Should iPhone 6 users trade up to new A9-powered iPhone 6S?

The new iPhone 6S is a quantum leap over the iPhone 5S, meaning that those on a two-year upgrade cycle who are just now coming up on their eligibility have an easy decision to go ahead and get in line for Apple’s latest smartphone. But in this age of trade-in and trade-up programs from cellphone carriers and even now from Apple itself, those power-users who already have the iPhone 6 in hand must decide whether to take the leap to the iPhone 6S. Here are the arguments for and against, and the circumstances involved.

Those who already have an iPhone 6 and care about styling are bound to be disappointed. Not only is the iPhone 6S physically identical to the phone they already have, it comes in nearly the same colors. So on the surface, upgrading merely means trading in one phone for the same phone, with perhaps a chance to get a do-over on color choice. But of course styling alone wouldn’t be a reason to trade up anyway. The key argument for the iPhone 6S is what’s on the inside.

That comes front and center around the A9 microprocessor, a major step forward over the existing A8 chip found in the iPhone 6. Spend most of your time surfing Facebook and playing word games? You won’t notice a difference. Spend your time using complex apps, productivity tools, or graphically intense games? Run, don’t walk, to trade your iPhone 6 in for an iPhone 6S. And that’s before getting to the M9 motion coprocessor, which is now always-on in the 6S.

For those on the fence, pricing and eligibility are key. Those who are not yet upgrade-eligible are in a tighter spot, as they would need to move to a trade-up plan (now available from every major carrier) and the pricing for such a switch often tends to be dependent on which data plan the user is already on; the larger the data plan, the lesser the cost of the trade-in program monthly. Those iPhone 6 users already on a trade-in program have already paying each month for their new iPhone 6S whether they realized it or not.

Phil Moore

Phil Moore

Phil covers tech for Stabley Times.