Apple has done it yet again with the new iPhone, managing to build up familiar anticipation for the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This release might have been the most anticipated so far, as the few weeks leading up to this kick-off have been trodden with rumors of a new home button, no headphone jack, and a dual camera set-up. At the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Apple has just introduced an updated Music app, a collaboration with Nintendo, and the updated education app ecosystem. Especially exciting is the new partnership with Shigeru Miyamoto. The new app by Nintendo is called Mario Run, a game where Mario runs to the right, and the user taps to jump. This is especially exciting for Apple, as they will be able to collaborate with another tech giant, Nintendo, on future apps and hardware.
As expected, the new LG V20 and Galaxy Note 7 (in spite of the exploding battery pack recalls) are expected to be the direct contenders to the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus. In comparison to these new flagships from Cupertino, the two devices from Korea pack exclusive features such as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4 GB of ram, updated cameras, and the new Android 7.0 Nougat for the LG V20. The new iPhone has been announced with several new features, such as a new home button, new camera layout, and water resistance just to name a few. The iPhone, as Johnny Ives narrates, is “the best iPhone ever created.” Let’s dive right into the overview.
Apple has created a new device that refreshed the iPhone’s exterior. Now, the whole body of the iPhone is a uni-body form made aluminium and glass. Apple has introduced a new colour/body setup for the iPhone 7: jet black. The jet black iPhone is a completely new take on Apple, a throwback to the iPhone 4’s glass back. However, in this model, the jet black iPhone 7’s back is actually made up of glass combined with aluminium. It has a high gloss black finish polished with rotational 3D polishing, an anodising process, and a capillary effect dye, which creates a mirror-like surface. The camera enclosure is now machined from the same block of aluminium that forms the body of aluminium. The iPhone will also come in the usual gold, silver, and rose gold, with the addition of black, which is now a matte black that has a modern-esque chic look.
The home button is now “completely redesigned.” It is now force sensitive, solid state, and now includes a haptic engine, dubbed “taptic engine” by Apple. With this new remake of the iconic home button, Apple now allows iPhone users to program different levels of feedback for different apps such as quick actions, messages, ringtones and notifications. As expected from leaks, the home button is no longer a push to click. Instead, it is replaced with a static version that instead “clicks” back with the taptic engine.
The iPhone, finally, is water resistant, following phones such as the Galaxy Note 7, Sony Xperia X performance, and the Motorola Droid Turbo 2. It is built up to an IP67 standard, which means underwater shots, accidental rain, and drops in the pool pose no problem for the iPhone 7.
The camera is now completely renovated by Apple. This astounding performance by Apple has shaken mobile photography and set the bar higher than before. The iPhone 7 has a 12 MP camera, with a f/1.8 aperture, true tone flash, and optical image stabilizing. The iPhone 7 plus has two cameras. Both are 12 MP; the first camera is the same as the iPhone 7, containing a six element wide angle lens and a new ISP chip. The second camera is a telephoto lens, meant to create zoom at 2x, and software zoom up to 10x.
The iPhone 7 plus will automatically switch between the wide-angle lens and the telephoto lens. The new camera for the iPhone 7 duo has multiple new features such as the aforementioned 12 MP sensor, which is 60% faster, 30% more energy efficient, and lets in more light thanks to is f/1.8 aperture. It also has the ability to take raw API and wide colour capture API. Paired with a quad tone flash, the new ISP allows for 100 billion operations in 25 milliseconds. Holy crap. Going on. The front-facing camera is a 7 MP Facetime HD camera that includes deep trench isolation that allows for sharper images, wide colour capture, and auto image stabilisation.
