I remember when I’d wake up early and jump on the web to see the newest iSomething that had been released the night before. I, along with the rest of the world, had no idea what it would look like and no idea what it could do. It was a real event among us nerds and we looked forward to these keynotes the same way kids hang out for Christmas Day.
Nowadays the beans are spilled even before they have had a chance to warm up so we all knew ahead of time what the iPhone 7 was going to look like and, mostly, what it was going to do. We all knew that the speaker jack was going the way of the floppy disk and baggy trousers and we knew it had dual cameras and a new, practically invisible, antenna. So it was hard to be excited when the curtain was finally pulled back and the iPhone 7 was presented to the world.
No gasps. No cheers. No standing ovations. Just polite applause.
But this isn’t Apple’s fault and now that the wrapping has been removed it shouldn’t detract from the product itself.
For the first time a new body shape did not come with the new digit.
The iPhone 3 had a rounded back and was made of plastic. The iPhone 4 was hard edged and made of metal, the iPhone 5 was taller and the iPhone 6 was thinner, larger and rounded at the edges. By contrast the iPhone 7 is practically identical to the 6S – at least in looks and so if you are looking for differentiator then you will have to look within.
The screen is brighter, the whole phone is lighter, the camera has been – as always – improved out of sight (no pun intended) and it is now water proof. All in all it is what an iPhone 6S always wanted to be when it grew up.
And that is saying a lot because the iPhone 6S is, to my mind, the best iPhone ever made.
Oddly the biggest news surrounding this new iPhone has not been about what it has but rather what it hasn’t, namely the removal of the speaker jack. This move has caused many people to rant and rave about how they cannot listen to music while the phone is charging or how they cannot use those old headphones that they just cannot be parted from.
Well the truth is they can charge and listen to music at the same time by either getting a charger/speaker dock or going wireless which would make sense as this is clearly the way of the future.
Also, if the beef is “I just bought a new set of headphones with a jack!” the new iPhone comes with an adapter so they are covered. And for those that don’t care and usually put the supplied headphones in a drawer and forget about them… Apple are still supplying corded headphones that plug into the lightning connector, so these can now be put in a draw as well.
Personally I cannot see what the fuss is about. The phone is mobile by nature, so it seems logical that it be tied to nothing at all. When the Playstation shipped the wireless controller the world cheered and when the remote for the first VCR went from a (very) long cord to infrared everyone wondered why it had taken Panasonic so long to get around to it. But Apple dares to move away from the headphone jack and everyone loses their collective minds!
Personally I have been wireless for a few years and have no intention of returning to the tethered world of tangled cords and a ready made snag line with which to hurl my phone out of my pocket and onto the floor. It all started with a wireless headset for my home amp because I didn’t fancy a cable lying in my dinner or threatening to spill my wine while I was trying to watch a movie with headphones. Then when the Apple Watch came out I had no option but to go wireless if I wanted to listen to music from the Watch while I exercised. Recently I bought a pair of Bose wireless noise cancelling headphones and they are simply a joy to use. There really is nothing like being able to leave the phone in the bedroom (charging I might add) and listen to music (or take a phone call) while I am cooking or wandering around at the other end of the house.
True music freedom!
Then of course there is the option to invest in the new AirPods. Very similar – minus the cord of course- to the old EarPods in design but the tech is rather impressive. Firstly they have lasers that power up the units when they detect they have been inserted into the ear, ready to work that way for 5 hours solid. They also have sensors that allow the lightest tap to make phone calls or activate Siri. They come in a small charging case that will keep the units charged for 24 hours and automatically pairs with the your iPhone or Apple Watch as soon as it is opened. What I particularly like is the fact that unlike most other Bluetooth headphones there is no cord at all connecting the left and right ear piece so just like your socks, you’ll need to work at keeping them together somehow.
Then there is the new home button. In the past the home button has been a mechanical device, giving feed back when used. The new one is purely digital, relying on haptic feed back and vibration to give you the same response. Early reports suggest this feature takes some getting used to so I encourage a test drive at an Apple store before you lay down the credit card. For my part, I have tested it and in my opinion it is no big deal.
With the Home button now a sealed digital unit and the phone jack gone, Apple have now been able to finally make the iPhone water resistant. While I have never damaged a phone by getting it wet (well, there was that one time but it is too embarrassing to talk about) I am really looking forward not having to worry about the possibility anymore.
One other change for the iPhone has been the colour range. Space grey has been replaced by Jet Black (think piano finish) and Black (think Batman’s outfit)
I haven’t seen these in the flesh yet but early reports are suggesting that the Jet Black option is so shiny that it will collect finger prints like a crazed FBI agent and can attract scratches easily. To my mind, if its black you want then, Batman’s outfit is the only way to go.