The iPhone 6 was a runaway success by any measure. The A8 SoC may have been built on a temperamental 20SoC process – something that dogged all other phone vendors – but for Apple it didn’t matter. The iPhone 6 was the first iPhone generation with a phablet variant. By all metrics it was a resounding success as it capitalized on this pent-up demand for larger iPhones.
The iPhone 6s continued this success, and in a year of disappointing launches due to the weak showing of the widely used Snapdragon 808 and 810, the 6s and 6s Plus looked particularly good as the competition really couldn’t measure up. Now there were a lot of Android devices that performed better than the iPhone 6s/6s Plus in some particular area – a better camera or longer battery life, for example – but taken as a whole the iPhones 6s were just clearly superior devices. If nothing else, they hit that particular balance between features and performance that a lot of users were looking for.
Meanwhile, the addition of 3D Touch was the sort of refinement to the user experience that still remains exclusive to the iPhone. Other OEMs have implemented some form of force sensing, but the implementation is not really executed in a way to improve user experience in a noticeable way. Adoption remained weak as well, with no real widespread support in the ecosystem for such features.
That said, the iPhone doesn't exist in a vacuum on its own. Even in just the high-end market segment Apple limits themselves to, they have a loyal opposition, and that opposition is of course Samsung. Looking at the state of affairs there, relative to the iPhone 6s the Galaxy S6 had a better camera for still images, but it was obvious that it couldn’t freeze motion as well. The phone itself was fairly thick as well due to the need to accommodate a much larger battery. Despite the larger battery, battery life on LTE just wasn’t where it needed to be. The Galaxy Note5 was in many ways a similar story, which isn't too surprising as the Note has moved closer and closer to being a phablet-version of the Galaxy S.
But, as the story goes, Apple's competition has improved and advanced. The Galaxy S6 gave way to the even better Galaxy S7, HTC finally found their groove with the HTC 10, and OnePlus's 3 is their best showing yet. The competition is getting better, and with the iPhone 7, Apple can no longer rely on weak competition or pent-up demand for some major feature. The iPhone 7 must stand by its merits against this increasingly stiff competition.
To see how it manages, read on for the full review.