Back in February, I wrote about Apple’s 2016 iPhone lineup and made a statement that I thought would ruffle far more feathers than it did. I opined that among flagship iPhones, there is a right iPhone to own and a wrong iPhone to own. The iPhone 7 Plus is now the iPhone. It’s the device that delivers the optimal smartphone experience within the confines of available technology, as Apple envisioned it in 2016. It has a higher-resolution display than the iPhone 7, it has a bigger screen, it has a superior rear camera, and it has much better battery life than its smaller counterpart.
Despite my opinion that Apple’s Plus phones are far too large to use comfortably, I had no choice but to switch to a supersized iPhone in 2016. I continue to use it as my daily driver, but I’ve also spent some time with the smaller iPhone 7 lately. While all of the benefits of the 7 Plus that I discussed are indeed valid, I’ve come to believe that one thing stands above the rest. And in 2017, it might be an area where the iPhone 8 falls short.
If you use an iPhone 7 — or just about any Android phone that isn’t the size of a small television — I cannot stress enough how much better life is when you don’t have to think about battery life. In this day and age where smartphones are at the center of our digital lives, battery life is more important than it has ever been before. Apple’s iPhone 7 battery is so small, there’s almost no one who can make it through a full day without charging his or her phone. When I was using smaller iPhones, there were busy days when I had to charge not once but twice after leaving the house with a full charge. That’s why the market for iPhone battery cases is so massive.
Do you know why Apple makes Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 7, but not the iPhone 6/6s Plus and iPhone 7 Plus? It’s because Apple’s Plus phones don’t need battery cases. Really, it’s that simple.
I never think about the battery in my iPhone 7 Plus. I plug it in every day around the same time, and that’s that. In fact, when I do plug it in each day, it’s solely out of habit, not because my battery is about to die. After a normal 24-hour period of usage when I spend most of my time connected to a Wi-Fi network, my iPhone 7 Plus still has about 30% of its charge remaining. If you’re an iPhone 7 owner, I might have just blown your mind.
In 2017, the iPhone 8 is getting a ton of new features, and they’re all going to be stuffed into a housing that is barely larger than the iPhone 7. It’ll have a larger display than the iPhone 7s Plus thanks to Apple’s new design that’s nearly bezel-less, but the physical size of the phone will be far smaller than the Plus model iPhone Apple releases in 2017. This is important to note, because a smaller housing means there will be less space for a battery.
Some rumors suggest that Apple’s internal iPhone 8 design frees up space for an L-shaped battery. None of those rumors have come from solid sources, however. It’s also unclear how big the iPhone 8’s battery will be, even if it is L-shaped.
I can’t wait for the iPhone 8, and I think it’s going to be a huge step forward for Apple in so many ways. At the same time, I also worry that it will be a huge step backward in terms of battery life, which is one of the most important features of any smartphone. Meanwhile, the iPhone 7s Plus could have the same size battery as the iPhone 7 Plus, along with the same LCD display and an even more efficient A11 processor. In other words, it might have even better battery life than the class-leading iPhone 7 Plus, which could be a difficult proposition to pass up.