On Tuesday, Apple hosted an event to announce two new iPhone models with some pretty major changes, including new colors, water-resistance, a new Home button, and a significantly different way to listen to music with wireless earphones (that don’t come with the device). Also announced was a new Watch series with new bands and versions, built-in GPS, a brighter display, a faster engine, and water-resistance as well. On the software side, Apple gave some love to iWork, giving users of its productivity suite the ability to collaborate in real-time across all their devices. And finally, a surprise visit from an old, Italian plumber. Check out other stories around the announcement to learn about all the new things.
Here’s everything you need to know (for now) about iPhone 7:
iPhone 7 is real…and it’s spectacular
When it was finally time for the announcement, we were swooned with the dulcet tones of Jony Ive as he explained the in-depth process the device went through to produce the newly-designed, unibody enclosure, as well as one of its newest color: Jet Black. That’s not the only color, however, as Apple also announced iPhone 7 will also be available in Black alongside Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold (sorry Space Gray lovers). Besides the new colors, the enclosure also functions as the housing for the camera bezel—so it’s one, continuous piece instead of the camera being a separate piece. And if you look closely, you’ll see (or rather, not see) the antenna lines are gone. That’s because they’ve been integrated into the casing. And speaking of missing things….
Hello wireless AirPods. Goodbye headphone jack
The biggest news about the new iPhone 7 is going to make some people unhappy. But Apple thinks wireless is the way forward. And because of that, the iPhone 7 is the first without a headphone jack. Apple VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, stated there were three reasons for this move: It frees up space to include technology that gives iPhone new features, their vision is that audio should work wirelessly, and “courage”. We’re unsure what that last one means, but it certainly isn’t the first time Apple has removed a widely-used feature in one of their devices before it was popular to do so (what’s a CD drive?).
Apple plans on solving the missing headphone jack in few ways: First, a new pair of EarPods that now connects through the Lightning connector in included with iPhone 7—as well as a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter. So you can connect your current analog headphones. It’s a pretty small adapter. But don’t worry: if you lose it, you can buy another one for $9.00 from Apple’s website.
The other is the introduction of Apple’s newest product: Apple AirPods. A wireless version of their EarPods that Apple states, delivers “a breakthrough wireless audio experience” and are the first headphones to do so. It uses an all-new Apple W1 chip and features inferred sensors to detect when they’re in your ear (so when you remove one, the music automatically stops playing), motion accelerometers that detect touch to activate Siri, and voice accelerometers that enhance your voice.
Setup is straightforward: just open your AirPods case near your iPhone and UI pops up prompting you to tap to connect. That’s it. No more going into your Bluetooth settings and trying to pair your headphones. AirPods connect automatically with all your Apple devices (running iOS 10, macOS Sierra, or watchOS 3). They’re simultaneously connected to both an iPhone and Apple Watch, and will switch instantly between devices when sounds (like notifications, calls, etc.) come through. And if you want to use your AirPods to listen to your Mac or iPad, you’ll have to select the output on those devices.
Apple states the AirPods get up to 5 hours of battery life and the case acts like a battery pack—holding enough charge to provide more than 24 hours of battery life. And that 15 minutes of charging equals 3 hours of battery life. The case also utilizes the same Lightning cable to charge, too.
Bigger camera(s). Prettier pictures
While smartphones have certainly become a major device for taking pictures, the camera on the iPhone, specifically, has been arguably one of the biggest disruptors in photography in the last decade—consistently ranking as the top, or one of the top devices people use for taking pictures on photo sites. With iPhone 7, Apple has made some pretty major upgrades to the camera, starting with both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus getting a 12MP camera. Apple has also brought optical image stabilization to the smaller version of the iPhone—something that has been included only on the Plus models. Included in both models is also a new six-element lens; an upgraded f/1.8 aperture; a new ISP that uses machine learning to read the background and scene, and set focus, exposure, and color; and an upgraded TrueTone flash with a Quad-LED that puts out 50-percent more light and has a 50-percent further reach than the iPhone 6s.
