Apple's iPhone 4S brought in the era of mobile photography linked to Facebook, Twitter, and the internet in many ways, uploading photos that people capture everywhere, the "Selfie" emblematic of the era we live in today. The digital photography revolution started in 2011!
The iPhone 7 will start shipping in 3 days on Sept 16th in America, the 7 plus containing 2 cameras in back that will redefine mobile photography again!
The hardware design team at Apple is confident that the iPhone 7 will be the nicest camera that most people will ever operate, Phil Schiller confidently expressing this opinion at the latest Apple iPhone launch event where the iPhone 7, 7 plus, and Apple Watch series 2 were announced.
Phone Camera History
The best camera is the camera that you have with you. I have fond memories of my earliest feature phone cameras, the first competent one an LG enV or Vx9900 on Verizon. Next was an enV2 then EnV3, I finally switched over to smart-phones with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. I had planned on getting the iPhone 5 until I learned what I would take to swap the battery out of my iPad 2! 26 pages of instructions with special tools, custom ordered replacement adhesive strips, microwave heat bags, hours of time for a first timer. To Apple's credit, the battery in my ageing iPad 2 still works great.
Sealed Battery Ethics
It was more about the ethics of sealing the battery inside a device where it is not feasible to change, which made me feel cheated as a consumer, it felt like designed obsolescence, the opposite of eco-friendly values that Apple often touts in its green washing efforts. Softening the blow, over time my feelings about Apples sealed battery betrayal softened as I watched on CE vendor OEM after the other seal batteries into their ultrabooks, phones, tablets, wireless devices, and other CE designs (shame on you Intel, Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, Kyocera, etc). My latest investment in mobile apple products include my lovely wife's iPhone SE, and I have sealed batteries in the keyboard and mouse of the newest iMac.
The Sony BSI Sensor
Sony partnered with Apple to bring BSI sensors to the iPhone, Back Side Illuminated allows more photons to hit smaller sensor pixels faster with greater precision & accuracy in lower light with better optical capture performance. Sony research has a long history of amazing technological innovations, they often partner with companies like Apple to bring these innovations into global scale production products like the iPhone. The latest iPhone 7 sensors capturing image data 60% faster with a 30% wider color gamut, with better hue bit depth, better white balance, faster autofocus, and better low light performance with improved optics that are brighter and faster than ever before!!! Holy photon capture, that is awesome.
I like Real Cameras!
There is something about a real camera that creates a sense of photographic purpose that the smartphones vague lack of good optical zoom and bizare hand feel just cannot re-create. I like SD cards and related slots and adapters that allow me to put my camera photos on any computer platform, be that Windows 10, macOS, or Linux, I have many ageing machines, and I like being able to work with my photos on any of them. With a phone, getting the pictures off is not easy, unless you use an iPhone with a Mac computer, the iPhotos app automates the importing process to easy for anyone level, something I might end up going with in the future.
3.5mm Jack Gone : No iPhone 7 for me!
The lack of headphone jack in the iPhone 7 means that I cannot easily plug an iPhone 7 into my car stereo systems, and we live in America where you need a car to function. This makes the iPhone 7 very unattractive to me, that along with its lack of wireless charging. QI chargers have been around for a long time, and they are already in their second generation, enabling charging at up to 1.5amps. I am not sure why Apple continues to reject wireless charging in the iPhone, especially since inductive charging was used in both Series 1 and Series 2 Apple watch platforms.
The lack of headphone jack on the iPhone 7 means I would need to buy at least 4x $9 ($36) of these new (cheapest dongle Apple has ever released) adapters that convert the analog stereo 3.5mm connector of my headphone and earbuds into a lightning connector for the iPhone 7. Another thing to loose, break or misplace, no thanks!
I realize that making the iPhone 7 water resistant, adding a bigger battery, and making the home button all digital, combined to use up more interior case space, and that Apple's choice to stick to the thin form factor we were introduced to with the iPhone 6 means that case interior space was at a premium, and Apple likes moving beyond optical drives and older port standards, they want to move to the future, and who could blame them for embracing emerging standards like the symmetrical plug in lighting connection that is strong both on the cable and in the port, much much much better than micro-usb!
Lighting Ports are Better than Micro-USB weakness
Micro-usb is horribly fragile, ports and cable tips breakage galore if you are not diligent to be gentle with them, and each cable has a bend tendency that I called "Cable Zen" which may or may not work at a given plug in angle with a micro-usb cable tip and port because the port can only be plugged in one specific way! The male micro-usb part is thin and fragile, and the female micro-usb ports are easy to warp, bend, twist and break. Micro-usb works, but is mediocre and mechanically terribly weak.
Apple made a much better port and plug with the lightning port set. Perhaps these will even stand up to being cycled with more insertions and removals if people are going to be plugging both the charging cable and their new headphone dongles into and out of the only IO port on the iPhone 7.
I think there was an effort to push people towards Apples new mediocre wireless headphones that have a design that I do not understand. I like the earbugs with different size silicon sound isolating tips that hold the buds in people's different size and shaped ears effectively, many ear buds including different sizes for a one size fits all solution that works great for most people. With the Apple earpods, they only hold well in certain peoples ears, and the sound quality even on the corded models are only mediocre at best! I am sure this is a boon for iPhone accessory manufactures who will no doubt sell more new heatphones with the new lighting connection "Designed for iPhone" certified. I just do not buy into this yet. I was hoping for awesome wireless headphone technology! Yes the W1 chip and fluidly moving wireless headphones between your new iPhone 7, new iPad and new macOS computer is slick, but if the sound quality is only mediocre, what is the point?