It seems as though it’s a normal part of September now.
Alongside the school year starting again, and ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ coming and going with little fanfare. There is now a new annual event - people crowding around their nearest electronics store for Apple’s newest iPhone.
This year was no different, as Apple fans and tech geeks across the globe swarmed stores Friday to either purchase or pick up their order for the iPhone 7 and/or iPhone 7 Plus, the newest member of Apple Inc.’s multi-billion dollar family.
Seeing how most stores sold out in hours, you or someone you know either already has or is waiting for their version of Apple’s newest toy. But those readers who are not diehard fans of Apple, and already have a smartphone of their own, have a very important question; is there a pressing need to get a new iPhone at all?
There’s not a lot different with the new iPhone compared to the old one. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S were already excellent, if the user reviews are to be believed. True, Apple’s newest software update, iOS10, comes with the phone, which got good reviews from websites such as Engadget, praising the new system for it’s numerous small changes that make for a more convenient experience. But there’s nothing stopping you from downloading the operating system to your older model iPhone, so it’s hardly a sales feature.
Some changes to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus include new water resistance, a longer battery life, expanded memory and a better camera. There has also been some praise for having a faster processor, although you may not notice if you don’t play a lot of games or watch videos on your smartphone. For the most part, these all work fine - a longer battery life and bigger memory is something all phones could use more of, and the water resistance is long overdue.
The iPhone 7’s camera is only slightly improved, capable of taking better low-light images, but the iPhone 7 Plus comes with dual rear cameras, making it capable of putting two pictures together to create different effects, such as an extra zoom.
However, there is some concern that the extra battery life and memory claim is misleading. According to Vaughn Lewis, a Verizon employee who tested the iPhone 7, the device doesn’t come with iOS 10 installed.
“I feel like the battery’s going to be great on it,” he said, “until you install iOS 10, and that’s going to take a lot of installation space off the phone itself.” And that could negatively affect the battery life as well.
If you’ve been following the news at all, you probably already know the biggest problem people have with the iPhone 7 is the total lack of headphone jack.
While steps have been made to accommodate for this, such as an included headphone adapter and bluetooth functionality, there have been complaints that plugging in the adaptor and the headphones creates unnecessary busywork.
More importantly, you can’t charge your phone and listen to music at the same time, since the adaptor plugs into the charger slot, and bluetooth functionality requires spending more money on top of what you already spent for a new phone. It’s also worth mentioning that the home button this time isn’t actually a button, but a solid circle that reacts to a press of your finger. If you’re wearing gloves or have a strip of cloth in between, the home button won’t register it. While not a bad change on its own, since there’s something to be said about lowering your chances of accidentally switching off your phone, there have been complaints about the unfamiliarity of the new design - CNET mentioned in an article that it was quite an adjustment for them.
So, should you get the new iPhone? Well, if you don’t have an iPhone 6 or 6S and want to support the company, then yeah - by all accounts it’s still a good phone.
However, if you already have an iPhone 6S, perhaps the best thing you can do right now is wait - the iPhone 6 is a great piece of tech already, and the incremental improvements in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may not be enough for you to get the new one. Let the feedback from the actual customers come first, and decide from there.