MANILA, Philippines – Tech junkies stayed up in the wee hours of Thursday, September 8 to tune in to this year’s much awaited product announcements from Apple live streamed from Cupertino, California.
At the event, the tech giant unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller took the stage and walked viewers through the features of the two phones – pre-orders for which begin on September 9 in select territories.
A release date for the Philippine market wasn’t indicated in the presentation.
Jet black is the new black
Apple is touting a specific kind of black for its new batch of phones: jet black. “Absolutely stunning,” the company describes it – said to be the result of an elaborate engineering process. Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, says the new phones are more seamless than ever before and are given that high-gloss, mirror-like finish for those that like their gadgets really, really shiny. There is a “just black” version that’s matte along with other color options gold, silver, and rose gold.
These are also the first water- and dust-resistant iPhones, having been given an IP67 rating. (A competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Note7, has a higher IP68 rating but its recent recall has put a damper on its momentum.)
The home (button) is where the heart is
The home button is “quintessential” to Apple’s iPhone design, says Schiller. In the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, they say that they’ve made it more responsive, naturally improving the Taptic Engine – essentially, vibration feedback technology – first found in the 6 and 6s.
The biggest changes for the iPhone are found in the camera. Both iPhone 7 and 7 Plus now come with optical image stabilization, one benefit of which is the ability to take sharp photos even in low-light conditions. The wider f/1.8 aperture (the camera of the iPhone 6s has a f/2.2 opening) aids in that regard as well. Apple has also increased the power of its flash by 50%. The 12-megapixel back camera has other gains too: it’s said to be 30% more energy efficient than its predecessor. The front-facing camera has been upgraded to 7 megapixels from 5.
Confirming rumors, the iPhone 7 Plus packs a dual-lens camera system: one camera has a focal length of 28 millimeters (great for wide angle shots) and the other is a 58-millimeter, a focal length that’s more zoomed in. The longer focal length also allows smartphone photographers to create those out-of-focus zones, typically regarded as aesthetically pleasing. Here’s an example:
The iPhone 7’s camera even allows users to capture RAW picture files, a filetype that’s larger than JPEGs and carry far more detail information – perfect for those looking to tweak their photos a lot.
The headphone jack takes a hike
One of the more popular speculations on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus was that the analog headphone jack was doomed. The event confirmed it. Replacing it is Apple’s own proprietary Lightning interface, one highlighted feature of which is its ability to power a device like a USB port while carrying audio. Analog headphones will still work with the new phones though through a Lightning-to-analog adaptor that comes packed-in with the devices.
Users have one other option: wireless audio devices. Apple introduced the AirPods which Apple trumpeted for its ease-of-use. The company claimed that there is “no step 2” to connecting. You just tap connect, and you’re connected to all your Apple devices – computer, phone, or tablet. It switches automatically to the device you’re currently using. It’s said to last for 5 hours on a single charge, and will retail for $160.
It comes out in October.
Apple also touts its new stereo speakers, a first for the line.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus come with the A10 Fusion Chip, the company’s latest and greatest yet.
Apple claims its the fastest smartphone on the market. Its new graphics chip is also said to be 50% faster than its predecessor, allowing for real-time reflections, weather effects, and particle effects. Translation: mobile razmatazz on a whole new level. Game developer, Heather Price, certainly feels so. She presented their game, the role-playing title Broken Kingdom, which she noted ran flawlessly on the iPhone 7 while rendering “400 flying monkeys” with nary a dip in framerate.
While processing power has been increased, the battery of the iPhone 7 models is said to last an hour or two longer than the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
The 6s, 6s Plus and the SE will continue to be in Apple’s phone rotation. The 6s and the 6s Plus have been given a bump in memory capacity, with 16GB models moving up to 32GB, and 64GB models doubling to 128GB. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will come in 32, 128 and 256 GB variants. – Rappler.com
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