What the iPhone 7 Should Have Been
In the past two weeks that we’ve been using the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, I am more convinced that Apple is slowly losing its grip of its dominance in the smartphone market.
The innovations it has introduced in the last couple of years are more like an attempt at keeping up with industry development rather than leading it.
What Apple did right:
Better performance. The Apple A10 Fusion chip is an impressive processor. Benchmarks show huge performance improvements over the previous A9 processor. The new chip also helps reduce power consumption and help prolong battery life.
Better camera. Both the rear and the front cameras of the iPhone 7 were considerably improved. The bigger aperture opening (f1.8) made it easier to take shots under low-light conditions. Optical image stabilization is now also present on the iPhone 7, a feature only the Plus models have. The inclusion of a two-tone, quad-LED flash is a welcome addition.
Bigger storage options. Bigger internal storage is always good especially when you take a lot of photos and record 4K videos on your phone. The iPhone 7 now starts at 32GB and goes all the way up to 256GB.
Water resistance. Perhaps the most significant improvement made on the iPhone 7. Many phones have had this feature for many years and it’s high time the iPhone is also protected from accidental tumbles into the swimming pool.
Better speakers. Two speakers are always better than one. We can all agree to that.
What Apple did wrong:
Home Button. The new Home button removes the mechanical clicking in favor of a taptic engine providing haptic feedback. It may take some time to get used to it though I still prefer the old way.
Removing 3.5mm port. Perhaps the biggest mis-step Apple made on the iPhone 7. This annoyed a lot of people. They could have just kept the port, introduced an earpod that connects to the lightning port and offered the wireless AirPods as an upgrade. This is just Apple behaving like Apple.
Dual camera setup. Putting dual cameras at the back just to provide 2x optical zoom seems like impractical approach. There are many other phones that have done this but with better technical feats – like the monochrome sensor on the Huawei P9 or the ultrawide lens (135-degrees) of the 2nd camera on the LG G5.
What the iPhone 7 Should Have Had:
Better design. The iPhone 7 has a 3-year old design. Apple could have done much better to improve the design and profile of their phones. Even their solution to the antenna bands seems like a lazy approach for an engineering solution (Asus made a great solution to the antenna band with the Zenfone 3).
Screen size and resolution. The 4.7-inch size of the iPhone 7 feels small nowadays. With its current form factor, Apple could have introduced a 5-inch to 5.2-inch iPhone. While the iPhone 7 Plus has a good 5.5-inch display size, the chassis is a bit oversized (the chassis is bigger than the 5.7-inch Note7). They could have improved the screen-to-body ratio and also increase the resolution of the iPhones (750p is so 2012).
Battery capacity. Previous iPhones have sub-par battery performance. Despite Apple’s claim that the iPhone 7 has better battery, the fact is 1,960mAh of capacity seemed paltry compared to other flagship phones. With the iOS10 optimization of the iPhone 7 and a bigger battery, say 3,000mAh, Apple could literally double the claimed battery life of their smartphones.
Better charging technology. Almost all flagship phones have fast charging capability. A few more (Galaxy S6/S7, S6/S7 Edge, Note7) are even doing wireless charging for the last couple of years. It’s a shame Apple has not considered this on the iPhone 7/7 Plus.
Perhaps, next year, Apple might find the right set of features to focus on to really improve the iPhone and not fancy itself into changing things that don’t really need fixing.
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