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Apple unveils iPhone 6S Plus with improved 12MP camera, Live Photos and 3D Touch (hands-on)

The new iPhone 6S Plus looks nearly identical to last year's model but features all-new hardware on the inside.

Dan Graziano Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
Dan Graziano
3 min read

The iPhone 6S Plus is here. The larger sibling to Apple's flagship device looks nearly identical to last year's model, but Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company changed everything and the new iPhones are "the most advanced smartphones in the world."

The iPhone 6S Plus features the same 5.5-inch Retina Display as the iPhone 6 Plus. The screen is protected with brand-new glass, which Apple claims is the strongest in the industry, but it isn't crystal sapphire -- a material that is incredibly difficult to crack.

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The new iPhones are powered by a third-generation 64-bit A9 chip that is said to be 70 percent faster than last year's model and 90 percent more powerful for gaming. The Touch ID fingerprint scanner built directly into the Home button is also said to be twice as fast as before, while the new M9 coprocessor, which was used for tracking steps and distance in previous models, will allow you to use the "Hey, Siri" command even when the phone isn't connected to a charger.

The iPhone 6S Plus gives you more screen real estate (pictures)

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On the back you will find an improved 12-megapixel camera that's capable of shooting 4K video, while a 5-megapixel FaceTime camera sits on the front. There's also a special Live Photos feature, which allows will record 1.5 seconds of video on each side of a photo to capture movement. You can then press on the photo to see it come to life -- it's similar to a Vine video or GIF.

One feature the Plus model includes that the normal iPhone 6S doesn't is optical image stabilization, which was the same for the iPhone 6 Plus and normal iPhone 6. Optical image stabilization helps you capture clear photos and videos while moving.

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The Apple iPhone 6S (left) and the 6S Plus.

James Martin/CNET

The biggest selling point for the new iPhones is the addition of 3D Touch, which is similar to the Force Touch technology we have seen in the Apple Watch and new 12-inch MacBook. This allows the iPhone to recognize how hard you press on the screen. For example, with a light press on an email you can take a peek at the content inside. If you keep pressing, you can jump right into that content.

The iPhone 6S Plus is ever-so-slightly taller, wider, thicker and heavier than last year's model. The phone measures 6.23 inches (158 mm) high, compared to 6.22 inches, with a width of 3.07 inches or 78 mm (from 3.06 in the iPhone 6 Plus) and weighs 192 grams, up from 172 grams. Battery life is also unchanged. Apple claims the iPhone 6S Plus will last up to 12 hours when browsing the Web on LTE or 14 hours of HD video playback.

The iPhone 6S Plus will be available in silver, gold, space gray and rose gold on September 25. Preorders will begin on September 12 at 12:01 am PT. The iPhone 6S Plus will start at $299 with a two-year contract, or $31 a month for 24 months. In the UK, it will cost £619, £699 and £789 for the 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models, respectively. For Australia you're looking at AU$1,229 for the 16GB model, AU$1,379 for the 64GB model and AU$1,529 for the 128GB model.

See all of today's Apple news.