Even If You Don’t Need a New iPhone 7, You Should Still Get One


The art and science of sizing up the new iPhone each year is a formidable one, given the time between the announcement and the window for ordering. Apple provides just enough information to whet the appetite. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the state of the art isn’t advancing and decide to save some money, passing on the iPhone 7. That’s probably not a good way to go, given Apple’s track record.

iPhone 7, black

Image credit: Apple

Why You Should Get an iPhone 7

Back in June, I wrote an essay. “Why I’ll be Buying a New iPhone 7.” Nothing has changed since then to alter my feelings. Mindfully, it’s not just that I write about the technologies that Apple offers. I would always buy a new iPhone. And it’s not because I want to be the kid on the block with the latest and greatest.

It’s because the iPhone is fundamental to our life experiences and our technical culture. It’s a device that, remarkably, gets better and better every year. In other words, it makes no sense to keep that iPhone 4S because it can still make phone calls. That’s false modesty.

We flow through the technical timeline and it, in turn, advances us, our understanding, and our capabilities. That happens in ways we cannot fully diagnose between September 7th and September 9th.

iPhone 7 features

iPhone 7 features. Image credit: Apple.

For example, there may be security improvements that have not yet come to light. Given what we know about the importance of encryption and personal security, it’s seldom wise to stick with older hardware. Second, these new cameras will likely enable photography in ways that will surprise and delight us, but we’ll have to get our hands on an iPhone 7 by ordering early to discover that. Third, I’ve been complaining about the external speakers in the iPhone and iPads for years. Apple has finally fixed that and made the iPhone 7 water resistant as well. There are more items, including a better Home button.

This is not a question of waiting for something stunning to come out of Cupertino. This is a question of investing in one’s own future.

iPhone CPU power over time.

iPhone CPU power over time. Image credit: Apple

Living the Future

Finally, we’ve seen Apple’s explanation of the 3.5 mm headphone jack going the way of the dinosaur. This process of technical advancement is always a painful one. Some observers will feed their egos by declaring that Apple’s use of the word “courage” is ridiculous. I’ll simply state that the process, repeated over the years, is very much always just like this.

  1. Apple makes a dramatic change in technology that obsoletes old equipment and moves us forward.
  2. Customers and observers complain that Apple is fleecing them. Change is declared unnecessary.
  3. Years later we look back and wonder what the fuss was all about. We smile as we regard the old stuff with nostalgia.

Finally, as an important reminder from the article I referenced above:

Of course, I’m not saying one should be foolish with money. Or careless in judgment. Family and the responsibilities of life, perhaps parenthood, always come first. Weighing benefits is what adults do. That said, an iPhone 6 or 6s can be traded in for a healthy amount of money, and Apple offers really good payment plans that run about $30/month. Most can do that.

Life is too much fun and the technical opportunities with each new iPhone model are too great to pooh-pooh. If it pleases you, bet on Apple to have produced a really nice product whose potential can’t be fully evaluated in the next two days. Still, Apple tries to make it an easy proposition. (We know there will be yet undiscovered goodies.)

Of course, the iPhone 8, the 10th anniversary iPhone in 2017, will be even cooler. Get that one as well.

20 Comments Add a comment

  1. I’m still on an iPhone5, and find it adequate for my truly mobile needs.
    And it is small enough to fit in almost any pocket.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a 7+, but can’t justify the expense.

    And if I need a larger screen, I’ve got an iPad mini 4.
    And failing that, a 23″ display connected to a macBook Pro

  2. You guys still don’t know what you are talking about. there is nothing obsolete about the 3.5mm jack. It is still capable of passing the highest quality audio available. There is nothing intrinsically inferior about having one or even superior about no having one. All audio goes through the same process.

    It may become irrelevant to a large portion of the smartphone market, maybe even all of it eventually, (although even Apple STILL provides an adaptor, talk about hedging your bets) but it will always be an integral part of audio technology, There is nothing that offers better, simpler, more obvious connections to the world of audio gear. Nothing. That analog connection is unavoidable. That is why it is still around and always will be. Just not in iPhones (less the included adaptor of course).


  3. So, if your iPhone 7 is about to run out of battery life, you’ll be unable to listen to your tunes while charging unless you have a third-party adapter that connects both the earbuds and Lightning cable for charging (or a pair of AirPods for $159 a pop)? Did I miss something here?

  4. John,

    Agreed. But my concern is that “what comes in the box” no longer provides the full Apple experience. It also means that a user still has to purchase an additional item to do so. Had the AirPods been included in place of the wired earbuds, it would have made more sense other than the obvious cost difference.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever tried listening to music from my phone with headphones while charging it. If I’m charging it then either I’m sleeping or I’m in front of a computer. At work I close the door and use the iPhone speakers. At home I have the same iTunes library on my desktop. But, yeah that is an interesting point that I didn’t think of.

