See one iPhone and you’ve seen them all? That seems to be the case with Apple’s latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Apple took the covers off of the highly leaked products recently and early reviews about the devices are palpably neutral.
On the outside, Apple made very few modifications to the iPhone’s design. The frankly hideous antennae bands have been re-positioned, the 3.5mm headphone jack is no more and the camera hump is very prominent (more so on the plus model). The result – products that bare stark resemblance to the previous two generations of iPhones. If you were hoping for a striking new look that would stand out and let everyone know you’re using the latest Apple goodie, you’re out of luck. That said, the tech giant didn’t just release another iPhone 6. The iPhone 7 brings some new concepts to the Apple ecosystem and has taken a major step in laying the groundwork for future wireless headphones. Oh and it comes in two new super cool colours – Jet Black and Matte Black.
Water resistance is the most notable upgrade to the new iPhones and is the one all buyers will care about the most. The iPhones now come with an IP 67 rating meaning they are dust-proof but water resistant (enables submersion at 3 feet for 30 minutes). This rating is behind prime competitor Samsung whose flagship S7 and Note 7 smartphones offer water resistance up to 5 feet for 30 minutes.
Let’s talk about that missing headphone jack. The only port on the new iPhones is the lightning port which must be used to both charge the device and listen to music using lightning headphones (or use regular headphones via a $9 adapter provided in the box). So if you have a habit of listening to music and charging your phone, get wireless headphones or buy a hideous, impractical Belkin adapter for $40. While most will definitely snark at the removal of the headphone jack, Apple revealed an accessory that will pique your interest.
The Air Pods are regular Earpods but without the cables and with some extra features. They come with a charging case akin to a box of dental floss. The unique feature of these headphones is the new W1 chip embedded in them. This chip enables the fastest and most seamless pairing of the headphones that we have ever seen. Since they work over Bluetooth, other Bluetooth devices should work with the Air Pods. The Air Pods also can be double tapped to access Siri. They will last 5 hours and extend up to 24 hours using the charging case. The downside? They cost $159 and sound more or less identical to the already overpriced $30 Earpods.
The 3.5mm headphone jack isn’t the only missing component, the physical home button is gone and in its place is a glass (sapphire on the older iPhone 6/6s) pad that cannot be clicked. Instead the pad has a vibration motor behind it and vibrates to simulate a click similar to the 2015 Macbook’s trackpad.
The screen sizes are the same as the previous generation but now they are 25% brighter. Unfortunately, the iPhone 7 still uses a 720p display and the 7 Plus uses a 1080p display. In 2016, where even mid range devices feature FullHD screens, this is disappointing.
Like last year, the smaller iPhone gets left behind on features. The iPhone 7 Plus has a dual camera setup similar to LG’s G5, V20 and Huawei’s Honor 8. The iPhone 7 gets one camera. One camera has a telephoto lens and the other has a wide angle lens. The main feature of this dual camera setup is the ability to seamlessly switch between the two cameras to achieve what Apple calls “optical zoom”.
Basically your photos won’t lose quality if you zoom up to 2X. Apple also said they will release a depth of field camera feature that blurs out the background of the image sometime in the near future. Both cameras are 12MP and have an f/1.8 aperture.The selfie shooter is an odd 7MP and f/2.2 aperture.
A standout addition to the new iPhones is the A10 Fusion CPU. This is the first quad core CPU in an iPhone and is responsible for better battery life and benchmark scores that outshine the latest Snapdragon processors. This chip’s single core performance by the way, is theoretically better than the 2015 Macbook’s.
The new iPhones weren’t received with the usual atmosphere of excitement as previous models. Analysts for the first time are expecting decreased iPhone sales since its launch in 2007 and the logic behind it seems reasonable. Apple calls the new iPhones the best ever but that’s already expected from any successor to a product. This time around, Apple has in their hands a couple very capable products which just don’t have much to stand out from the crowd of increasingly beautiful and feature rich competitors. Those loyal to Apple will probably make the purchase but the stale design and lack of excitement may finally bring this tech giant to unleash killer features in the near future. Only time can tell how the new iPhones will do and how Apple will respond to its performance in the uber-competitive smartphone market.