing participants such as yourself, I expect Google and Microsoft, and especially third party app vendors, will start to add greater functionality to long-press. e.g. the Mixview feature in Zune that was rumoured to be a feature of Microsoft's 3D Touch in the cancelled McLaren phone. (That's right, Apple couldn't even come up with an original name for it.) After all, if you are implementing 3D Touch features for the iPhone version of your app, why wouldn't you link those to a long press in Android and WinPhone?

        In fact, doesn't the Galaxy Note already have something like that? I've seen screenshots of some kind of radial menu in reviews that looks pretty slick.

          Dude, it's not the same physical process. You can still long press on an iPhone -- it's what you do to move app icons around for example. So you have a long press, but you also have a completely different finger-to-screen interaction.

          3D Touch and long press don't achieve the same result. They are both a secondary tap, sure -- but where a Galaxy Note, say, has tap and long press, an iPhone has tap, long press, push, push harder. And it's variable; you have a bunch of detents (along the way from push to push harder) that could have different uses.

          What app devs do on Android/WP is up to them, but they're limited to the features of the OS; where Twitter now lets you 3D Touch directly into a new Tweet or into your DMs (IIRC), you'd need to launch the app on Android then tap the relevant on-screen icon to get to that.

          Also, cut the "willing participant" crap, you're lessening your argument with strawmen like that.

          So you would agree there is no point differentiating between walking or driving somewhere because both methods "achieve the same result", right?

      A long tap, a medium pressure press and a hard press can all be mapped to different things with 3D touch, as it is in safari and other places in the OS. 3D Touch works in addition to a long tap, not in place of it.

      Your name really sums you up.

      Let's look at the implementation and see who does it better. If something is poorly implemented then it is next to useless. The implementation of 3D Touch is great and that in itself is an innovation of UI design.

      Go play with your android phone already.

      Last edited 29/09/15 3:10 pm

    I'm looking forward to seeing what 3D touch can do in the future, you summed it up well Campbell.

    It would be awesome if you could peek into an app from the home screen eg. see a weather summary when pressing a weather app. I'm thinking that's not possible in the API yet, but it's a brave new world!

    One other killer 3D touch feature is the keyboard "trackpad" to move through text, as well as select text, it's really smooth and effective.

    Last edited 28/09/15 9:23 pm

      Yeah, I remember when they had this feature on my BlackBerry Storm in 2008. The cursor function was particularly great for editing text.

      Good to see Apple going back to scavenge good ideas from devices that didn't quite land them right the first time.

        Exactly right. I think that's what Apple does best, haters love to hate on them for copying ideas, but they effectively take half-baked ideas and make them functional.

          Half-baked? Blackberry? noooooooooo

            Well, it won't be an issue any more - BlackBerry are moving to Android. Windows Phone/Windows Mobile/Windows 10 Mobile/Windows CE has basically disappeared from the market place since Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia.

            BlackBerry 10 was a fantastic operating system let down by a weak app ecosystem and poor marketing. The tech press showed great bias in reviewing many BlackBerry handsets, for example, deducting points from the Passport and Z30 for having a non-removable battery, yet the equivalent iPhone review at the time didn't even mention battery life... Many reviewers didn't even take the time to understand where its strengths lied, instead trying to use it like an Android/iOS device and then complaining when it didn't perform as such.

            Where once we had a choice of Symbian Series 40/60/80, PalmOS, WebOS, Andoid, iOS, Hiptop, Blackberry and Windows Mobile, the market has now essentially been reduced to a duopoly - either the polished but restricted iOS, with its limited choice of hardware, or the fragmented, unrefined and (arguably) insecure Android.

              So you mean to say that the inferior platforms died off whilst the ones that worked and had successful philosophies went on and achieved mass market share? Holy free market Batman!

                What makes them inferior platforms? A lack of commercial success doesn't mean they're inferior.

                Application ecosystem aside, what makes Android superior to say, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry 10 or WebOS? Admittedly, Google's commercial strategy was highly successful, but that doesn't make it a superior platform.

                  Application ecosystems were incredibly important so much so that windows phone never stood a chance thus making them inferior.

