After what seems like forever, there are finally new iPhones on the market: the iPhone 7 and iPhone Plus.
Apple’s new gadgets are shiny (or matte) with some new features to make iPhone iterators happy to upgrade. Other updates are a shining example of what Apple tends to do best, leave old technology in the dust. The overall design is fairly similar to previous iterations but offering a black option makes the hardware look completely fresh.
Space Grey is out and Black is back in; a bit of an homage to the original iPhone, in a sense. The home button has been redesigned is said to be more reliable and customizable with a new taptic engine, which makes the button Force Touch sensitive. You can now receive unique feedback for messages, notifications, and ringtones. We’ll learn about this effects use as more people get theirs hand-on the device.
Another design update is the allowance of water plunges as the device is now water resistant. The marketing is aimed at swimmers but we all know this is meant for the accident prone drunks who tend to let their phones take a dip in the toilet.
As for the camera, we now have two different camera types to talk about on the new iPhones. Each one now comes with optical image stabilization and f/1.8 aperture for some lovely bokeh shots and promised improvement of low light photos. The iPhone 7 comes with one camera, while iPhone 7 Plus has two. Apple improved its software processing to better combine elements of the photo taken to get a better overall result. Apple says it’ll perform 100 billion operations in just 25 milliseconds which sounds like a wild number even by Apple standards. The flash has also been reworked to allow for truer tone.
The front-facing camera is now 7MP and iOS 10 will allow you to capture raw photos.
The iPhone 7 Plus has a normal lens and the other is a telephoto lens. This allows for a 2x zoom on the camera itself, while further zoom will rely on software. The attempt at a hardware zoom is a noble endeavor that Apple will surely continue to investigate in the future. The telephoto lens also helps with the clarity of the photos.
The dual camera allows the software to create a depth map for more dynamic images. By selecting the “portrait” mode in the app you’ll be able to adjust the depth effect in real time. The photographic results look great despite not seeing the adjustments live. The feature will come as a software update.
Apple went brighter on the LCD Retina display for the iPhone 7 as if the light of Apollo himself isn’t bright enough but okay. The hardware boasts some stereo speakers for improved non-headphone listening.
Speaking of headphones — the 3.5 mm jack is gone. Apple calls it a “courageous move” but essentially it’s a way to have people buy new headphones via the lightning port or Bluetooth magic. They’ve done it over and over with removing the DVD drive then selling a USB accessory. Much like that situation, if you want to use the 3.5mm jack you’ll need to use a lightning adapter. The adapter comes in the box, luckily. I think they’re aware of the sensitivity that may come along with this change.
“The reason to move on comes down to one word—courage,” Schiller explained. “This is really important. Our smartphones are packed with technologies…it’s all fighting for space. Maintaining an ancient analog connector doesn’t make sense.”
Its vision for audio is completely wireless, which leaves the question of quality looming in the air. Bluetooth isn’t bad but it isn’t great. The average consumer won’t mind but anyone wanting a more immersive experience will definitely have questions and reservations.
With that vision comes a new product called Apple AirPods. These new wireless ear buds will last 5 hours on a single charge and the included case, which doubles as a charge case will bring that up to a full day. The iPhone will immediately recognize the AirPods and ask for you to connect.
There’s a new W1 chip which allows for the AirPods to be a little smarter than your regular old Bluetooth headphones. The AirPods can be set up so one pod answers calls or summons Siri. The sound can be intelligently routed to the right ear when needed. Beats will also use this chip in the new Beats Solo Wireless, Powerbeats 3 Wireless, and a new line called Beats X. The AirPods will be available for $160 in late October but they will NOT be in the box for the iPhone. They will only be sold separately.
Apple rounded the event by talking about the specs which showed the iPhone 7 sporting an A10 Fusion Chip, a 64-bit quad-core processor. It’s apparently 120x faster than the original 2007 iPhone. You might want to upgrade. Two cores are for high-performance while the others are for handling lighter applications, improving battery life. The battery life is improved by 2 hours-ish. The new graphics chip is also 50% faster than the iPhone 6s, which is impressive.
Hopefully, demos and real-world tests will put this phone through its paces. I’m personally interested in seeing how real-life photo situations turn out. I would love to see the real-time depth map in action in high-depth situations.
The prices are on-par for high-end phones at $650 for iPhone 7 and $770 for iPhone 7 Plus. They’ve done away with the 16GB option with the highest storage option going up to 256GB. The old models are getting the storage upgrades as well.
Orders start this Friday, September 9th and will arrive on September 16th. iOS 10 will be coming on September 13th.
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