Apple’s big iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus unveiling is now behind us, which means the rumor mill can finally take a break for a few months before things pick up again with next year’s completely redesigned iPhone 8 (or Apple Phone, or just “iPhone,” or whatever Apple decides to call it). It also means that the press has been given some hands-on time with the new iPhones so they could offer readers early impressions. And it means iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus units have been seeded with a small but expanding group of Apple-approved reviewers so they can publish their reviews next week ahead of the new iPhones’ release.
I’m not an approved reviewer, so I don’t have an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus review unit. I also wasn’t at Apple’s press conference on Wednesday, so I haven’t had any hands-on time with the phones. I haven’t spent any time at all with the new iPhone models or even laid eyes on them at this point, but I’ve already seen enough to know that I’m in for a rough 12 months once I finally get my hands on a new iPhone next week.
As any regular readers probably know all too well, I have always been very open about how much I dislike Apple’s phablets. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones, which offer fantastic features that make use of every millimeter of their giant displays, the iPhone 6 and 6s Plus were just bigger for the sake of being bigger. Apple made no attempt to offer any nifty new functionality that makes use of the extra size. People wanted bigger iPhones, so Apple built bigger iPhones.
I’ve tried time and time again, but I just couldn’t find a way to live with an iPhone phablet. The size has always been too big a barrier for me. It’s too large to use comfortably with one hand, too heavy to use comfortably with two hands, and it doesn’t fit well at all in pants pockets. Apple’s need for a Touch ID home button means there’s a large amount of space around the display, so iPhone phablets are much bigger than rival smartphones with the same size screen.
That said, I’ve also covered the drawbacks of sticking with the smaller iPhone. The comparatively tiny display with its pathetic 720p resolution feels like a relic of the past at this point, especially since every Android phone I use is equipped with a big, beautiful 2K display. And the battery life… Ooooh, the battery life. I charge my iPhone 6s twice a day and it’s still often under 20% when I wake up in the morning.
Well, Apple, I’ve had enough. I can’t take it anymore. You win. This time around I’m bailing on the smaller iPhone and buying the larger and much pricier iPhone 7 Plus. And I’m going to hate it.
Apple’s new iPhone 7 Plus is an improvement over its predecessors in so many ways. Unlike the iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 6 Plus before it, Apple actually has included some new features in the 7 Plus that make use of the extra size. No, there still aren’t any special software features like split-screen multitasking, but there is a new dual-lens camera that looks positively jaw-dropping. By coupling the iPhone 7’s 12-megapixel sensor with a second telephoto camera, the iPhone 7 Plus can zoom to 2x without impacting image quality. It can also capture photos with a bokeh effect that simulates images taken with a DSLR by blurring the background.
Aside from product shots for device reviews here on the site, my iPhone is the only camera I ever use to take photos and I want the best camera available. Add in the bigger display with better resolution and the huge bump in battery life you get with the Plus compared to the smaller iPhone, and it’s well worth the $120 upgrade.
Millions of people are going to have to change their usage patterns when they take delivery of a new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus in the coming weeks and months. The lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack means using a dongle with old headphones, and it also means not being able to listen to music while charging unless that music is streaming to a speaker or headphones over Bluetooth. Personally, I’m fine with that. What I’m far more miffed about to is not being able to use my phone comfortably anymore with one hand, or being able to fit it comfortably in the pocket of my gym shorts or even my jeans.
Next year’s iPhone is rumored to be a complete reimagining of Apple’s smartphone design. According to rumors, it’ll ditch the home button and feature a Touch ID scanner that’s embedded behind the new OLED display. And that new OLED display will supposedly have much less dead space around it, resulting in a more compact iPhone that still has a nice big screen. I was hoping I would be able to hold out until then to switch to an Apple phablet, but the iPhone 7 Plus is just too good to pass up.