Innovation or unnecessary

Hannah Pederson, Senior Online Reporter

Apple has defined itself as an innovator for decades now, attracting elitist techies who always seem ready to put their lives on the line for their overlord. For the past two years though, Apple has been sticking to the same basic design for the iPhone, since the 6 and 6Plus debuted in 2014.

That release was a landmark event for the company and for the smartphone market, and that past success has largely overshadowed the iPhone 7.

The 7 was available for preorder starting Sept. 9 at midnight and servers crashed almost immediately. Even if the 7 didn’t seem as distinctly different from its predecessors as the 6, it was still the new iPhone and dedicated Apple addicts were going to get it no matter what.

As someone who’s had an Android since they were old enough to have a smartphone, that feeling is largely unfamiliar. But, something new is always something new, and the anticipation was so strong it hurt.

When the box was finally sitting on the table, fresh from the delivery truck, it was evident that Apple really wanted their consumers to be in awe of the attention to aesthetic detail they put into the packaging alone.

Once the lid was carefully and impatiently tugged off and placed to the side, there’s a small folder with setup instructions covering the phone, adding another layer of suspense.

Then there was the 7Plus, in matte black.

It’s a monolith, like its precursor. Just lying there it seems intimidatingly put together, like a 30-year-old lawyer.

Once in hand, the appreciation for the subtle redesign hits.

The sheer heft of the phone makes it feel more solid and reliable than most other phones on the market, which was proven true by the amount of times it was dropped in the first three days and how it magically withstood both vinyl and hardwood floors as well as the fact that it’s been playing Bob’s Burgers in the shower for a week and hasn’t shown amy signs of wear.

In what’s been universally acknowledged as a solid idea, the antenna lines have been manipulated to blend into the back of the phone for a sleeker design, which is apparently what everyone is all about these days.

The cameras, yes, plural, bulge out from the back of the 7, which from most angles isn’t obnoxious. However, if the user hits it just right, it kind of looks like WALL-E.  

Apple isn’t the first to put a dual camera system in their device, that was LG with the G5.

On the G5, the user can choose which camera they want to use for a particular shot, with one just providing a wider view.

The 7 doesn’t allow for much manual control of the camera, users can’t pick and choose between the two, which was a let down for those who had hoped it would function like the G5 but with a telephoto option. It didn’t.

Despite that, the 7 does take surprisingly high quality pictures for a smartphone, and if Apple continues to advocate that smartphones be able to compete with digital cameras this iPhone won’t be many users’ last.

The home button was another aspect of the phone Apple chose to distinguish from the 6 and 6Plus. It’s no longer a button.

It may look like a button, but when it’s pressed nothing actually clicks.  According to The Verge, a linear vibration unit jolts when users apply pressure which ends up feeling like a click.

It’s actually a lot more satisfying than a real button would be. There are three intensity settings for the home button, but the third and strongest was the only one that felt familiar.

The third and most controversial redesign was, of course, the headphone jack, or lack thereof.

This really seems like a profit driven move from Apple. They have a dedicated user base that will buy into whatever changes they decide to make, so why not eliminate the headphone jack and force consumers to buy headphones with a lightning adapter at the end that is only offered by Apple.

The package provides a 3.5 millimeter jack to lightning port adapter and new earbuds compatible with the system, but it all felt unnecessary and honestly just a hassle.

According to Apple, the move was to make way for a bigger battery and other new features, but why not just make the phone bigger?

Once past the disputed exterior, iOS 10 takes center stage.

As an Android user, iOS has always been annoying. But, that was an older operating system on an older phone.  

The decision to invest way too much money into this phone was because Apple had finally created a device that optimised its OS.  

The way it moves on the 7Plus is alluring. It’s satisfying. It’s sexy. The phone is physically big enough to make interacting with it simple, instead of an exercise in autocorrect because the keyboard is made for two year old hands.

For Apple users, iOS 10 is exciting. Coming from Lollipop, the latest version of the Android OS, on a pure Google phone, it was what users were already used to, just with a bit more fluidity.

The switch wasn’t overly jarring, it was just a matter of finding out what was hidden in which menu. There was only one really frustrating thing.

Apple is intolerant of third party apps. It limits their access in order to negate their function because if Apple has an app that does the same thing, it doesn’t want users finding one that does it better, like Facebook messenger.  

Facebook Messenger is a messaging app that most Android users prefer over their provider’s messaging app because it’s more interactive and just as reliable.  

On an iPhone, Facebook Messenger is pointless. It’s not as aesthetically pleasing, it’s not as user friendly (users can’t create shortcut icons to their favorite conversations) and it doesn’t do what it can do on an Android.  That’s all because of iMessage.

The iPhone 7Plus is a step towards something great in the smartphone market, but it’s not quite there yet. It’s worth the price in terms of functionality, and it looks good doing it.

 

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

Hannah Pederson
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Hannah Pederson

Online Managing Editor at The Puyallup Post
The Post has been a big part of my life for over a year now, taking up weekends, stressing me out beyond my wildest dreams and making me grow in every imaginable way. In June I’ll graduate with my AA and move on to a four year university to study communications and political science. Political science was my gateway drug to journalism. I realized not so long ago that the only way democracy can work is if the public is well informed and someone is out there holding public officials accountable. As a reporter, I’m in the perfect position to do this. I’m here to be your advocate, to make sure that your rights are protected. I want to spend my last year here providing you with fair and unbiased coverage of Pierce College Puyallup, whatever that may mean to you.
Hannah Pederson
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Hannah Pederson

The Post has been a big part of my life for over a year now, taking up weekends, stressing me out beyond my wildest dreams and making me grow in every imaginable way. In June I’ll graduate with my AA and move on to a four year university to study communications and political science. Political science was my gateway drug to journalism. I realized not so long ago that the only way democracy can work is if the public is well informed and someone is out there holding public officials accountable. As a reporter, I’m in the perfect position to do this. I’m here to be your advocate, to make sure that your rights are protected. I want to spend my last year here providing you with fair and unbiased coverage of Pierce College Puyallup, whatever that may mean to you.

Innovation or unnecessary

by Hannah Pederson time to read: 4 min
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