The iPhone 7 and 7+, Launched last year in the fall is, as far as I can presume, known by all generally as the “Jack-Less phone” owing to the removal of the headphone jack, but this device has far more up its sleeve than just that. The design development cycle for the phones before this was a two year one but this time its staying with the base design Apple introduced with the iPhone 6 and, as far as I can imagine, its perhaps because Apple’s got something special and new in the offing for the iPhone’s tenth anniversary in 2017.
Now don’t worry, maybe the lack of a new design might have obviously been a letdown but mind you, everything else inside the device screams future. May it be the better than ever camera ushering a new era in mobile photography, or the water resistance of the device, or moving to a capacitive solid state home button, or the awesome Haptics of the device or the new A10 Fusion chip with the dual high power cores which could beat up even rival laptops and the dual low power ones extending the battery life.
So yes, the iPhone 7 did it away with the headphone jack. We are lucky that we live in a digital age or just think about how low could the world’s ink supply have gone considered upon the slew of pieces written about the change before the launch and even till now. According to Apple, it was an engineering decision based on freeing up space on the inside of the device. Are there limitations to this approach? Sure, all over the place. I can bring up a whole host of scenarios where dropping the headphone jack will lead to inconvenience and frustration. It will probably be years until most of that gets smoothed out, either by technological evolution or by the wearing out of those beloved corded headphones and their replacement by something newer and more compatible. And in some cases, we’ll be using adapters (to attach to the auxiliary jacks in old car stereos, sound systems in meeting rooms, and the like) for years to come—I own a USB A-to-Ethernet adapter, for Pete’s sake.
Here’s the good news: Apple’s little adapter, which converts the digital audio stream from the iPhone (and it’ll work on any device running iOS 10 and above) to the analog signals required by our ears, works fine and sounds fine. My wired headphones worked well with it, right down to the microphone and control buttons. Yes, if I want to listen and charge at the same time I’m out of luck. Yes, that’s kind of a bummer. But we’ll all adapt; in some cases, by changing our behavior, and in other cases by literally buying adapters.
The Stereo Speakers
Let’s get away from the headphone jack that’s not there, this phone now has stereo speakers (Finally, Apple! And on that note, why aren’t other manufacturers taking this route yet? Ahem Samsung). The speakers are tuned for video, in the sense that the second speaker is right in the earpiece—so if you’re holding the device in landscape orientation to watch a video, you’ll hear sounds coming from left to right with some real stereo separation. The new speaker is actually a modified version of the speaker you listen to when you’re holding the device to your face to talk on the phone. Also, on another note, the speakers are way louder and richer than I have experienced with other flagships I have had. For a person with a hearing disability, Way to go Apple!
The Touch ID
The iPhone 7 will almost certainly go down in history as the model that did away with the headphone jack, but another iPhone mainstay was also eroded off: the physical home button. In some ways, the home button is the most important part of the iOS interface, the ultimate reset to get you to a familiar place, no matter where you are. The iPhone 7 still has one, but it doesn’t move. Instead, along with its integrated Touch ID sensor, it’s also a pressure-sensitive surface. You push on the little circle, it registers it and provides a little vibration to let you know that your push was felt.
The (Gorgeous) Display
Like the ones on the retina iMac and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro before it, the display on the iPhone 7 can display a wider range of colors than we’re used to in our displays, thanks to support for the P3 color gamut. The fact is, our device displays can’t show the entire range of color that our eyes can see, so images displayed on them don’t always seem as vibrant as real life. That makes the photos taken by the iPhone 7 look ridiculously good on the device, and the same could go for supported apps like Instagram and Tumblr for the same.
Not following the trend, I am not actually much concerned about Apple not going beyond the current pixel density of their Retina displays. I don’t have the sharpest vision, but still, beyond a certain point, adding more pixels to a display doesn’t actually makes sense. The iPhone 7’s display, at 1334X750p, is arguably on the light side but still, I think the screen looks great, and I’m not sure I would really be able to tell the difference if it was a 1080p display with a higher pixel resolution, given how it’s jammed in a 4.7-inch diagonal space (Considering the fact that I moved from a 5.5” 1080p panel to this, I prefer the display on the iPhone instead).
The Eyes of the Phone – The iSight and Facetime Cameras
One of the truths of every year’s new iPhone: The camera’s better. The camera’s always better. This year’s no exception. The new iSight camera on the back is a 12-megapixel f/1.8 sensor that captures in the same P3 wide color gamut that’s supported by the display. For the first time, the non-Plus edition of the iPhone gains optical image stabilization.
The LED flash (Now Quad-led) has been improved to provide a wider range of color responses to get the best tone. The photos clearly are way better than the ones clicked by the previous iPhones. And adding to that iOS 10 even lets third-party apps capture RAW data from the camera, but the stock Camera app still saves images as JPEGs. I also need to mention that Apple continues to up its selfie game. The FaceTime HD camera now shoots at 7 megapixels and supports the wide color gamut too.
The balance of performance and battery
Here is the problem: The iPhone needs to have as much power at its command as possible to drive apps and games and apply billions of machine-learning calculations to your photo library. But it also needs to have good battery life. How do you balance things? Apple’s answer is the A10 Fusion chip, which features two pairs of processor cores, one set designed for raw performance and the other for energy efficiency. The result is not just a faster iPhone, but one with better-rated battery life than Apple’s ever claimed on an iPhone before. And this battery life experience has super shocked me, the iOS optimizations to the measly 2700MaH battery literally blew my brains out. I was travelling one day and had no Power bank with me and no way to charge the phone up; But I knew that its going to be a long day and my usage is heavier than usual and still, it went 16 hours on the low power mode before it went down to 10% which in my Android experience since last four years, I have never faced.
And the Conclusion
See, we have been through this for 9 times now. The Current phone being faster and better than the previous generation and blowing away the phone launched two years back. This year’s highlights include new color options, the Jet and Matte black (My unit is the Matte Black variant), both of which make the antenna lines on the case vanish. The DCI-P3 wide color gamut makes everything you shoot and much of what you view is more vibrant and lifelike. And the new Haptic Engine does, of course, makes using the iPhone a better (and presumably more fun) sensory experience.
Yes, if you are heavily invested in wired headphones (like me), this new model will require that you use an adapter. Most people won’t care, but if you do, it’ll be a real pain for a while. While I literally forgot it by just keeping my adaptor plugged into my pair of headphones but even for the others, it won’t seem like a big deal eventually, but right now, for some people, it will undoubtedly be frustrating.
It’s going to be an awful shame if the iPhone 7 ends up merely as the phone without the headphone jack. I am not saying it isn’t that, but if you do call it like that, then it also is the one with the remarkable camera, or the one with the fastest performance ever, or the one with the splendid battery life or the best haptics found in a phone yet. The iPhone 7 contains a multitude, remember that, just not a headphone jack…