On Wednesday, September 7th, 2016, Apple announced the latest generation of iPhone, which they’re calling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Ironically, the rumors on the internet indicate that Apple will radically re-design the iPhone in 2017, for the tenth-anniversary of the iPhone’s launch. However, the iPhone 7 is technically the 10th model of the iPhone, if you include the original. But technicalities aside, I’m actually quite excited by the iPhone 7.
This year, I’ve actually decided to upgrade to the larger model, the Plus. In fact, I actually decided I would go with the Plus model before the new phone was announced.
I got up super-early on September 9th, at 2 AM to pre-order my new iPhone. After (not so) patiently waiting for the pre-orders to open, I managed to secure a pre-order for the iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black in 128GB capacity. Unfortunately, the launch quantities were already sold out (in just a couple minutes), but my pre-order pages indicates it should ship by 9/23/16—one week after the initial launch. Considering that anybody who waited until later in the morning to order the same model are having to wait until mid- or late-November for theirs, I don’t feel so bad about having to wait an extra week. As for Jenny’s pre-order, we went with the regular iPhone 7 in matte black, 256GB (now she can put all her music on her phone, and replace her iPod Classic (if she wants to).
But pre-order issues and waits aside, I’m actually quite excited for the iPhone 7. Why, you might ask? Several reasons:
- Better camera – This can’t be understated, as the cameras on our phones have become so crucial to capturing moments in our lives. The better the camera, the more often we tend to use it.
- Waterproofing – This isn’t exactly something that I expect I’d have to worry about too often—after all, my phones have never suffered water damage before—but it will be nice to not have to be super-careful with my phone around rain, or in the bathroom, etc. I could even feel comfortable placing it on the shelf in the shower and listen to music. Which leads me to my next point…
- Stereo speakers – Finally, Apple has included stereo sound in the iPhone. Granted, one of the speakers is placed where the earpiece is, and yet, early reviews indicate the sound is much better, and the speakerphone is much-improved. I look forward to watching videos on the iPhone 7, and taking advantage of the improved sound.
- Home Button – Okay, actually, the lack of a home button is what’s new. I’m sure it will take some adjustment, but I’ve never been really happy with the feel of the home button. Sometimes it feels way too stiff and clicky, while other times, I can barely tell I’ve pressed it. I’m looking forward to testing what Apple has done with this iteration.
- Dual Cameras – This should actually be higher on the list, but since it’s exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus, I waited to add it. Still, this is going to be a huge addition, with the 2x optical zoom, and the upcoming depth of field effects that should allow for some interesting photos. I really look forward to testing and using this.
- New color – My first iPhone was the 3Gs, way back when, which had the shiny black back. If nothing else, the Jet Black version this year provides a sense of nostalgia, if nothing else. Yes, it’s more prone to scratching, but I’ll put a case on it. Even though I won’t be able to see the color (most of the time), it makes me feel better to know I have it.
Yes, there are things I haven’t mentioned, like the lack of a traditional headphone jack, the slightly improved display, the faster processor and improved battery life. They certainly impact the desirability of the phone, but they’re not things that make me want the new iPhone.
One thing, however, has me more excited than anything else: the Airpods. Yes, I said I’m excited about them, and here’s why:
- Sound quality – One thing I’ve read and heard over and over since Apple announced the Airpods is that they don’t sound any better than the existing wired Apple Earpods. I happen to think the Earpods sound quite good, however, and if the Airpods are even close in sound quality to those, they’ll be the best wireless earbuds I’ve heard. I’ve tested several, and while adequate, I wouldn’t say any of them sound particularly good.
- Price – Yes, I think $159 is a perfectly reasonable price for these things. I’ve tested Bluetooth earbuds that cost $25 (Anker sound buds) and $150 earbuds (Jaybird X2) and neither provides sound even close to the EarPods. If the Airpods match the sound quality of their wired counterparts, I’d consider them a bargain.
- Comfort – I’ve always really like the fit and feel of the EarPods. While they can become slightly uncomfortable after extended periods, pretty much all in-ear headphones suffer the same problem. All of the different earbuds I’ve tried have been the same, with few exceptions. Again, if the Airpods can match their wired cousins, they should be great.
- Ease of use – Bluetooth pairing has never been all that painful, but trying to use wireless headphones with more than one device has been. Apple puts their “it just works” methodology to good use here, allowing the Airpods to automatically switch between devices, whiteout having to re-pair them, or without having to even do much of anything at all. I am really looking forward to this feature, as I regularly need to use headphones with both my iPhone, and iPad. Being able to also use these with my iMac will be fantastic, too.
While there are definitely some drawbacks of the Airpods, namely the fact that you have to use Siri for everything, including changing the volume, I look forward to these devices. Being a first-generation product, it’s entirely possible they won’t live up to the hype, but they’re a product I’m genuinely excited about.
I’m also trying to look beyond the changes Apple has made to the iPhone this go-around, and look toward the future. I’m not the only person that believes the changes they are making are actually to prepare people for the next iPhone, which will likely do away with the home ‘button’ entirely, and be too thin to support the 3.5mm headphone jack that they ditched this time around. Rumors point to an all-display front, with possible curved-edge screens on the 2017 iPhone. I’m not sure if I believe all of the rumors, but I’d be willing to believe some of them.
Now if Apple would just make an iPhone with wireless charging, I’d be completely happy.