First Impressions: In many ways Apple has been a laggard in adopting some of the new features in iPhones like DSLR like Camera, extended battery life and water proofing et al. But the story changes with iPhone 7. A new powerful chip, a solid camera upgrade, better battery life and a new OS update- that’s iPhone 7 for you. Let’s dig in further. One bold move is the elimination of legacy 3.5mm headphone jack and replacing it with Lightning Connector sets a new benchmark in sound quality. The 3.5mm headphone jack is almost 100 years old. And thanks to Apple for sowing the seeds of ending a widely prevalent use of an outdated technology. The A 10 Fusion chip and new graphical capabilities while feeding more power to productivity apps at the same time makes iPhone 7 a handheld game console capable to run some of the most powerful games in the market.
Other Apple centric innovations: The new Wireless EarPod, Camera Innovations, Retina HD Display, and a Taptic Engine, provides more precise and customizable tactile feedback and new and improved iOS 10 aimed at leveraging the new A 10 chip. Aggressive focus on developer ecosystem and strategic tie up with Game developers and huge apps arsenal makes Apple’s App Store one of the biggest in the industry. Bringing games like Super Mario Bros will appeal to the masses in a big way.
Budging to Competition: Waterproofing, better Camera, new colours like Jet Black finish, better Display might appeal to new buyers. Moreover the elimination of entry level 16GB is a good thing. What’s perplexing is that Apple has eliminated the mid-tier 64GB storage option completely. So users either have to opt for 32 GB or go for 128 GB or the massive top end 256GB. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in silver, gold, rose gold and the new black finish in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models starting at $649. The new new jet black finish will be offered exclusively on the 128GB. While India pricing is expected at Rs 60K plus will be available from October 7, 2016.
Takeaway: Apple has budged to competition and launched a phone that will appeal to the Android crowd as well. But exorbitant pricing might spoil the party for Apple in emerging geographies.
Verdict: We have not seen the phone yet and used it. But going by the launch and what the company had said, clearly iPhone 7 is not jaw dropping or revolutionary but ‘Evolutionary’ for Apple and for the industry in certain departments like Audio and Processing Capabilities and User Experience.
Probably this is one of the most interesting iPhone launches post Steve Jobs. Apple live streamed the event from the iconic Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Apple also launched a refurbished line of Smart watches and iOS 10.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, set the tone by stating, “iPhone 7 is the most powerful phone the company has made till date.” He is right. In more ways than one, iPhone 7 is a significant upgrade from 6 series and it’s the heart of the phone that has got a huge power infusion. The newly launched A10 Fusion 64 bit Chip ushers in a new power – performance paradigm. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing remarked, “The A10 Fusion chip is the most powerful chip on any smartphone while delivering the best battery life ever in an iPhone, and an entirely new stereo speaker system provides twice the sound, all within the first water and dust resistant iPhone.” .
The New A10 Fusion Chip
According to Apple, the new custom-designed Apple A10 Fusion chip, making it the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone, while also getting more time between charges with the longest battery life ever in an iPhone. The A10 Fusion’s CPU now has four cores, seamlessly integrating two high-performance cores that run up to two times faster than iPhone 6, and two high-efficiency cores that are capable of running at just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores. Graphics performance is also more powerful, running up to three times faster than iPhone 6 at as little as half the power, enabling a new level of gaming and professional apps.
DSLR Like Camera
In the Camera department, Apple has made some ground breaking innovation. In the media release Apple said, “The 12-megapixel camera includes optical image stabilization on both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and 6-element lens enable brighter, more detailed photos and videos, and a wide colour capture allows for more vibrant colours with more detail. iPhone 7 Plus features the same 12-megapixel wide angle camera as iPhone 7 and adds a 12-megapixel telephoto camera that together offer optical zoom at two times and up to 10 times digital zoom for photos.
Apple new design form started with iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 improves upon the existing 6 series. The company says that the two new black finishes, has an anodized matte appearance, and an innovative jet black finish that has a deep, high-gloss look. Apple says that the new jet-black finish is accomplished through an innovative nine-step process of anodization and polish for a uniform, glossy finish. Moreover an entirely reengineered enclosure results in a water resistant iPhone offering protection like never before against spills, splashes and dust.
With a new speaker system, Apple brings stereo sound to iPhone 7. Apple has eliminated the legacy 3.5mm headphone jack and has opted for a Lightning connector that the company says delivers incredible immersive EarPod experience. Thankfully, older legacy 3.5mm ear pods can be used through the 3.5mm headphone jack adopter Apple is giving free with the package. In addition Apple also launched its revolutionary “Wireless EarPod”, with a W1 Chip, which comes at an extra cost.
Apple says, the new iPhone features the brightest, most vibrant Retina HD display. The company says the all-new, advanced, solid-state Home button on iPhone 7 is designed to be durable and responsive, and working in tandem with the new Taptic Engine, which Apple says provides more precise and customizable tactile feedback.
Why iPhone 7 still makes for a great Smartphone?
First off, we think, the A 10 processor makes the phone a powerhouse. The new refurbished Camera with manual functionality makes it more functional. Other elements like iOS 10, immersive audio, Retina Display, Glossy finish makes it a complete package.
Why iPhone is still an aspirational device? May be the answer lies in the company’s ability to mesh seamlessly the hardware and software elements and instead of focusing too much on gaudy design Apple has consistently stuck to a minimalist, highly user friendly yet a powerful user interface. So user experience is the hallmark of every device Apple makes.
Comments Julie Ask, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, “ Consumers underestimate the engineering feats that the iPhone 7 brings, like the audio, camera, processing power, etc. in such a small package. Once they have it in their hands, they will fall in love with it. While it’s hard to market performance and speed, consumers need to experience it firsthand to get it. We may see a lukewarm response, but the iPhone 7 will pick up momentum once consumers have them in their possession.”
In response to Apple Watch, Ask adds that she is thrilled for the waterproof capability. “This is one of the features that we’ve been missing from these watches. One in 5 consumers have wearables today and Forrester data expects 1 in 3 to have wearables in 4-5 years. The one thing I think the Apple Watch is waiting on is that killer app, but maybe Pokémon becomes that killer app that makes this new consumer group (9-12 year olds) want this watch.”
Adds Thomas Husson, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, “The new devices announced embed enough innovative features to enable Apple to maintain its leadership in the maturing smartphone and emerging smartwatch markets. There are significant opportunities moving forward as many brands are only starting to fully embrace ‘moment marketing,’ adding value to the Apple ecosystem.”
Husson further said, “Partnering brands like Nike, Nintendo and many others add value and appeal to consumers on top of integrated lifestyle experiences from Apple. While no new disruptive line of products was announced, mobile is and will remain a core enabler of new connected experiences for the foreseeable future. Let’s not forget the iPhone is not even 10 years old and will only enter its teenage phase next year.”
Frank Gillett, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, concurred, “Though today’s Apple event has focused on hardware, the software and services improvements are notable too. Support for Pokemon Go, updated iWork with live collaboration, and the promise of exclusive tunes on Apple Music will motivate people to stay in the Apple ecosystems, which will compel them to upgrade the iPhone eventually, if not immediately.”