Apple has unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which have the same aluminum look and feel to earlier models, but waterproof with new insides, new pressure-sensitive home button, new dual-camera features and no headphone jack.
It was unveiled yesterday at Apple’s now traditional keynote presentation with CEO Tim Cook proclaiming, “We have created the world’s most advanced smartphone – the best iPhone we have ever created. This is iPhone 7.” That much is true – it is the best iPhone ever, but it’s perhaps the tech giant’s most disappointing update yet.
There were very few surprises, almost every single new feature had been leaked prior to yesterday’s event, but as usual the new iPhone has instantly become the must-have gadget. Before you rush out to purchase, here’s everything you need to know.
Price and release dates
When is it out? Pre-orders September 9, shipping and retail stores September 16
What will it cost? Starts at $649
The iPhone 7 price starts at $649 for the now increased 32GB base model (up from 16GB in previous offerings.) If you fancy upping your storage further you’ll need to drop $749 for the 128GB model or $849 for the 256GB.
Design: waterproofing, new colors, new speakers
The new iPhone 7 is undoubtedly just as beautiful as its predecessors, with the iconic curved design returning for a third time with the same 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm frame as the iPhone 6S. However, it does now feel a little tired considering Apple’s self-professed dedication to constant change and progression. Perhaps with that in mind, Cook made a big deal of the fact the device is now water and dust resistant. Its IP67 protection brings it into line with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and will give you a slight peace of mind when out in the rain.
The phone returns in silver, gold and rose gold, and there are two new colors which definitely get the Highsnobiety seal of approval: Jet Black and Matte Black. The latter of which also features a black Apple logo on its rear.
Something that Apple has clearly worked hard on over the last year is the sound quality of the speakers. There are now two stereo speakers built into the device — one at the top and one at the base — which should give you louder, clearer audio. Apple say they will kick out twice the volume of the 6S.
The most controversial change to the new iPhone is the removal of the universal 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead, Apple wants users to embrace the Lightning port, commonly used for power and file transfers, and for headphones such as those made by Apple’s Beats brand. Lightning connector headphones and a Lightning-to-analogue adapter will be included in the box.
Apple has yet to answer calls for an explanation regarding how it is possible play music through headphones and charge the iPhone at the same time.
Apple also announced a new set of its EarPod in-ear buds, this time without the cable, called AirPods, which it hopes will ease the transition from the headphones port. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said: “Up until now no one has taken on the challenge of fixing the things that are difficult to do in the wireless experiences so we can all enjoy them. So that’s what we’re doing with the Apple AirPods.”
They will cost $170 and be available in late October. Apple’s headphone brand Beats will also release new wireless models.
The iPhone used to have the best camera on the market, but the iPhone 6S faced stiff competition from not only Samsung, but HTC, LG and rising star Chinese firm Huawei. Apple have rectified that with a camera that has a faster, larger 12-megapixel sensor, a faster f1.8 lens for better low-light photography and an enhanced true-tone flash. All versions of the iPhone will now have optical image stabilization, not just the larger Plus models.
The Plus model will also be fitted with a new dual-camera system featuring one 12-megapixel telephoto lens and one 12-megapixel wide-angle lens. Schiller said: “On a dSLR you can move lens elements to zoom with a large lens. But on a phone you can’t do that. So we’re using two cameras and two lenses to do the same. The quality of the zoom, even with software zoom, is so much better than before we decided to push it up to 10x.”
A free update later in the year will also allow users to blur the background using both lenses to judge distance and create a bokeh effect, similar to software effects produced by rivals.
Faster A10 Fusion chip, battery life and iOS 10
As we’ve to come expect from all iPhone updates, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have faster, more powerful processors – the Apple A10 Fusion has replaced the A9 from last year’s iPhone 6S. The new quad-core processor will have 120 times the performance of the original iPhone.
These improved power efficiencies mean the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have the best battery life of any iPhone. Apple says those upgrading from the iPhone 6S can expect at least an additional two hours from each charge. Apple also quotes 40 hours of wireless audio playback and 13 hours of wireless audio.
In terms of operating system, the iPhone 7 launches alongside iOS 10, a huge feature upgrade over iOS 9.3. It introduces a much smarter Siri that can command third-party apps, a heap of new Messaging functionality and emojis, and a convenient “Raise to Wake” way of lighting up the phone. You can read about all the features coming in iOS 10 here.
The new iPhone’s 4.7-inch display sports a 1334×750 resolution, which knocks out a 326ppi pixel density – exactly the same as last year’s models. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, the display on the 6S was stunning – but the pixel-crammed displays on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will definitely look better.
One new nice touch, though, is that Apple has upped the brightness of the display, which it says will make for an even brighter, bolder visual experience.
The home button has also been updated to use the pressure-sensitive technology seen on Apple’s MacBook trackpads and the 3D touch screen of the iPhone 6S, which simulate movement using a small vibrating sensation when pressed without actually depressing.
The new button will allow further gesture control and could pave the way for the button to be removed entirely, a design feature already rumored to appear on next year’s iPhone 8.
So there you have it. The new iPhone 7 is quicker, waterproof, available in new colors, and boats a much improved camera – and that’s about it. Perhaps not enough to tempt iPhone 6 and 6S users into upgrading, but enough to keep the fanboys happy until the huge overhaul rumored to take place next year for phone’s 10th anniversary.
Apple also had some very big news regarding Super Mario yesterday.
- Photography: Apple