First Look: Apple’s new iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus

Here’s what Apple showed off on Wednesday, after the usual months of teasing.

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It’s that time again

Yes, it’s the harvest season again, which can mean only one thing – Apple has released the latest generation of the iPhone. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are an evolutionary step forward, rather than a revolutionary one, but there are still plenty of differentiators from the last generation. Have a look.

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Design

Jony Ive hates extraneous features so much that he stripped all of the unnecessary letters out of his own name, so the fact that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are both smoothed-out and pared-down to within an inch of their lives is no surprise. Apple did announce, as expected, a new finish called “jet black.”

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The screen

It’s still just 1080p on the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus and 1334x750 on the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, despite the fact that 1440p Android devices have been out there for some time. But it also features improved color accuracy and better brightness for outdoor viewing, and keeps the 3D touch features introduced in the previous generation.

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Credit: Randy ChiuWikipediaCC BY 2.0
EarPods

The rumors were true – Apple got rid of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 series and replaced it with a single proprietary Lightning connector that you’ll have to use for both charging and audio. (Both models will ship with an adapter, however, so you don’t have to throw your well-loved old headphones away yet.)

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AirPods

Of course, if you’re willing to spend $160 and wait until late October for them to ship, you could get a pair of Apple’s slick new AirPods, which connect to your device wirelessly – though, interestingly enough, not via Bluetooth.

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The camera

The iPhone 7’s camera is improved over the previous model’s, but it’s the iPhone 7 Plus that got a more interesting update – it uses a dual-camera system to offer a wider array of options to picture takers, thanks to both wide-angle and telephoto lenses.

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Performance

Apple boasts that the iPhone 7 series will have the best battery life of any iPhone yet, but there’s also more horsepower under the hood – the new A10 Fusion SoC uses two powerful but energy-thirsty cores for high-performance tasks, and two lower-performing but highly energy-efficient cores for simple stuff like email.

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Other bits and pieces

There are plenty of other little tweaks, like a stereo speaker system, more robust protection against dust and spills, and a newly pressure-sensitive home button, which has its own “Taptic Engine” hardware that Apple has opened up to third-party developers via an API.

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Want one?

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus can be pre-ordered this Friday, Sept. 9, and they’ll ship and go on retail sale one week from then, Sept. 16. The 7 starts at 32GB of storage for $650 off-contract, and the 7 Plus will set you back $770 for the same amount of storage.