If you’ve been anywhere near the Internet in the past 24 hours (or the past few weeks, to be honest) you’ll have seen what Apple has done; and it’s causing a few people to throw a bit of a tantrum.
We get it. It’s a big change. It’s such a big change that we haven’t even mentioned what it is yet, and you already know what we’re talking about.
Before we even start, why don’t we get the basics out the way?
“When can I get one?”
The iPhone 7 arrives in stores on Friday, September 16th but you'll be able to put in your order from Friday, September 9th – which may be a good idea as the phone is sure to be in high demand.
“How angry will my bank account be with me?”
The iPhone 7 starts at £599 for a 32GB model, and as much as £799 for 256GB. But what if you wanted to go Plus? Well, get ready to withdraw a painful £719 for 32GB all the way up to £919 for 256Gb. Ouch!
The iPhone 7:
£599 for 32GB
£699 for 128GB
£799 for 256GB
The iPhone 7 Plus:
£719 for 32GB
£819 for 128GB
£919 for 256GB
Now that we’ve got the niceties out of the way, why don’t we delve a little a bit deeper into why there’s been so much controversy over the iPhone 7, compared to previous years.
RIP headphone jack, hello AirPods that I will instantly lose.
That’s right, the rumours that we’ve all been reading for months are true. The days of spending hours untangling your headphones are over, long live losing our AirPods at the gym/work/under the bed/anywhere really.
It’s still not completely wireless though; the AirPods now come with a Lightning adaptor, which connects to the charging port of the iPhone (so if you’ve got a favourite pair of earphones, don’t worry, you can still use them).
"So why is everyone so mad about it?"
We get it, it’s a big change. Headphones and the renowned AUX cable have been in use since the 19th century, so it’s a big move on Apple’s part to just scrap it; and of course, people were quick to voice their annoyance.
And it’s not just the fact that we’re all going to be losing these little bits of plastic within a week of buying the phone. It’s that it’ll cost you £159 to replace these little pieces of plastic. And a lot of people really aren’t happy about it:
“If it’s such a bad idea, why have Apple done it?”
Because it’s not actually a bad idea. Yes, Apple’s decision was aggressive, but when aren’t they? Jobs was the first to remove the floppy drive in 1997, and remember when Apple got rid of the CD-ROM in 2008? Both decisions caused uproar at the time, and are now widely accepted across the globe. USB sticks are used on a daily basis, and can you even remember what a floppy drive did anyway? Apple have pioneered big changes in the tech industry for years now, so why are we all so surprised that they’ve done it again?
Especially when the changes they’ve made make for a better iPhone. The conventional headphone jack was actually a massive setback for improvements to headphone design and even audio quality. Why? Because it’s old. The 3.5mm jack we all know and love is, in fact, a miniaturised version of a 6.35mm jack which is said to go as far back as 1878.
That’s 138 years old.
By switching to the Lightening connector, third parties (think Bose, Sony, Denon) can now work at creating headphones with better features and designs, including cheaper noise cancellation and better audio quality.
Removing the headphone jack not only gave Apple more opportunities with audio quality, but more opportunities to improve the iPhone 7 altogether. The free space that the jack left behind has allowed Apple to create the first ever water resistant iPhone, complete with an upgraded camera system, the “taptic engine” for the home button, and even a better battery – which, let’s be honest, was the biggest problem with iPhones. Isn’t it impressive how much you can do with such a small space?
"So new headphones are maybe a better idea than everyone thought. What else?"
Well, the game has changed for the water-resistant-phone market. In previous years it’s been one of Apple’s biggest setbacks, as Samsung and Sony stormed the industry. But the Galaxy S7 and the Sony Xperia better watch out, because the iPhone’s here to kick up a bit of a fuss.
Again, we must give thanks to the amputation of the audio jack, as the removal of the gaping hole means the iPhone 7 is safe for immersion in liquid up to 1m. And it’s not just your phone you can take swimming with you; Series 2 of the Apple Watch is now also safe up to a 50m depth. Pretty impressive stuff.
There's improvements across the board, really…
The list of changes to the iPhone continues, and now we reach the camera. Apple’s given it a bit of a revamp, which enhances low-light capabilities, meaning our breakfast pictures on Instagram will be sharper and cleaner.
(If you’re really that interested the 4.7-inch device has a f/1.8 lens that allows 50% more light into the lens, a new 12MP sensor that's 60% faster and 30% more energy efficient.)
Cameras on both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus will also have 12 megapixel sensors and the ability to record in 4K. You can also thank a new camera flash for improvements to photos in low light and image stabilisation. The front camera has also been upgraded from 5MP to 7Mp, so you can thank Apple for better selfies.
"That’s the hardware sorted then, but what about the software?"
As is typical when Apple release a new iPhone, we can also expect a new iOS. iOS 10 is due to make its grand entrance on September 13th, and it’s bringing some cool features with it. So sit patiently and await for the arrival of a revamped Siri, a redesigned lock screen (with cooler onscreen notifications), improved Apple Maps and loads of cool updates to Messages (to name a few).
"But should I buy one?"
Unfortunately, that decision is entirely up to you. Although the iPhone boasts many cool new features, it's also the first time since it's first release that we haven't seen a complete redesign. Yes there's a new camera, and the headphone jack is obviously gone, but other than that the phone basically looks the same as last years model.
And it's all speculation, but there may be reason to this. Next year marks the iPhone's 10 year anniversary since it's debut in 2007. Which means we may be expecting something big. The current gossip circulating the rumour-mill is that the reason the design of the iPhone 7 was so drastically untouched is because Apple are holding out for the big sha-bang next year. We'll just have to wait and see.
So, the iPhone 7.
It’s caused quite a bit of controversy, but will it die down? Will we embrace the change and see a wireless world sooner than we think, or are we doomed to forever asking “has anyone seen my AirPods?”. At the end of the day, it’ll all be down to personal preference, but for now why don’t we all just take a deep breath, count to 10, and get ready to fork out a few hundred pounds to the most valuable business in the world.