avatarby Kris CarlonSeptember 7, 20165 comments

Water-resistant iPhone 7

What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter – even when it’s an accidental tweet announcing the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus before Tim Cook has had the honors. Despite that little hiccup, the new iPhones have been officially announced and while the most exciting new iPhone 7 feature is water-resistance, better battery life, a new chip and stereo speakers are also right up there.

iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Price and release date

The iPhone 7 release date is September 16 with pre-orders as of September 9. The iPhone 7 price starts at $649 for the 32 GB version (with options up to 256 GB) and the iPhone 7 Plus price starts at $769 for the 32 GB version (again, with models up to 256 GB).

Don’t miss: iPhone 7 and 7 Plus drop test: will they survive?

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To put that in perspective, those are the same price points as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, except you get double the internal storage for the same price. Because that means no one would probably bother with the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus any more, Apple is also upping the storage on last year’s models. The brand-new Jet Black iPhone 7 only comes in 128 GB and 256 GB options, making it the new “must-have”.

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iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Design

If you’ve seen any of the iPhone 7 leaks you’ll know not much has changed in terms of design, but those familiar antenna bands have now migrated to the edges of the device rather than the back. The enclosure creates the housing for the camera bump because it is all crafted from the same bit of aluminum. The removal of the 3.5 mm port means there’s now a second speaker grill (that hides a microphone, not a speaker) on the bottom edge.

There are two new iPhone 7 colors: Jet Black and regular Black. Jet Black is the “piano black” you might have heard about and it is glossy and sexy as all get out. Black is more of a matte black but will definitely appeal to those that aren’t into building their fingerprint collection. You’ve also still got options for Gold, Silver and Rose Gold.

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iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Home button

The home button has been re-engineered from the ground up on the iPhone 7. The iPhone 7’s solid state home button is now Force Touch sensitive and works together with Apple’s Taptic Engine to be more responsive to a wider range of frequencies. According to Cook, it provides an “incredible new feel”.

What’s more, the new home button is used throughout iOS, providing unique feedback for messages, notifications, ringtones and navigation. It actually sounds pretty cool, meaning you’ll know by touch alone what is going on with your iPhone 7.

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IP67 water resistant

For the first time, Apple has released a water-resistant iPhone. With an IP67 certification, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are protected against harmful dust particles as well as immersion in up to one meter of water for up to half an hour. In our iPhone 7 water test we found the phone to handle that with ease as well as a swim in the ocean (which we don’t advise because salt water is bad for phones).

iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Camera

Apple introduced all-new cameras on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. They feature optical image stabilization (on both the iPhone 7 as well as the 7 Plus), meaning they can comfortably handle up to three times longer exposures. The 28 mm f/1.8 aperture six-element lens and faster sensor lets in 50% more light too.

The new 12 MP sensor is 60% faster and 30% more energy efficient than the iPhone 6s and the True-Tone flash now has four LEDs and a Flicker Sensor that reads the flickering of artificial lighting for even better exposures.

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The iPhone 7s gets a new image signal processor that has twice the throughput of previous versions. It uses machine learning to set exposure, focus and color balance, all in 25 milliseconds. I don’t care what anyone says, this new iPhone 7 camera is going to be good.

If you opt for the larger-screened iPhone 7 Plus, you’ll even get a second 56 mm f/2.8 12 MP camera on the back: a regular lens (the same as the iPhone 7) and a second zoom lens. The two lenses not only allow you to switch between regular and zoom photography, they will also work in concert with software to create a depth map of the scene in front of the lenses. This all happens automatically in Portrait mode.

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Although the new iPhone 7 Plus won’t ship with this new depth-mapping feature, it will be a free update later in the year. What it does is essentially allow the software to analyse the image and create an artificial Bokeh effect by distinguishing between the subject and de-focusing the background. What’s even better is that this all happens in real-time, meaning what you see in the on-screen preview is what you’ll get if you take the photo.

If you buy the iPhone 7 Plus, you’ll see a little button in the camera app that says ‘1x’. This means you’re using the regular lens. Tap this to switch to the zoom lens (it will then say ‘2x’) and slide it to go right up to ’10x’ (via software). To recap, the iPhone 7 plus supports up to 2x optical zoom with up to 10x digital zoom.

What’s more, the new iPhones have improved low-light performance thanks to the larger aperture, a faster sensor that supports high-speed exposures and you even get OIS when shooting Live Photos, which are now supported by third-party apps. Oh, and RAW file support has finally come to the iPhone (time to buy the high storage capacity version kids…).

Both new iPhones come with a f/2.2 7 MP FaceTime camera up front with auto-image stabilization. Improved color capture capabilities guarantee better looking selfies than on any previous iPhone.

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iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Display

The iPhone 7 Retina HD display is, according to Cook, “the best on any smartphone” – although Samsung might argue with that (even if they did make it). It is apparently 25% brighter than the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and offers a wider color gamut, color management and 3D Touch layer.