                  But there's so much to a successful platform and that includes critical mass. Perhaps inferior is the wrong word but apps, great APIs, marketing, access to phones with the os and usability all decide whether a platform is successful or not.

                  You can't blame the successors for failed platforms and the reason why iOS and Android are the dominating players is because people want to use the OS of the phones that come with that OS.

                  Also Android and iOS and the phones they came in where so much better and accessible to people that the others died off. I don't think we should lament the losers, they should do better next time.

                  @keith: I don't begrudge these companies their successes; I merely wish their successes didn't come at the expense of genuine competition.

                  Apple has acted masterfully in cultivating a relationship with developers, and to a lesser extent, so has Google. Of course, the first iPhone didn't even support third-party applications in an era where Palm, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile all did.

                  These application ecosystems serve to retain users and provide a disincentive to migrate to other platforms. People buy phones largely because of the apps, even though it could be argued that platform-specific applications should be virtually unnecessary with the advent of the web. A large proportion of the apps available for both Android and iOS are glorified web browsers that simply retrieve data from web services and present it - glorified web browsers that lock users into a platform.

                  Both BlackBerry and Windows Mobile were too late to the party to cultivate a viable app ecosystem, and hence they have been commercially unsuccessful. That doesn't make them unworthy contenders though.

                  However, I feel Google have acted somewhat anti-competitively with Android. For years they have marketed Android as a free, open-source operating system, available to use by any manufacturer. Since Android apps are essentially just Java applications, BlackBerry saw this as an opportunity to increase their application catalogue by developing a mechanism for Android Apps to run securely on BlackBerry 10. They even added the Amazon Appstore to BlackBerry devices, and allowed Android apps to be submitted into BlackBerry's own app store with minimal modification.

                  Despite Google's claims that Android is open, they have actively tried to prevent Android apps from running on anything but Google-approved Open Handset Alliance devices through the introduction of Google Play Services. This essentially means that the selection of Android apps that are able to be run on non-OHA Android devices (such as BlackBerry 10 and the Kindle Fire) is becoming smaller and smaller every day. It also means that an increasing number of applications are more tightly coupled with Google's services then they reasonably need to be.

                  Personally, I don't particularly like either Android or iOS, yet those are the only two options that remain. In my opinion, there is room for a third or fourth competitor, but as long as the incumbents have a substantial, established application library, people will compromise on the OS they choose and new entrants will find it tough to enter the market. This is not a good thing for consumers.

            you know if you eat a half-baked blackberry you get a bluetooth.

    @lee true more competition is better and BB10 and Windows Phone may both be great but they don't have what's needed to become a viable option for most people. Sure you can buy a win phone still and that's great but if Redmond can't get traction in the industry who else can?

    It is just an effect of the free market and I'd rather have that market than prop up less popular options.

    There was room 7 or so years ago and nobody but Google and Apple were doing it right back then and thinking about the future of smart phones. If anyone should be blamed it should be Nokia they had the cash and resources to be a major player but they screwed the pooch for not having vision. Palm rested on their laurels and MS never was great at mobile. BB had the business market but had zero appeal for consumers. This lead to the massive disparity in market share and now means none of them can be competitive as a platform in their own right. It is all their own fault though, they didn't have the vision and were schooled on how to popularise smart phones when they were emerging as serious consumer products.

      The problem is I doubt any manufacturer or developer in the foreseeable future will be able to take on Google or Apple now they have reached critical mass. In a way I feel like it is history repeating itself: Android was rushed to market in response to the release of the iPhone, and by virtue of timing and marketing over technical merit, has become the eminent operating system in the world. Similarly, MS-DOS was a technically inferior operating system that was released at the right time and place, and by amassing an unfathomably large software library, became a stalwart of the industry that possibly set personal computing back by ten years.

        That's just the way it works sometimes you don't have to be the best, just the first.

    I'm at a loss to explain why a new technology (3D touch) wouldn't be "mature" after only a week of being released.

    So unusual that every single developer hadn't pushed it to its limits before Apple had released it.

    I have had i phone 4, 5 and now 6 PLUS... which i have been having issues with it... now the technician has locked up all my backup, the amount of the time i have spend to get these issues fixed compare to if i would have worked these hours i could have bough 4 of them. SO FREAKEN USELESS... fuming.

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