Apple has pulled back the curtains on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the cavernous Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco on September 7. The Apple Watch Series 2 were also unveiled in the event but the latest flagship smartphones were definitely the showstoppers. And, nearly all of the rumors and leaks ahead of the launch have turned out to be true.
The new devices may look similar to last year’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus (and the year prior’s iPhone 6 & 6 Plus) when it comes to design but there are some big changes, for better or worse. A waterproof body, and the larger model comes with a dual-lens camera and the controversial removal of the headphone socket and a lot more. Read on.
The soft, rounded-metal-rectangle design hasn’t changed much. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus still come in two sizes, a 4.7-inch screen and 5.5-inch “Plus” model. The body of the phones are made from aluminum and come in new colors – black (which has a matte appearance) and jet black (which has a glossy, mirrored look) in addition to the standard rose gold, gold and silver.
Apple ditched the plastic antenna lines from the back of the device. These lines have allowed radio signals to pass through the metal casing of the previous models. However, Apple has hidden these bands inside the body for a much cleaner look.
The most important design change that you won’t see is the water resistance. Attention! It is water resistant not waterproof. It’s probably fine if you drop the new device into the toilet (a common occurrence) but you shouldn’t go for a scuba dive with them. They are IP67 water-resistant. They can be submerged in depths of under 1m for 30 minutes theoretically and not suffer any permanent damage.
A New Home Button
Apple made one big structural change: the home button.
In iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the home button no longer clicks physically. Apple redesigned the iconic button to be more durable and responsive, and work in tandem with Apple’s Taptic Engine to provide “more precise and customizable tactile feedback”. Presumably, to better seal the device. Instead, it is force sensitive like the Force Touch trackpads used in MacBook Pro and the Apple Watch. It relies on haptic feedback, using different buzzes and taps for various alerts.
No More Headphone Socket
If you had been reading rumors on the Internet for the last few months, this won’t come off as a surprise.
For those that want to hang onto their old jack headphones, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will ship with a pair of wired headphones (EarPods) with a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter. You can connect you headphones via the Lightning Port.
In place of the old headphone jack, Apple has added a second speaker, so sound is two times louder than the previous models, and you will be able to listen to your music in stereo with increased dynamic range.
Apple introduced a set of wireless earbuds called AirPods. They developed a new wireless technology (based on Bluetooth Low Energy) that can connect to both the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2 with just a tap, and switch “seamlessly” between entertainment and calls.
They have sensors to detect when they are in your ears and a chip inside that controls on-board accelerometers. Apple says the AirPods have five hours of battery life and come with a battery case that provides 24 hours of total use. Apple-owned Beats is also introducing a line of headphones that make use of the new wireless technology. The AirPods will be available in late October and must be purchased separately for $159. They also cleverly have Siri integrations thanks to inbuilt mics.
New Camera System
The differences between iPhone and iPhone Plus of the last couple of years have been minor. Little image stabilization, a couple of small software tweaks. With the iPhone 7, there’s now meaningfully different devices.
The camera is ultimately the iPhone 7’s most exciting feature. Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have upgraded cameras.
The iPhone 7 has a 12-megapixel wide angle camera, which Apple claims in 60% faster and 30% more energy-efficient than previous models and has a 4 LEDS in the flash. It is equivalent to 28mm for wide angle shots and has been upgraded with optical image stabilization and a brighter f/1.8 lens that lets in 50 percent more light than the iPhone 6S’ f/2.2 lens. Apple’s Phil Schiller boasts that the new processing engine leverages machine learning and has “supercomputer performance.” The front camera on the iPhone 7 has been bumped to 7 megapixels with automatic image stabilization for better selfies and video recording.
The real upgrades were saved for the larger iPhone 7 Plus’s dual camera system. In addition to the standard 12-megapixel wide angle camera, the iPhone 7 Plus has an additional telephoto camera which offers 2x optical zoom and up to 10 times digital zoom for photos without the loss of quality. But beyond 2x is digital zoom that crops the photo. The telephoto camera has a closer 60mm equivalent lens. Switching between the two cameras is effortless in the iPhone 6 Plus’ camera app – just tap the 1x or 2x button and the camera will switch automatically.
Apple said the camera software will get an update later this year, allowing the iPhone 7 Plus camera to capture depth-of-field, and separate the background from the foreground to achieve amazing portraits. Meaning, you can take some seriously artsy photos that were once only possible to create with DSLR cameras.
Display and Specs Upgrade
The new phones have improved revamped Retina HD displays that are 25 percent brighter, with a wider color gamut for better color reproduction and improved color management. Both include the 3D Touch pressure sensitive display that debuted with the 6S line. But Apple did not update the image resolution of the displays. In other words, iPhone 7 will have the same number of pixels as 2014’s iPhone 6 (750 x 1334 pixels at 336 ppi) while the iPhone 7 Plus as iPhone 6 Plus. (1080 x 1920 pixels at 401 ppi)
Beyond that, there’s an impressive spec sheet. Both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will run on the new super-fast A10 Fusion processor with 64-bit four core CPU and embedded M10 motion coprocessor that is said to be 40 percent faster than the last year’s chip. It is paired with a new graphics processing chip that is 50 percent faster than what’s in A9. Graphics performance is improved, running three times faster than the iPhone 6 and at as little as half the power, enabling new gaming capabilities while also preserving battery. Apple also adds that the new phones have the “the longest battery ever of an iPhone”, but the actual improvements seem as incremental as always. The company says the smaller iPhone 7 will last two times longer than the iPhone 6S, while the 7 Plus easily gets an hour over the 6S Plus.
Both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus are available with higher storage capacities, at 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB, finally ending “Storage Almost Full” woes. Pricing on the iPhone 7 starts at $649, while pricing on the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769. This was revealed by Apple’s Twitter account ahead of being announced on stage, a rare blunder for an Apple product launch. The Jet black model will be exclusively available in 128GB and 256GB models.
Later year’s iPhone 6S was a performance upgrade, which meant that iPhone 7 was to be the new and innovative one. But the new device is also mainly performance upgrade. It won’t die in a sink splash or cave in under the pressure of high resolution games or run out of spaces for your essentials. Even iOS 10 is mostly about things being more efficient.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available for pre-order on Friday, September 9 and will be released in more than 25 countries on Friday, September 16. First wave launch countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US. Generation Next Communications, the authorized distributor of Apple products in Nepal hope to launch the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in Nepal sometime in November. We’ll update with more news as soon as we’ve had some hands-on time with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Right now, all we know for sure that Apple has surely upped their game, the new jet black is cool and dongle days are just beginning.
In case you missed their big launch, here’s a synopsis.
Apple just flipped the switch on its retail website as well as in the Apple Store app, so customers can now start placing pre-orders for both devices. As usual, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are also both accepting pre-orders, as well as newcomers Best Buy and Target this year. Units available in stores on Friday, September 16.