Same Same But Different | Is The iPhone 7 Worth The Upgrade?
Now something of a habit, when September rolls around each year, so does a big Apple announcement. This year’s brought with it news of the iPhone 7. The rumour mill had been flying for a while before the announcement, which really got us prepared for what to expect. For one, the news that Apple had axed the 3.5mm headphone jack was somewhat softened considering many had predicted its demise beforehand. This is arguably the biggest difference between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6s, with the latter having only been released one year ago. But what else is different between the two iterations of Apple’s smartphone? Outwardly, really not a lot. We’ve been using an iPhone 7 daily since its release last month to see whether we can answer the question on everybody’s mind; is iPhone 7 worth the upgrade?
A big part of the update this time around lies in the software and while you can update your older iPhone to iOS 10, the iPhone 7 is where it really excels. The new operating system hosts a number of new features that makes using your phone far more streamlined and quicker than before. Raise to wake, for example, mitigates the need to have to reach for the lock / unlock button on the phone. This is ideal when you need to check something in a hurry. Plus, it simply feels intuitive. This feature doesn’t actually work on some of the older generations of the phone, like the iPhone 6, as they don’t have the hardware required.
iOS 10 also brings a smarter Siri. It can understand more colloquial language now, and better yet, Apple has opened it to third-party apps for the first time. Favourites like WhatsApp and Uber are included, allowing you to send a message or hail a ride using your voice. This makes multi-tasking way easier.
A change in the way we message is also something that comes with iOS 10. Apple has taken the simple function up a couple of levels with fun things like invisible ink, where your text is ‘invisible’ and the recipient has to swipe across to unveil it. You can also use Screen Effects, where the recipient’s screen is taken over by animations and sounds. For example, if you’re sending a birthday message, you can also send a screen-ful of balloons with it. If you’re partial to using emojis, you’ll enjoy the feature that suggests an emoji based on what you’re typing.
Apart from the better functionality that the iOS update has delivered, it’s also made the control centre and notifications screen look cleaner. Not that they have ever looked overly cluttered, but it’s definitely nicer to look at now. The control centre is now separated into three screens; quick settings, media, and Apple Home.
Home Button & Water Resistance
Ok, talk about the best change to the iPhone since it was invented… the home button replacement is GOLD (Rose Gold in this instance). Apple has shed the new phone of the clickable home button. As someone who has experienced more than one broken home button in the past, this is a game-changer. What you’ll find now instead is a solid disc that delivers haptic feedback when touched. While it gives the sensation that you are pressing down on a button, you’re really not. It may take some time to get used to for some, but being use to the haptic feedback on the Magic Trackpad 2, the new home button was not as much of a foreign experience to us. The less moving parts on the phone, the less likely it is to have issues. Furthermore, getting rid of the physical button has probably made it easier to make the phone water resistant, which brings us to our next point.
The iPhone 7 is the first phone that Apple has claimed is water resistant. While you can’t take it in the pool with you when you’re doing laps, it does save a lot of stress knowing it’ll be fine if you spill a glass of water on it. Taking away the headphone jack hasn’t proved to be a very popular move for Apple so far, but its absence has probably made it easier to achieve this water resistance claim.
This is one of the most important aspects of a smartphone for some. If you’re after a better camera then iPhone 7 is the way to go. More specifically, the iPhone 7 Plus might be a better option in this regard. Both phones feature a 12-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation. A f/1.8 aperture and 6-element lens take brighter and more detailed photos, especially in low light. The 7 Plus takes the camera capabilities further, with an additional 12-megapixel telephoto camera on the rear too. This makes it really effective at taking shots with a bokeh effect, something not always successfully achieved unless you have a DSLR. The 7 Plus’ 5.5-inch screen is also a good size for editing images straight from the phone.
The iPhone 7 doesn’t differ much in looks from the iPhone 6 or 6s, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Apple knows how to make a good looking product, which is exactly what these smartphones are. Rather, it’s all the small changes in the later generation that are key. If you’re really into taking the best quality photos you can, then the iPhone 7 Plus is worth upgrading to. Having said that, the iPhone 6s is so well made that iPhone 7 isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s still a nice step up.
Head to apple.com for more info on the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus.