2016 should go down in history as Year of the Object Lesson. The two top mobile phone companies blew it badly in rolling out their flagships. In the rush to get the profitable high-end phones to market, Samsung and Apple got a pass and both phones entered the market with significant flaws. Apple – known for meticulous product testing – ended up getting significant blowback even from longtime fans. About the nicest thing said about it was that it was only a little different from the iPhone 6 series. Let’s look at what went right with iPhone 7 and what went wrong.
Camera heaven! Seriously. This might be the best camera most people ever get their hands on. You have a four-tone LED flash, optical image stabilization, and f/1.8 lens. On the 7 Plus, you get twice the awesome with an f/2.8 telephoto lens with dual focus that works with the f/1.8 wide angle. You could buy it just for the camera.
No headphone jack when wireless audio system lacks full development. You can use the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle to plug in your headphones, but it’s awkward and inelegant. The AirPods are puzzlingly mediocre and don’t deliver great sound to your head, and are not going to win any converts.
More battery life thanks to the A10 Fusion processor’s dual low-power cores. Lasts twice as long as the 6 series.
Jet black model has cheap, chippy paint.
Better display. Apple keeps leading the pack when it comes to display, and the 7 and 7 plus are no exception. More colors, more pixels, more depth of color. You’ll notice it when viewing media and especially when you blow up your photos.
It’s mostly a 6 series in a different case. As mentioned previously, this is a 6.x phone more than a whole new 7. The object of a new release is to release something new, not tack on some new stuff and call it a new production.
A10 Fusion processor. Low power, high efficiency, and screaming performance. This chip is to the previous series as a Formula 1 car is to a Toyota. It’s a bright spot for sure.
Dongles. Wires. Dongles and wires everywhere. You’re going to lose them and have to buy new ones, and it’s going to be a pain.
Water resistance. You can drop it in the pool and you’re okay. If it’s in there for 30+ minute you’re not.
Taptic engine fools your brain. It’s really neat to get that “button feel.”
The home button is useless without skin contact.
There are also a plethora of other issues ranging from the processor hissing at high loads, to an easily scratched camera lens and battery bulge. There’s still no fast charging or wireless charging. In short, you can look at 7 as a transitional phone much as Windows 8 was a transition to Windows 10. It feels as if Apple didn’t have enough to make a really awesome new phone in time to beat Samsung to the punch. As a result, you get a souped up iteration of the 6, a few cool new features, but it feels kind of like a letdown. Apple has always had the Jobs focus, but with the 7 it feels as if that focus missed the target.