But the biggest change with the camera is in the iPhone 7 Plus which includes not one, but two rear-facing cameras. One is a wide-angle lens, and the other is a telephoto lens—which helps you get even closer with your shots by employing a 2x optical zoom. Apple even demoed the ability to get up to 10x digital zoom for photos (6x for video) with higher-quality using the built-in ISP technology. The dual-lens on iPhone 7 Plus also allows for a new Depth-of-field effect which creates a blurred effect in the background while keeping your subject sharp and in focus (also known as a Bokeh effect).
The rear cameras weren’t the only ones to get an upgrade. The front-facing camera—also known as the FaceTime HD camera—gets a resolution bump to 7MP (compared to 5MP on iPhone 6s) and includes auto image stabilization. So you can feel confident that your selfies look even better… whilst bystanders make fun of you for taking selfies.
Finally, you can shower with your iPhone (but don’t)
iPhone 7 finally brings a long requested feature: dust and water resistance. With an IP67 (6 refers to dust, 7 refers to water) rating, iPhone 7 is “dust tight”—with a complete protection against contact. As for water, iPhone 7 should handle spills and splashes with no problem. And while you should never actually shower with your phone, iPhone 7 should be able to handle immersion of up to 1 meter (roughly 3 feet) in depth. Which should help when your “friend” decides that that his inner 10th grader needs to push you in the pool. But please, never ever charge it while wet. It’s a “magical” device, not a magical device.
A new way to use the Home button
You’ll no longer be able to click the Home button on iPhone 7 (you know, that button at the bottom of the phone). While it’s still there, the Home button is now a solid-state button that includes the Taptic Engine which provides haptic feedback to mimic a press—as well as other types of notifications—similar to the Force Touch Trackpad on Mac.
Retina HD display gets more retina-y
The already good looking display on iPhone gets better on iPhone 7. The resolution stays the same, but it’s now 25-percent brighter, making it (slightly) easier to see in daylight. And it features a wider color gamut—similar to what movies are made in (DCI-P3). So movies and games look even better on your iPhone. Apple also stated that the Retina HD display on iPhone 7 deeply integrates 3D Touch—so your interactions with apps will be more powerful and responsive. Although they don’t clarify if there’s new technology that’s making that possible, or if it’s similar to iPhone 6s.
New chip. Higher performance. Better battery
As with all new iPhone models, the brains that power the device have been upgraded. The new iPhone 7 features the Apple-designed A10 Fusion. It features a 64-bit, quad-core processor. Now, it’s not four cores running at the same time. Rather, two high-performance that run up to 2x the speed of iPhone 6 cores for doing more powerful tasks—and two high-efficiency cores that run at 1/5th the power of the high-performance cores, for when you’re doing less power-hungry tasks (like sending a text). And a new power controller automatically switches between the cores—to ensure you get the fastest experience with the best battery life. The new GPU in iPhone 7 is 2x faster than iPhone 6s, but only uses 2/3rd the power of the A9 chip. All of this adds up to two more hours of battery life for iPhone 7 compared to iPhone 6s, and one more hour for iPhone 7 Plus.
Stereo speakers finally come to iPhone
See that other grill on the bottom of your iPhone? That’s a mic, not another speaker. iPhone has always featured only one speaker, but with iPhone 7, stereo speakers are finally here. You’ll now see a speaker on the bottom and the top of your iPhone—so you can hear better—and louder—sound with an increased dynamic range. It got mentioned quickly, but it’s still a welcomed feature.
iOS 10 comes out Sept. 13
iOS 10—the thing that makes your iPhone come to life—will be released on September 13th. It’ll be a free update from the App Store app on your iPhone, from iTunes on your Mac or PC, or comes installed on new iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE models.
To see a rundown of the new features, check out our complete(ish) iOS 10 review.
iPhone 7 starts at $649 and comes in 32GB, 128GB, and now 256GB. iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769 with the same capacities. Preorders start September 9 and ship on September 16.
Stay tuned for more updates as we better get to know the new iPhone 7, and if you have any questions or ideas find us on Twitter @goenjoy.