Complete guide to the iPhone 7 launch
Apple unveiled the new iPhone 7 alongside its bigger sibling the iPhone 7 Plus during a special event on 7 September, and the new phones are now on sale. Read on for the best places to buy the iPhone 7, and discover the new iPhone 7 features and specs.
iPhone 7 release date: When is the iPhone 7 coming out?
The iPhone 7 was announced on 7 September, and pre-orders began on 9 September at 8.01am UK time. This continued until the official onsale date: 16 September.
If you plan on buying, check out our iPhone 7 contract deals article.
Don't forget to follow @MacworldUK on Twitter for the latest iPhone 7 news.
iPhone 7 price: How much does the iPhone 7 cost?
The iPhone 7 is available in five colours: silver, gold, Rose Gold, black and Jet Black. With the exception of Jet Black (which is only available for the more expensive 128GB and 256GB storage options) these are each available with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB of storage.
UK prices start at £599 for the 32GB models, with a £699 price tag for the 128GB model and £799 for 256GB.
Best iPhone 7 deals UK: Where to buy the iPhone 7
iPhone 7 problems: Hissgate
It didn't take long before iPhone 7 users started reporting issues with the iPhone 7. Some owners have claimed that the iPhone 7 makes a hissing sound when working hard.
We're assuming that the hissing sound happens when the iPhone heats up, in turn increasing the air pressure within the phone and forcing air out of any tiny gap it can find. The waterproofing in the iPhone 7 means that the phone is sealed from the inside, so any air within the phone will have a harder time escaping compared with older models, hence the new hissing sound.
We'll update this article with further information about hissgate as we get it, but so far Apple has yet to comment on the matter and it doesn't seem to be a serious issue yet.
iPhone 7 features: Design
The iPhone 7 looks broadly similar to the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6 before it, but there are some key differences. As expected (indeed, most of the announcements I'm going to talk about were leaked ahead of the event), the antenna has been redesigned to fit inside the enclosure: in his traditional video, Jonathan Ive said the design "essentially makes it disappear". This gives the phone smoother lines and less cluttered design - something that is also helped by the controversial loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack… but we'll come to that later.
There are now five colour options: silver, gold and Rose Gold as before, but Space Grey is replaced by two new black finishes - a gloss Jet Black, and a matt black (that's just "black" - that's the name of it). Jet Black is sort of more expensive than the other options, in the sense that you can only get it if you go for the middle or top storage option.
iPhone 7 features: Home button
This was somewhat expected. Apple has redesigned the Home button on the front of the iPhone: it's now force-sensitive and static-state.
In other words, the Home button doesn't click inwards/downwards when you press it. Like the trackpad on the more recent generations of MacBook, it gives the illusion of a 'click' downwards by transmitting a little vibration from a tactic engine.
Apple didn't talk too much about the possibilities of this feature, but on the MacBooks the Force Touch trackpads are able to produce multiple degrees of force pressure, for a normal press and a deeper, harder press for bringing up secondary functions such as dictionary lookups. It can also make the component less likely to break because it's not a moving part, although the tactic engine will draw a (tiny) amount of power.
iPhone 7 features: Water resistance
Apple consistently referred to the iPhone 7 as "water-resistant" rather than "waterproof". But it's certified at a respectable IP rating of IP67 - and Apple doesn't normally go in for that kind of thing.
An IP rating refers to a device's ability to resist solid (the first digit, from 1 to 6) and liquid (the second digit, from 1 to 8) intrusions. So IP67 is one step below the top rating. It means the iPhone 7 is rated as Dust Tight - "No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact" and resistant to liquid immersion up to 1m for up to 30 minutes - "Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion)".
There are plenty of smartphones out there that are rated with the perfect IP68, however. One such is the Samsung Galaxy S7.
More information on IP ratings can be found here.
We chatted about the iPhone 7 launch in our podcast. Listen here in our Apple special:
iPhone 7 features: Cameras
First of all, the bad news. The iPhone 7 doesn't get the glamorous twin-lens rear camera that you'll see on the iPhone 7. But it does have a fair few other camera enhancements.
There are two single-lens cameras, then. The rear-facing camera is still 12 megapixels (Mp), but it has a f/1.8 sensor, compared to the f/2.2 on the iPhone 6s - that should mean improved low-light photography - and a six-element lens. It's also quicker than the cameras on previous iPhones (60 percent faster than the iPhone 6s, and 30 percent more energy-efficient, Apple claims), and able to do all of its computational trickery in 25ms.
Optical image stabilisation is now standard across the board, too - in the last generation it was only available on the iPhone 6s Plus. Take a look at a handful of photos taken on the iPhone 7 recently posted on Twitter:
The camera on the iPhone 7 isn’t too shabby! I’ll post a few more over the next few days ???? pic.twitter.com/9qgoamVfu4— Lewis Painter (@LewwyPaints) September 19, 2016
The front-facing camera, meanwhile, does get a specs boost: from 5Mp on the iPhone 6s to 7Mp.
This is only skimming the surface of the photographic improvements that Apple was keen to talk about, and the proof will be in the shooting. We'll update this article with our thoughts on the updated cameras once we've had a chance to try them out in real-world conditions.
Turn to page 2 for details of the iPhone 7's display, audio setup and headphones, wireless features and performance.