iPhone 7 & 7 Plus: same, same but different


WhistleOut
07 September 2016

Apple today unveiled the eagerly anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones, both with several new and noteworthy enhancements delivered in a now familiar package.

Before we dive into the specifics of the new models, we’ll point out that the new phones will be available from Friday September 16 (just a week and a half away!). Apple will be selling the new iPhone 7 32GB from US$649 and the iPhone 7 Plus 32GB for US$769.

Carrier pricing will be available closer to launch day and will be available on our iPhone Plans page as soon as we receive them.

So what’s new? 

With the usual fanfare, Apple executives rattled off a slew of “best ever” features in the news phones: some of which are brand new, and some which are merely minor upgrades. The best bits are:

  • Storage variants start at 32GB and increase to 128GB and 264GB options, skipping the 16GB and 64GB sizes available in the current iPhone 6 models.
  • The new phones are water and dust resistant (IP67 rated). 
  • Stereo speakers now on the top and the bottom of the phones.
  • Touch sensitive Home button and a new “Taptic Engine” to give vibrating feedback when you use it.

Yep, Lightning connecting headphones

One of the more controversial changes made by Apple in the new iPhone 7 design is the removal of a standard 3.5mm headphone socket, forcing all wired audio accessories to use the lightning connector (charging port) to connect headphones to the iPhone.

This has obvious drawbacks for people who love to use a favourite (and sometimes extremely expensive) pair of standard headphones with the new handset, but Apple did make a compelling argument for the change in direction. Chiefly that space in smartphone design is at a premium and that removing a large headphone jack frees up space for other components. 

To help ease the transition, Apple will include a lightning-to-analog adapter in the box with all iPhone 7s, and new Apple EarPods that will use the lightning port.

Plus size camera for the Plus

As Apple has done with previous models, the best camera experience this year is reserved for the larger (more expensive) Plus model.

All iPhone 7 phones will have a 12-megapixel sensor on the back and a 7-megapixel sensor on the front, and all rear-facing cameras have optical image stabilisation. However, the new Plus come with a bonus which is pretty cool.

While the iPhone 7 has a single, standard wide-angle lens, the iPhone 7 Plus comes with two lenses side-by-side, the wide-angle and a separate telephoto lens.

The key advantage to this is that you will have the option to take a photo with either by choosing a zoom length. “1x” zoom will use the wide-angle lens and will take a photo just like the iPhone 7. “2x” zoom switches to the telephoto lens and takes a closer shot without needing any digital software zoom effect. The iPhone 7 Plus isn’t the first smartphone with two lenses, but it might be the first to integrate it is a truly useful way.

One new design, four old ones

Those looking for a brand new looking iPhone handset will have the option of a new glossy “Jet Black” finish as opposed to the matte finish aluminium of the current iPhone 6 handset. The new finish is till made from aluminium but is made to look reflecting, like the glass bodies on Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Note7 handsets.

If you’d prefer some colour, the standard black, silver, gold and rose gold (pink) handsets are also available, but don’t expect anyone to be cooing about your hot new handset, as they look pretty much identical to the iPhones you can buy today.


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