New iPhones have two cameras, water-proof and all new headphones
Published 07/09/2016 | 18:47
Apple has unveiled the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with upgraded cameras, more storage memory and a new pressure-sensitive home button.
The biggest upgrade is a new dual-lens camera on 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, which allows for a real zoom and better quality photos.
But the new handset's most controversial feature is the removal of the 3.5mm headphone port on both phones, meaning traditional earphones will now need an adaptor to work.
Apple says that it will provide an adaptor with each iPhone 7 sold.
The iPhone 7 models closely resemble existing iPhone 6S models in look and design with the same size screens (4.7 and 5.5 inches) as the previous models.
Apple has revealed that the iPhone 7 will go on sale from €779 and the iPhone 7 Plus from €919.
Here are the main points of interest about the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
THE NEW CAMERA
This is the single biggest upgrade on offer, although you'll need to get the larger (and pricier) 'Plus' model to get the full benefit, as it is the one with the dual lenses.
This new set-up, made up of two 12-megapixel lenses, makes the iPhone 7 the first modern smartphone to allow for proper zooming when taking a photo.
It also has improved optical stabilisation.
And the phone's engine can reproduce wider, more vivid ranges of colors.
It should result in a significant jump in photo quality, with much better portrait shots of friends and family, regardless of lighting quality. It should also mean a huge improvement in photos of crowds, events or sporting occasions.
The dual-lens camera on the iPhone 7 Plus is made up of a wide-angle lens (which is used for scenery shots and photos in confined spaces) and a telephoto lens (for far off objects). This allows the phone to 'zoom' from one angle (or view) to the other without compromising much quality in the photo. Typically, a single-lens phone's 'zoom' is only the process of artificially stretching the photo to give the impression of a closer view. It generally results in poorer quality.
It should be noted that Apple isn't the first with a dual-lens camera phone: Huawei's P9 introduced it earlier this year (earning it the Irish Independent plaudit of best portrait camera phone on the market.) But this brings the genre on again.
And what of the camera on the 'basic' iPhone 7? It doesn't have the new dual-lens camera of its big brother. However, it has been improved itself, with a new 12 megapixel camera.
DROPPING THE 3.5MM EARPHONE PORT
The disappeared 3.5mm port means means Apple sees wireless Bluetooth headphones as the main audio accessories of the future. Apple has traditionally been an early mover among hardware companies to drop physical ports, first ditching optical drives for CDs and DVDs and, recently, doing away with older USB ports on its lightweight MacBook laptop.
Apple says that it will include adaptors to make traditional 3.5mm headphone jacks compatible with the phone's Lightning power port.
Apple has also announced new wireless earphones called Airpods that can be played for up to five hours at a time.
The basic iPhone 7 model now has twice the storage (32GB) of previous iPhone models. This will be a welcome development among those who quickly run out of space due to photos clogging up the system. The phone also now has a top-end storage capacity of 256GB.
NEW CLICK-LESS HOME BUTTON
Apple has replaced its traditional clickable Home button with a new pressure-sensitive Home button that vibrates instead of clicking when you press it.
The new iPhone 7 is water-resistant to the point of almost being waterproof. As well as being able to fend off rain and splashes, it can survive being dunked in water up to one metre.
Apple has introduced a new glossy "piano black" colour to add to its regular black, gold, silver and 'rose gold' models. It is removing its 'space grey' colour from the new ranges.
SAME LOOK AND FEEL AS IPHONE 6S
The new models are almost identical in design as existing iPhone 6 and 6S models, with the exception of the Home button and removal of the 3.5mm earphone port. The antenna lines on the back have also been shifted, although this doesn't significantly affect its appearance.
Apple is reportedly holding off on a physical design overhaul of the phone's body until 2017 when the iPhone turns 10 years old.
MORE POWERFUL CHIP
The iPhone 7 models come with a new Apple chip (A10) that matches many laptops for speed. This makes sure that the phone can deal with lots of things at once, including photos, music and web browsing.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The new iPhone 7 will cost the same as the iPhone 6S did at launch. Euro prices have yet to be announced. However Ireland is one of the first launch countries with pre-ordering available from September 9 and availability from September 16.
OTHER NEW THINGS WITH THE IPHONE 7
Apple says that the screen on the iPhone 7 is 25pc brighter than previous screens.
Apple is also introducing 'real time collaboration' for teams to work together on iWork apps such as Pages, Numbers and KeyNote.
Earlier Apple introduced a new Watch with GPS, waterproof functionality, better battery life and faster app functionality.
The gadget, called Watch Series 2, is increasingly targeting fitness enthusiasts with the upgrades.
The new Watch is waterproof to 50 metres with its speaker ejecting water.
It has a more powerful chip that Apple says is 50pc more powerful. Apple has also released updated software for the device, watchOS3, which speeds up app usage and has a new emergency SOS contact function for emergency services.
Apple's smartwatch is still aimed as a general purpose device. It can download apps and provides alerts for most major messaging and social media services. It can also be used as part of Apple Pay systems, where swiping the gadget against a contactless terminal in a shop executes a payment.
Apple is hoping that the new Watch gives the gadget a boost in sales. While the company does not release figures, the research agency IDC published estimates this week estimating that the device's sales have declined by over 50pc this year because of the lack of a new model. However, Mr Cook said that Apple has moved into second position in revenue among all watch manufacturers.
Apple is increasingly competing against fitness devices