Apple’s annual autumn event has delivered two new iPhone models: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. While vastly improving performance, they’ve somehow managed to give you two more hours battery life a day for your iPhone 7 Plus and an hour a day more for your iPhone 6 Plus.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus both rock an ultrafast A10 Fusion chip, the most advanced in Apple’s iOS lineup. It’s a 64 bit, four core CPU that’s 40% faster the the A9, and twice as fast as the A8 (that’s what’s in your iPhone 6 Plus and 6, respectively). A new performance controller puts key tasks on two ‘high efficiency’ cores, then relegates background tasks in order to conserve battery life. Graphics performance experienced a similar bump in power, so performance will be two times faster than it is on your iPhone 6. You can even use Adobe Lightroom for on-iPhone RAW image editing.
We say goodbye to the 16GB onboard storage option (presumably because of all the action the new cameras are going to get), with both models starting at 32GB and the iPhone 7 Plus going all the way up to 256GB (you’ll have to opt for a Jet Black model to get the largest size).
The camera and display
The Retina HD display now has a wider colour gamut and 25% brighter display, but the real improvements have been seen in the cameras.
Both cameras get with built-in image stabilisation and a larger sensor for better low light performance (our marketing team are extremely excited about what this means for the quality of their Instagram videos). The back camera on both models now uses a six-element lens and high speed sensor to give you sharper images, and incorporates a 50% brighter flash that can sense and compensate for the flickering of artificial light.
This is all powered by a new ISP chip (the thing that calculates focus, exposure and facial recognition, among other things), which has three times the throughput of the previous version, and is now performing three million actions per photo in 25 milliseconds. Even the 7MP FaceTimeHD camera on the front of your phone is getting a wider colour gamut and better colour reproduction.
The iPhone 7 Plus has its own second camera
It’s really a very camera-heavy release. The iPhone 7 Plus has an additional camera on the back. While your standard camera has an optical lens with software zoom, but the new one has a telephoto lens. Combining the two different lens types creates far better zoom performance. 12MP pictures are possible via your optical zoom at 1x and 2x, and then software zoom all the way up to 10x.
A very welcome side effect of this? Your iPhone can now depth-map images in order to produce a shallow depth of field effect (it’s called the ‘portrait’ effect in your menu, and will appear as a free software update later this year), so you can enjoy sharp foreground images with excellent background bokeh.
Audio on iPhone
One feature that’s not present? The headphone jack. From now on, Apple’s headphones will connect via Lightning, rather than the traditional jack, and that space is being used to make space for stereo speakers that are 50% louder than your current speakers, and have a wider dynamic range.
While this may be seen as controversial (apparently some people very strongly about having to use proprietary headphones), there are big benefits – the quality of your audio will be better over a Lightning connection, and closing the jack is part of what has made the new model so water resistant.
If you’re still not convinced, don’t worry – you’ll get a free Lightning to headphone jack adaptor in the box, to ease you through your transitional phase.
Apple also introduced Apple AirPods, wireless earbuds designed by Mr Ive himself. They use an Apple-designed chip called the W1 to maintain a consistent connection to your devices as you move from one to another. Sensors ensure that the AirPods only play once they’re in your ears, where, as well as playing back music, they can activate Siri when you double tap them. They will last for five hours per charge, and the carrying and charging case they come with will provide you with 24 hours of charge.
A haptic Home key
The Home key has been sacrificed in the name of sleekness and water resistance, replaced by a solid state button which provides haptic feedback when pressed, when you get a message or call, or when you perform quick actions. Some of our team are disappointed to lose a physical button; those who have dropped previous iPhone models in the toilet are not, as it now meets the IP67 protection standard for water and dust-proofness.
iPhone 7 is available to preorder now and will start shipping on September 16th. Your iPhone 7 is $649 and the 7 Plus is $749. We first saw this in action at June’s WWDC event, but iOS 10 now has an official release date: September 13th. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are available in Rose Gold, Gold, Silver, Space Grey and new matte Black and glossy Jet Black colours, which we find pleasingly sleek.