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Why it matters that iPhone 6s will be 0.1 mm thicker than S6 Edge

When Apple revealed the 'Force Touch' feature for the iPhone 6s, we mused that it could make the phone a Galaxy S6 killer. The latest iPhone 6S leaks, however, suggest that this feature will impact the phone's design, raising the question of whether Apple is abandoning its design principles to become more of a ‘gadget’ phone like Samsung’s flagships.

This week, Engadget Japan revealed what appeared to be a diagram of the upcoming iPhone 6s, showing the phone to be 0.2 mm thicker than the iPhone 6. This may not sound like much, but take into account Apple's design-focused ethos and the fact that this would make the iPhone 6s the first 's' iPhone thicker than its non-'s' variant, and it's indicative of a risky shift in the company's thinking.

Will the iPhone 6s be a Galaxy S6 killer? / © ANDROIDPIT

The reason for the extra girth on the iPhone 6s is not to accommodate a larger battery as you'd expect, but to include the 'Force Touch' feature - which makes the screen pressure-sensitive. If implemented well, this could be a winning feature for the iPhone 6s. If there were even three different degrees of pressure you could apply, then it'd seriously expand the phone's usability - with extra gestures such as 'hard-swiping', or 'soft-tapping'. And just imagine how handy it'd be for improving iffy mobile game controls.

androidpit iphone 6s design leak
This leaked diagram suggests that the iPhone 6s will be the first 's' iPhone variant to be thicker than its predecessor. / © Engadget Japan

However, if Force Touch works in a similar way to how it does on the Apple Watch (i.e. very basic), then the iPhone 6s could be in trouble.

The Galaxy S6 Edge has a fingerprint sensor, heartrate monitor, IR blaster and Edge display in a 7 mm chassis - 0.1 mm thinner than the rumored iPhone 6s width. Of those Galaxy S6 Edge features, the iPhone 6s is only expected to have a fingerprint sensor - and its own Force Touch tech, of course.

If Force Touch is a flop and, as expected, tips the iPhone 6s thickness over that of the S6 Edge, then that will have big implications for Apple's reputation as the world's foremost smartphone designer. Crucially, the added thickness of the iPhone 6s, for the sake of a single throwaway feature, would say to the world that Apple is incapable of doing what Samsung did - making a feature-packed phone without having a negative impact on its design.

androidpit iphone 6 galaxy s6 front camera
The Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 side-by-side. The iPhone 6S comparison will look similar, just with a critical extra 0.3mm of thickness. / © ANDROIDPIT

While the iPhone has one of the most loyal consumer bases in the world, Apple is pushing the boat out by sacrificing some of its design slickness to throw in a feature that could make tech enthusiasts take note of it, like they currently do of the Galaxy S6 - and particularly the S6 Edge.

If Force Touch turns out to be a revolutionary feature, then no one will pay heed to the extra chubbiness of the iPhone 6s. However, if it turns out to be superfluous, then Apple will have sacrificed its philosophy of sleek, minimal design to play and lose at Samsung's game - which is to impress people with countless gadgety features while maintaining a svelte chassis.

I, for one, hope that Apple pulls it off, and that Force Touch becomes a feature that smartphones aspire to, rather than a failed gimmick.

Do you think Force Touch could become an important smartphone feature of the future, or will Apple’s decision to pile an extra couple of mm onto the iPhone 6s come back to haunt them?

Readers' favorite comments

  • Steven Morales May 18, 2015

    Since the S4 Samsung phones have had floating touch technology that detects finger pointing without touching the screen at all. Never mind the 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity with the S pen.

    Fast forward a couple years and Apple introduces 2 levels of pressure sensitivity. Revolutionary!

  • Ray Yarrell May 16, 2015

    Another dull iPhone in my mind


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  • I don't think Apple is a Galaxy S6 killer, I think Xaiomi and Hauwei are GS6 killers. Apple only has 12% worldwide market share they're not the competition, other Android phones are Samsung's competition. The competition is putting out quality as good as Samsung at half the price.

  • Of course it will be a Galaxy S6 killer, but Apple could rebrand a Nokia phone from the 90s and it'd be a Galaxy S6 killer when it outsells it. Just like the current iPhones are outselling the S6.

  • We'll the S Galaxy note series has had pressure sencetivity starting from Galaxy note3 and forward.