One app taking advantage of the Retina display and the new iPhone 7 cameras is Instagram, which will have an app update supporting both features later this year. Ian Spalter, Instagram’s head of design, announced that all Instagram photo filters are now going to use the iPhone 7’s full color gamut, so you’ll see more impressive colors from any photos taken on an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus in the near future.

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iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Audio

No surprises here: the 3.5 mm headphone port is a thing of the past on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. According to Jony Ive, Apple “believes in a wireless future”, so the company has decided to help get consumers there a little faster by rendering their old headphones obsolete. But not without a grace period, unlike previous Apple “discards” like optical drives and ethernet ports.

The usual semi-convincing argument for ditching the 3.5 analog jack for a fancier new one – in this case, Lightning – was made, but fortunately for those of you not interested in ditching your current headphones, Apple is actually including a free (that’s right, free) adapter for Lightning to 3.5 mm in the iPhone 7 box.

You’ll also get an included pair of the new Apple EarPods that have a Lightning connector on the end and you can of course power other devices via that same connection. According to Apple, there are over 900 million Lightning-enabled devices in the world today. Not bad considering Apple has “only” sold a billion iPhones.

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But if cables aren’t really your thing, Apple’s vision for the wireless future will be available soon too. AirPods are the new truly wireless ear buds for the iPhone 7. They cost $159 and will ship in late October. They’ll get you 5 hours of battery life with a battery charging case that has an additional 24 hours of charge.

Pairing them to your iPhone or Apple Watch is as simple as opening the case near your iPhone or Watch and tapping ‘Connect’ when the pairing prompt appears on either device. iCloud syncing means that you only ever need to go through the setup process once to have multiple device compatibility.

Infrared sensors detect when the AirPods have been inserted, so they only play when you’re ready to listen. They contain the new Apple W1 chip, as do a variety of new Beats headphones including the Beats Solo3 Wireless with 40 hours of battery life. There’s also the Powerbeats3 Wireless for sportier types and BeatsX for an affordable, light and comfortable “all day” experience.

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For the first time, stereo speakers have been added to the new iPhones with one above the display and the other on the bottom in its usual position. Apple claims these speakers offer twice the volume of the iPhone 6s speakers as well as increased dynamic range. It will be interesting to see how good the quality is, given the need for water-resistant gaskets in the speaker cavities.

iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Performance

The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus both utilize the new 64-bit, quad-core Apple A10 Fusion chip. The A10 chip has two high-performance cores and two energy-sipping cores for less intensive tasks. A new performance controller analyses what you’re doing and manages the CPU output accordingly to optimize energy-saving and performance at all times.

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The two high-performance cores are 40% faster than the A9 chip in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. They are twice as fast as the A8 chip found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and 120 times faster than the original iPhone. On the other end of the scale, the two high-efficiency cores use just one-fifth of the power of the high performance cores for even longer battery life.

There’s also a new hexa-core GPU chip that’s 50% faster than the A9 and three times faster than the A8. Again, to put it in old-school perspective, the new GPU is 240 times faster than the original iPhone. It uses two-thirds the power compared to the A9 and just half of what the A8 uses. According to Apple, it is “the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone.”

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iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Battery

As always, Apple is keeping tight-lipped about the actual battery capacity of the new iPhone 7, but the company is promising the best battery life of any iPhone ever. On average, you can expect two more hours than the iPhone 6s and one more hour compared to the iPhone 6s Plus.

The first teardowns have revealed a 1,960 mAh (7.45 Wh) battery in the iPhone 7 and a 2,900 mAh (11 Wh) cell in the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple is promising 50% longer battery life on the iPhone 7 Plus and both new iPhones have seen a battery increase since last year: the iPhone 7 has a 14.5% bigger battery and the iPhone 7 Plus has a 5.5% larger battery.

iPhone 7 & 7 Plus – iPhone Upgrade Program

Finally, Apple is expanding the iPhone Upgrade Program to encompass the UK and China later this year, and if you sign up you’ll also get AppleCar+. There is a range of 27/32 month carrier subsidy plans available for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but you’ll have to check in again for details on those. iOS 10 will be rolling out on September 13.

What do you think about the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus? Let us know in the comments below!!

  • Ryan

    Included with the latest feature, iDon’tTouch, which helps you to remember to upgrade your phone next year when the touchscreen stops responding.

  • gqukyo

    Wow you guys don’t know what IP67 means huh? 6 means it’s dustproof, 7 means it can be immersed in water up to 1M for 30m… best correct the article… lol

    • Caleb Faulkner

      He’s right you know… you really should fix your article.

      • Indra Maulana

        he means 1m for 30minutes

  • Yana

    The black iPhone 7 Plus looks really good. I’ve never been a fan of apple, and their decision to remove the headphone jack was really weird, but I think this iPhone really has good camera and performance.