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Apple announces the iPhone 7, 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were announced today in San Francisco, with Apple, America’s favorite tech company, introducing the next generation of smartphones that are designed to keep consumers ready for whatever life throws at them. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (not the iPhone 6SE, for those who were wondering) bring a new 12MP camera as compared to the 12MP camera from last year’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, but adds optical image stabilization (OIS) for the regular iPhone this year (the 7 Plus was due to get it, anyway). The regular iPhone 7 OIS rumor was apparently, true. Apple also added a dual-camera setup to this year’s 7 Plus, which confirmed the claim that only the 7 Plus would get the dual camera setup.

The iPhone 7 also features an f/1.8 aperture on the back camera, along with a new Quad LED True Tone flash which adds two new LEDs as opposed to the dual LED flash from the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Apple is trying to improve its lowlight photography (which is terrible when stacked up against the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge), so they’re hoping that flash will get them there. I’m not a fan of using flash LEDs when it comes to great photos: anyone can look at photos taken with flash LEDs and see just how “artificial” and “forged” they are. If a great smartphone camera needs flash all the time, then it’s probably not a smartphone camera worth buying — but that’s me. Putting 4 flash LEDs on the back of the phone to achieve quality lowlight photos is the equivalent of a student claiming that 4 dogs ate his homework instead of 1 to “achieve” a sufficient excuse to get out of not bringing his homework to class: the student tells the lie to get out of the “0” for his homework grade but looks even sillier to the teacher. This is what I think of Apple’s new Quad-LED flash.

Samsung isn’t having to use 4 flash LEDs for excellent lowlight performance, so Apple is simply trying to overcompensate for its photography weaknesses here.

The front-facing camera jumps from 5MP to 7MP but has only an f/2.2 aperture still. Apple could’ve made selfie photography even better if the company had given it the same f/1.8 aperture as the primary back camera. Samsung gave both its front and rear cameras the same f/1.7 aperture in the Galaxy S7, S7 edge, and Note 7. Apple could learn a thing or two. As for the dual camera setup of the iPhone 7 Plus, the primary 12MP back camera has an f/1.8, but the secondary 12MP back camera only has an f/2.8 aperture. Why place an excellent 12MP camera on the back but give it an f/2.8 aperture instead? Apple is smart enough to know that lower apertures lead to better lowlight photos and increased performance. Why Apple would kill what would’ve been otherwise a good experience with the back cameras (plural) is beyond me.

As for the iPhone 7 series, the device maintains the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch IPS LCD screens with a 1334 x 750p resolution for the regular 7 and the same Full HD, 1920 x 1080p screen resolution for the 7 Plus (despite the rumor that claimed Apple would give these devices Full HD and Quad HD screens, respectively). Instead of the usual dual-core processor with the Ax series this year, though, Apple has finally decided to go with a quad-core chip called the A10 Fusion. Yes, this is the first year Apple has placed a quad-core CPU chip in its smartphones, though Android OEMs have been doing it for years. Again, Apple is several years late to the game, and its screen resolutions are still behind the times. The last of Samsung’s high-end flagships sporting a Full HD display (the best Apple is offering right now) was the Galaxy S5 in 2014. Samsung debuted Full HD displays for the first time on its Galaxy S4 in 2013. Apple’s greatest is still 3 years behind, even with fancy marketing terms such as “Retina HD display” and “25% brighter display.” The new graphics processor is a hexa-core (6 cores), up from the quad-core (4-core) GPU chip Apple implemented in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus see a newly redesigned home button which now has “Force Touch” capabilities, though Apple decided to ditch the name for the feature when it debuted 3D Touch last year on the iPhone 6s Plus. One of the major surprises of the 7 and 7 Plus is that both next-generation smartphones are water and dust-resistant, marking the first iPhones in the smartphone lineup’s history since 2007 to have water and dust protection. The 7 and 7 Plus are only IP67 certified for water and dust, however, which doesn’t match the IP68 certification of Samsung’s Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, and Galaxy Note 7.

Apple did increase the iPhone audio this year with its stereo speakers that produce a sound twice as loud as that of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The rumors were also confirmed about Apple’s new elimination of the long-cherished 3.5mm headphone jack: Apple debuted its EarPods that charge via the Lightning port on the 7 and 7 Plus. The fruit company also debuted wireless AirPods that let you go and do what you want without connecting them to anything. The AirPods can provide up to 24 hours of music playback and also charge wirelessly. Apple claims that it debuted these in order to take audio to the next level, but this is not the kind of change consumers wanted. They wanted better battery life and faster charging, not wireless headphones. The industry already has enough Bluetooth headphones to go around, and many consumers are already making use of those.

We haven’t covered battery life, but this too, will disappoint. First, it should be said that Apple did not reveal the battery capacities for either the 7 or 7 Plus (though last year’s 6s had something around an 1,800mAh battery and the 6s Plus had something like 2,900mAh) and they can’t be found at the company’s website (I tried searching today in vain). What Apple does say in the announcement about battery life is that users of the regular iPhone 7 will get 2 hours more battery life than in the 6s, while iPhone 7 Plus users will get only 1 more hour than 6s Plus users. The iPhone 7 Plus provides 15 hours of WiFi browsing while the 7 provides only 14 hours of WiFi browsing. Notice that iPhone 7 Plus users are paying a bit more for their devices but only getting 1 hour more in internet browsing via WiFi (which is what most consumers use for internet service) than regular iPhone 7 users.

There’s always more to tell, but this should suffice for now. The iPhone 7 will cost $649 for the 32GB minimum (yes, according to rumor, Apple squashed the 16GB model for the entry-level device), $849 for the 128GB, and $1,049 for the 256GB model (the new 256GB internal storage iPhone is now a reality). For the iPhone 7 Plus, you’re looking at $769 for 32GB, $969 for 128GB, and $1169 for the 256GB storage configuration. Both devices will be available for pre-order this Friday, September 9th, and be released worldwide for sale next Friday, September 16th (which also confirms the pre-order and release date rumors).

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