Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last night where it revealed somethings on stage and many things off it. Apart from launching the new iPhones it also killed the 3.5mm audio jack and launched a new pair of wireless headsets that it believes would change the way we listen to music. While the new iPhones were certainly the star of the show, Apple didn’t delve into many details and just skimmed through most of the new features. While we know when the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus would launch in India (October 7) and how much they would cost (the iPhone 7 32GB is priced at Rs 60,000), there is a lot more to the new iPhones than what Apple announced on stage. Also Read - Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' job application sold for over Rs 2.5 croreAlso Read - Apple iOS 15, iPadOS 15 beta 4 released: What’s new, how to download
The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus might look a lot similar to the iPhones it replaces but there is a lot going on inside that makes it better in almost every aspect. Apple has touched virtually every aspect — better cameras, water resistant casing, faster processor, a brighter display, better speakers and much more. At the same time, there are somethings that might not work for everyone — like the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack, for one. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly bits about the new iPhone that could help you decide whether you should buy it or not.
What’s good about the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus?
Design: Apple hasn’t changed much here and the iPhone 7 design is more of a fine-tuning of the design first introduced in the iPhone 6. The ugly antenna lines have been banished to the top and bottom edges and aren’t in your face any more. The casing sort of rises up to meet the camera module so while the camera bump remains, it is not jarring. The big news, however, is the addition of two new colors — black and jet black. The jet black finish, Apple says, is achieved through a “precision nine-step anodization and polishing process”, which gives it a glossy finish. It will be available only for the 128GB and 256GB models and it looks stunning.
Camera: This is the real big deal, in my opinion. The iPhone always had a good camera but in recent years Samsung had caught up with Apple and even outperformed its camera especially in low-light conditions. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7, both has optical image stabilization, which was only present in the larger iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus. Apple is changing all of that.
To begin with both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus now have optical image stabilization. Both have 12-megapixel cameras with a f/1.8 aperture, which Apple claims lets up to 50 percent more light on to the sensor for better low-light photography. The cameras are also able to capture a wider color range, which Apple says would make your photos look better.
The iSight camera now comes with a quad-LED TrueTone flash, which is not only brighter but it also throws light further as well. Apple has also included a new Flicker sensor that negates the flickering effect that can happen in artificial light, especially when you are clicking a screen. And the front-facing FaceTime camera has been upgraded too, now it takes photos in 7-megapixel resolution. It can also shoot videos in 1080p full HD resolution
Where Apple is really upping the game, however, is the iPhone 7 Plus, which offers a new dual-camera setup. There is a pair of the 12-megapixel cameras — one is the same f/1.8 wide-angle camera from the iPhone 7 and another is a f/2.8 telephoto camera that allows users to zoom in without loss in image quality. Apple says the setup would enable users to take 2x optical zoom photos and up to 10x digital zoom photos with sharp image quality.
But what’s really interesting is the new portrait shooting mode that will come to the iPhone 7 Plus via a software update. This would enable users to click photos with a bokeh effect, which is made possible thanks to the depth mapping the two set of cameras are able to do. While this is something many have tried first by HTC and more recently by Xiaomi, what sets Apple apart is that users won’t have to select areas for blurring them out of focus, which essentially is clumsy and looks artificial. Instead, Apple is relying on machine learning, which would identify the subject and use depth mapping to give a more precise bokeh and a sharper photo as well.
LTE bands: Finally, you won’t have to worry about which iPhone variant to buy if you are planning to get one from abroad. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus support all possible LTE bands! There is one additional version in the US that also supports CDMA for Verizon and Sprint, but typically your iPhone 7 bought in any country would work globally. This is big news.
Water resistance: This has been on my wishlist since forever and finally it has happened. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are both IP67 certified so the phones would survive an accidental dunk in the pool, a splash in a bar or generally a walk in the rain.
Performance: The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus run on the A10 Fusion processor that Apple claims is twice as fast as the iPhone 6 and at the same time would offer iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users marginally better battery life than iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Apple claims it is the fastest processor in a smartphone.
Audio: Apple has also improved the audio quality of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. It is finally stereo, thanks to an additional speaker on the top. Apple claims its new iPhones are twice as loud as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus and also have a wider dynamic range.
More storage: RIP 16GB iPhone. The new new iPhones come with a minimum of 32GB internal storage and you can opt for 128GB and 256GB versions. Finally.
What’s bad about the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus?
Design: This is the only component that is both good and bad about the new iPhones. It just feels dated. In fact, there is a new “Apple Plug” that you can use to “convert” your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus into an iPhone 7. And that jet black color, well Apple says it would be prone to scratches and if they bother you (is there anyone out there who would not be bothered about a Rs 70,000 smartphone getting scratched easily?), you should use a case with it.
Here’s what Apple says on its website: The high-gloss finish of the jet black iPhone 7 is achieved through a precision nine-step anodization and polishing process. Its surface is equally as hard as other anodized Apple products; however, its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use. If you are concerned about this, we suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone.
New home button: I am sitting on the fence on this one but considering my earlier experience with non-clickable home buttons that try to mimic a clickable home button, I would position it in the bad segment for now. Initial impressions have not been great and there would certainly be a learning curve for users to get used to the new home button.
Display: Apple waxed about the new display onstage last night about how it is the brightest and most colorful iPhone display yet. How it is able to deliver cinema-standard colors, a wider color gamut and is 25 percent brighter at the same time. What it didn’t tell you is that the iPhone 7 still has the equivalent of a 720p resolution display while the iPhone 7 Plus is still a paltry 1080p resolution display. However, if you are an existing iPhone user and the low-resolution displays haven’t bothered you, yet, you might find the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus displays to be an improvement.
What’s ugly about the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus?
No 3.5mm audio jack: Courage. That’s what Apple said it had to kill the decades-old ubiquitous 3.5mm audio jack. And then it went ahead a bundled a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter in the box. Seriously.
While on a personal level I agree with Apple that someone had to do it, in order to move to the future of better quality sound, but I see no way it is going to go down well with users at large. It is not really a deal breaker for me, but then I rarely even use wired earphones but for many, this could be the reason why they won’t buy the new iPhone.