Apple did little to surprise the world with its big announcement of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, with the features of the new device being widely forecast. The company also updated and re-positioned its smartwatch to reflect the reality of the market that the smartwatch category is really a fitness market at the moment.
In terms of the displays, they remain the same sizes and resolutions as the iPhone 6 series and are based on IPS LCD technology at 4.7″ and 5.5″. However, brightness has been boosted to 625 cd/m² (from 500), while battery life has improved. The main change on the displays is that the P3 colour gamut has been adopted.
The new phones go on sale for pre-order on September 9th and will be in stores from the 16th. The new device is close to the older version in looks, but will be available in a range of colours including jet black, black, silver, gold and rose gold. As widely forecast, there has been a major upgrade of the main camera, which now has dual lenses with 28mm and 56mm equivalent focal lengths. This follows the purchase of a lens technology company by Apple.
The two lens are integrated in software, so there is a continuous zoom available of 2X optically, while 10X is supported digitally. The new lens can also give a ‘large aperture/short depth of field’ effect that should be good for portraits, by combining data from the two lenses. The aperture ratio is quoted as F1.8. The sensors (there is one for each lens) remain 12 megapixel units. Video recording remains unchanged at UltraHD with 30 fps, although there is a FullHD slow motion mode, now. A new flash has been included.
The selfie camera has been upgraded to 7 megapixels, from 3.5 on the previous iPhone 6.
Another new feature that has captured a lot of attention is the dropping of the 3.5mm jack, and the phone now relies on the Lightning connector and an adaptor for those that want to use older headsets. Apple announced new wireless ear phones.
There is no longer a 16GB model and storage starts at 32GB and goes up to 256GB. The phones are IP67 certified for waterproofing. US pricing is $649 for the iPhone 7 and $769 for the 7+ version.
Apple also announced a new smartwatch, the Watch 2 which has been re-positioned as a fitness device and now includes GPS and is water resistant to 50m. Display brightness has been increased to 1,000 cd/m² (from 500), but there is no change to the resolution (or to adopt microLED). The CPU and GPU have both been upgraded and there will be a new version of the watch OS for both the old and new watches. Battery life is quoted as 18 hours.
The P3 colour gamut adoption is no surprise, as Apple had already released iMacs using that gamut. Given Apple’s very effective processes and planning to try to get all its displays to look the same, extending it from the iMac to the iPhone was to be expected. However, Apple is to be congratulated on achieving this while improving brightness and increasing battery life. The UHD Alliance Premium specification only calls for 90% coverage of P3.