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I feel as though I’ve been reading rumors and guesses forever about Apple’s next iPhone. It’s finally official. Apple has finally announced the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, as well as Apple Watch Series 2. More on the watch soon. It’s been a big week for Apple, so let’s focus (that’s a perfect word, as you’ll read in a moment) on the iPhone first.
Faster, smarter and cooler. The rumors were mostly right, with a few notable and sometimes funny exceptions. There is no blue iPhone, but there are two kinds of black. And hopefully no one believed that there would be two speakers with only one actually functioning and the other for show. A company so charged up about saving every bit of space possible by removing the headphone jack (yes, it’s gone) would never create something for show. That said, both models will offer stereo sound.
Overall, there was nothing shocking about today’s iPhone announcement. Sadly, gone are the days where the only hint of something related to an announcement might come that morning thanks to a well-planned leak by Apple. Now with social media and suppliers in China not being afraid of sharing what they know, it’s possible to get a really good idea of what’s going to happen minus those exceptions mentioned above.
But just because there was nothing shocking doesn’t mean today’s announcements weren’t exciting.
You’ll read over and over again about how this iPhone looks the same as the iPhone before it and the iPhone before that which means it’s not really new at all. Just as we should never judge a book by its cover we shouldn’t judge the iPhone by the outside only. On stage today, Apple CEO Tim Cook called it an all-new design and he boasted about the finish and how the antenna bands are hidden. Accurate, yes, but not pertinent to most people outside of the biggest iPhone geeks like you and me. Just wait until Apple redesigns the iPhone. The coverage will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen and the stock price will soar. And that’ll happen even if the insides stay exactly the same, although that’ll never happen.
So how about that headphone jack that’s now gone? This part really shouldn’t shock anyone, but it’s still shocking everyone. That’s silly, especially since we’re talking about the company that told us we no longer needed a CD/DVD drive.Â Here’s what you have to remember about that jack:
- The technology is crazy old! It goes back more than 100 years. What else does Apple make that features 100-year-old technology? Nothing that I can think of, although it’s funny to me that it’s replacement uses Lightning, which is a word we associate with Ben Franklin. (This is where you giggle.)
- 100-year-old technology isn’t very good for advancements. If we never moved from VHS tapes to DVDs, we’d never know what’s possible. This is another one of those moments: once you hear what’s possible, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. That’s exactly what drives Apple. Steve Jobs was fond of saying that Apple’s products should always make you wonder how you ever got by without them. It’s safe to say we feel that way about iTunes and iPods and iPhones. While the headphone jack probably won’t ever truly disappear the way other technology has, I see a future where we explain to our kids that we plugged a round plug into a round hole because everyone did it for 100 years and we never questioned it. Apple said today that it was time to take a risk and move on to something new and exciting. And while the media will write about the end of the headphone jack for as many months as possible, I’ve said before how much better our music will be without it. And remember that it’s not just music because that extra space in your iPhone means room for more amazing stuff.
- It takes up space in the device. No matter what the function, it’s a connection and in the intricate world of machines, whether it’s a smartphone or computer or whatever, a connection takes up valuable space. It’s the same reason Apple is moving everything to USB-C on its laptops because now one port handles charging and power. Same on the iPhone now; you connect your headphones to the same place you connect to charge. And if you really want to use your existing headphones, which you certainly have every right to do, Apple has included an adapter.
Here’s another thing removing that headphone jack did — it allows the iPhone to be water and dust resistant. To help make that possible, Apple utilized the space from the headphone jack to create a flush home button that provides haptic feedback. That means like on the Apple Watch you’ll feel some sort of tap or vibration to signal the completion of a task vs. feeling the natural push of the button as you do now. This flush to the body design keeps water and dust out. It’s not completely waterproof, so don’t go submerging it unnecessarily, but take solace in knowing you should be able to operate it when it’s raining and not have to worry much about consequences.
As I’ve been saying for years, getting rid of the headphone jack is an awesome improvement that we cannot yet begin to appreciate. Only as the iPhone matures and grows will we be able to truly understand what that extra space has done.
Let’s see what else. As I mentioned earlier, there are now not one but two shades of black. There’s “jet black,” which was correctly rumored although referred to incorrectly as “piano black.” And then there’s just plain black. Plus good ol’ rose gold, gold and silver. Sorry, space gray fans — there’s no sign of that color this time around.
I have always liked to switch off between black and white, so I’m a little bummed that there’s no white iPhone 7. However, I do love the jet black color, even though I know the scratches are going to show like crazy. Yeah, you’ll still want a case because that’s how you treat your digital baby.
As far as storage, let us take a moment of silence as we say goodbye to the 16GB iPhone. NOT! Geez, Apple, it’s about time. 16GB isn’t nearly enough for anything, as anyone who has received that annoying message about space full while trying to snap a photo can attest. We live in a world that starts at 32GB now and goes all the way to a whopping 256GB, the first time anything above 128 has been offered. It’s good, but it’s not nearly enough in 2016, even with iCloud. I hope Apple continues to add storage but adds is more quickly between models.
And in more good news, the price of the iPhone hasn’t increased with the increased storage. It’s still $649 for the base model and $769 for the plus, and that’s if you pay for it outright. Most of us take advantage of installment plans, so check on apple.com or with your carrier of choice for how much we’re talking monthly. If you’re like me, I think you look at the price as Tim Cook shows it, gasp a little and then start immediately thinking about the monthly cost and how much room you have on your credit card. Even when Apple announced a $17,000 Watch last year, people were thinking about whether or not they could afford it. (By the way Apple got rid of the gold Watch this time around, which is a story in of itself.)
Also new and much improved is the iPhone’s camera. And if you are unsure if you want a regular 7 or the bigger 7 Plus, you may want to make that decision based on how much you enjoy photography. The 7 Plus has two separate cameras, a wide-angle and a telephoto that allows for true optical zoom plus digital zoom. Add to that, a feature that blurs the background for beautiful portraits and four dedicated LEDs for better flash photography and you may never need to carry around another camera. The base 7 model features the same 12-megapixel camera now in the 6s, which really isn’t too shabby, but I think the $130 difference in price between the models is worth it for the camera alone. Both models do get a souped-up front facing camera and both now have image stabilization for those jittery hands.
You get all this plus the best battery life the iPhone has ever had, and that’s something you’ll certainly notice. And considering the graphics and just about everything else is better, that’s no small feat. So when can you get your hands on these beauties? Soon. Pre-orders start this Friday, Sept. 9 with a ship date a week later on Sept. 16. And if you are set on sticking with your current model, iOS 10 will be available for download on Sept. 13.
Are you purchasing a new iPhone? Are you sticking with what you have? Are you on the fence? Tweet me at @scottkleinberg and @iDropNews or let us know in the comments below!