The newest generation of the iconic Apple device is making a splash both in and outside the tech world.
On September 7, Apple announced the release of the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Both devices hit stores on September 16, and while the many upgrades to the previous model are likely to appeal to tech fans of all stripes, the sleek smartphone may be especially primed for experimentation among burgeoning app developers.
The Big Changes
One of the most significant design changes Apple made was to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Instead of plugging into a committed audio jack, iPhone users now have access to multiple modes of listening to their favorite podcasts, music, and TV shows.
First, users can plug a set of Apple’s newest headphones, called EarPods, into the iPhone 7 through the Lightning charging port. If you’re still feeling partial to the original headphones, you can run the old headphones through an adapter provided with the purchase of the phone. The third and most exciting option comes in the form of Bluetooth AirPods (coming in October), which are similar in appearance to the traditional white earbuds, but are cordless. AirPods contain a chip called the W1, which pairs with Bluetooth.
Additionally, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus now have a solid-state home button. The “button,” which can’t actually be pressed in, is pressure-sensitive, and includes “haptic,” or tactile, feedback. The screens of the new models are also pressure-sensitive, with a 3D Touch layer that buzzes slightly when users press and hold. For app makers, this means users can receive three levels of pressure and haptic feedback, such as pulses or buzzing, in response to certain actions within apps.
Another perk: both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are splash-, water-, and dust-resistant.
The new iPhones bring a major kick in terms of power and stamina, boasting faster processors and better battery life than previous iterations. Apple says the iPhone’s new A10 Fusion chip is a 64-bit, quad-core processor that is 40% faster than last year's A9 processor. This translates to deeper visual graphics and better graphics performance in general, but especially for apps and mobile gaming.
A custom performance controller also ensures that the correct processes are running to maximize performance and battery life at all times.
Better Photo Potential
When it comes to digital cameras, Wired writer Tom Moynihan argues that “a lens is only as good as the sensor and processing pipeline behind it.” This year, Apple didn’t skimp on either feature.
The iPhone 7 has a 12-megapixel sensor behind its f/1.8, 28mm wide-angle lens, as well as a 5x digital zoom. Both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus feature optical image stabilization (with a larger aperture) for photos and video, and a new seven-megapixel front-facing camera (up from five megapixels on the iPhone 6S).
The iPhone 7 Plus also features a dual-camera setup. The phone has both an f/1.8, 28mm wide-angle lens and an f/2.8, 56mm telephoto lens on the back, with a 12-megapixel sensor behind both. These modules are optically stabilized, which prevents blurriness in photos taken when the photographer is moving.
With expanded dynamic range, color capabilities, and RAW image support, Apple has brought features typically reserved for high-end digital cameras to its widely accessible smartphone.
Good News for AppMakrs
In much the same way that the photo-sharing app Instagram is redesigning its upcoming iOS app to take advantage of the iPhone 7’s camera capabilities, so too can all app developers make use of the phone’s new features.
Apple recently revealed that the Apple Store marketplace has reached 140 billion downloads since its launch in 2008. With our iOS compatible app-building platform, AppMakr, the original way to #MakeAnApp, is here to help take your ideas to this generation of iPhone users — and beyond.
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