One of the most important news in tech this week was the launch of the new iPhone 7 by Apple. It’s the new flagship of Apple’s phone line, and tries to continue the legacy of its predecessor: the iPhone 6. Number 7 has some improvements, which Apple say will greatly improve user experience and product quality.
Currently there’s are all kinds of information about this phone out on the Internet. But, widely scattered and full of technicalities. Most of the information comes from what was said during the official launch event, there’s no “real world info” from users yet.
So we’ve compiled a plentiful Q&A list about the iPhone 7, in the hopes that you’ll find it useful. And in the hopes that you’ll be able to make a better decision on whether to splurge on a new phone, or hold on a while longer.
- What’s the new iPhone 7 like?
- What’s the difference between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 plus?
- What colors are available for the iPhone 7?
- Is it true that the iPhone 7 scratches easily?
- What’s that “anodized finish” stuff on the iPhone 7?
- Is the iPhone 7 really waterproof?
- What’s that “IP67” protection on the iPhone 7?
- Why doesn’t the iPhone 7 have a headphone jack?
- What processor and how much memory is in the iPhone 7?
- What’s the iPhone 7 camera like?
- How long does the iPhone 7 battery last?
- How much is the iPhone 7?
- Where can I buy an iPhone 7?
- When does the iPhone 7 go on sale?
- Are there going to be Black Friday specials for the iPhone 7?
What’s the new iPhone 7 like?
The iPhone 7 closely resembles its predecessor the iPhone 6. The size is about the same, with a difference in thickness of only a fraction of a millimeter. The weight is also very similar between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7, with difference of about 10 grams in favor of the seven.
There’s also a version of the 7 called the iPhone 7 Plus, which is slightly larger than the basic iPhone. 7-plus is 2 cm larger and 50 grams heavier than the basic iPhone 7. And it has some hardware features and enhancements over 7-basic, but more on that later.
Version 7 doesn’t really change much in its design over the iPhone 6. The main improvement in appearance is via the use of a new aluminum alloy for the chassis (aluminum 7000), which is painted with a 9-layer process. It also has a special forming process, which according to Apple makes it impossible to tell where the aluminum ends and the glass begins. So that might be attractive, if you’re one of those OCD users who suffer over those kinds of details.
But other than that, the iPhone 7 isn’t too distinct from the iPhone 6 in appearance.
Two important changes on this phone did get noticed a lot: the lack of a home button, and the absence of a standard round headphone jack.
The home button has been replaced with a touch sensor that works like a button. The sensor has a round shape, and actually behaves like a button. Apple even went so far as to equip it with Taptic, so you get a click sensation even though there’s no button.
Yeah, we’re wondering the same thing: why the hell would you replace a button with a specially equipped touch sensor that behaves just like a button? But then again, this is Apple here: the people who brought you nonstandard chargers and forced you into actually liking iTunes.
Another radical change that’s got users in an uproar over the iPhone 7 is the lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Yeah, that little round hole where you plug in your headphones: it’s missing. Instead Apple decided that from now on, you’re going to connect your headphones via the lightning charge connector: that little data port on the bottom of the phone. Of course, you’ll need a new pair of earphones that actually have a lightning connector on them, or the special headphone adapter that Apple is going to make available for those users that want to add another cumbersome link to the cable chain.
Or you can also shell out $150 later in October, for a special pair of wireless earbuds called Airpods, which connect via bluetooth and offer among other things 24 hours of battery life. Of course, if you ask Apple, to have the “ultimate experience” with the iPhone 7, you’ll need to cough up the $150 and get yourself some Airpods.
What’s the difference between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 plus?
The main difference between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is the price. Because long story short, the two phones are pretty much the same.
The IPhone 7 Plus is slightly larger than the iPhone 7 basic. 2 cm longer and 1 cm wider. The 7 Plus is also heavier by 50 grams.
As for hardware, the processor and the memory available are the same. But the iPhone 7 Plus does come with a dual lens camera, which gives more quality to the image. Just how much is “more” remains to be seen. We’ll have to wait until the phone hits the street to see whether that dual lens actually does something for picture quality.
What colors does the iPhone 7 come in?
As we mentioned earlier, the phone is made of a new aluminum 7000 alloy, and is painted with a 9-layer process. This makes several colors available (5 in total), which are:
- iPhone 7 Rose Gold
- iPhone 7 Silver
- iPhone 7 Gold
- iPhone 7 Black
- iPhone 7 Jet Black
Rose Gold. Steve Jobs is probably turning over in his grave now.
What’s the difference between Black and Jet Black? The difference between these two options is gloss. Black is matte finish, while Jet Black is high shine gloss finish.
It is true that the iPhone 7 scratches easy?
The iPhone 7 comes with a special aluminum paint, as we mentioned in a previous section. In the case of Jet Black iPhone 7, there’s also a polishing process involved, to get that glossy finish. That glossy finish specifically on the Jet Black model is susceptible to minor scratches. Officially recognized by Apple. The finish itself isn’t the problem, it’s just as strong as in other iPhone models. The problem is that gloss, that reflects a lot of light, so small scratches are way more noticeable. The other finishes don’t reflect as much, and small scratches aren’t really noticeable.
