What you need to know about the iPhone 7: No headphone jack but dramatically overhauled cameras

Hit the road, jack.

The rumors were true: Apple’s next-generation iPhones, the 7 and 7 Plus, traded the headphone jack for Lightning EarPods. What this means for you: Now there’s one port instead of two. The company is including Lightning-connected EarPods with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Apple is also including a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter in the box to avoid causing too much outrage.

So why that lack of a jack?

“It’s been with us for a really long time,” Phil Schiller said during Apple’s iPhone presentation on Wednesday. “It comes down to courage—courage to move on, do something new that betters all of us.”

That something new is a brand new wireless standard in the form of a product called Apple AirPods. The new W1 chip offers consistent playback that only starts playing when the pods are in your ear. You can double tap a pod to access Siri.

Both iPhone 7 models are water-resistant up to 1 meter for 30 minutes with an IP67 rating. Both pack new stereo speakers at the top and bottom into the same slim body as the 6s.

Aside from being splashproof, the iPhone 7’s marquee feature is a dramatically improved camera. Both the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and 5.5-inch 7 Plus have a wider f/1.8 aperture to capture more light, 6-element lens, high-speed 12-megapixel sensors, quad-LED True Tone flash, a new sensor to compensate for flickering lights, wide color capture, and optical image stabilization. The 7 Plus, as long rumored, has two cameras, both 12-megapixels, with two lenses. One is wide-angle, and the other is a 56mm telephoto lens. Both cameras have zoom.

Shallow depth of field, called bokeh, is something you can usually only achieve with a DSLR’s full frame sensor or a giant lens. The 7 Plus camera accomplishes it easily—just tap the new Portrait option in the iOS Camera app coming in a free iOS update later this year to preview it automatically.

The 7, which now comes in black and jet black (matte vs. glossy) in addition to silver, gold, and rose gold, is moving from a mechanical Home button to a solid state Force Touch button with a Taptic Engine so you’ll feel vibrations when you press it. Apple is opening the Taptic Engine to third-party developers with an API.

The iPhone 7’s water resistance and overhauled camera are its marquee features, but the headphone jack removal is sure to be Apple’s most controversial move since the switch from 30-pin to Lightning connectors back in 2012 (probably moreso). Apple sold adapters separately for $29 back then, but this time around the company is including an adapter in the box.

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Caitlin McGarry

Macworld.com
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