...as Apple described their freshly released iPhone 7 & 7 Plus at their recent conference launch – looks very much like their predecessors in the iPhone 6 series. The size is almost identical, the feel and weight, position of the camera... You’d be hard pushed to tell them apart.
But as the good folks at Gizmodo wisely point out, perhaps, “the need for radical changes disappears as the design approaches what people really want.” So while the near-perfect exterior hasn’t altered much there are some fundamental differences to what’s going on inside the phone that make the user experience a major upgrade. And these changes have certainly done enough to keep Apple’s competitors sweating in the months ahead.
The most controversial difference that everyone’s talking about is that Apple has done away with the time-honoured headphone jack, in use in the phone industry since operators first sat at switch boards a hundred years ago. Headphones will henceforth connect through the same hole as the charger, and new headphones will have the appropriately shaped attachment.
Panic not if you’ve forked out on a swanky pair of headphones and don’t want to waist them. All iPhone 7s & 7 Pluses will come with a handy adaptor. But what doesn’t come free is the real revolutionary step forward, the real reason Apple had what they described as the “courage” to push this change through – and that’s the introduction of truly wireless headphones.
These odd looking creatures (mocked by many as resembling electric toothbrush heads & other less appetising sanitary products) look like someone took a pair of scissors to the traditional apple headphones – with little extensions hanging down that are the microphone you use to make phone calls and communicate with Siri (who incidentally now obeys a wealth of new commands, facilitated by the new IOS system upgrade which enables Siri to communicate with 3rd party apps.)
The first phones to sell out are those boasting Apple’s new shiny “piano black” finish – note the difference between “piano black” and the original black black! Comprising only the aluminium body and one formed sheet of glass, the phone aims to achieve “one truly uninterrupted form”. So it’s sleeker than ever, and the new high gloss back finish is achieved with a state-of-the-art “magnetised ultra-fine ion particle bath” process, which creates a continuous anodised layer, polished to a pristine mirror like surface.
It’s not surprising that these were the first to sell out. They’re things of great beauty. But there’s a glitch. A glitch newspapers have been quick to jump on scathingly, though you’re in the right place to receive such news. The new surface is a lot more prone to scratching & showing up those scratches, and Apple themselves “suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your phone”.
If you’re an Apple user you’ll already be using the new upgraded IOS operating system, which of course can be appreciated at its maximum potential with an iPhone 7 & 7 Plus.
The benefits extend well beyond being able to treat yourself to the nostalgia of downloading Nintendo’s Super Mario brothers (at last), with enhanced Siri use across 3rd party apps and a new Apple “Home” hub which can control your home devices such as energy use and security from afar.
Phones now wake up when you move them, rides and meals can be booked directly through the Maps app, and there’s a fun little gadget in iMessage which lets you send hologram-like kisses and hearts.
And that futuristic phrase “machine learning” came up a lot at the Apple conference to explain why your phone is now better than ever at predicting what you’re going to need before you knew you needed it.
Have you seen the advert for these beauties yet? If so you’ll have had your heart in your mouth with all the pool party water action going on. Apple’s made a big play on making the new models as tough & durable as possible, claiming they’re water & dust resistant, with shatter-proof screens that can survive drop tests of up to seven foot!
Apple’s new “force sensitive” home button on the iPhone 7 and 7 Pluses has what they call a “taptic engine”. The button basically gives you a little buzzing feedback sensation, which can be exploited by 3rd party apps to create new feelings and experiences, useful when you’re playing games apparently!
We have every sympathy for the camera industry. How many of you still lug your SLR around on a daily basis “just in case”? Apple paired up with a team of choice world-class photographers to show off the beautiful new magic they’ve put into their latest camera lenses. The photographs are inevitable pretty spectacular, with iPhone 7 Pluses boasting an added dual-lens feature that gives even greater depth of field and scope for artistic use. Apple claim their new lenses use “machine learning” to read the scene and look for objects & bodies within it, setting the colour with white balance and capturing “cinema standard” white colour. The phones then take multiple photos and fuse them together into one every time you take a picture, performing 100 billion operations in just 25 milliseconds. If that’s not enough geekery, here are some more key features of the new lenses:
Apple claims their upgrades now boast the best battery life of any iPhone yet – up to 2 hours improved usage apparently. This is achieved by splitting efficiency across different applications and processes so that only those needed at any one time are in use.
Despite reiterating several times at their conference that this is “the best iPhone yet”, you can bet Apple’s got a lot more in store. Why else would they roll out their new initiative to keep fans hungry for the iPhone 8s 9s and 10s of the future?
With the iPhone Upgrade Programme, you no longer need to wait for your carrier contract to end to change your phone. After 11 payments, you can get a new iPhone and simply start the programme again with your new choice of model, colour or storage capacity.
We can only hope that the scheme will help Apple to improve on their claim that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is more recyclable and sustainable than ever, with materials being returned in-house where they can best be transformed into future technology. If you’re tempted to treat yourself to the scheme, here’s more info.
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