  • Force touch is to accommodate the lack of a menu or back button. Apple phones have the real estate on the bezel for a back and menu button but refuse to go there because the single button keeps things simple. Until now. The force press makes things complicated. Force pressing when you don't mean to will create hazards like when one is in the car.

    • There's a funny meme out there somewhere where Steve Jobs can't figure out how to ring a doorbell because the house owner used two buttons to ring it instead of one.

  • Android user, here--happy with my Galaxy S4, for the nonce (the 5.0.1 update did not cause me the woes it has caused others). I find it incredible that making a phone a smidge thicker is considered a huge design mistake, worthy of serious discussion.

  • "If Force Touch is a flop and, as expected, tips the iPhone 6S thickness over that of the S6 Edge, then that will have big implications for Apple's reputation as the world's foremost smartphone designer."

    Apple has not been the foremost smartphone designer in some time now. Samsung has taken that title and looks to be perfectly able to hold it for the foreseeable future. I mean Apple is going to be using Samsung processors in the iphone 7 if the rumors are to be believed. So Apple is going to upgrade their touch capabilities on an out-moded and over simplified system? -----Still couldn't pay me to use one.

    • I agree with you Kasey. I originally wrote "Apple's already-disputed reputation..." but it appears to have been edited out!

      While enthusiasts and those in the know would likely say that there are better-designed phones out there (I'm one of them), I think it's still fair to say that on a global scale, and among average consumers who don't delve too deep into phone design, the iPhone still represents the quintessential smartphone design; sad but true...

  • This is great😂😂 apple finds features from andriod and "invents" them and adds them to a new phone they introduce every 6 months. And still the specs are low for the time and year. 12mp camera and 2gb of ram come on apple my droid turbo has 3gb of ram and a 21mp camera and a QHD display and still has the customization ability of android not to include turbo charging and moto assist I wouldn't even see the need for "force touch" which was introduced in the galaxy s4 and in the galaxy note with their S pen

  • You think apple fans will sh!t themselves with joy over long pressing, wait until apple "invents" QHD!

  • An Droid May 22, 2015 Link to comment

    Galaxy S6 killer? Bitches please....... It runs iOS.

  • The one thing that this story omits, probably by choice is that you have to get an Iphone over and Android phone. The ecosystem is the major downside for all things Apple. I don't want to live in the Apple universe because you can't side-load apps that aren't approved by them first off. That alone keeps me using Android because I want to use some different apps and I don't care if Apple likes them or not. Another reason is the iOS isn't as usable or dynamic as the Android OS and can't compete with the customization that Android offers.

    Apple lacks the ability to drag and drop forcing the use of Itunes when interacting with my PC again I hate that resource sucking program. Overall this new version of their Iphone isn't any better that what the other manufacturers off us and is always more expensive along with being cumbersome. The Apple universe is for old people, technophobes, young children and hipsters. Anyone who is tech savvy or adventurous has no where else to look but Android. Apple has mined their fan boi's to the end of their pockets with their ridiculous Apple watch which is probably the most stupid and arrogant tech ever released.

    • Just a thought... Many of us "old people" greatly prefer the Android phones, in particular Samsung, for the same reasons you young whippersnappers do. I confess to being an Androidaholic and my drug of choice is my S3, soon to be an S5 bc of the uni-body and external memory issues with the S6 ...and better features for me than some of the Note 4's. I'm only one of many... And I teach (or try to anyway) many of my much younger friends how to use their phones to better advantage. When I was the phone sales associate at Walmart, my oldest customer (who came in the store asking for an android phone) was 85... She loved hers. (Please don't Walmart bash either...I helped people with issues the carriers didn't.)

      Again... Just a gentle reminder about "old people", especially the Boomers... Lol

  • Angelo May 21, 2015 Link to comment

    Dumbest thing I ever heard. Who wants to be pressing really hard on the screen of a very expensive smartphone? How hard and how many times will some idiots press before it BREAKS...and then they turn around and ask for a free replacement??? Nimcompoops!

  • The iPhone 6s beating the SGS6?? Not a dog show in hell.

  • Did they forget the Blackberry Storm from like 2009? you had to apply pressure to even select something

  • Since the S4 Samsung phones have had floating touch technology that detects finger pointing without touching the screen at all. Never mind the 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity with the S pen.

    Fast forward a couple years and Apple introduces 2 levels of pressure sensitivity. Revolutionary!

  • First of all neither phone beats my Nexus 6...Its all about size :) as far as force detection what's the purpose...its the same thing as a long press in bout joining the rest of the world and add a back button apple

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