When you grab the new iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus in jet black, you’ll be caught off guard. The premium feel that people have had access to since the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has been upgraded to something even nicer, something I had trouble putting down. It feels so smooth, and not cold, and not delicate.
This goes for the iPhone 7 Plus as well, but it’s not limited to that more expensive device. It’s something that I imagine will trickle down to other Apple products and, eventually, other manufacturers’ products. You could say this is just a visual detail of this new generation of iPhone, but I’d say that many consumers know good design, and will want it.
There are other good things. The iPhone 7 Plus’ dual cameras let you make wide-angle shots, and photos look better when you’re zoomed in. Two speakers — the one on the top is actually the earpiece — provide better sound.
The new optional AirPods are easy to pair with an iPhone, after which your other devices are immediately also paired, and the case itself, which looks like a cuter, Apple-style dental floss container, can be charged via Lightning. Once you’ve paired the earbuds, you can see how much battery is remaining for both the case and the buds. When you put the AirPods in your ears while music is playing on the phone, the audio switches to the earbuds. When you take out the earbuds, the music stops. Very cool.
The taptic home button is a you’ve-got-to-feel-it-to-believe-it thing. The taptic engine’s vibrations are subtly reminiscent of the DualShock controllers you could buy separately for your PlayStation. It’s a pleasant effect.
There are camera bumps on both of the new iPhones, and, generally speaking, the phones look a good bit like earlier ones. If you were to see a glimpse of the iPhone 7, you might not immediately know that it’s the new version. Not so for the iPhone 7 Plus because of the two cameras on the back, but the point is still valid — they’re not hugely different at first sight.
The phones are not considerably heavier than or bigger than last year’s models. But performance is quite snappy, owing to the new chips and memory, and there’s more room for your data. Prices are on par with the 6s and 6s Plus.
The thing that we will all have to deal with is the removal of the headphone jack from these phones. There are many implications of this change. While the AirPods do look nifty, I don’t think I could see myself using them while commuting to work everyday. While Lightning headphones are included in the box, I could see myself losing them, which would mean falling back on the adapter that comes in the box, but then if I lose the adapter, or if I leave it at home….
If I push aside this headphone jack problem, I can say that the new iPhones are dynamic and interesting. Especially the one with the dual camera. And especially in jet black.
We’ll have a better idea of how these phones work day to day once we receive review units.