The smartphone battle for top spot has been ongoing now for some time. Samsung and Apple have been toe to toe upping the ante in features, processing power and lifestyle inclusions which has been great for consumers receiving better phones each year. Even better if you are on a plan which gives you a free phone at the beginning of each new term. So what’s on offer this month? Let’s have a look at the iPhone 7 just released from Apple and where it sits in the evolution line up.
Apple 0, Samsung -1
To start with Samsung gave Apple a free kick this month with the exploding Galaxy Note 7 hitting the headlines right before the regular hype of the iPhone 7 launch. Even if you were not considering the Galaxy model, this is bad press right across the brand. So let’s assume you are an Apple fan and you have several items in the IOS ecosystem. You have the Apple TV, an iPad, iPhone and a few chargers around the house. This alone is a driver to stay with the Apple brand for compatibility and inter-operability reasons. Even though Apple changed the charging cable on you when it moved to the lightning connector it wasn’t a big enough set back to jump ship.
Where’s the hole?
So the latest release has Apple removing the headphone socket in favour of either wireless headphones or the usual headphones with a lightning connector style pair. While the headphones are usually very good, it’s nice to be able to decide on another brand of my choosing which is now a small limiting factor, albeit that you can use the lightning to old style headphone jack adapter that comes in the box. The other catch here is that you can’t charge your phone whilst listening to earphones connected to the above mentioned lightning adapter because the port is in use. A minor inconvenience, but still, you shell out over $1,000 to put up with a compromise? It won’t be long before someone has a lightning ‘Y’ adapter which allows you to do both somehow.
The other alternative is to spring for a new set of wireless earphones called AirPod Earbuds, for around $229 which is the way Apple seems to be heading from here on. Watch for a market explosion in alternative bluetooth earphones flooding the market.
Speaking of flooding, next up in the feature list is the dust and water resistant casing which is a nice improvement. I would find it hard to guess how many water damaged iPhones have been thrown away over the years. While not a deal breaker, it is a good feature. It’s not clear yet if the level of water resistance is maintained after a screen replacement. Time will tell, I’m sure.
Also in the audio department, the new iPhone 7 comes with Stereo speakers that are reportedly twice as loud as the iPhone 6S so no more homemade toilet roll or coffee cup amplifiers required. I can see this being useful but again, unless you have specific needs in this area there are plenty of external speakers (both wired and wireless) that improve the sound way beyond that of in-built speakers anyway.
So that leaves us with the better camera and processor for those who like to pour over the statistics there is a 7 megapixel forward facing camera and 12 megapixel rear camera that should help with pics from the dark lounge room shots to the great outdoors, and in the CPU stats Apple have introduced the four-core A10 Fusion chip, said to run up to 40% faster than the A9. Be aware that the iPhone 7 Plus does come with 3GB of RAM compared to the smaller sibling which gets 2GB.
Cutting the cord
Remember, Apple has a way of changing things we are used to, and after the dust settles and the nay-sayers have gone back to their set ways, we often find the change to be a step in the right direction, and in some cases quite visionary and pioneering. I suspect the wireless move will fall into the latter category. Personally I find the wires on my earbuds can weigh down dislodging the buds from my ears. The wires also introduce noise on my favourite pair of buds when running, so I’m looking forward to trying out wireless.
Finally, if you decide that your current iPhone is doing a great job but you like to keep up with the latest in development trends from Apple, there is a simple way to ‘go wireless’ at much less cost. Block up the headphone socket using a specially designed adapter, and use everyday Bluetooth headphones – simple. Head over to ApplePlugs for a tongue-in-cheek laugh.