No headphone jack
Patel is critical of Apple’s decision to drop the headphone jack – technology that has been standard since Victorian times – without fully supporting wireless headphones or speakers from other manufacturers.
As the world’s biggest tech firm, Apple gets to decide for all of us when it’s time to move on from an existing technology, says Patel, in this case forcing users to buy an adapter for their old headphones at a cost of $9 in the US and £9 in the UK.
Apple said it dropped the jack partly so that it could make the phone more water resistant. But Gordon Kelly in Forbes points out that rival smartphone makers have managed to make their handsets as water resistant, or more so, than the iPhone 7 while retaining the headphone jack.
The real reason is that Apple wants to move towards a fully wireless phone with wireless audio devices and wireless charging, says Patel. But that’s a long way in the future.
In the meantime, Apple is not allowing third parties to extend its AirPlay interface. Instead, only the tech firm’s own new W1 headphones “get the fancy new pairing support”. That’s “disappointing”, says Patel.
Poor battery life
“How good can a phone be if the battery doesn’t even last a day,” asks The Guardian’s Samuel Gibbs. He points out that the phone is Apple’s most expensive yet, with the price inflated in the UK by the EU referendum result.
According to Gibbs, the battery life is “poor” and worse than the iPhone 6S when new. Using it for apps, browsing, email and photos, he found it lasted an average of 14 hours between charges – and charging is “tediously slow”.
But the device does have a larger battery than the iPhone 6, with Apple claiming an extra two hours between charges. Patel praises the improvement but says he thinks the phone will run for the same time as the 6S under heavy usage.
To upgrade or not to upgrade…
So is it worth buying the new iPhone. Not if you already have an iPhone 6 or 6S, says Gordon Kelly. “There’s simply not enough here to warrant the substantial cost of an upgrade,” no matter how impressive the new phone is when considered on its own merits.
“If you need a new phone right now, sure, buy an iPhone 7,” says Patel. But this is lukewarm praise: the device is “incomplete”, feels more like a “prototype” and should be skipped unless you are an obsessive early adopter.
“Is this the best iPhone?” asks Gibbs. “Probably,” he concludes. “Should you buy it? Not if you care about battery life.”
iPhone 7: Hissing handsets and other glitches
Headphone jack controversy aside, the iPhone 7 has had some excellent reviews from critics.
CNET gives Apple’s latest smartphone four and a half stars out of five, saying the camera upgrades, new water-resistance and power improvements are worthwhile upgrades.
Alphr, meanwhile, says it’s the best iPhone yet and BGR concludes the camera on the standard device is so good you don’t need the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus.
Out of the hands of reviewers and in the real world, however, first adopters have encountered a few little niggles…
It seems the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices is apparently making hissing sounds when working hard.