Whenever Apple has unveiled the ‘s’ models of the iPhone, they have always been about under-the-hood improvements. (After all, the ‘s’ suffix unofficially stands for ‘speed’.)
Think processor upgrade, better camera and the addition of new features available on other Apple platforms – such as the Force Touch functionality first introduced on the Apple Watch.
This is certainly the case with the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, unveiled in the early hours of September 10 Australia time.
Despite knowing how these events usually pan out – i.e. product improvements rather than hot new launches – the fact so many analysts were left underwhelmed could be of concern if that sentiment is at all shared by Apple users.
Of course, one reason analysts may have been underwhelmed was that the rumour mill in the lead-up to the launch was so accurate – even down to predicting the significant outright costs of the new smartphone.
In fact, the only thing the rumour mills didn’t pick up on was a new product refresh option only available to US customers. It effectively puts a new iPhone in their hands immediately, with AppleCare and an opportunity to upgrade to a new iPhone once a year, surprising observers such as USA Today’s Jefferson Graham.
While the refresh speed would benefit Apple – breaking the current two-year cycle - there’s no indication of a similar deal for Australia.
Rather, Australia begins accepting orders for the new iPhones on September 12, for delivery from September 25. Prices for the 6s range from $1079 to $1379, while the 6s Plus costs between $1229 and $1529.
In one of the first reviews of the 6s, Gizmodo said it was “about polish, but also Apple’s chance to make the iPhone fun again… the iPhone feels less like a chore these days”.
Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead told Reuters the most accurate product to compare the specifications of the 6s to would be the 5s – given it’s the logical upgrade path many customers that adhere to a two-year refresh cycle will have.
"The key point of reference is not how the new phone compares to the iPhone 6, it's how it compares to the iPhone 5s," he said.
While the new iPhone’s reception was lukewarm, the launch of the iPad Pro and a revamped Apple TV gained far more interest.
iPad Pro unveiled
The iPad Pro has immediate similarities to Microsoft’s Surface device – it’s a tablet, with a separately-sold keyboard and a stylus called Pencil.
The appearance of a stylus caused a bit of ruckus – with many citing comments by the late Steve Jobs from 2007 and 2010 that no-one wanted a stylus and that having one for the iPad would be an admission of failure.