iPhone 7: Something Old, Not Much New, Plenty Borrowed, Leaves Me Blue
So the iPhone 7 arrived as predicted with pretty much every piece of information having been comprehensively leaked before arrival. Once you cut through the usual phone launch hyperbole and hubris, how good is the iPhone 7 compared to its predecessors and peers?
Something old: the design is almost universally carried over from the iPhone 6, other than some tweaks to antenna lines and the new cameras. It isn’t a design I particularly like and given that it will almost universally end up hidden in a case it isn’t a hugely important carry over.
Not much new: the removal of the headphone jack and the introduction of a new wireless chip to connect Apple’s new wireless headphones were barely innovative. The Lightning headset included with your iPhone now cannot be reused in your Mac and the wireless
EarPods can’t connect to anything but the new iPhone for now. Presumably Apple plans to update the rest of its product range to support the same connectivity. Turns out the Earpods use Bluetooth for streaming and work just like other Bluetooth headphones, except for the W1 chip for pairing. Not sure why Apple couldn't just use NFC like everybody else.
Apple brought its new A10 processor, with lots of talk about how much power it adds to the platform, although a massive increase in processing power seems like the least important thing that the iPhone needed. There was also the expected introduction of the new colour gamut for the iPhone’s screen.
Plenty borrowed: almost all of the things that Apple added to the iPhone are common elsewhere. Waterproofing, stereo speakers, dual cameras… the standard sized iPhone finally got OIS, several years behind almost every one of its competitors. Even the removal of the headphone jack is old hat. Lenovo recently removed it from the Moto Z, whilst HTC first did it a decade ago.
Feeling blue? I think circumstances will save the iPhone from falling sales. Samsung’s battery issues on the Note 7 will bring more users into the iOS fold. Otherwise I believe that this very ho-hum update, the iPhone 6SS, if you like, would do nothing to halt falling iPhone sales.
The most interesting part of the iPhone 7 is the new camera on the Plus. Given the quality of Apple’s camera software and image processing, it’s likely that this will be a game changing implementation of a dual camera setup that goes beyond what HTC or Huawei have managed to achieve.