    I was going to say that including the adapter isn’t just “hedging their bet” but rather a smart move to make the change entirely a non-issue. Anyone who needs to plug in an accessory that they already own can do so without purchasing an extra dongle. The included EarPods don’t need the dongle. If you only have one third-party accessory that you still need, then keep the adapter on that thing. (In my case it is a Thermodo. I don’t have third-party headphones. The third-party car radio adapter I had broke a couple years ago so in my old car I just don’t listen to music and the new car works over bluetooth.)

    Obviously I’m talking about how I use things. Other people will be different. But the only data I have is what I do and limited looking around at other people. I just don’t see a ton of things plugged into that jack other than headphones.

  6. One thing about trading in an iPhone 6 / 6S for the iPhone 7 is that the new body shape probably requires a new case too. Don’t forget that extra expense.

    With the loss of 2-year on-contract upgrades, and given all the other purchases this year (iPad Pro, then 2011 iMac suddenly died so had to get a new iMac) I’m definitely not in the mood to spend more money. There isn’t enough with the new iPhone 7 to make me bite. So I think I’ll see how I do with a 3 year cycle this time around.

    I’m quite glad that the new Apple Watch doesn’t make me feel like I need a new one. I will happily continue using the one I have.

  7. Paul Goodwin

    “… because the iPhone is fundamental to our life experiences and our technical culture”

    For me it’s the iPad and not the iPhone filling that technical experience. My 5s is used only as a phone and portable message terminal. And in a few special instances an email device. I do very little on the phone.

    AND It has a 3.5 mm headphone jack for my good headphones.

  8. @ webjprgm, I appreciate your level headedness. However, apparently you don’t live in a city with major mass transit, like NYC or Chicago. You’ll see that port in regular use.

    I still contend in light of Apple’s “courage”, the included adaptor is absolutely a hedge.


  9. “I was going to say that including the adapter isn’t just “hedging their bet” but rather a smart move to make the change entirely a non-issue. Anyone who needs to plug in an accessory that they already own can do so without purchasing an extra dongle.”

    They should give every iPhone 7, and 8, iPhone buyer a half a dozen of those dongles.

  10. I just do not understand the issue over removing the Headphone jack. It is an 1920s “Analog Technology” that certainly does not fit into today’s technology. It is a single purpose dated piece that needs updating.

    In my opinion the “Digital” Lightning connector option is just a stop gap, I believe the future will be Wireless. In this day and age why do we believe that it is necessary to be “Tethered” by wire to our devices. In a couple of years this contraversary will become mostly silent as all Manufactures move to some form of Wireless. The fear will be wether they will come to an agreement on a “Standard”. Apple’s wireless solution is Bluetooth with what they call some “Secret Sauce” layed over it.


  11. “It is an 1920s ‘Analog Technology’ that certainly does not fit into today’s technology. It is a single purpose dated piece that needs updating.”

    This is the problem. Ignorance. I have no problem with Apple pursuing what they think Apple should do. It is this cheerleading that comes from absolutely no knowledge of audio tech. There is no audio technology without “analog technology”. It doesn’t exist. Even with Apple’s wireless system. There is still the same analog technology involved at exactly the same point in the line (between the amp and the speakers) that audio will ALWAYS have until we can input audio directly into our brain bypassing the eardrum.

    And everything Apple is doing here has ALWAYS been possible WITH the no patent or license 3.5mm jack. This is not new. If everyone who thinks this is a great idea now, where were you since the Lightning port was introduced? Why weren’t you using that to connect your earphones before now? Why is it NOW so important when you could have been doing it all along?


  12. I’m not convinced that the audio jack should or will go the way of the dinosaur. It’s basic, commodity technology that costs pennies to implement, and (I believe) isn’t controlled by any organization that collects royalties. The lightning cable does offer benefits, but that is greatly offset by its expensive/sophisticated tech.

    On the other hand, I don’t believe removing that jack is totally an outrageous move on Apple’s part, since – if you’re in the ecosystem you’ll be getting an included pair of lightning headphones anyway.

  13. Joe,
    There is no need to insult us by saying that “you don’t know what you are talking about”. That is just plain rude. Perhaps there is something that you haven’t considered about the inferiority of the audio jack, water! This makes the device more water-resistant, which it couldn’t be with a large hole used for the headset. It’s easier to protect speakers and the lightning port from water, than the audio jack. But I didn’t say “Joe, you don’t know what you’re talking about!”

  14. If you talk about things that are factually untrue as if they are, then saying you don’t know what you are talking about is not an insult, it is being mildly observant. This is not about taking something into consideration or not, it is about knowledge of audio tech. Most people commenting (not all) and tech writers simply don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to audio tech. If that’s an insult maybe they shouldn’t write about that which they don’t know.


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