Apple suggests, in fact, that users who want a Jet Black phone, add a protective case.
What’s that “anodized finish” stuff on the iPhone 7?
The iPhone 7 is made of aluminum, and as you probably know aluminum has a gray color and doesn’t really shine. To get that full range of color finishes, Apple paints their phones.
Anodizing is the name of the process used to “paint” aluminum. An electrical current is used to fuse the paint with aluminum, and keep it from coming off. If you just painted the aluminum body like you paint a fence, 2 days later the paint would start to peel.
Anodizing is a pretty standard process. Nothing special, all cell phone manufacturers use it when they need to color aluminum. And it’s perfectly safe, once the aluminum has gone through the anodizing process, the color’s not coming off.
Is the iPhone 7 really waterproof?
Hell no. The iPhone 7 is not waterproof. You can’t strap the phone onto your back and log distance on Strava while doing laps in the pool, nor will resist falling into any large body of water and staying there. Nor can you use it for underwater photography. This phone isn’t going to take, you know, the kind of accidents that make a phone do the 400m underwater freestyle.
However, this new version of the iPhone does come with water resist, which means it can withstand occasional contact with water. For example if you’re outside and it starts raining, or if you drop a glass of water near the phone and get it wet. It’ll also probably survive if you left it in the yard on a table, and return the next morning to find it covered with dew.
Protection against water and dust is certified under IP67 standard, which means you don’t just have to take Apple’s word for it. The phone actually went through standard tests to see how it fared against water and dust.
So what does “IP67” mean anyway?
Since we touched on IP67 water resist and the iPhone 7, we might as well talk a little bit more about this standard.
IP67 is defined by IEC, an international device manufacturers group. Apple specifically used the IEC 60529 standard for its tests.
IP stands for “Ingress protection”, and the two numbers indicate how resistant it is to dust and water. First number is dust, second number is water.
6 means the phone is fully protected against dust and particles (e.g. sand). That means you can go through places where there are large amounts of dust, and dust will not be able to enter the phone.
7 refers to the resistance of the device against water. Category “7” means that the phone was submerged under controlled lab conditions, at a depth between 15 cm and 1 meter, for 30 minutes, and experienced no damage.
But there’s a catch here. Category 7 does not mean that the phone can be used underwater, even if you do keep it above 1 meter and for less than 30 minutes. It turns out that IEC 60529 is done under lab conditions, on phones in standby mode. That’s very different from picking up the phone and plunging it underwater, with active sensors and motion movement in every conceivable direction.
So, again, no. The iPhone is not waterproof and can’t be used underwater. In fact Apple clearly states that water or liquid damage is not covered by the warranty. Check the microscopic print that’s at the very end of the webpage… the part nobody reads.
Why did they leave out the headphone jack on the iPhone 7?
According to Apple, the headphone jack was removed to allow for headphone-end audio processing, which means it’s the headphones that generate sound, not the phone. That means (theoretically) that someone could make a headset with an awesome audio processor, that gives huge sound much better than any sound the iPhone could produce. The phone would pass the bits and bytes to the headphones, and the headphone processor would render incredible quality audio.
That can’t be done with regular old “round jack” headphones. With those, the phone is the one that generates the audio signal. And the moment it comes through the headphone jack, the sound is already “contaminated” with whatever noise might have gotten in there. You can put the world’s best headphones on the other end, and even one of those $500 tube amps if you want to, won’t make a difference becase your sound is already dirty.
Also, according to Apple, they nixed the headphone jack to maximize water and dust resistance, and get it up to IP67.
But if you ask us, knowing Apple, the main reason to remove the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 is what you’d expect: to kick out all “unauthorized” headphone manufacturers from the iPhone market, and make everyone buy Apple headphones …. or at least make them buy an “authorized accessory” to connect their current standard headphones. What, you think the guys at Apple got rich by actually selling something universal and standard?
What processor and how much memory is in the iPhone 7?
The iPhone 7 comes with an A10 Fusion processor, a processor developed by Apple. That’s an improvement over the iPhone 6, which has an A8 processor. Main differences? The A10 Fusion is quad core, the A8 is dual core. The A10 has a built in GPU, which would make it more efficient than the A8 for processing heavy graphics.
Apple says the A10 is one of the secrets that make the phone camera highly advanced. The camera pipes data straight to the A10, which makes a quick and painless job out of processing your photos, or so they say.
Internal memory is 2 GB, doesn’t matter if you get basic or plus version. And for storage you can get 32, 128 and 256 GB versions. 16 GB is dead: there’s no 16 GB iPhone 7.
Operating system is iOS 10.
What’s the iPhone 7 camera like?
The camera depends on the model you get. The basic iPhone 7 has a 12 MP camera.