The dual lens setup allows for a completely new mobile photography experience. DSLR cameras boast having a depth of field that no phone could ever emulate. However, utilising the dual lens setup, Apple has created an alternative that has astounded a select number of photographers. Using the ISP, the phone creates a depth map that focuses on people and applies a blur effect to the background. Users can see this effect in real time, which no other camera on the market, mobile or DSLR, includes. This update will be free for all iPhone 7 plus users. The effect of the dual lens can be shown below:
The display of the iPhone 7 and 7 plus, disappointingly, remain the same as the previous iterations. The iPhone 7 wields a 4.7 in. screen with 3D touch, and contains a disappointing 750 x 1334 pixels. The iPhone 7 Plus boasts a 5.5-inch screen with 3D touch, showing a 1080 x 1920 screen density. We are disappointed by this, but it’s Apple. Retina can’t solve everything! While these screens may look good to the eye, in VR performance and media consumption, the new iPhones simply can’t beat the new quad HD phones such as the Galaxy S7 or the LG G5. Here are some “improvements” that Apple has listed: a 255 brighter display, wider colour gamut, and cinema standard colour management. Overall, no revolutionary changes in this department.
The iPhone 7 finally comes with stereo speakers. Now this would be a huge plus, if not for the removal of the headphone jack. We’ll come back to that. The stereo speakers on the iPhone 7 are now 2 times louder with increased dynamic range. With others phones like the HTC 10 dropping stereo speakers, this is sure to appeal to music lovers. If they’re into speakers more than headphones that is.
No 3.5 mm Jack:
The iPhone 7 comes with improved ear pods that connect to the phone via lighting port. Yes. It’s true. Apple has done away with the headphone jack. As Schiller states, Apple’s reason is just one word, one word: “Courage: courage to move on, do something new, that betters all of us.” We remain skeptical for now. Other phones such as the Moto Z have already gone this route, but what happens to all the headphones we have already? Apple has an answer for that. They will include a 3.5 mm to lightning port adapter in every phone. While this may compensate for the lack of headphone jacks, it means that with wired headphones, users cannot listen to music while charging their phones.
Apple has another solution. At a price of course. Schiller, marketing chief, introduced the new Air Pods at the keynote today. The new Air Pods, priced at $159 USD, is a wireless earphone that looks exactly like the old ear pods minus the cords. It has about 5 hours of playtime; with its case, it can average 24 hours. The case and earphones automatically sync to whatever apple device you have, letting you know the battery percentage and other stats. Apple has also collaborated with beats to update their headphones with the same W1 chip used in the Air Pods, including the Beats Solo 3 Wireless ($300 USD), PowerBeats 3, ($200 USD) and BeatsX ($150 USD).
The new iPhone contains different NFC called Felica for Japan. This means that other countries can have Apple Pay. Maps will also roll out Transit in japan, which is like a subway card on your phone.
The big one: performance. How does it compare to the older iterations and rival flagships? The iPhone 7 comes with the new quad-core A10 fusion chip which is supposedly 50% faster than the A9 chip and 3 times faster than the A8. In the keynote, viewers watched a character fighting monkeys, but were not given much of an idea about what the actual A10 could do. Disappointing, but soon we will have answers as the first batch of iPhones come about. The battery is supposedly improved, and the iPhone 7 Plus lasts 1 hour more than the iPhone 6s Plus.
The expected battery life for the iPhone 7 is 2 hours more than the 6s. This translates to 12-13 hours of LTE browsing. Apple has not mentioned the amount of ram at the moment, but we can expect 2 GB for the smaller version and 3 GB for the plus. The iPhone 7 starts out at 32 GB for storage and has models of 128 GB and 256 GB. The iPhone 7 prices start at $649 USD for the base phone and go up to $859 USD for the highest capacity model. The iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769 USD, and goes up to $969 USD.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have yet again exceeded previous designs put out by Apple. With controversial results like the missing head jack, it will be quite interesting to see how Apple customers and fans will take to it. With other statements such as the new iOS 10, home kit, Pokémon Go watch compatibility, and Watch series 2, Apple has iconically made a stir in the tech world. This is Luke with Whatthetech, and we’ll be back next time with a hands on review.