The new Apple iPhone 7 and Apple iPhone 7 Plus are official. These have twice the storage capacity of last year’s models at the same prices, improved cameras, a redesigned Home button, water resistance, and faster performance. They look the same as the other flagship iPhones since 2014, with one difference, Apple ditched the dedicated headphone jack.
Easily the most controversial change is the removal of the 3.5mm headset port, in favor of headphones that are either wireless or connect to the Lightning port. Apple claims this frees up room inside the iPhone for better speakers, cameras, and performance elements. To ease the transition, both new iPhone models will come with a Lighting-to-headset adapter.
At the heart of both versions is the A10 Fusion, Apple’s first quad-core mobile processor. This includes a pair of high-performance cores that are up to 40% faster than the A9 chip, previously found on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and a second slower pair designed to extend battery life, according to Apple.
Apple put an upgraded 12-megapixel camera into the back of the iPhone 7, with optical image stabilization and a quad-LED flash. The iPhone 7 Plus has two 12MP cameras, one wide-angle and the other telephoto. This enables a 2x optical zoom effect. An upcoming software update will allow for advanced focus effects on both devices, particularly shallow depth of field. In addition, the front-facing camera is being upgraded to 7MP.
In both these models, the Home button is no longer be an actual button; instead, it’s a touch-sensitive area with haptic feedback. This won’t affect how current functions work, and it will still function as a fingerprint scanner, but opens up the possibility for new capabilities thanks to what Apple is calling a Taptic Engine.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are IP67 standard certified. This means both are protected against dust, and can withstand immersion in water up to one meter deep. Apple is positioning this is meaning the iPhone will survive an accidental drop in the pool, but don’t take it swimming.
This new devices will come running iOS 10, which includes a dramatically enhanced iMessages app, as well as improvements to the Siri virtual assistant. The general release of this new version for most current Apple phones and tablets will be September 13.
Apple is moving on from the 16GB model. The new iOS smartphones will be available with 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB of capacity. These will sell for $649, $749, and $849, respectively, and will be available September 16. Preorders begin Friday.
The general look and feel of the iPhone 7 will remain the same as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S, and the dimensions aren’t changing. Black and jet black color options are the only new design elements. The same holds true for the Plus version.
The screens will be 25% brighter, and offer a wider color gamut, but will remain 5.5- and 4.7-inches, along with the same resolutions and 3D Touch.
A Change of Strategy
The moderate changes in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have helped foster the rumors that next year’s model, the tenth anniversary iPhone, is going to be dramatically different from its predecessors.
Apple has long followed a strategy of coming out with redesigned models every other year, with the alternate years being slightly enhanced versions their immediate predecessors; the iPhone 6 included a new design, but the iPhone 6S was slightly tweaked. Following that schedule, the iPhone 7 should have had a new form factor, but Apple Is supposedly saving up new features for next year’s offering.
The next model, which most currently refer to as the iPhone 8, might have an edge-to-edge display without side screen bezels, and further speculation indicates that the Home button could be integrated into the main display.