The IPhone 7 plus comes with a dual lens camera. What’s a dual lens camera? Exactly what you’d think. The camera on the phone has 2 lenses instead of 1. There’s a telephoto lens (though it’s really not “telephoto”) and a standard lens. This increases the amount of information you can capture at once, and by mixing inside the phone, you can get better quality images and interesting effects. For example with the iPhone 7, it’s said you can get that blurred-out background effect everyone likes. But even though you get better image quality, you don’t necessarily get more resolution. The Plus has dual lens, but it has the same 12MP resolution of the basic iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 Plus comes with 2X optical zoom (equivalent to 56mm). That means you can zoom in when taking the photo, without losing image quality. You can only do it on the 7 Plus, the basic version has no optical zoom. Now, 56mm is nowhere near telephoto range, telephoto starts at around 100mm and goes from there, so the “telephoto” name Apple uses in its advertising is somewhat misleading.
In both phones the lens reaches a maximum aperture of 1.8 mm. Which is quite good by today’s standards in digital photography. More aperture means you can take pictures with less light, without using flash. As you’ve probably noticed, camera flash is a horrible thing, that makes go pale and dead. Hence, it’s interesting to be able to shoot in low light without a flash.
Selfie camera? 7 MP is what this iPhone has on the front-facing camera.
And video? It does 4K, which is probably the highest resolution you can currently do on the consumer market. It can also do 1080p (Blu Ray) at 120 frames per second and 720p at 240 frames, which gives you better definition when fast-action video.
How long does the iPhone 7 battery last?
Battery life on the iPhone 7 at the present time is pretty speculatory. There’s no real world tests yet, as the phone is just starting to enter preorder. So we’ll have to wait a week or two for initial user impressions on what the iPhone 7 battery life is, and at least a couple of months before we can get a true to life idea of how long it really is.
Remember any battery will last really long when it’s brand new, and then start to get crappy after a few months.
Apple said the battery life is expected to be “at least” two hours more than the iPhone 6S. Real world tests on the 6S have shown it to have a battery life of around 30 hours with light to moderate use, so that means in theory you could go for a day and a half without charging your phone.
Wireless charging is not available on the iPhone 7, neither on the base model or the plus model. There was a rumor there would be wireless charging, didn’t happen.
All right, what’s the price tag on the iPhone 7?
Well, get your credit limit ready. The base price of the iPhone 7 in the US is $ 650 for a 32 GB version. The 256 GB version of iPhone 7 costs $850. And if you want a 7 Plus, you’re gonna spend $770 for the 32GB version, and $ 970 for the 256GB version.
Those are US suggested retail prices. They’re obviously going to be different outside the US, depending on the country you’re getting the phone at.
Where can I buy an iPhone 7?
The IPhone 7 can be purchased online at the Apple store. And major cellular service carriers in the US, such as T-Mobile and Sprint are going to have it too.
Outside the United States you’ll have to check with your local dealer for availability. Sooner or later all dealers and major cellular service providers worldwide are going to have the iPhone 7 available, but we can’t know for sure when they’re going to launch in each country, or what will the price tag is going to be.
But don’t run to the store just yet… the iPhone 7 was officially launched, but it’s not for sale! What, you thought it was going to be that easy?
Ok, so when will the iPhone 7 go on sale?
True: Apple did launch the iPhone 7, and the media hasn’t stopped talking about it since. But, they haven’t actually released it for sale.
The iPhone 7 goes on preorder on September 9, 2016 at 3 AM. That means you can order one starting on that date, and wait until there’s inventory available to get yours. It’ll probably take a week or two to receive your phone if your preorder. But you’ll get lots of nice little messages and whatnot from Apple, to make you feel a little better.
The official on-sale date for the iPhone 7 is on September 16, at participating dealers worldwide. Of course, not all Apple dealers worldwide will participate, and some will participate with a limited inventory. So you may also have to wait a few weeks to have it, if you buy in store.
Are there going to be Black Friday specials for the iPhone 7?
We’re not sure, to be perfectly honest. And knowing Apple, no, they probably won’t have Black Friday specials for the iPhone 7. If it reaches Amazon in time you might be able to get a free accesory or something with your phone, but it’s unlikely you’re going to find huge discounts.
But, waiting until Black Friday or afterwards to buy is probably a good idea, mainly because you need to give people time to try out the phone and spill the beans on all the bugs and shortcomings!
There’s still a lot to be found out about the iPhone 7!
So far it’s just been the tip of the iceberg with the iPhone 7. What the world has currently is the “official” information, released by Apple. But as users begin to buy the phone and start playing with it, the planet is going to get flooded with tons of detailed information on this thing.. and probably a video or two of someone trashing an iPhone 7 outside the store.
There’s no test for a phone, like the real world test.
So if you’re a smart consumer, the best you can do is wait a few weeks or months to buy an iPhone 7. Give it time to be tested on the street, and give it time for users to start complaining about bugs and shortcomings. That’s usually the best approach when it comes to new tech like the iPhone 7.