Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, October 23, 2018

REVIEW: iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 might only be incrementally better, but if you have the option to upgrade, you definitely should

REVIEW: iPhone 7

Just like every September for the past six years, Apple is back at it again with a new flagship version of its best-selling device, the iPhone. This year, it’s the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. As long-time Apple fans and newcomers to the platform argue about whether this phone is a true innovation or even more repetitive than the last version, the fact still remains that there is a strong population of customers around the world forming lines around the corners of Apple Stores.

Since Apple launched its first generation of the iPhone back in 2007, it never ceases to get most repeat customers and lots of new iPhone owners excited for the new update every year. This year is the first year of the company’s new design cycle, but most people will notice that the newest version looks strikingly similar to its predecessors, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

That would be because the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have the same exact dimensions as its predecessors with the exception of the new cameras. While the iPhone 7 Plus got the major upgrade of a dual lens setup (a 28mm wide angle from the iPhone 6S Plus and a brand new 56mm telephoto lens), both iPhones now have optically stabilized 12 megapixel shooters and seven megapixel front-facing cameras.

If you choose to buy the iPhone 7 Plus, you’ll get a whole new range of features, including optical zoom, up to 10 times digital zoom and extensive settings that let you change your depth of field. If you’re even an amateur photographer and you have the money, the 7 Plus is definitely the way to go in the photo department.

Another major change that this phone adopted is the removal of the headphone jack. While there is a lot of speculation as to why Apple may have done this, (beyond Phil Schiller’s super informative answer of “courage”) there are two major benefits that it was able to include by nixing the trademark 3.5 mm jack. The first (and by far the most necessary) is that the iPhone is now IP67 water and dust resistant.

In short, if you take this phone in the shower, or drop it in the toilet, there is no visit to the Apple Store needed, but you still can’t take underwater video in the ocean. While the gold standard in IP rating is 68, 67 is good enough for most people, and definitely good enough to put waterproof phone cases largely out of business.

Another interesting addition, and the second reason why Apple took out the headphone jack, is the home button on the new iPhone is now a capacitive force touch button, similar to the trackpads on the new MacBooks. The home button isn’t actually a mechanical button, but the haptic feedback makes it feel pretty real. While most customers would look at this as a bad move by Apple, this new home button design has the major benefit of reducing the number of moving parts. Also, if you shatter your screen, there’s a zero percent chance of your home button breaking resulting in an extreme reliance on Assistive Touch, which I can’t imagine anyone likes.

While the removal of the headphone jack may frustrate a lot of customers, Apple does ship a 3.5 mm to lightning adapter in the box and there’s no loss in sound quality. Also, Bluetooth earbuds are becoming progressively better and less expensive, and once iPhone 7 accessories become the norm, those 3.5 to lightning adapters will become unbelievably cheap, even cheaper than Apple’s surprisingly reasonable $9.00 retail price.

One thing customers might not be happy with is that you can’t charge and listen to music at the same time unless you have Bluetooth headphones. However, Apple raised the battery capacity on both models to the highest it has ever been, and the combination of low resolution screens, relatively small battery capacities and fast charging keeps the new iPhone in the upper echelon of battery life.

While the rest of the phone is pretty close to the same as last year’s models, there’s no denying that the device as a whole is better, just like all of Apple’s annual incremental updates.

scene@theeagleonline.com


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