Apple has released the next generation of the iPhone at its annual event in San Francisco today – the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
At a launch event tonight, the company revealed an upgraded iPhone that, while aesthetically similar to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, has several big differences, including a pressure-sensitive home button, better camera, a faster processor and improved battery life, as well as having no headphone jack.
It also comes in a new range of colours and a starting size of 32GB.
What are the new features?
The most significant changes on the new phone include an upgraded camera, a new home button and the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Instead of the traditional headphone connection, iPhone packages will now come with earphones that fit into the phone’s Lightning port, currently used for charging and data transfer.
The bigger “Plus” model has an even-more powerful “dual-lens” camera, explained below.
Killing the headphone jack
One of the most controversial decisions has been to remove the headphone jack, instead shipping the phone with a pair of Lightning EarPods – which connect through the charging port – and wireless Apple AirPods, powered by a W1 chip.
Infared sensors detect when each pod is in your ear and motion sensors control the headphones to use Siri and detect your voice.
The AirPods provide five hours of listening which, with the compact charging case, delivers 24 hours of total battery life.
Apple has faced opposition over changes before, such as when it introduced the lightning connector with the iPhone 5 in 2012. Apple will also supply an adaptor that enables traditional headphones to continue to plug into the iPhone, but it will not allow for charging at the same time.
The pods can connect to Apple watches, laptops and iPads.
Beats have also released two versions of wireless headphones for the iPhone 7 models.
The iPhone 7 will also come with stereo speakers for the first time, with speakers now placed at the top and bottom of the device.
The camera has been revamped to enhance low-light capabilities and take even sharper photos.
The smaller 4.7-inch device has a f/1.8 lens that lets 50 per cent more light onto the lens, a new 12MP sensor that’s 60 per cent faster and 30 per cent more energy efficient.
A 5.5-inch version of the handset has a dual-lens camera. This allows a huge increase in quality when zooming in on a photo, a problem that has plagued Apple for years.
The iPhone 7 Plus has two 12MP cameras, one of which is a wide angle lens and the other a telephoto lens that can zoom 2X in high quality without using any software. The telephoto lens means the camera can zoom to 10X with optical and soft zoom.
Cameras on both models will also have 12 megapixel sensors as well as 4K video recording capability. It also enables live editing of video files and with wide colour capture.
It also has image stabilisation and a new camera flash to improve photos shot in low-light. Apple has also doubled the number of LEDs to four – two cool, two warm – in order to create a more effective flash.
That gives 50 per cent more light. It also has a flicker sensor that makes the flash look like natural light.
The front camera has also been upgraded to 7MP from 5MP for FaceTime and selfies.
A matte “black” and a glossy black will join silver, gold and rose gold in the colour options for the iPhone. The new shiny “jet black” finish will be offered exclusively on the 128GB and 256GB models.
The new handset look very similar to the current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but with the antenna bands moved from the back of the device to the edges.
The models will have the longest battery life ever in an iPhone. An iPhone 7 lasts, on average, two hours longer than an iPhone 6s and an hour longer than iPhone 6s Plus.
The battery on the iPhone 7 lasts 14 hours when using WiFi and 12 on 4G. The iPhone 7 Plus meanwhile lasts 15 hours on WiFi and 15 on 4G.
The model will be powered by a new Apple A10 Fusion which has a 64-bit 4 core CPU.
Forty percent faster than A9 of iPhone 6s and double the speed of the A8 processors. It also has a ramped up graphics performance which is also 40 percent more powerful than the A9.
The new iPhones are also water-resistant with an IPX67 rating which means the hardware can withstand immersion in up to 1 metre of water for 30 minutes.
Apple’s high standards for waterproofing have impacted the supply chain and lowered total production of iPhone 7.
The company is believed to have slashed production levels of the iPhone 6s and partner unit the 6s Plus by a third amid fears of slowing demand for the ‘fallow year’ s models, despite initial sales of more than 13 million units within three days of availability.
KGI is forecasting 65 million iPhone 7 units will be shipped by the end of the year, a 20.7 pc decrease compared to iPhone 6s in the same period last year.
The home button has been given a vibration-based taptic feedback system so it now vibrates when touched to give users feedback. The feature is already in use on the firm’s MacBook laptops.
When will it be released?
This Friday, on September 9, orders begin and will start shipping on September 16.
Reports have suggested that supply could be limited at launch, with the Nikkei Asian Review claiming that problems with faulty components could lead to the phone being sold out.
How much will it cost?
For the last two years the cheapest model of the latest iPhone has cost £539 but the new iPhone 7 price will start at £599 for the 32GB model.
According to T3, the prices are as follows:
The iPhone 7:
- £599 for 32GB
- £699 for 128GB
- £799 for 256GB
The iPhone 7 Plus:
- £719 for 32GB
- £819 for 128GB
- £919 for 256GB
What can we expect next year?
The big changes Apple is rumoured to be saving for the 2017 iPhone include its chassis being made entirely from glass and have an edge-to-edge display with an OLED screen, a significant step forward from the LCD screens the company currently uses.