Apple has launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, along with the Apple Watch Series 2 and a set of wireless headphones called AirPods.
The new phones come in two sizes, a 4.7-inch screen and a 5.5-inch “Plus” model, and feature several changes including water and dust resistance, a major upgrade to the camera with a “dual lens” system on the iPhone 7 Plus that allows for improved long-range photos, and a redesigned pressure-sensitive home button.
Apple has removed the headphone jack in favour of earbuds that connect through the phone’s charging port. It also unveiled a set of wireless headphones called AirPods that can be purchased separately at extra cost.
The iPhone 7 will start at £599 in the UK for the 32GB model, which makes it £60 more expensive than the iPhone 6s.
Apple also announced the Apple Watch Series 2 with GPS connectivity and a more powerful processor. The watch will cost £369 in the UK.
Along with the new iPhone and Watch, Apple unveiled a set of completely wireless headphones called AirPods. The iPhone 7 will ship with headphones that connect to the Lightning port and an adapter that make the phone compatible with traditional earphones.
But Apple fans will also be able to purchase AirPods, a set of wireless headphones that include a microphone for handsfree calls, from the company for £159.
The iPhone 7, 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 will be released in the UK on September 16 and iOS 10 will be available to download from September 13. Pre-orders for the iPhone 7 will open on September 9. The AirPods will be available at the beginning of October.
Choking fears arise over AirPods
As well as mnay people voicing fears about losing Apple’s small AirPods, concerns have also been raised about the potential for choking on them, particularly children.
In Australia, Fairfax Media pointed out that, with dimensions at 16.5 millimetres x 18 millimetres x 40.5 millimetres, the new AirPods fit within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Product Safety Choke Check – meaning it has the potential to block a child’s throat.
On its website the ACCC advises that the Choke Check is “intended only as a guide for consumers and should not be relied on to check for compliance with standards and the law.”
A spokesperson for the ACCC told Fairfax Media: “As these headphones are small, parents and carers are encouraged to be vigilant to keep them out of reach from young children.”
The power of Mario
Shares of Nintendo surged as much as 18 percent on Thursday – propelled by the surprise announcement of the debut of the Japanese firm’s popular game franchise Super Mario Bros on the iPhone.
Investors are betting the new game, Super Mario Run, will be another mobile hit for the Japanese company akin to the wildly popular Pokemon GO, as it moves away from its console-focused strategy and embraces on-the-go gaming.
“Launching a well-known Nintendo character on the globally penetrated iPhone is one of the best scenarios that investors have hoped for,” Tomoaki Kawasaki, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities, said.
Nintendo said it would launch the game initially on Apple’s App Store in December. The Kyoto-based firm with a market capitalisation of $40.5 billion did not say when it would be available for Android devices.
It also sent levels of nostalgia soaring to new highs.
New Beats headphones and AirPods: What is the W1 chip?
Amongst the noise of the new iPhones, Watch and AirPods, Apple unveiled a range of Beats headphones that will include the W1 chip. Apple’s first wireless chip, the W1 is the company’s attempt at “fixing the challenges” of wireless audio, Apple’s Phil Schiller said.
Using regular Bluetooth for connectivity, the new chip sits inside the new wireless earphones and can connect to devices like an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
A number of accelerometers are built into the earphones, which will help keep power drain to a minimum, as sensors detect when each AirPod is in your ear.
“We’re just at the beginning of a truly wireless future that we’ve been working towards for many years,” says Apple’s Jony Ive.
Just how water resistant is it?
The iPhone 7 is water resistant but not waterproof. It’s probably fine if you drop it into the toilet (a common occurrence, I’m told) but you shouldn’t go for a long swim with it.
It is IP67 certified, which is similar to the original Apple Watch. (The Samsung Galaxy S7 is IP68 certified – which means it’s slightly better).
The iPhone 7 can be submerged in depths of under 1m for 30 minutes theoretically and not suffer any permanent damage.
The key word, though, is theoretically. The water resistant tests were conducted under lab conditions while the phone was in standby mode. Whether it would withstand the water so well if you’re taking pictures underwater and so on is a little more unclear. Nor is it clear what effect substances in the water – like chlorine in swimming pools or salt in the sea – would have on the phone.
What about the Watch?
The same goes for the Watch – as the company’s website also suggests:
Submerging your Apple Watch isn’t recommended. Water resistance isn’t a permanent condition, and your Apple Watch can’t be rechecked or resealed for water resistance. The following may affect the water resistance of your Apple Watch and should be avoided:
- Dropping your Apple Watch or subjecting it to other impacts
- Submerging your Apple Watch in water for long periods of time.
- Swimming or bathing with your Apple Watch.
- Exposing your Apple Watch to pressurised water or high velocity water, for example, showering, water skiing, wake boarding, surfing, jet skiing, and so on. Wearing your Apple Watch in a sauna or steam room.