Announced at Apple’s annual press event on Wednesday, the new iPhones, predictably named iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, may look similar to their precursors at the first glance. Upon a closer look, however, the newest additions to Apple’s smartphone lineup reveal some neat new features that brands can make good use of. In addition, the new phones also come with the “always-on Siri,” which allows users to activate Siri with just their voice by saying “Hey Siri,” as well as improvements to the processors, cameras, wireless, and Touch ID.
Besides a new 12 megapixel camera that supports 4K video recording, the new iPhones will also add “Live Photos” to its imaging arsenal, a new photo format that essentially functions as HD animated gifs with audio. Apple has released the developer API for Live Photo and alluded to Facebook’s integration of this new format, which could brings a richer layer to brands’ visual content across platforms.
The new iPhones also boasts a crucial new feature named 3D Touch. Developed upon the Force Touch technology, this new system-wide feature enables new touch gestures such as Peek and Pop that allows users to dip in and out of apps without opening them full-screen. While this offers brands a new way to provide handy shortcuts to their app users, it also presents a challenge for brands to truly engage with the mobile consumers as they jump in between apps seamlessly. This expands on the recent trend of app content appearing outside of the app itself, a double-edged sword which rewards the most useful apps with higher visibility, while punishing apps which can’t provide content that is useful in multiple contexts.
Apple also announced their own iPhone Upgrade Program, a financing product which allows users who purchase a phone at the Apple Store to get a new, unlocked iPhone every year starting at $32/month. Along with carriers unbundling their own financial offerings, this has the potential to increase the rate of upgrades, and further shift control of the customer relationship from the wireless carriers to Apple.