iPhone 7 Review: My First Five Days

iPhone7 lineup - tops

I”ve lived with my new, black iPhone 7 (128 GB) for five days now. It’s an amazing device. Here are my initial observations.

iPhone 7
Image credit: Apple

The most notable thing about the iPhone 7 is the incremental improvements that accumulate to make the device a compelling update. Recall that many observers had claimed that this would be a yawner of an update because we’d not likely get an OLED (or AMOLED) display, a 4K display, a wrap around display, glass/ceramic case and inductive charging.

What Apple did instead was to combine some really great incremental improvements, such as the camera(s) with terrific performance improvement of the A10 Fusion processor and wrap it in a seductive pair of new colors. This is enough to get the owners of iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 excited, and it’s also enough to get 6s owners excited who just want to ride the wave of having the latest and greatest.

At Apple’s September 9th event, Apple SVP Phil Schiller described these advancements starting at 60m:45s. Actually, only eight of the 10 items covered relate to the iPhone 7 itself. Items #8 and #9 are ancillary, but they flesh out a nice round number of 10. It’s worth recapping what Phil Schiller enumerated because, often, the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Here are my edited notes for inclusion here and as a platform for further discussion.

1. Design improvements in finish: Jet black, high gloss. Steel Apple logo. Better interface from display to case bezel edge. Or plain black. Diffuses light. Black logo.

2. Home button. Home button used for many functions: home function, multitasking, Siri, Accessibility, Touch ID, Reachability, Apple Pay. Haptic engine more reliable and customizable. Force sensitive, solid state. Haptic feedback. Accessibile to 3rd party apps. Potential, new feelings and experiences.

3. Water and dust resistant. IP67 protection standard.

4. New camera. 12 MP. Optical image stabilization (OIS) on 7. 3X longer exposures possible. f/1.8, 50% brighter, 6 element lens. Sensor 60% faster, larger pixels. LED flash has quad LEDs. Flicker sensor to account for 60 Hz lights. Image signal processor (ISP) has 2x throughput. Uses machine learning. 10 steps: Sets exposure, focus, color, tone mapping, noise reduction, etc. Multiple photos fused. 100 billion operations. in 25 ms. A “supercomputer.” Wide-color gamut. Front side 7 MP for selfies. 7 Plus, telephoto and zoom. Background blur: Bokeh. (Shallow depth of field.) But software update later this year is required. Best cameras in any smartphone. Perhaps the best camera any customer owns.

5. Retina HD display. Still an LCD, but 25% brighter. Wide color gamut. End to end color management. 3D Touch.

6. Audio. Speakers used for music, Facetime calls, watching movies and TV, speaker phone calls. Now stereo for first time. 2x volume of 6s/6s Plus.

7. EarPods. Move to Lightning. There are 900 million Lightning enabled devices worldwide. 3.5 mm audio jack adapter included.

8. Wireless. AirPods. Not really an iPhone 7 feature. New W1 chip.

9. Apple Pay on the Web. 90% of contactless payments are Apple Pay.
Apple Pay in Japan coming in October.

10. Performance. Four CPU cores: 2 x 2. Apple designed performance controller. Realtime adjustment of maximum performance and battery savings, GPU is 6 core. Enables new apps: games. Console level gaming. Invokes wide color gamut. Haptic feel possible.

That was the demo. Let’s get into more detail.

Next page: My Initial reactions.

2 thoughts on “iPhone 7 Review: My First Five Days

  • It’s telling that Macworld (or what’s left of it) basically recommended “sitting out” this upgrade cycle, simply because of the missing audio socket.

    That being said… I’m kind of impressed by how bright the screen is, and the lightning earphones seem significantly louder (and possibly better?) than regular earphones plugged into the adapter, which is a bit mysterious since the adapter seems to feature essentially the same DAC chip.

  • Here’s a thought. If you still have the plastic case from a previous iPhone, use that. That is, if you have the patience to fold up the cord.

    I do that because I have found that it keeps the cord from corkscrewing. It is harder in the pocket and can contribute to wearing out the fabric, no worse than a key fob though. I also keep ear buds coiled and wrapped inside of a change purse which isn’t so hard on pocket fabric.

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