Apple has today unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. As with previous generations, the main differences between the two models are screen size and the camera. The 4.7" 1334 x 750 pixel Retina display in the iPhone 7 is 25% brighter than before and offers a wider color gamut. As before, it supports 3D touch. The iPhone 7 Plus screen offers the same characteristics but is 5.5" large and comes with a 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Official iPhone 7 sample photos, courtesy Apple
Like its predecessor, the iPhone 7 comes with a 12MP camera. However, the new model features optical image stabilization and sensor readout is 60% faster than before. At F1.8 the aperture of the six-element lens is wider and the new true-tone flash comes with 4 LEDs for more power output and better color balance. There is also a new flicker-sensor that can detect flickering in ambient light and correct for it at image capture.
Apple claims the new in-house designed ISP is faster than before and can complete tasks, such as noise reduction, image stacking and exposure control in approximately 25ms. The moving Live Photos are now captured using video image stabilization and the 7th iPhone generation is the first capable of saving Raw data in DNG format. There is also 4K video and both 1080p and 720p slow-motion modes. At the front the pixel count has been increased from 5 to 7MP.
The larger iPhone 7 Plus model's camera comes with all the iPhone 7 features but adds a second camera module. Next to the standard 28mm module is a 56mm tele-lens with its own 12MP sensor, and this dual cam implementation is predominantly used for zooming. In the camera app you can tap a zoom button to change to the 2x lens, and drag it all the way up to a 10x magnification. After 2x magnification the zoom applies digital magnification, but given the 'base image' captured by the tele-lens uses a longer focal length than other smartphone cameras, the quality of digitally zoomed images should be better than normal.
The camera's second headline feature is a shallow-depth-of-field simulation as we've seen it on several other devices before. The mode is automatically activated in the Portrait scene mode. 'Depth Mode' will be provided via a software update later this year, so we'll have to wait a little while to find out if it performs better than the systems we've seen so far.
The home button has been improved and provides taptic feedback for notifications and other events. Additionally, the iPhone 7 models are the first ones to come with stereo speakers which provide twice the volume and a higher dynamic range than the previous generation. The devices are powered by Apple's new A10 Fusion 64-bit four-core chipset, of which Apple says it is 40% faster than the previous A9 chip. Thanks to a new GPU graphics power has been increased by 50% as well.
In terms of design, the new models come with a similar basic shape to the previous generation but the antennae are now embedded in the enclosure and therefore almost invisible. The new models are also available in a new high-gloss finish which goes through an anodization process for protection. The body is water and dust resistant in line with the IP67 standard and will be available in jet-black, black (blasted aluminum), gold, silver or rose gold. There will be 32, 128 and 256GB storage options for both new models and pre-ordering starts on September 9. Start of shipping is scheduled for September 16.
The iPhone 7 starts at $649 for the 32GB version, for the Plus model you'll have to invest at least $769.
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