"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Apple Announces the iPhone 7

Yesterday Apple official announced the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch 2. In short, as rumored, they have eliminated the headphone jack in favor of bluetooth solutions, a dongle, and waterproofing the device. To early to say if the trade off is worth it. In general, just like in the last few years, all the devices are just the usual incremental improvements in CPU, camera and other features. If you are currently using an iPhone 6, the bump to 7 is minor at best but for older devices you might see a real improvement in overall quality. One thing to consider is how often you use wired headphones. If you almost never use them, then the iPhone 7's lack of headphone jack probably will not matter to you but otherwise its something you will need to consider in your upgrading decision. I signed up for the iPhone upgrade program last year but the differences are so minor that it doesn't seem worth bothering with. I can easily get three years or more out of my iPhone 6. While I use bluetooth devices heavily, I also do occasionally switch to headphones either out of convenience or because of dead batteries so the lost of that port is actually giving me pause. Maybe once can touch and feel it in a store I can make a final decision. Below is the highlights, click the links for more details.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- Headphone jack removed: replaced with an adapter that plugs into lightening port (replacement dongles are $9) with expectation of users moving to Bluetooth for sound needs

- Home Button Removed: replaced with Force Touch sensitive spot that acts as the home button

- Improved Camera: Allow for DSLR quality photos. iPhone 7 Plus will dual cameras with an added wide-angle lens for better focal length, zooming and more

- Waterproof: With elimination of the physical home button and the headphone jack, it allow Apple to make the phone water resistent so hopefully eliminate a few drops voiding warranties.

- New jet black color scheme introduced.

- Hands-on

- cost: starts at $649

- Pre-orders start September 9, available September 16

Apple Watch 2
- Water resistent for up to 50 meters (164 feet), built-in GPS, brighter display, and 18 hour battery life

- cost: $370

- Pre-orders start September 9, available September 16

- Storage Sizes Eliminated: iPhone 7 and existing versions of iPads will no longer have 16GB and 64GB storage sizes. They now are 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB with $100 or so price difference between each step in space.

- Super Mario Run: For the first time Mario is leaving the Nintendo eco system. The new game has Mario auto-running so you can just one handed top the screen to have him jump through the levels.
- Apple Watch Series 1 will still be available with faster processor for a cost of $270

- AirPods: Wireless, bluetooth, stereo with around a 3 hour charge. Those in turn are charged via a carrying case that itself can provide the earphones with 25 hours of charge. The cost will be $159.

- iOS 10: The update for iOS arrives on September 13th, should work for Apple iPhones 5 and up, iPads mini 2 and up, iPad 4 and up, iPad Airs and iPad Pro.

- Sierra macOS: Mac OSX is officially renamed, with the latest update arriving on September 20th. Main additions are Siri for Mac, iCloud syncing, and picture-in-picture mode for some apps.


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